Activity Ideas for Kids

Activity Ideas for Kids

Keep your kids active for the next few weeks. Here are some of Marinwood's favorite camp activities which you can play/do at home. We will add new ideas every few days. 

Everything’s Bananas

Number of players: 1+ 

Age group: 5+ years

Give children a list of things that they must measure in terms of a banana length. If multiple children, you may separate into groups. Each group receives a banana of the same length. The first group with the correct answers wins.

Gimmee Gimmee

Number of players: 2+ 

Age group: 6+ years

Tell kids that you’re going to ask for objects based on a theme, for example, "things you bring to summer camp" or "things you bring to school". Split kids into at least 2 teams (at least 1 person per team). Have each child grab a backpack and fill it with items based on the theme of the round. Once everyone is ready to start, have the kids sit with the backpack next to them. Have a list of items ready to ask about. Kids must present the item you name to earn 1 point. More obscure items may earn more points. First team to 20 points wins.
If the theme is "summer camp" then possible items may inlcude: swim suit, sunscreen, camp shirt, goggles, chap stick, keychain, tissues, a snack, etc.

Change Up

Number of players: 2+

Age Group: 3+ years

Choose 1 person to have something changed about their appearance. Once everyone looks their fill of the person, they leave the room and change one aspect of their appearance (untie shoe, tuck in shirt, put hat on backwards, etc.). Once that person is ready, they return and everyone tries to guess what has changed. The person with the correct guess gets to take a turn. 

Preschool Circle Time

Marinwood Preschool Supervisor Kate conducts virtual preschool circle time! Best for ages 3-5. 

Improv Game- One Word at a Time

Number of players: Children can play this game in pairs, small groups (2-5) or larger groups (5+)

Age group: 7+ years

In this game, children work together to tell a story. When playing in a group setting, children sit in a circle and in turn, they add a word to fit into the narrative after repeating the words that came before. When played quickly, this game is great for encouraging free-flow thinking. For example, Child 1 could say “Once…”, Child 2 could say “Once upon…”, Child 3 could say “Once upon a…”, and so on.

Improv Game- Prop Bag

Number of players: Children can play this game in pairs, but small groups work well too. One person acts with the prop and two or more people can guess.

Age group: 7+ years

In this game, one child chooses a prop and performs a short demonstration for an audience using the item for a purpose other than its intended use. The idea is to use the prop in an original or humorous way. An example would be using a shoe as a telephone. You can get creative in selecting which props are available, but sometimes the funniest results come from the most boring items.

Sidewalk Chalk Simon Says

Number of players: 2+ (One person to give directions, another to follow them)

Age group: 3+ years

Draw large shapes, letters of the alphabet, numbers, etc. using sidewalk chalk. Say “Simon says stand on the yellow square,” or “Simon says sit on the number 5.” For more advanced kids, try multiple step instructions like “Simon says run to number 14, then hop over to number 20.” This is a fun way to work on recognition of higher numbers, lowercase letters, etc.

Backyard Mazes

Number of players: 2+ (One person to set and time the maze, another to run it)

Age group: 3+ years

Set up an obstacle course in your back yard with some lawn chairs, kids' toys or buckets. Anything in the back yard can work for building the maze. After you have laid out the course, allot a time the child must finish it in, or time each child to see who is the quickest. For the older ones, make them carry an egg or a cup of water through the maze. Also quite humorous if the parents get involved!

Neighborhood Scavenger Hunt 

Version 1: Write each numbered clue on a slip of paper and cut out each clue. Place/hide the next consecutive clue on the object for the previous clue. For example, start kids off with clue #1. Clue #2 would be placed on the answer of clue #1 and repeat. Have a prize or finish sign when they find clue #20. Don't let them see you hide the clues. 

Version 2: Instead of placing all the clues out, give the clue list to the kids and let them take a photo of each item from the list. You can check off each item at the end when they return. Each picture can be worth 1 point. Offer a prize if they get at least 15 items or more or perhaps a grand prize for all 20. Or if you are joining the kids for the hunt, you may verify each object as they find it. 

Don't forget to set boundaries for your hunt and a time limit. Feel free to edit the clues to only include items found in your yard. 

