13 Simple Tips to Declutter Your Home (And Keep it That Way)

Spring Cleaning should really be called Spring Decluttering. It’s the time of year where we are most motivated to go through everything on our homes with the sole purpose of having less stuff.

So often though, instead of getting rid of things that are no longer useful, you buy more organising boxes and just move the contents of old boxes into different boxes and make room for more things to go into boxes.

No more.

You and your family are going to declutter once and for all and more importantly maintain your uncluttered, more minimalist home.

Before we get to the DeclutterFest, we need to address the “hows and whys” that got us to this point of too much stuff in the first place.

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Emotional Baggage: Your Relationship With Stuff

We live in an era of abundance. Our standards of success are based on how much money you have and the stuff you spend it on. Many even resort to credit cards to keep up appearances.

The problem, besides spending money on things you don’t actually need, is the toll it will have on you mentally in your day to day life.

More stuff means more maintenance, which can be in the form of money to repair things like cars and appliances. It is also time maintenance- time spent cleaning stuff or moving stuff so you can clean underneath the stuff.

If you pare down your belongings to what fits your home, you can create a sense of calm. Spend less time cleaning and save money as well.

You and I know however, that getting rid of things comes with some emotional baggage that you may not address. Once things enter your home you tend to develop different associations with the things.

If you were able to buy something at a great price, you may have reservations getting rid of it after using it only twice because you got such a good deal.

The same is true if you spent a lot of money on an item. You may not want to get rid of it because of how expensive it was. So, you keep it in the back of the closet until enough time has passed that the sting of the cost doesn’t hurt anymore.

Then there’s gifts and inherited items.

Birthday’s, Mother’s Day, Christmas or Hanukkah all lead to a bunch of stuff entering your home that all needs a space. You may feel guilty for not liking an item but keep it in case the gift giver comes over.

Often we keep things we don’t like or use from family members that passed away because throwing away the item is like throwing them away. (Please realise your loved ones are not things and they would never want their things to become a burden to you).

If it’s something you do like, then that is what you should be using to decorate your home. For me it’s a lovely tea set that belonged to my grandparents. Once Penny is a little older and less destructive, I will start using it as well.

If you can come to terms with the reasons why you are keeping an item, deciding if you should keep it or let it go becomes easier.

Remind yourself that there’re only two types of things you should keep in your home. Things you love and things that are useful.

Keeping items for “just in case,” “maybe somedays,” or any of the reasons above just keeps you from really decluttering your home.

Why does a Messy House Bother Me? Consequences for Not Decluttering

Making a change and really decluttering can be so rewarding just from the calm that it brings to your home.

There are plenty of reasons that can cause you to not be as thorough as you should as mentioned above, but there are also several consequences if you don’t declutter.

Lost Time and Energy

How often do you think to yourself, if I had more time I could…? All the precious time and energy we spend in a day or week looking for items collectively could be enough time to read that story with your kids, get some exercise, take a class, phone a friend, etc.

If everything has a place, you don’t have to stress about finding the items and when a million things are already swirling in your head, not having to find things or help someone find things will be so good for your mental well-being.

Stressful Living Space

I noticed this with my kitchen.

I have a galley kitchen with one fabulous, long worktop, but I never had any space. It was always filled with food, mail, appliances, and junk that would just sit there. When it came time to clean I had to preclean by moving everything off, clean, and then move everything back.

My kitchen never felt clean. It stressed Lee out to the point where he had to say so. He would get so fed up that he would go on this crazy cleaning spree and put things away in places that made me crazy.

So I took decluttering seriously in my kitchen. I donated so many things and duplicate items, that I was able to put away everything on my worktop.

I suddenly had space and am happier making meals. Cleaning is a breeze as I just give the worktop a wipe. And most importantly, Lee and I both feel more relaxed when we are home.

Wasting Money

Not clearing out the clutter can affect your pocketbook.

In 2018 we spent £750 million pounds on self-storage and what’s worse is the amount of space we let has almost doubled in the last decade.

