Spending time at home doesn’t have to be boring or involve the kids playing video games all day while you keep your head buried in your phone. There are plenty of ways you can make the best of the great indoors and outdoors with toys, family-friendly activities, entertainment, and fun. Here are some ideas.
Family Game and Entertainment Day
Plan out a full day of games to keep everyone entertained. Let everyone in the family pick their favourite or set up a list from which to choose.
Start with basic board games that are low-tech yet can provide tons of fun for everyone. Go with something classic like Monopoly (there are tons of themed boards from which to choose if you’re looking to buy a new one), Chess, Scrabble, Trivial Pursuit (for the kids, consider getting the 2000s edition), or CLUE, or opt for something more modern like Codenames or Harry Potter Hogwarts Battle.
Once you’ve finished the game or tournament of games and a winner has emerged, move on to interactive video games that will get your juices flowing. Find one that the whole family can enjoy, like Super Mario Kart, or pick something like Just Dance that will get the whole family moving. It’s exercise and fun at the same time (trust me, you will work up a sweat after just one song!). In addition to Just Dance, my 8-year-old son loves Luigi’s Mansion while my 12-year-old niece is into Pokemon games. You can get both for all major gaming consoles, including the Microsoft One, PlayStation 4, and Nintendo Switch.
If you want to step things up a notch, clear out space in the basement, den, or rec room and set up virtual reality (VR) headsets to surprise the kids. There are some affordable options, so you can grab 2 (or more) and let family members go head-to-head for battles in various video games while wearing the headsets and using handheld controllers. Set up a perimeter and everyone else can be the audience that cheers them on until it’s their turn.
Close off the day by setting up an air mattress or comforters on the living room floor and camping out in front of the TV for a movie night. For older kids, let them invite friends over for a sleepover movie party. Pop a Blu-ray into a Blu-ray player or stream a movie from your favourite service using a smart TV or a device like a streaming stick or box.
If the family would prefer to binge TV shows versus watch movies, search through your favourite streaming services like Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Apple TV+, DisneyTV+, and Crave to find a great family-friendly series you can all watch together before tucking in for the night. My family loves getting together to watch variety series like America’s Got Talent, or consider a show like Fuller House, The Big Bang Theory, or GLEE. For older kids, there are shows like Riverdale, Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, and the reality show The Circle. Or introduce them to an old favorite like FRIENDS. Don’t forget the popcorn, candy, and sodas! You can add to the ambiance with a cool gadget like a vintage-styled popcorn maker that will provide an authentic at-the-movies feel.
If you’d prefer to spend your time outdoors, whether it’s during the frigid winter months or the hot summer, there’s lots you can do as well in your back yard, front yard, common front area in an apartment building, or local park.
The most obvious option to please kids of all ages (including yes, even those picky teenagers!) is drones. Grab a small one you can fly at a low height within your own back yard, giving everyone a turn. Practice using the remote and improving your flying skills.
For the little ones, consider a ride-on powered vehicle they can scoot on around the block, waving to the neighbours as they go by. Older kids, meanwhile, will feel like it’s Christmas if you grab a hoverboard they can use. Make sure to find a safe place where they can practice until they get the hang of it. And don’t forget that everyone needs to wear a helmet!
Another idea: make your own sports arena in the back yard with items like soccer gear, including portable pop-up soccer nets and a ball, or a basketball net. My 8-year-old is totally into ninja warrior courses and would love a homemade setup in the backyard with tons of obstacle courses. It could make for a fun full-day family tournament that combines fun with exercise. Build your own obstacle course, then have family members run it head-to-head or run it one by one, and use a timer to determine the winner.
If the weather permits, everyone can grab their bicycle and go for a ride on the local trial, around the block, to the park, or wherever your heart desires. Like with the hoverboard, don’t forget the helmets and all of the safety rules around riding bicycles. If your little one is still using their training wheels, this is the perfect time to help them get over the fear and start riding with two wheels.
If it’s winter and there’s snow, no worries. You can do some sledding at the local hill or park, build a snowman or snow fort, or have a good ol’ snowball fight.
Educational and Building Toys
There are plenty of educational toys that will provide hours of fun when you’re spending time at home, from building toys like LEGO, to STEM-based robotics toys that require kids to put things together and learn how they work before playing with them and coding them to do certain things.
Get a massive LEGO set the family can build together or multiple sets so everyone can build their own while enjoying one another’s company. There are options for everyone from Marvel fans to those who love Star Wars, or just cool LEGO City sets you can put together and make your own miniature town.
On the robotics end, there’s everything from coding robots to kits that let you put together tons of unique creations.
If you’re looking for a more quiet, relaxing day in without a lot of commotion, consider setting up an area in the house for putting together a puzzle. Any time someone is “bored,” they can head over and try to connect a few more pieces. Get some puzzle glue and glue it together, then mount it on the wall in your rec room or basement when you’re done.
Cook and Bake-off Competitions
Go grocery shopping for everything you need to make awesome dishes at home during a family cooking or baking party. You can whip up a batch of homemade chocolate chip cookies, or set up your own ice cream stations with toppings that include everything you can possibly imagine, from gummy bears to sprinkles. A tip: use a muffin baking tray to organize all of the toppings for serving.
Get creative and make homemade ice cream, or buy some cool cookie cutters or cake pans to have decorating parties. There are tons of cool bakeware accessories you can get to make themed cakes, practice your cupcake decorating skills, and learn to do things like roll your own sushi or make fancy French macarons.
Carve out some time to have fun as a family doing a multitude of things. Take note of these ideas, and hopefully you won’t hear an “I’m bored” at any point because the kids will be plenty busy and excited to participate in these many activities.
Check out plenty more products that can provide inspiration on what to do during your time at home at Best Buy online.