I love lists. I am a nerd. I love planning things. My children are 4 and 8 years old. They are also girls, so I know this list won't be the best for everyone. If you have all boys, some things may not work for you. If you have toddlers or teens, it may not be helpful either. Hopefully some of you can find some things on here to do. You could post the list inside a kitchen cabinet to look at when the kids say they can't find anything to do (or they start getting on each other's nerves). You could write them on little strips of paper and put them in a basket for the kids to choose when they need an activity. Whatever works for you. Hope this is helpful!
I tried to make a good mixture of things children can do on their own and things mom can get involved with them in doing. I am going to make a real effort to be involved in fun activities with the girls this summer instead of always being busy with "my" stuff. Later, I may have a list of places to go in the summer, but with gas prices being what they are--I was more concerned with what we could do at HOME. You know?
At home children can...
1. Play with Play-doh (homemade is best!)
2. Read a book.
3. Play computer games.
4. Watch a video/DVD.
5. Bake a cake/pie/cookies.
6. Clean something.
7. Hula hoop.
8. Blow bubbles.
9. Put on music and dance.
10. Color in a coloring book.
11. Paint a picture.
12. Do a paint-with-water page.
13. Paint with water on the fence or sidewalk outside.
14. Look at a catalog and circle things they like.
15. Cut things out of newspaper/magazines and glue to make a collage.
16. Water the plants.
17. Make a card and mail it to someone.
18. Write a letter.
19. Set up a zoo for their stuffed animals/beanie babies.
20. Have a tea party.
21. Fix each other's hair/makeup.
22. Give themselves a pedicure/manicure.
23. Play dress up.
24. Play school.
25. Sew small pillows or clothes for their dolls.
26. Bag up cereal, snack mix, nuts, raisins, etc. into snack size baggies and put in pantry so they won't have to bug your mom when you want a snack.
27. Play in the sprinkler.
28. Dress up and put on a fashion show. (my sisters and I used to make great creations out of sheets and clothespins!)
29. Make a craft for an upcoming holiday to decorate the house.
30. Start making Christmas presents.
31. Collect items from outside and make a nature collage on a paper plate.
32. Put on a play.
33. Color with sidewalk chalk.
34. Tape together a lot of sheets of paper and spread out in floor. Color to make a long mural.
35. String beads to make necklaces and bracelets.
36. Have an indoor picnic on a rainy (or too hot) day.
37. Put a sheet over the kitchen table and make a club house.
38. Make special place mats out of paper, cover with clear contact paper.
39. Set up an animal hospital for their stuffed animals/beanie babies.
40. Pretend the kitchen is a restaurant. Make menus. Serve lunch.
41. Rearrange the furniture in one room.
42. Make popsicles with juice in an ice tray with toothpicks for handles.
43. Make a paper chain.
44. Paint/decorate a t-shirt.
45. Play hopscotch.
46. Play a board game.
47. Play marbles or jacks. Someone may have to teach them how!
48. Melt crayon pieces in muffin papers for a little one to use.
49. Jump rope.
50. Go on a scavenger hunt around the house. Take a clipboard and count all the windows, doors, mirrors, light switches, doorknobs, etc. in the house.
51. Make a map of their room.
52. Decorate the door of their bedroom. We like to cover it in solid wrapping paper as a base and then add art work/flowers/decoration, etc.
53. Make a fruit salad. (or an ice cream sundae!)
54. Take pictures with a digital or disposable camera.
55. Paint/decorate plain picture frames to give as gifts.
56. Count all the loose change in the house.
57. Break out the face paint!
58. Do a scrapbook page.
59. Wash clothes (or doll clothes) in a washtub outside. Hang to dry.
60. Wash baby dolls outside in a tub.
61. Plan a movie night for their family. Choose the movie, make posters and tickets, serve popcorn, snacks, and drink.s
62. Cut a hole in a large cardboard box and put on a TV show or make up commercials.
63. Play in bubbles in the kitchen sink.
64. Play with shaving cream on the table or outside. If you have a wooden table, I wouldn't suggest it without a vinyl tablecloth. If you have another surface inside, it makes a wonderful clean smell in the house!
65. Play with an aluminum pie plate full of flour. My kids love this.
66. Clean up their shoes with baby wipes. Older kids could actually learn to shine shoes with polish.
67. Hammer nails into a board. My husband gets them started for them.
68. Make a bird house.
69. Write and illustrate a book. Use stickers if they don't like to draw.
70. Make a telephone directory of family and friends.
71. Ride bikes.
72. Ride scooters.
73. Roller skate.
74. Help with deep cleaning (one room a week?). Clean fans, wash baseboards, move furniture and clean behind things, dust knick knacks, help declutter, etc.
75. Help clean out refrigerator. Wash shelves, take out bins, etc. My girls think this is very exciting.
76. Make sachets for dresser drawers. Give some away as gifts.
77. Decorate a plain canvas bag to use at church, the library, on trips, etc.
78. Wash the cars.
79. Set up an obstacle course for matchbox cars. Use books, cardboard tubes, blocks etc. to make a cool one.
80. Set up a tent inside or out and pretend to go camping.
81. Help spruce up the outside of your house: make a wreath to hang on the front door, paint the mailbox, clean up or get a new welcome mat, sweep the front walk, clean up the flower beds, polish or paint the front door, etc. Even very little ones can help in a family project like this.
82. Work puzzles.
83. Do some handiwork (cross stitching, etc.).
84. Set up an "office area" complete with play phone (or real one not plugged in), paper, pencils, stamps, paper clips, etc. One day it can be a bank, the next a receptionist desk. Good way to work on phone manners when mom pretends to call for an appointment!
85. Practice handwriting, math facts, or any "school" thing they need more practice on.
86. Play hide-n-seek.
87. Make a village or town out of play pieces or blocks. We set up all the Little People stuff we have sometimes in one big circle in the floor. They will play a long time that way. My sisters and I always build a VBS out of blocks after we had been each summer. The wooden Little People we had were the VBS children and teachers. Big fun.
88. Make a house out of a shoebox. Or a diorama.
89. Catch bugs and keep them a few hours in a baby food jar with holes punched in the lid.
90. Pick flowers. Make a bouquet for the table.
91. Pick one thing they love. Give them a poster board so they can find, color, make pictures to glue on the poster board about whatever interests them.
92. Play Follow the Leader, Simon Says, Musical Chairs, Duck, Duck Goose, Hot Potato, etc.
93. Put on a parade. Make musical instruments, costumes, flags, etc. March around the house or street.
94. Go bowling with a ball and empty 2 liter bottles in the hallway.
95. Play Frisbee.
96. Play catch.
97. Have a read-in. Throw down sleeping bags, pillows, etc. and read for an hour or so.
98. Have a theme day. Sports day? Play a sport, watch an Air Bud movie, read sports books, have a competition etc. Pick whatever theme interests your kids.
99. Take a nap!
100. Do absolutely nothing for a while. It's good for them.
OK. That's my list. Now, if you have some more to add, please do so in the comments. The more ideas, the better!