If we continue to keep things that don’t add value to our lives we risk spending hard earned money storing the excess.

Even it you don’t require a storage space, chances are you buy boxes and containers for organising all of your things. You put those containers in a shed or loft and go through them the next time you spring clean in which time you accumulated more things and need to buy more containers.

If you don’t declutter you also risk wasting money buying duplicate items because you can’t find what you are looking for, but still need it.

If your items aren’t stored properly then you risk damaging your items that you may or may not take the time and money to fix or again have to replace.

Hopefully you are now convinced as to why decluttering is so good for your and your family’s well-being and budget.

Now that we are mentally prepared for the task ahead, here are the tips to get you going.

7 Tips for Decluttering Your Home

Decluttering won’t happen overnight as your clutter took some time to accumulate, so don’t beat yourself up if you can’t do it all in one weekend.

You May Also Be Interested In: 3 Ways to Avoid Decluttering Burnout.

1. How Do I Start Decluttering? First, Decide on the Method of Decluttering and Set Goals

Are you going to declutter by category Marie Kondo-style? Starting with all the clothes, then books and papers, etc.

Are you going to go room by room? Will you start with the easiest room so you feel success quickly and use it as motivation? Or will you tackle the hardest room while you are feeling fresh and motivated to start?

Will you start with just one drawer or cupboard at a time?

Once you have a plan for decluttering it’s a lot easier to stay the course as you can see the progress by finishing a category or finishing a room.

Have some goals for what you want each room to look like. This may mean making a vision board with picture examples of rooms and organising styles. This can be a fun task to do as a family and see how everyone envisions each room-particularly their own.

Discuss how it will make each of you feel to give your home this type of makeover. Will you feel calmer? Happier? Less Stressed?

Having the visual gives you a concrete example to aim for and is a reminder for why you all are doing this in the first place.

2. Get Your Family Involved

This is not a one-person task. If you live in the house, then it’s your job to help maintain it.

Full Stop.

Everyone in your home has stuff to call their own and should take responsibility as to whether they want to keep said stuff.

Olivia is 3 and she has no problem telling me which clothes she likes and the ones she doesn’t. If I wasn’t saving things for Penny, she would have no problem deciding what to get rid of.

Toys are a different story and I do have to sort through those myself but older kids are capable of choosing what toys to keep and what to donate.

By instilling the value of less in your children, the easier it will be to maintain a decluttered home as they get older.

3. How to Declutter Your Clothes and Wardrobe: Turn it Backwards

If you have someone more reluctant to get rid of their things, (like Lee) leave them alone and lead by example. Take this as the moment you remove the pressure of remembering where his things are. Chances are when he sees the rest of the house (and has to be responsible for his own things), he will be more motivated to follow suit.

Something to help them along (eventually) is to turn their hangers backwards. When an item is worn it gets washed and rehung properly. After a few months, you can then see which items were worn by looking at the hangers.  I did this for Lee six months ago and this way he will be able to see what he really does wear when he decides to have a clear out.

If your clothing is in drawers, use some cardboard to make a dividing strip the width of the drawer. As items get worn replace them in front of the divider. After a few months, anything behind the divider will indicate what hasn’t been worn. This is easier if items are folded vertically, Marie Kondo-style.

This can be done with books on a shelf as well. Turn the spine towards the back of the shelf. After a set amount time has passed they haven’t been pulled out and put back properly, then it’s time to let them go and let someone have the chance to read the books. If there are books you just can’t part with but don’t plan on reading any time soon (the next year or more) consider making them a paper cover and use them as decorations in your home.

4. How do I Keep My Motivation When Decluttering? Make it Fun!

Make an upbeat playlist with everyone’s favourite songs and play it. Singing along helps make mundane tasks go faster even if you take a timeout to dance a bit, too.

If your kids are a bit older than mine, you can make it a game. Set a timer and see who can go through their things the fastest. The winner can choose a game for family game night or a film for family movie night later that day. The timer also pushes you to make decisions for what to keep and what to get rid of as you won’t have as much time to debate with yourself.

