Keeping the kids busy and happy when they’re at home is no easy feat, but this giant list of more than 100 ideas is here to help! Use this list of free activities for kids (which has activities for babies, toddlers, and big kids) for inspiration the next time you run out of ideas.
Free Activities for Kids
Most of these kids activities require little to no supplies, but in some cases (like with painting), I assume you have some basic things already in the house. There should be enough here to choose from if you don’t have all of the things though, so keep reading.
TIP: Download the printable version to highlight or underline your favorites!
Easy Toddler Activities
I often feel like we do the same three things over and over, so I love having a master list of activities for kids to help me mix things up. These are some of our favorite toddler and baby activities—that my 7 year old loves too!—to do at home.
- Take a walk.
- Ride bikes.
- Color with sidewalk chalk.
- “Paint” the sidewalk with water.
- Start a rock collection.
- Go on a scavenger hunt.
- Play “I Spy”.
- Set up an obstacle course.
- Pick flowers (like dandelions).
- Make letters out of grass, sticks, and pinecones.
- Play with bubbles.
- Play in the sprinkler.
- Play with a bucket of water and a sponge.
- Play with a bucket of water and cups.
- Use a bucket of soapy water and a sponge to give toys a bath.
- Give action figures a bath in the tub.
- Make a tiny toy parade.
- Use painter’s tape to make a track to race cars on.
- Use tape to make letters.
- Dig in the dirt.
- Go to a farmer’s market and look for favorite colors.
- Play catch.
- Throw a frisbee.
- Have a race.
- Have a jumping contest.
- Have a dance party.
- Play instruments.
- Play with scarves.
- Play Hide and Seek.
- Play Simon Says.
- Play Red Light, Green Light.
- Play Duck, Duck, Goose.
- Play bowling with a soft ball and plastic cups.
- Have a picnic.
- Turn lunch into a treasure hunt by hiding the foods around the house.
- Turn a cardboard box into a car or spaceship.
- Turn a cardboard box into a playhouse.
- Paint cardboard boxes.
- Paint on an easel.
- Paint on foil.
- Paint with cotton balls.
- Paint the bathtub.
- Paint with Q-tips.
- Paint using a flower as a brush.
- Paint with Dot Markers.
- Paint on coffee filters.
- Finger paint.
- Stamp with sponges.
- Stamp with apples.
- Stamp with fingers.
- Stamp with potatoes.
- Sort pom-poms into color piles.
- Move pom-poms with a small pair of tongs.
- Make salt dough.
- Bake cookies together.
- Let the kids mash beans into hummus.
- Let the kids slice a cucumber with a kid’s knife.
- Let the kids cut melon with a cookie cutter.
- Make fruit wands on paper lollipop sticks.
- Let the kids wash dishes.
- Organize the playroom by grouping like toys together into piles.
- Organize books by smallest to biggest.
- Clean out toys to donate ones the kids no longer use.
- Clean out clothes and try everything on to make silly outfits as you go.
- Play dress up.
- Have a tea party.
- Practice cutting paper.
- Practice tracing letters.
- Practice tracing hands.
- Trace a body laying down on paper.
- Make a blanket fort.
- Play with a dollhouse.
- Play with a play kitchen.
- Play pretend.
- Play store.
- Play grocery shopping.
- Play with all of the kitchen towels.
- Play with Tupperware.
- Play with Playdough.
- Pretend cook with real kitchen tools.
- Build with blocks.
- Build with Legos.
- Build with Magna-Tiles.
- Use a sensory bin.
- Play with stickers.
- Make letters with stickers.
- Make designs with stickers.
- Send a letter to grandma.
- Send a letter to a friend.
- Make a list of their favorite things at their current age.
- Read through their baby book.
- Finish their baby book together.
- Look through picture albums.
- Look at videos from when they were a baby.
- Facetime a loved one.
- Listen to podcasts.
- Listen to audiobooks.
- Read books together.
- Read magazines together.
- Watch a favorite show.
- Watch a cooking show.
- Watch nature videos.
- Watch and do kids yoga together.
- Put on a play.
- Put on a dance show.
How can I entertain my kids for free?
An easy place to start is to try to see the things you do have with new eyes. Use paints or crayons in a new way—simply coloring in a new location in the house can make the activity fun. (We recently taped paper underneath a table and colored on the table “ceiling” and it was so fun!)
What activities can you do for free?
Activities like taking walks, painting the sidewalk with water, playing pretend, playing dress up, having a family dance party, and making a parade using toys we already have are some of the best free activities for kids.
What are the best screen-free activities for kids?
We love listening to podcasts, playing with playdough, coloring (tracing our hands always delights my kids!), playing with paper and stickers, playing dress up and pretend, cooking together, and taking walks.
Activities for One Year Olds
Keeping toddlers busy is a challenge, but particularly for those 1 year olds who are fiercely independent, but still need a lot of help with most things. To help, this list of 100 activities for one year olds will give you ideas to try, whether indoors, outside, or in the kitchen.
TIP: Find my favorite Activities for One Year Olds here.
Best Podcasts for Kids
When you want a break from screen time, but still want to help the kids engage with an activity without your constant supervision, podcasts for kids can be an excellent option!
TIP: Find our go-to Podcasts for Little Kids here.
Best Kids Craft Supplies
I’ve been crafting with my kids for years and these are the super basic kids craft supplies we rely on week after week. You don’t need all of them (and the recycling bin is a great source of materials too!) but having a few on hand is super handy.
TIP: Find my favorite (budget-friendly!) Craft Supplies for Kids.
Easy Recipes to Cook with Kids
TIP: Find my top 15 favorite recipes to make together here.
Best Tips for Free Kids Activities
- Change locations when doing an activity you do regularly to make it feel more novel.
- Try moving an activity with water into the bathtub for less mess and more fun.
- Turn on music to help everyone get through grumpy moods.
- Try to let the kids be creative without too much direction or interruptions.
- If you’re bored inside, head outside—even if it’s raining or snowing—for a short burst of fresh air.
- Rely on technology as you need to, but remember that it’s fun to be screen-free too!