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Many people are feeling the stress of this year. There are countless uncertainties and financial strains and changes to our daily routines. There are friends we miss and vacations we’ve canceled. Let’s be honest, for most of us change is hard. We are creatures of habit that are comforted by our routines and when those routines get disrupted and are no longer there to cling to our sense of normal is lost. Remember in grade school when the kids ALWAYS sat in the same seat at the lunch table even when there was no assigned seating? And if someone dared sat in “your spot” you were really annoyed! (As if it was actually your spot to begin with) In essence… 

People don’t love change.

In order to relieve some of the stress caused by increased time at home, constantly being inside the same four walls, I’ve created the “Ultimate Quarantine Bucket List” as a list of ideas for how to spend this challenging time!

Who knows? You might have some fun! I know your kids will! So without further ado, here it is, the Ultimate Quarantine Bucket list, to entertain your kids and help to keep your kids learning this summer!

  1. Plant a garden
  2. Bean in a bag experiment: Simply put 4 – 6 dried beans in a zip top bag with a wet paper towel, set it in a windowsill and watch it grow over the course of a week. If you’re feeling ambitious, have your child track the progress in a journal, drawing pictures as they notice changes happening. Science is fun!
  3. Grow plants from seeds
  4. Plant an herb garden
  5. Paint flowerpots with acrylic paint, seal them, then use for years to come! We painted pots to give to the grandmas in our life for Mother’s Day and they were a big hit.
  6. Make garden stones
  7. Tin can lights: Add a little color to your garden with tin can lights! Simply spray paint some well washed and dry tin cans from your recycling bin and hammer in your design. They really give some personality to your space and your kids will be proud to see their work on display.
  8. Make bird seed feeders
  9. Create a garden station for your kids to dig in the dirt! You can use a collection of planters or build one like we did, the idea is to just have a specific area of your garden that the kids have free reign to dig and explore.
  10. Build the BIGGEST indoor tent you can
  11. Have an indoor camping day! We borrowed a four person tent from my brother and pitched it in our living room for the day! We did some building with stones and sticks outside and ended the day with smores made in our fireplace. It was a great day and the kids had a blast!
  12. Have a picnic
  13. Game night! My family favorites are Picture Charades for Kids and Sequence for Kids. If you haven’t checked these ones out yet, I highly recommend them!
  14. Bake with your kids
  15. Pick recipes out together from a kids cook book. My daughter has received two kids cook books as gifts that we’ve really enjoyed: Klutz Kids Cooking Activity Book and The Complete Baking Book for Young Chefs I strongly recommend trying the chocolate chip cookies from the first and the soft pretzels from the later book. Both are winners in this house!
  16. Grill out
  17. Glow stick bath: This one is so simple. We used glow sticks left over from our teal pumpkin last Halloween. Just dump a bunch of glowing glow sticks in the tub and have bath time in the dark. Its basically a guaranteed success.
  18. Bath paints: Look up some DIY bath paints to mix up and let your kids make a mess in the tub. Afterward, hose them down and take a bath to cleanup the mess!
  19. Cardboard box fun… How many of you have found that your child prefers the cardboard box that a toy came in more than the actual toy you spent money on? There are so many fun things to do with cardboard boxes but just letting your kids take the lead works too!
  20. Paint a room
  21. Paint a mural
  22. Clean the garage
  23. Kids Day: I handed the planning pen over to my kids for the day (with a touch of guidance of course) and we had a great day that included several repeats of things on this list!
  24. Grow sugar crystals
  25. Paint with water: This one is so simple but can be done in so many ways! You can paint on construction paper using water and WHATEVER: paintbrushes, cotton balls, or Q-tips. Outside your kids can paint the fence or the concrete or the windows or in our case a small cement owl we have on the porch. My kids spent a LONG time doing this one and outside its virtually mess free!
  26. “10 Unique Things to do with Sidewalk Chalk” – look at my post for ideas!
  27. Create a home video
  28. Create a nature journal
  29. Bake cinnamon rolls from scratch
  30. Make cards to send to loved ones! We used a pen to draw designs on our cards, then painted them with watercolor paint. Everyone really loved getting a little encouragement through snail mail!
  31. Participate in a socially distanced birthday parade
  32. Do something nice for someone