As the saying goes, many hands make light work and it also makes a tedious task more entertaining.

At Christmas time my mom hosts our Christmas Meal for about 30 people. No one wants to clean that mess alone, and yet cleaning up the kitchen is one of the most fun and memorable parts of the evening. Why?

We get a dance playlist and we sing, dance, and laugh the entire time. It takes maybe 30 minutes to get all that washing up, drying, and putting away done.

5. What do you do with your stuff during and after decluttering? Make 4 Piles!

This will make it easier to organise and easy to see progress.

Keep Pile

All the things you love or have a useful purpose.

Sell Pile

Give your kids the opportunity to keep the earnings from their items that sell.

Depending on the item you can sell on Ebay and Gumtree. I have the most success on Facebook Market Place by selling in local groups in my area.

If you are selling higher end clothes or shoes, you can try Vinted.co.uk. You can sell cheaper clothes, too but the chances of getting a buyer are lower and you have to store the items while you wait to make a pound.

If you have a lot of baby and toddler items and toys, consider a Mum2Mum market. Mums sell good quality toys, clothes, and baby gear to mums who are looking for those things.

Donate Pile

Choose a charity you would like to donate to and donate things that are clean and in good condition.

A charity is not a tip, so don’t donate anything in a condition you wouldn’t buy yourself.

Another way to get rid of things quickly is to give them away at an online sales site or a site like ilovefreegle.org or freecycle.org that way you can be sure your item is going to someone that wants and can use your item.

Tip Pile

Not the bin pile, the tip pile. Items that are broken beyond repair can go to the tip and be separated by category to be recycled.

If you throw things in the bin then they will go to a landfill.

Don’t create waste when you don’t have to.

Check if your tip has a drop of for books, DVDs and CDs which are items that aren’t always picked up by charities if you decide to wait for the bags in the post.

If you have worn or stained clothes and linens you can’t repurpose or shoes beyond repair you can drop them off at H&M or Schuh for them to be recycled.

Whatever can’t be recycled can then go into the general waste bin at the tip.

You May Also Be Interesed In: 4 Step Beginner’s Guide to Zero Waste

6. How Should I Organise My Stuff? Put Like Items together.

As you begin sorting try to put all the same type of items in one place. Instead of having crayons in one place, drawing paper in another and scissors over in a drawer, markers over at the desk, find a designated space for “art supplies.” Putting like items together makes them easier to find and easier to put away.

Keeping everyone’s books on one bookcase as opposed to the kids books are over there, your books are over here, etc.

If you organise like things together you may do so in a way that allows you to get rid of furniture and storage containers as well.

Once I reduced some items in my home and then began arranging them better, I was able to donate a large wooden chest and a cabinet that was in my alcove. The space they freed up made my bedroom and front room feel so spacious.

7. Store Everything in a Pretty and Accessible Way

I think Marie Kondo nailed this one with storing items vertically and making things look as attractive as possible.

There is nothing like opening a drawer and seeing it look pretty and organised. Everything becomes easier to see and easier to find and most importantly-easy to get.

Storing items vertically makes things in the kitchen and your wardrobe easier to access as you don’t have to move anything to get what you want, you just pluck it out.

Just take a look at my kitchen cabinet before I went vertical. Getting anything was such a pain before and now I don’t even think, I just grab what I need and keep going.

6 Tips for Maintaining Your Clutter-Free Home

Once you get your home to a state of happiness where everything is clean and put away you then have the task of maintaining it for the long haul.

This is so important though because maintaining is so much easier than starting over.

1. Set Expectations as a Family

Everyone should be on the same page. You all worked hard to make sure everything has a place and it should be everyone’s job to keep it that way.

Everyone lives at home and it is everyone’s job at maintaining it, not just mum’s. Whether you tie allowance to this or not is up to you, but at some point the kids grow up and move out and they won’t be paid to maintain their own home.

