Projects to keep your kids active and engaged during school break

Thanks to the pandemic, our kids are home more than ever. Below are some fun crafts/camps/games/outings and toys that my kids have enjoyed while hanging out at the house -- with links included, in case you're interested in trying them.  

If you're looking for kid-friendly websites instead, check out the websites for kids page.

Do you have an idea you’d like to see added here? If so, please send me a message on the 'contact' page.

Skateboard lessons

Available from Skatestart

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Bring a skateboard instructor to your house/ driveway/ garage for a private lesson or for a special event. Patrick at Skatestart is AMAZING! The kids fell in love, had a blast and learned a ton about skateboarding.

1.5-hour lesson, includes gear:

$175.00

YouTube videos

Make your own channel on YouTube

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My kids love making videos of themselves, so we started posting them on our own YouTube channel. The kids gain on-camera skills,  and our long-distance family members get to peek into our day-to-day life. 

Via internet-connected mobile device:

Free

Library craft kits

Check with your local library

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Our library recently opened up for drop off/pick ups and WOW! In addition to finally getting restocked on books for my kids to read, they ALSO included two craft kits per kid. Definitely worth checking out at your local library.

Call your local library for details:

FREE

Write letters

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It's such a treat to get a real letter in the mail. Encourage your kids to write letters to family and friends, or check with your local nursing home for how to become a pen pal with one of their residents.

Paper, envelope, stamp:

Less than $1.00

KiwiCo Crates

Check them out at kiwico.com

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Beautifully packaged, these STEM crates got mixed reviews on month 1, but by month 3, we had the project selection ironed out and everyone now eagerly awaits the monthly delivery!

Order the free trial to test it out:

$5.00 (shipping)

Lego sets

Lego-compatible set on Amazon

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My kids spent hours building a variety of projects with this Lego-compatible set. With more than 1,100 pieces, this set easily combines with our existing Legos and is a solid staple for any kids camp.

Approximate Cost:

$40.00

Park time

Just pick a direction and go!

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We are lucky to be practically surrounded by parks. It's fun to hunt for new ones, either on foot or with the car. Bring your football or soccer ball along for an impromptu game when you stumble upon a nice open field.

Most local parks:

Free (+ gas)

Escape room

Available from Escape Room Geeks

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Host an escape room party in your home! We added real locks for each level and a grand prize at the end. The kids LOVED it. Print the materials at your local print shop to save your ink, and allow at least an hour to prep.

Use coupon code SAVE10 for $10 off:

$29.00

ZOOM magic show

Check the website for showtimes

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Gather your family and enjoy a live virtual, interactive magic show with Justin Willman. All our family enjoyed this hour-long Zoom call. Tip: stay on for a bit after it ends, as there was a fun encore gift giveaway at ours!

Tickets per household:

$25.00

Terrarium

Grow n' Glow available on Amazon

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These kits should be put together outdoors - they're messy -- but my kids had fun building and watering them. We could see sprouts growing within 24 hours, and they soon had little forests growing in all three jars!

Terrarium kit (with supplies for 2 tries)

$12.00

Snap Circuits

Multiple options from Amazon

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I got the 20X set for the 6-year-old (and then the 100x set!); 100x set for the 8-year-old; 300x set for the 12-year-old. They all played with their sets for HOURS and haven't gotten through all of the projects yet. 

Cost varies, but catch them on sale:

$16.00 and up

Modeling clay

Available on Amazon

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I hate Play-Doh and "thinking putty" but this modeling clay is way easier to clean up. Check out these amazing creations my oldest did! I also love that this set comes in a sturdy plastic storage container.

Cost for set of 36 clay tubs:

$14.00

Feed ducks

Any type of bread will do!

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Feeding the ducks at the local lake or pond can be a really fun and inexpensive outing for the kids. Our trip was made even more fun by spotting geese families with their babies.

Cost:

FREE

Paper dragons

Klutz Flying Dragons Craft Kit from Amazon

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My 11-year-old loved it and made beautiful dragons, and the 8-year-old tried really hard, but ended up needing lots of tape for his. The 6-year-old was only interested in watching. 

Cost for book of 12 dragons:

$10

Birthday party kit

Available on Amazon

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Add fun to your at-home birthdays by 'pumping' up your decorations. This balloon kit was packed with cool tools and almost 200 balloons. I can't believe I waited this long to get an electric balloon pump!

Kit includes pump plus 200+ items:

$29.99

Mini lights

Available at Home Depot

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Let your child decorate their room with holiday mini-lights or fairy lights. It's a fun project that all three of my kids enjoyed (be prepared for them to ask for more), and it also provides a useful night-light for their room.  

For a 50-light string:

$2.98

League of Wayfinders

Check them out here

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A guide uses visual story-telling via Google Meets to lead kids through a magical journey full of dragons and wizards. My child wanted computer visuals,  so he didn't love it, but the guide was AMAZING at leading the journey.

Multiple camp options available:

Cost Varies

Coloring book

Available on Amazon

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This adult coloring book has come in pretty handy a few times for all three kids. It takes a significant amount of time and concentration to finish one page, and there are 100 single-sided pages in this BIG book.

Cost for book of 100 pages:

$8.00

Sparklers

Package of 144 from Walmart

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My kids loooooooved lighting sparklers for the Fourth of July. I'm sure they would do it every night if we offered. Our pack of 144 sparklers was about perfect for four kiddos to get plenty of play time.

Cost for pack of 144:

$20.00

Fly kites

Hengda Kite 2-Pack, 2 Colors from Amazon

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Each pack contains two kites and these were GREAT! You only need a little wind to get these octopus kites up into the air. All three kids were begging to go fly kites again the next day. 

Approximate cost for a 2-pack:

$22.00