323: 32 Ways to occupy stuck-at-home kids (organized by amount of adult input!)

During a recent call that takes place each week in my online coaching practice, many members expressed frustration with all the lists of activities coming at us, because they’re often frustratingly disorganized.

So I wanted to give everyone a list, organized by how much time/input is required by us parents!



(FYI: all during the coronavirus pandemic I’m offering OkayCon 2020, a FREE Virtual Summit featuring experts on all kinds of subjects that matter to everyone right now, kids’ behavior in confinement, staying positive, keeping home and family safe, and more!
Go to OkayCon.com for details – and click the button just below to get notified about upcoming guests : )

Click here to get notified about OkayCon2020 upcoming guests and watch parties!


Here are the 32 ways to occupy your kiddo, organized by amount of adult input:

A few caveats, this will definitely depend on a child’s age. A two-year-old will not be able to be as independent in making yarn dolls, for example, as seven or eight-year-old would be. But hopefully there’s something in here for everyone!

1. Minimum adult input activities:

1.Using bingo markers at an activity table
keeping paper and these special markers in a box, so that the child can pull them out and put them away, is helpful too…
2. Or, tape up pieces of paper (or a large sheet of newsprint) under the activity table, so the child can lie down and use the markers up on the underside of the table
3. Creating a plastic ware castle
4. Using the plastic ware like blocks
5. Building a box fort
6. Playing telephone with solo cups and yarn/string
7. Puppet theater: over the back of the couch or chair
8. Musical parade
9. Fans and scarves

2. Input to make or build, but then playable by children with less adult intervention

10. soap/water at the sink
11. creating puppets: from old socks/paper bags (not my favorite for reasons I describe today)..
12. .. from popsicle sticks…
13. …or drawing directly onto fingers or hand
14. maze-making on paper
15. pillow fort
16. “painting” car or outside of house with water and foam paintbrushes
(obviously, this requires being outside with kiddos)
17. Creating fairy houses

3. Stuff that requires more adult intervention/help to build, but still playable by children without direct adult intervention

18. geodesic dome out of newspaper
19. Create a codebook to exchange messages with your child (here is the Artemis fowl code that I reference in this episode)
20. building a home out of cardboard for tiny friends, such as action figures
21. building a home out of cardboard for stuffed friends
22. making yarn dolls
23. making a box cut out puppet theater
24. making a curtain …
25. or cloth puppet theater

4. Stuff to do together

26. Dance party
27. “blank cards” game (played like Pokémon)
28. pillow fighting/horseplay (Here is the episode I reference, talking with Dr. Laura Markham of ahaparenting.com, about the importance of horseplay for helping kids deal with and confront their fears: https://weturnedoutokay.com/255)
29. wheelbarrows and…
30.… crab walking (both gross motor activities that require your whole body)
31. cornstarch and water
32. building a cardboard castle that is kid sized


Announcing OkayCon, We Turned Out Okay’s FREE virtual summit!

Click here to get notified about our upcoming guests and watch parties!

All the first week of April 2020, and into the second week of April 2020 (and possibly beyond : ) I am bringing you, completely free, presentations by people with answers you need right now:
– How to keep your family and home safe and secure
– How to foster the coping skills necessary to get through all this
– How to stock up and what to cook right now
– How to occupy the hours that you are stuck at home with your kiddo
– And lots more!
Go to okaycon.com for details (and also to watch starting next week!)

You are not alone.
If you’ve got questions or just feel like you cannot go on, email me and we can talk about it (I share my email address in today’s episode)!

Join my Weekly Parenting Newsletter group for support, good information, and ideas for staying sane right now: weturnedoutokay.com/weekly

Get the extra support and encouragement you need right now by joining our private coaching community, the Ninja Parenting Community – at a special “pandemic first aid for parents” rate – at weturnedoutokay.com/joinNPC

Also, lots of hugs coming your way from me!
We will get through this together <3