If you make keeping the house tidy part of their routine, like brushing their teeth before bed, it will be easier for them to maintain a tidy home of their own into adulthood.

It also doesn’t matter who works and who doesn’t, all the adults in the house need to pull their weight and put away their own things.

2. Do chores as a Family

Washing the dishes, or folding laundry isn’t as tedious when there is someone to help you.

I am lucky that Lee doesn’t mind washing dishes but hates drying and putting them away. I don’t mind the drying and putting away so getting the kitchen cleaned up for us becomes less of a chore and more like quality time (gasp!).

Olivia is 3 and Penny is 21 months and this is not too young to have them help around the house, in fact, the younger you start letting your kids help (when they think it’s fun) the more likely they will continue when they are older.

Both girls know to put their cereal bowls in the sink in the morning as well as other cups and plates throughout the day. They also help with laundry, putting the wash into the tumble dryer or helping me hang clothes to dry.

Olivia loves to help fold laundry and has developed her own technique of rolling everything. It’s a funny way to store my kitchen towels but in the end I don’t care because she enjoys it and redoing her work would mean more work for me and undermines her. And nothing will kill someone’s drive to help out than by telling them they’re doing it wrong.

3. The One Touch Rule

Make it a rule to only touch an item once. That means if you have a coat, you hang it up where it should go right away. Don’t hang it on a chair and then move it to the stairs and then take it up and hang it in the wardrobe. The constant shuffling of things wastes time and mental energy.

This goes for things like daily mail, used dinner boxes and water bottles from the day, school papers, etc. Get items to the right place and dealt with straight away so you only have to think about it once.

4. Everything Should Always Have a Home.

If you find that you are using your cleared worktops and tables for storage, chances are the items on it don’t have a space of their own; backpacks, keys, mail, etc.

Everything should always have it’s own spot and if not, you need to create one.

If a birthday rolls around and gifts are received it may mean you have to clear out old stuff to make room for new. Things like kids toys should be sorted out often so they always fit in their respective spaces.

Keeping things to a minimum is also good for your kids’ brain power because the less choices they have, the easier it is for them to choose what to play with.

You May Also Enjoy Reading: 7 Benefits of Embracing Minimalism as a Family

5. Always Leave a Room Cleaner Than You Found It.

Whether you put a couple of toys away, fluff a few pillows or carry clean laundry upstairs, by straightening up a little bit here and there, you will maintain a clean home.

If someone in the family uses a cup or dish, it should be in the sink (possibly washed) before moving on to the next activity. No one should go up or down stairs without carrying something to put away and then following through.

It will take a few weeks to ingrain all of this as habit, but it will be worth it in the end so don’t give up!

6. Practice Gratitude

Making note of all the things you have and are grateful for can also change the way you look at stuff. You are less likely to “need” new things because you realise all the things you do have. You realise all the things you really need and use regularly. And most importantly you will see that every new item that comes into your home will need a space of its own and will need care and maintenance.

Are you ready to accept more into your home after you’ve decluttered it?

According to a Harvard University study, kids are not affected by the practice of gratitude until they are emotionally mature, but this doesn’t mean it can’t become a habit that suddenly has meaning when they get to that point.

This does not have to be a long drawn out activity. Just jot down a couple things a day in a journal or share some things at mealtimes.

Once the Decluttering is Done

Once the decluttering process is done, Spring Cleaning (and even just regular cleaning) becomes a breeze because there is less stuff to wash and move around your home.

You will find your home is more relaxing and there will be a sense of calm you feel that you may not have had before. With everyone in your house doing their part, you will gain time as a family to do more fun, spontaneous things because the housework is done.

Did you have a lot of difficult decisions or was it an easy process? Do you discover any emotional baggage with any items? Let me know how your DeclutterFest goes in the comments below.

23 Activities to Keep your Kids Educated and Entertained at Home.


As schools and nurseries are being closed down to stop the coronavirus from spreading, I feel, as a teacher, compelled to step in with some ideas to help keep your kids occupied while under quarantine- with an educational twist.

