It occurred to me recently how dependent our family had become on getting out of the house.

While I love playing outside with the kids or taking bike rides on a sunny day, the majority of this time was spent doing “busy work.”

We spend a lot of time in the car driving from place to place, eating at restaurants or my personal favorite (not so much)…shopping!

Even worse, when we do have the opportunity to spend some time at home with our young children, we all too often find ourselves sitting in front of the TV or at best spread around the house doing our own thing.

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The kids color, Daddy’s on Facebook and Mommy is fixing a snack.  We are not engaged in our relationships with each other at these times.

A recent Sunday afternoon afforded the opportunity for some reflection.

It was raining, the kids were bored and Mommy and Daddy were quite miserable with a mild case of “cabin fever.”  Now, we know that God proclaimed Sunday as a day of rest, but this seemed ridiculous!

We had become a family that we would quickly criticize if we were judging their actions.

I decided it was time for some positive action.  So, I made a list!

37 Things to Do at Home as a Family

You will find below 37 things that you can do as a family on the next Sunday (or any day) that you find yourself cooped up with your young children (or just with your spouse).

Not only are these ideas family-friendly, but they are essentially free so you won’t be putting a strain on your budget or hurting your plans to get out of debt!

Better yet, use these fun activities on a sunny day when you could easily be mowing the yard or running errands.  I bet you will not regret it!

  1. Watch an old movie you enjoyed as a kid.
  2. Read stories to each other.
  3. Make up a funny story and take turns adding the next line.
  4. Play a good ole board game.
  5. Let the kids choose an activity.
  6. Invite Grandma/Grandpa over for cookies.
  7. Talk about your favorite times from last week & what you look forward to next week.
  8. Discuss the homily/sermon from the morning’s church service.
  9. Have a real tea party.
  10. Bake some cookies together.
  11. Play hide and seek.
  12. Grab an umbrella  and take a walk in the rain (galoshes optional)!
  13. Let the kids help make dinner.
  14. Have a friendly family wrestling match.
  15. Let the kids play dress up in your clothes.
  16. Make sock puppets and put on a performance.
  17. Draw a family portrait with each person drawing their own picture.
  18. Construct a monster Lego project.
  19. Paint a room together (only for the brave at heart)!
  20. Create a huge tower using blocks or plastic cups.
  21. Gather the whole family (in their PJ’s) into Mom & Dad’s bed and watch a movie.
  22. Go through and check all of the kids’ toys and set aside the old ones for charity.
  23. Have a Nintendo Wii/Switch tournament.
  24. Sing karaoke.
  25. Watch old family videos and share your memories.
  26. Have a dance party!
  27. Build a fort (pillows, blankets and chairs work well) and play Army or Knights/Princesses.
  28. Dress up in your Halloween costumes whatever the time of year.
  29. Play together in the garage or unfinished basement (roller skates, bikes, soccer).
  30. Play a favorite card game.
  31. Make paper airplanes and see who’s can fly the furthest.
  32. Play I Spy.
  33. Act out a favorite story.
  34. Get out some pictures and make a family photo album.
  35. Play Charades.
  36. Build a huge puzzle together.
  37. Go out and play in the rain!

There you have it.  Next time you are faced with bored kids and restless parents, shift your thinking and look at the opportunity you have to spend quality time together.

You can create long-lasting memories for your children, and even better memories for yourself!

What are your favorite things to do together as a family when you are home?  What are some of your best childhood memories from long days spent around your house?

Please share your thoughts in the comments!

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About the author 


Dustin Riechmann created Engaged Marriage to help other married couples live a life they love (especially) when they feel too busy to make it happen. He has many passions, including sharing ways to enjoy an awesome marriage in 15 minutes a day, but his heart belongs with his wife Bethany and their three young kids.

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  1. Face painting. =) We found that Jaiden loves getting his face painted at festivals, etc. so we grabbed face paints at Michaels for less than 5 bucks, printed off some free ideas we found online, and just have fun! He thinks it’s the coolest thing to be a tiger,spiderman,etc. for a few hours or even a day if we’re cooped up. It washes off really easily, too! (my face painting skills aren’t quite the quality of the artists, but he still digs it) My sister started doing this with her daughter, and she loves it to. Thought it was worth sharing. Great post! =)

  2. Spending time inside the house during rainy days are initially boring but I found out that I need to find some activities that will engage all members of the family, like what you have enumerated above. One of my favorite in reminiscing our photos from the past, it starts up a whole lot of conversation and laughs. 🙂

  3. This is a great list! I love #26 we have a dance party at least twice a day the kids LOVE it and it works wonders for lifting your spirits! We also like indoor picnics, building forts and playing with play dough.

    Letting your imagination run wild can result in a lot of fun! 🙂

  4. Thank goodness the weather has beautiful lately, and we’ve been outside a lot, taking hikes and picking apples. Our little girl is just over a year old, so we really can’t do a lot with her yet, like the things on the list, but I’m really looking forward to watching “Anne of Green Gables” and “Anne of Avonlea” with her–theses were my favs.! Great list!! My hubby and I have had a lot of fun with board games lately!

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  6. Great article and superb tips for family time! Even though I promote wellness in families, there are times that you just can’t get outside and these ideas fit the bill. I will definitely incorporate some of these ideas with my own kiddos and hubby!
    Jamie @fitforamom /

  7. Thanks for the kind words, Jamie! By the way, I like your site and I really enjoy following you on Twitter. Come back soon!

  8. As soon as we get stuck at home, my young daughter wants to clear the living room and play Blind Man’s Bluff.

    A pillow fight is good fun.

    If it rains on weekend mornings, we all (5) get into our bed under the covers, tickle, giggle and share stories.

    Great list!
    .-= Family Matters´s last blog ..Rich Parent, Poor Parent =-.

  9. Thanks, Family Matters! I don’t know how I forgot to include a pillow fight…great idea. I’ll have to look up the Blind Man’s Bluff game since I don’t think I’ve ever played that one.

  10. Get ideas for a rainy day.

    Here’s one for a rainy or fun evening:

    The Novemer 2009 Shooting Stars – Have a Magic Moment with Your Family

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  13. This is perfect timing for this post since the entire East coast is snowed in right now.
    .-= Living with Balls´s last blog ..Links of the Week: December 18, 2009 =-.

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  17. You can set up a face painting booth have fun at the same time. After all, what can be more fun than expressing your own individuality so blatantly? Children will surely be lining up to have their faces painted. face paint ideas for children

  18. have been reading ur blog around three days. absolutely love your posts. by the way i will be doing a study concerning this topic. do you happen to know any good sites or maybe online forums that I might get more? thanks a lot.

  19. One of the best indoor winter activities we did was winter olympics. Each child created an activity to play, we did Wii sports, minute to win it game, and a board game. We played the opening Ceremony song “Bugler’s Dream” and Chariots of Fire. It was a blast and the kids giggled the whole time!

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  22. great list especially for the little ones. For me a movie always does it. Going to Harry potter studio tour in London tomorrow so tonight we are watching the only one the kids haven’t seen- harry potter and the deathly hallows part two! They’re great movies but really not the best for the youngsters- I still cower away from the screen even now! Ours are 9 and 11 both girls and massive fans!!!

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