When it comes to keeping the family busy, we often look for just about everything outside of our own homes. Whether it’s an activity in town, or a playdate at a local park, one of the ways we manage to keep our sanity as parents is by getting the kids out of the house.
But if suddenly you find yourself crammed inside on a rainy afternoon, or simply looking for ways to create quality family time with your tribe, we’ve got just the list for you.
Here are 10 family activities for when you can’t leave the house.
1. Ask your kids how their lives are going.
This seems like a no-brainer, but when was the last time you had a conversation with your kid and learned something new about them? Have REAL conversation with intentionality and learn at least two things you didn’t know. Ask them what the Lord is teaching them, what they’re finding the most enjoyment in right now, and maybe even ask them what they’re struggling with.
Our kids are desperate for connection. Put the phones down and be intentional with your conversations.
2. Have a family game night.
Whether you break out your favorite board games or play a competitive round of Mario Party, do something that brings you all together as a family.
3. Go camping in your back yard.
What’s better than sleeping outside? Sleeping outside of your house (that way you can run inside if you forget your pillow or it rains). Set up a campsite in your backyard and make a night out of eating S’mores, looking at the stars, telling each other stories, and laughing with each other. You don’t have to go on a fancy vacation to connect with your family. Simply create space, unplug the devices, and connect with each other.
4. Tell your kids stories from your childhood.
You’ve lived a lot more life than your littles have. Tell them stories from your childhood that they’ve never heard. Tell them things about their grandparents and your hometown. Tell them what you were like and who your best friend was. Let your kids get to know you better.
5. Have a budget meeting with your spouse.
There’s no better time to figure out a budget, than when you’re stuck inside and can’t spend any money. Living on a budget brings such organization and peace of mind to an already busy area of our lives. Schedule some time with your spouse and sort out a budget now so your family can do other fun things later on.
6. Plant a garden.
Bring a little life to your home and plant a garden! You can do this outside if it’s warm enough, or inside if you need some brightness in your gloomy days. Pant some seeds and watch them grow together as a family.
7. Cook your own food.
When life gets busy, it’s easy to find yourself eating out of a brown paper bag more often than we’d like to admit. If suddenly you find yourself grounded, spending time at home, make dinner time a family effort. Cook together—teach your kids how to make your favorite meal. Teach them how to make their favorite meal. Get creative with whatever is in your cabinets, or find a new recipe to try making together.
8. Play with your kids.
Another no-brainer, but when the days get busy and the schedules pile up, it can be weeks before we realize we haven’t played baseball in the front yard with our kids in a while. Get on your hands and knees, build the fort, play with the barbies, give each other makeovers, have wrestling matches…just do play time together as a family. If you’re stuck at home, there’s no better time to put the laundry down and have a little fun.
9. Read to your kids.
Go beyond bedtime. Turn off Netflix, put away the devices, cuddle up in a chair or on the couch and read to your kids. If they’re old enough, have your kids read to you. Pick your favorite books and read to each other. Have one person read and another act out the story. Spend time in the WORD with your kids. Model for them how to read scripture and talk to Jesus.
If suddenly you find yourself stuck inside, read together as a family.
10. Walk or play with your dog for longer than 20 minutes.
It’s easy to let the dog out the back door and give them a few minutes to “entertain themselves” in the yard. But why not make playing with the dog a family event? Grab a frisbee, throw a ball, or go on a walk and create something to do around the four-legged member of your family.
Being stuck at home doesn’t have to be bad. It just might give you the gift of time, and could save the American family. Don’t waste the gift.