These are fun and educational activities and most of them don’t require technology (unless you want to expand on something, or need it for online books).

They also don’t require a lot of expensive materials and print outs. Most of the materials are things already in your home.

As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases at no additional cost to you. See full disclosures below.

Before you begin start with writing out a schedule. Your kids are used to a schedule, so take a peek online and see what the typical day was for your kids. Think what time was recess? snacks? lunch? etc. Many schools also provide the curriculum topics for the year so you can base activities on the topics they would have been studying.

Choose the subject(s) your child finds the most difficult to work on in the morning when your child is fresh and open to a challenge.

Keep your morning routine the same; wake up times, breakfast, getting dressed, etc. Then start your new routine around between 8:30 and 9:00.

Your schedule may look something like this:

Tweak the schedule to whatever works best for your family. Now that you have a schedule in place here are the supplies you need for the activities listed below:  

Reading Activities

I could always tell which of my 5 year olds were read to at the beginning of the school year. They were usually the top of the class. Reading to your child and with your child is so beneficial to them so try to either read to them or let them read to you.

Hopefully you have some books handy, but if you don’t have any go digital. Many libraries have digital checkouts as well so you can get books for free. There are also plenty of free online resources as well.

If you have family with books at home, try video chatting and have them read stories to your kids.

1. Purposeful Reading with Your Kids

Comprehension skills are easy to incorporate with reading a book with your child. And the following skills work for any age and are questions you can ask as the right situations come up.

Make Predictions

Before you read a new book, talk about the title. Predict what you think the book will be about. If you are reading a chapter book and you get to the end of a juicy chapter, predict with your child what will happen next.

Make Connections

When reading a book, does it remind either of you of any other stories? Personal experiences? Films you’ve seen.

Make Inferences

If you encounter phrases like, She stormed off, have your child infer what her mood is; happy? sad? angry?

You can also ask what certain words mean to work on vocabulary and make sure your child understands what is going on.

Now you’ve made reading a book educational and interactive with your child, no worksheets required

If your child is older have a book club together. Read the same story and have discussions at the end of each chapter. Popular books will have questions available online if you want to dig a little deeper.

Picture books are great for this next activity.

2. Write or Rewrite the Story

If you have a printer, print out a short picture book or make copies of a picture book. Cover the text on each page and then give them the book to write their own story to go with the pictures.

If your child is too young to write, have them dictate the story to you and you write it.

And you could of course just “read” it together without the writing piece.

If you can’t print out a book, try getting your hands on Wave, The Flower Man which is also available in Kindle format, Journey, and one of my favourites is The Lion and the Mouse.

If you purchase a book be sure to check the used section first as I get books of wonderful quality at a fraction of the price even with shipping.

You will be helping your child with describing, writing, speaking, thinking that doesn’t have to feel like work at all.

These might not be super glamourous, pinterest-worthy activities, but trust me, your child will enjoy reading with you more than anything and these are the important type of comprehension skills that they would be learning in the classroom.

Maths Activities

Grab you decks of cards and buttons for some easy math games that can be adapted for different age groups.

3. Button Sort

Having a variety of buttons in different sizes, colours, or even shapes are great for helping younger children with sorting. Have them sort based on different attributes- size colour, texture, number of holes, etc.

You can do other things like comparing which pile has the most and which has the least, using the buttons to work on addition and subtraction.

Older kids can sort them into categories and then put them in a bag to work out the probability of getting a button with certain attributes.

If you don’t have buttons, coins work as well. You can also use rocks, toys, blocks, whatever you have available.

4. War

For this activity remove the face cards and jokers from a deck of cards and split the cards into two stacks, one for each player.

While holding the deck face down, flip a card at the same time. Younger kids just look at which card is greater. The one with the greater number wins both cards.

In the event of the same number being drawn, you then say “I declare war” while putting three cards face down (one word for each card) then flip a 4th over and whoever wins gets all the cards.

