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How to Keep Your Kids Occupied

Children are curious and energetic, and they’re always looking for something to do. Whether you want to spend some quality time with your children or you need to keep them busy so you can get things done around the house, you’ll need activities to entertain them. Luckily, there are lots of fun ways to keep your children occupied while also encouraging their creativity, keeping them active, and teaching them new skills.

Method 1 - Using Their Imaginations

  1. Encourage creativity with arts and crafts. If you have young children, they will usually be happy making simple crafts like paper chains. Keep them occupied by challenging them to create new masterpieces or asking them to decorate something for you. Only let them do things that you trust them to do alone, or have an older child help them and watch over them if you can’t be in the same room at all times.
    • If there is a holiday coming up (big or small), give your kids some colorful paper and markers and ask them to make holiday-themed cards or decorations.
    • Find something that could use some embellishment and ask them to decorate it. You can buy plain items like picture frames, t-shirts, birdhouses, or plaques at a crafts store, or you can find something around the house that could use a creative touch.
    • You can use lots of ordinary household items as arts and crafts supplies. For example, have your kids make snowflakes out of paper plates, let them use old socks to make hand puppets, or task them with creating some creatures out of materials like empty tissue boxes, toilet paper rolls, and paper cups. You can also give them old magazines to make a collage.

  3. Let them color or paint. If your children are young, give them some coloring books or blank paper, provide them with lots of felt tip pens or crayons, and let them draw or color. If you don’t mind them getting things messy, painting, either with brushes or with their fingers, is a great way for your kids to express themselves.

    • Be sure to stick any of their creations on the fridge or a wall afterwards to show them that you are proud of what they have done.
    • You can also give them some Play-Doh, along with lots of plastic cutters, and let them sculpt something.

  5. Use music. If your children like to dance, put on their favorite music and encourage them to make up their own dance moves.

    • They could play Musical Statues, where they dance until the music stops. Get an older child to put on some music and operate the stereo/CD player. Musical Chairs is also a good choice.
    • Try telling them to make up a dance routine that they can perform for you when you have finished cleaning or doing whatever you have to do.

  7. Ask them to make up a story or put on a show. If your children are old enough, have them write down their stories or plays. If they are not old enough to write, you can write them down or ask an older child to write them down for them.

    • You can incorporate an arts and crafts aspect into this activity by having children illustrate their stories or create puppets or costumes for a later performance.
    • If your kids are having a hard time thinking of a story, ask them to make up a sequel or prequel to a story they already know. You can also try providing them with the first few sentences and then ask them to expand upon your story.
    • You can also have kids work together by each telling a small part of the story, building off of what the others have already said.[1]

Method 2 - Playing Games

  1. Give them some board games. Games that kids won’t need much help with (like Candy Land) are best if you are trying to occupy your kids so you can get things done around the house. Try not to use difficult games like Monopoly, unless there is an older child who can help the younger ones.
    • Card games are good, too. You can find specialty card games for kids, or you can teach your kids to play simple card games like War and Go Fish with a standard deck of cards.
    • If you don’t have any games on hand, teach them to play a game that doesn’t require any materials, such as I Spy, Simon Says, or Red Light, Green Light.

  3. Challenge them with a jigsaw puzzle. You can find puzzles for all different ages and difficulty levels. You can also have children create their own puzzles with cardboard or construction paper, and if you have multiple children, you can ask them to complete each other’s puzzles.

  5. Let them play outside. This could be playing football, skipping, playing on a trampoline, or playing games with each other such as chase or hide and seek.

    • If you have smaller children, fill a large bucket or something quite big with water and add plastic boats, rubber ducks and other toys. You can also use this same bucket to put sand in and let them build miniature sand castles.
    • Give them some sports equipment and tell them to make up a new sport. You can get creative with the materials by using buckets for targets or trash can lids for bases, for example.

  7. Try a scavenger hunt. You can either hide items around the house, or just create a list of items they will be likely to encounter in the area where you’re playing.[2]

  9. Set up an obstacle course. You can use furniture or any other household items as obstacles, and set up your course either indoors or outdoors.[3] Make up new rules for each round or rearrange obstacles to keep things interesting.

  11. Make your own matching games. For younger children, encourage critical thinking by making up your own games with materials you already have around the house. You can write numbers or letters on scraps of paper and ask them to put them in the proper order, or give them pictures cut out from magazines and ask them to group them in a specific way.[4] The possibilities are endless.

Method 3 - Going on Outings

  1. Take a trip to a local museum or art gallery. There are many museums that are specifically designed for children, and others that have special activities for children.[5] The Association of Children’s Museums can help you find a children’s museum near you.
    • In addition to museums specifically designed for children, many have exhibits that children might find interesting. Consider natural history museums, especially those with dinosaur or Egyptian mummy exhibits, planetariums, wax museums, or aviation museums.


  2. Teach your children about animals by taking them to a local farm. No matter where you live, there’s likely to be a farm or petting zoo not far from you that will give your kids a great opportunity to interact with and learn about animals.[6] Zoos and aquariums are also great ways for kids to learn about new animals while having fun.

  4. Get active with indoor activities. Bowling, ice skating, roller skating,[7] swimming, gymnastics, and rock climbing are all good options. Kids will burn off energy, while also having fun and learning a new skill. You can also look for indoor trampoline parks, indoor water parks, and family fun centers in your area.

  6. Enjoy the great outdoors. Depending on where you live, you could visit the beach, the lake, or the mountains. Even if you don’t live near any exciting outdoor attractions, you can try visiting a local park or taking a walk or a bike ride around town.

  8. Go to the movies. If you don’t have time for that or you’d like to save some money, take your children to rent a DVD/video. Make sure it is something that they will all enjoy and that they have all decided on. When you have to do a job or you are busy, get them together and put on the film.


  • If you completely run out of ideas, give them a large box and let them use their imaginations! If you let your children paint, make sure they are being sensible and put some cloths around to limit the mess.
  • If your children are frequently looking for things to do, encourage them to join clubs or teams. There are many to choose from, including swimming clubs, dance clubs, football teams, drama clubs, and more.
  • If your children find themselves bored invite a friend over to keep them company.


  • Make sure you know where your children are at all times and what they are doing.
  • When children are doing crafts, make sure they are being sensible with hazardous things such as scissors. It is best to buy plastic scissors or blunt ones.
  • If children are playing outside, it is best to delegate them to the back yard and lock the gate so that they can’t run into the road or get into any danger.
  • Never leave children unattended around any container of water, even a bucket, as this poses a risk for drowning.

Sources and Citations

  1. http://www.goodtoknow.co.uk/family/178607/Holiday-ideas—40-ways-to-entertain-your-kids
  2. http://www.goodtoknow.co.uk/family/178607/Holiday-ideas—40-ways-to-entertain-your-kids
  3. http://extension.psu.edu/publications/ua229)
  4. http://www.parenting.com/article/fun-activities-keep-your-kids-busy
  5. http://www.goodtoknow.co.uk/family/178607/Holiday-ideas—40-ways-to-entertain-your-kids
  6. http://www.goodtoknow.co.uk/family/178607/Holiday-ideas—40-ways-to-entertain-your-kids
  7. http://www.goodtoknow.co.uk/family/178607/Holiday-ideas—40-ways-to-entertain-your-kids

Article provided by wikiHow, a wiki building the world’s largest, highest quality how-to manual. Please edit this article and find author credits at the original wikiHow article on How to Keep Your Kids Occupied. Content on wikiHow can be shared under a Creative Commons License.




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