  33. Make a list of nature trails in your area to visit (I bet you can find some new ones!)
  34. Go through your clothes to find some to sell and donate!
  35. Teach your kids life skills like folding laundry and cracking eggs
  36. Make instruments: use recycled bottles to make shakers or use rubber bands to create instruments you can pluck. Be creative!
  37. Have a dress up dance party
  38. Read books together, put together a list for the library, or complete a summer reading program through the library
  39. Make knot bracelets
  40. Teach your kids your favorite hand clapping game from elementary school
  41. Play cards (Go Fish, Kings in the Corner)
  42. Take your own family photos and replace the pictures in your house!
  43. Make ice cream in a bag
  44. Decorate a cake
  45. Make a giant ice block with toys frozen inside (It’s important to freeze your block in layers so all your toys don’t just float on the top.)
  46. Play with a giant bag of ice in a sensory bin or water table
  47. Freeze Flowers or toys in muffin tins
  48. Run in the sprinkler
  49. Climb trees
  50. Make fairy houses out of nature items you collect on a walk (grass, pinecones, acorns, wild flowers, sticks)
  51. Make chocolate chip cookies
  52. DIY chalk paint
  53. Recycled art wall: hot glue recycled materials like toilet paper tubes, egg cartons and packaging materials to a cardboard box and let your kids paint away
  54. PVC pipe building set
  55. Spaghetti cutting: simply cook and color spaghetti with food coloring and let your kids go to town cutting it with scissors! This one can be messy and a bit controversial as you will be wasting food, but if neither of those things bother you, then go for it!
  56. Rainbow Rice sensory bin: separate rice into as many zip top bags as colors you plan to make, add a few drops of color and vinegar to each, let your kids roll around the rice in the bags until its fully colored then pour out on baking sheets and let it dry. When it’s dry put it in a sensory bin and add funnels and scoops and have fun!
  57. Wet Sand sensory bin
  58. Kinetic Sand: I have no idea why it has taken me so long to get Kinetic Sand. My family LOVES it! It’s one of those sensory ideas that sort of mesmerizes you. It doesn’t dry out and it will supply hours of fun for all ages. I hope you get a chance to try it out! My husband says it’s his favorite toy we’ve gotten for the kids!
  59. Block building challenges: build a bridge over a river drawn on cardboard or build it as tall as the piece of tape tapped to the wall
  60. Organize your kids books
  61. Create a spring/summer cleaning list for the days you’re stuck inside because it’s just too hot
  62. Learn a new song
  63. Look up Cosmic Kids Yoga
  64. Make Chihuli inspired art: use Sharpie markers on clear plastic cups or plates, just make sure it’s the nicer thicker plastic, then melt it in the oven on a baking sheet (Warnings: cover your baking sheet to make sure its protected and this gets really smelly so you might not want your little ones in the house when you do it – use your best judgment – this site and people affiliated with it are not liable for any damages that occur as a result of this activity)
  65. Contact paper collage: Tape contact paper to the wall or table sticky side facing out and use lightweight collage materials to create and recreate a collage with your young kids, there are many choices for materials like tissue paper, feathers, cut up paper, or yarn
  66. Tape activities: make a path to follow, or a grid for a parking lot, or just put 5 pieces of tape on the ground like a ladder and see what your kids can do! Can they jump from line to line? Can they put their feet on the first line then walk their hands to the furthest line? You’d be surprised at what tape can do!
  67. Make a volcano
  68. Create your own lacing cards using cardboard and a nail
  69. Decorate with streamers
  70. Create diy Christmas gifts
  71. Make play dough
  72. Make slime
  73. Play school and buy activity books. You can make it educational with these dry erase books, or work on number recognition with a paint by sticker book! My four year old LOVES activity books of all kinds!
  74. Rearrange all your kids play things: I think I’ve rearranged our kids furniture 6 times in the last 5 months. Try the play kitchen in a new spot, move around little book shelves and pop up tents and easels. You can even move your dining table into the middle of the living room! Seeing their toys in new ways will inspire new ideas and get your kids excited!
  75. Let your kids choose! Follow their interests and follow their lead. You’ll be surprised by what they come up with!

These are challenging times, but they have the potential to be a time of learning and growth. Let me know in the comments what you and your family are doing to pass the time as you social distance right now! I’d love to hear your ideas and if you try any of the 75 ideas above!

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