The game is over when one person has all the cards.

If your child is older, when you flip the card add them together and the first to say the correct answer wins the cards, you can also work on multiplication this way.

If the card games get boring, you can always use the deck to build a house or play a regular card game like King’s Corner, which was the first card game my grandma taught us as kids. We eventually worked our way up to Spite and Malice, Gin Rummy, and Canasta. Of course you can always play Snap, too.

Science Activities

Soooo many things you can do that are science related that don’t require beakers or extensive knowledge on your part as a parent.

5. Animal Reports

Kids adore animals and this is such a good way to raise them to be advocates for the environment.

Have them research using reputable websites like National Geographic Kids or books everything about an animal they like. Have them look into their habitat- where in the world it’s located, temperature, weather, where they live in that habitat. Have them find out the different characteristics of their animal-size, diet, lifespan, unique features and defence mechanisms. Have them draw pictures of their animal and its habitat to go with their report.

Have them present their report to the rest of the family. If you have more than one child doing this project you can compare and contrast the two animals when the reports are finished.

6. Plant Study

If you don’t want to study an animal, why not study a plant?

Grab a few seeds (beans are quick sprouting and a popular choice), a piece of cotton wool and a plastic, zip top bag.

Wet the cotton wool so it’s damp and place it in the bag.

Place the seed on top of the cotton wool while the bag is flat.

Seal the bag and place it by a window with lots of sun.

Have your child observe the seeds each day. If you have a notebook handy have your child sketch the seed every day to track the changes.

While waiting for it to grow you can help your child learn about the different parts of the plant- stem, leaves, petals, etc.

You can also incorporate the water cycle when you notice the condensation in the bag.

Once the seeds have germinated very carefully lift them out by the leaves and plant your seed, (cotton wool and all) into some soil making sure to leave the green leafy part above the soil.

7. Fruit Study

Same idea as the seed growing above but use a piece of fruit instead.

Have your child draw a piece of fruit she will eat. Older kids should write a description underneath the drawing as well. If your child is younger and lacks the drawing skills, draw the fruit for her in a black marker or pen and have her colour it in.

Then have her take a bite of the fruit. Draw the fruit now.

Keep repeating the process until you are left with just the core, or peel.

This can be done several times using different perspectives (like drawing from a bird’s eye view) and different fruit (or any food for that matter).

You can also observe the decomposition of the fruit by cutting the fruit in half and observing the changes every day for a week or when it gets gross whichever happens first.

When you are finished you will have a collection of drawings that can be cut out and used for a sequencing activity- putting them in order from beginning to end.

8. Go for a Walk

Grab a Notebook and a pencil and get outside, the fresh air will do all of you some good. 

As you are walking have your child make observations as you go. 

Stop occasionally to sketch scenery or animals. If you find interesting leaves, collect them and you can sort them the way you did with the buttons above.

You can also put the leaf under a page in the notebook (backside up) and use the side of the pencil or crayon to colour over it leaving a picture of the leaf should you not want to bring it home.

Going more than once?

Try a Penny Walk.

Take a penny or any coin you have and use it to decide which direction you go whenever you reach a crossing, ‘heads we go right, tails we go left,’ or heads we go straight, tails we go left,’ etc. 

Observation is a huge part of the scientific method so casually training to be more observant is not only relaxing but helps your child develop that skill.

Walking will also help all of you be grateful for the little things you may not notice on normal days when you are rushing about as well as give you something positive to focus on during this otherwise stressful time.

9. Bake Something

Baking allows you to incorporate all kinds of skills in a real world scenario. Reading a recipe and following directions. Maths are used for measuring ingredients, timing the cooking, division if you halve a recipe. Science is used for the chemical reactions like in yeast and sugar and just boiling water can show the water cycle.

Find an easy recipe and enjoy the process and the results.

If you want to bake more than once try hosting your own version of Cake Wars and have your kids make a muffin or cupcake and decorate it. You can judge the winner.