  1. I'm a friend to parents who like things neat.They really like it when you wipe your feet.
  2. I give privacy from the folks next door. If you have bad neighbors, you need me more.
  3. Everyone loves me. I'm pretty and smell sweet. Look down to find me! I'm near your feet.
  4. I swing out and in to let you through. I sometimes creak, and that's your last clue.
  5. On me you can speed like a bird in the sky. My two wheels will make you fly!
  6. I have a ring but you can't wear it. Sometimes so loud that you can't bear it.
  7. I'm sort of like sneakers, but for a car. I help it run really fast and far.
  8. In day I store the light of the sun. At night I shine when the day is done.
  9. I'm like a small house, but no one lives in me. Tools and gadgets are all you will see.
  10. I'm a giant piece of petrified matter. If you dropped me, I'd make quite a clatter.
  11. Some people think I'm nasty and yuck, But without me for your trash, you'd be out of luck. 
  12. I might be filled by male or female. Whichever it is, I'm still the mail. 
  13. Use me to give thirsty plants a drink. Or use me to clean your car, fast as a wink. 
  14. Turn me to the left and you just might get wet. I'm great for giving a drink to your pet.
  15. Climbing me can be quite a lark. I'm not a dog, but I do have a bark.
  16. I make lots of smoke when I get hot. I make yummy food that you'll like a lot.
  17. Hopscotch and skating fit me to a tee. Don't walk on the grass. Just walk on me!
  18. I make your job a little less hard. I move dirt and other stuff around the yard.
  19. I'm not really needed during the day, At night I'm turned on to show you the way.
  20. Delivery services look for me. Make sure I'm placed where I'm easy to see.

Answers to Neighborhood Scavenger Hunt

1. Doormat

2. Fence

3. Flowers

4. Garden gate

5. Bicycle 

6. Doorbell

7. Car tire

8. Solar Panel

9. Tool shed

10. Landscaping rock

11. Garbage can

12. Mailbox

13. Garden hose

14. Faucet / water tap.

15. Tree

16. Grill

17. Sidewalk

18. Wheelbarrow

19. Outdoor light

20. House numbers

Secret Message Hunt (can be done outside or in home)
Spell out a secret message on clothes pins (or use a post-it note or other object). Hide clothes pins on a trail or in the backyard but in a consecutive order between point A and point B. Kids try to find all the pins and read out the message. You can hide them in order to make it easier or hide them out-of-order for more of a challenge.

Popcorn Olympics

POPCORN TOOTHPICK SWAP: Place popcorn in a bowl. Place an empty bowl about 12″ away. Each player has 1 minute to move the popcorn to the empty bowl, ONE piece at a time, using two toothpicks. Player with the most pieces wins.
POPCORN STRAW BLOW: Place a piece of popcorn at the end of a table for each player. Using a drinking straw, blow the popcorn to the other end of the table. The first popcorn to arrive wins.
POPCORN CUP DROP: Stand on a chair and drop pieces of popcorn into a cup on the ground. Try to get as many pieces as possible into the target. Player with the most pieces in the cup wins.
POPCORN DISTANCE THROW: Throw a piece of popcorn as far as you can. Farthest throw wins. This was one of our favorites! You’ll be surprised how hard it is to throw a piece of popcorn very far!
POPCORN CUP CATCH: Give each player a cup or bowl. Toss each player twenty pieces of popcorn one piece at a time and see how many they can catch. Player who catches the most wins.

Funny Drawing Game

All you need are sturdy paper plates or paper on a piece or cardboard and pens for each player. The host tells the players to put their paper plate on their head. Then the host will give a series of instructions for the players to draw on their paper plates (that are on their heads) without looking. You can choose different drawing examples like items in a refrigerator or creatures in the sea. Here is an example for a Christmas Tree:

1. Draw a line for a floor.
2. Draw a Christmas Tree.  Add decorations if you feel so inclined.
3. Draw a star on top of your tree.
4. Draw a fireplace with a mantel next to the tree.
5. Draw a stocking hanging from the mantel of your fireplace.
6. Draw a present below the tree.

After the six steps have been given, let everyone look at their plates (insert laughter). If you want, then have players count up how many points they received by following this rubric:

1. 2 points if the tree touches the floor.
2. 2 points if your stocking is touching your mantel.
3. 1 point if your star touches your tree.
4. 1 point if your star is above your tree.
5. 1 point for every Christmas ornament ball that is ON your tree, etc.
6. 1 point if your fireplace doesn’t touch the tree (it’s a fire hazard!).
7. 1 point if you actually drew something decorative on your stocking (or something cute, like a tiny kitten peeking out).
8. 2 points if your present is under your tree.