Why not try making healthy snack? You can teach your kids about nutrition and start making better choices. This is a great way to get away from packaged, processed snacks which will reduce your waste and your weekly food bill.

If you can make your own snacks and the kids find them delicious, this can be a weekly chore for the kids to continue even when there isn’t a quarantine.

Writing Activities

For these activities, spelling doesn’t count! When writing you want the kids to let their ideas flow. Don’t get them hung up on spelling and grammar, you can do that as a separate task later.

10. Letter Play (4-6 year olds)

Practicing letters can be done several ways- besides writing on paper. Get a jelly roll pan, aka baking sheet with sides, and pour in a layer of rice and let your child practice tracing letters in the pan.

Get some paper and cut it into quarters. Write a single letter on each piece as big as will fit on the page with a marker. Give your child different things to trace the letters; buttons, bingo dabbers, stickers, highlighters, yarn or ribbon, pasta pieces, anything you can think of. Depending on the order you could do several with one set of letters. Make sure to use both sides of the paper so we don’t waste any and remember if you do use things like stickers, glue, and glitter you can’t recycle the paper.

11. Picture Story (4-6 year olds)

Find a simple picture that your child can look at and write a simple descriptive paragraph. It can be a picture from a story, a picture of art, even a colouring page. Example, I see a cat. The cat is brown. The cat is sleeping. Simple sentences using sight words and describing the picture. Difficult words can use creative spelling where the child spells based on the sounds they hear. Example, brown may come out as brn or bn and that is ok and normal for younger kids.

12. Write a Play (7+)

Grab a short story or fable like The Three Little Pigs and have your child rewrite the story as a script in a script format. Have a narrator recite parts that set the scene and then the characters speak the story.

When the script is finished you can perform the play.

13. In the Style of…(7+)

Grab a book like If you give a Mouse a Cookie and read it together.

Then write your own version in the same style, like If you give mum 5 minutes of quiet…

If your child isn’t writing yet then this can be an oral activity and you can always write down what your child says.

This works for poems as well if you have any favourites available.

14. Perspective Writing (7+)

Read a short story or fable together like Jack and the Beanstalk.

When the story is finished talk about the other characters; the giant, the harp, mother, etc.

Choose one character and rewrite the story from their point of view.

You can read The True Story of the Three Little Pigs if you need inspiration.

15. Keep a Journal

These are unprecedented times we are in. 2020 will be remembered for turning our day to day lives upside down.

Have your child document it from her perspective. What has changed? How is she feeling? Scared? Frustrated? Bored? What is she noticing in the world around her?

Tell your child that this does not have to be shared with anyone, but the writing is a good way for kids to process their own feelings as well as being good writing practice.

Parents, this is a good activity for you, too.

Indoor and Outdoor Free Play Activities

Your whole day should not be academic. Kids need time to be kids so here are some activities that can be done indoors and outdoors.

16. Puzzles

Depending on the size of the puzzles this can be a time-consuming activity and may even take days.

Since the possibility of not going back to school until the fall is there consider having a puzzle made of your family to build all together.

17. Homemade Play-doh

You can have your kids help make the dough or you can prepare it yourself and let the kids loose to play. This is a messier activity (obviously) but it’s fun for the kids and keeps them contained to a small area.

If you have cookie cutters have those out and if you have a play kitchen use the spatulas, pizza wheels, and other accessories.

You can also have the kids roll the dough into snakes and practice making letters or work on spelling!

When the kids are done, they can do the toy wash (see further down) and clean all the dough off their toys.

For the dough*:

250g flour

50g salt

140ml water

1-2 tablespoons cooking oil

2 tsp. cream of tartar (optional but helps preserve the dough)

Food colouring (optional)

Sift together the flour, salt and cream of tartar (if using). Then add the water and oil then mix it all together with your hands (about 10 minutes) until you have a smooth dough. If it’s crumbly add water a tablespoon at a time until you have the right consistency.

If your are adding food colouring, section off the dough and add in a few drops of each colour. (This will probably stain your hands).

Store the dough in a container in the fridge until you are ready to use it.

*The dough is not meant for eating.

18. Build a Den

If you have extra sets of bed sheets and some clothes pins, get them out and let the kids build a den. They will play like this for ages and you can enjoy a hot cup of tea in the meantime and get your own work done.

19. Build a Cardboard City

Put your Amazon boxes to good use before recycling them. Start by drawing some roads or paths for your kids to drive cars or have animals walk on.

They can use blocks to make buildings they would find in town (and learn about communities at the same time). You can even make it model of where you live. Then leave them to it to play.

Creative Fabrica has a free home crafting bundle with templates for cardboard houses. It’s worth grabbing no matter what as it has loads of colouring pages, paper dolls, pinwheel templates and other activities you can print-for free.

20. Water Painting

Paint brushes, sponges, and some water. Let the kids paint the fence the ground, anything outside and rest easy that it’s just water.

21. Set up a Toy Wash

Like a car wash but for toys. Your kids can clean their dirty toys and you can sit back and smile because they see it as playing and you see it as some chores being done. Win, win.

22. Homemade Bubble Mix

Bubbles are so easy to make with some dish soap, water and glycerine to make them a bit stronger (you can find it in the baking aisle). You don’t need a cheap bubble want either. You can use a wire hanger, make one from pipe cleaner and in the case with my kids, we raided their play kitchen for slotted spoons and used those with a slightly unexpected result!


For the bubble mix:

Gently stir together 750 ml of water (3 cups) and 250 ml (1 cup) of dish soap being careful not to make frothy bubbles. Add a tablespoon of glycerine or 60 ml (1/4 cup) of corn syrup would work, too. Gently stir together and off you go!

23. Fly a Homemade Kite.

I used to make these kites with my students every year after reading Gloria, Who Might be my Best Friend and it was always one of the most memorable days of the year for me and the kids. These kites are simple, unique, and fly best in a gentle breeze. Not only is it a fun activity, but your kids will run around a lot and wear themselves out. Tee hee.

You Need:

An A4 size (or US letter size) piece of paper

Ruler, markers or crayons and scissors

String, yarn, ribbon- whatever you have

Ribbon, Plastic packaging from toilet roll, or a sad “forever” shopping bag that can be cut into strips for a tail

Sticky tape

A paper straw or a wooden skewer


1. Fold the paper in half short ways, aka hamburger-style (not hotdog-style)

2. From the fold make a mark at the top of the page 3cm away from the fold

3. From the bottom fold make another mark at the bottom of the page about 6 cm from the opening

4. Connect the lines and fold open the paper on the line. Fold back the other side to match

5. Once the creases are made, have your child decorate both sides of her kite with markers or crayons.

6. Fold the decorated kite back into place and use sticky tape to tape the centre seam.

7. Tape the straw or skewer across the widest part of the kite.

8. Flip the kite over and put a piece of tape 4-5 cm from the top of the kite spine to reinforce the string hole.

9. Punch the hole with a hole punch, scissors or the tip of a pen/pencil and thread through your string. You won’t need much string- the height of your child is enough to make it manageable for them.

10. Cut a strip of ribbon or a strip of plastic from your bag to make the tail. 60cm is plenty. Ribbon is heavier than the plastic so you may need to shorten the tale if you can’t get it off the ground.

11. Sing Let’s Go Fly a Kite and off you go!

Final Thoughts

Being away from family and friends will be tough on everyone, but many of these activities, like the play, can be shared with family and friends over video chats.

If your child has talents like playing an instrument, dancing, magic tricks, have them consider putting on a mini show for family and friends using video.

Maintaining connections to others will keep everyone’s spirit up while being apart.

Hopefully, you have some ideas for some fun, educational activities with your kids now that will take your mind off being stuck at home. You may even start enjoying all the quality time with your family.

Have any ideas for other fun activities for kids? Share them in the comments below.