Child-Friendly Activities for the Family

Anytime children are off school — be it a holiday, summer vacation, March Break, or for any other reason — parents are constantly finding themselves struggling to find child-friendly activities for the family to engage in. Coming up with ideas for age-appropriate activities can be a challenge in itself, which is only multiplied for the different age groups each family’s children are. And like all things in parenthood, as soon as you master one phase in life, it changes.

So, here is a list of child-friendly activities for the whole family covering several childhood age demographics:

Babies & Toddlers

Mess-Free Finger Painting

Start with a piece of paper and put a few different colour globs of paint on it in various places. Stick the paper in a plastic sandwich bag and seal the bag. For extra caution, tape the bag shut as well. Let your babies and toddlers squish it all around! When they’re done, pull the paper out of the bag and let it air dry.

Painting the Fence, Dock or Patio

Don’t worry, you’re not actually letting your young child paint or stain the deck, give them a jug of water, a paint brush and let them go to town! They will have a blast and there’s no mess!

Yogurt Painting

Next time you’re at the grocery store pick up some plain yogurt. Mix a spoonful or two with a few drops of food colouring and give them some paper to finger paint on! Beware – food colouring can stain fabrics, so this is a great outdoor activity.

Sensory Play

Whether you simply fill up a bowl or tub of water and soap or have a sandbox for your child to play in and explore, these are both fun activities all young children love! Grab some toys from the dollarstore to add some more fun.

Pre-School & Kindergarden


Who doesn’t love colouring? With all the adult colouring books available now, everyone can jump in on the fun! Grab some crayons, coloured pencils and markers and enjoy this great quiet activity inside or out.


Whether you make your own or pick some up at the store, the creations young children can make with playdough are endless! And, even if parents don’t love it, we can all admit it’s kind of fun to roll around in our hands!


This is the best age to start teaching children how to bake and feel comfortable in the kitchen! Start with something simple, like decorating cupcakes with icing, sprinkles, etc. and work your way up from there!


Who doesn’t love blowing bubbles outside?

Sidewalk Chalk

Although sidewalk chalk might not be great on decks and docks, it’s perfect for driveways, sidewalks and paved paths! Let their imaginations run wild.

Homemade Sensory Sand

This is probably a better outside toy than in. By mixing 4 cups of flour to 1/2 cup of any kind of oil you can make your own sensory sand! This recipe can easily be doubled, tripled or quadrupled and saves for about one week when covered.

Primary & Junior Grades

Drawing or Tracing

Many children love drawing and this is the age where many kids start finding their niche. Borrow a learn to draw book from the library and see what the kids come up with!


Drawing not your child’s thing? Almost everybody loves colouring though!


Give your child complete freedom of a canvas and paints or try paint-by-number. This simple activity can be a quick 10 minute break while you’re making lunch, or could be an afternoon of fun, inside or out!


Everybody needs some quiet time every now and again to relax and recharge their battery. Time away from phones and other devices to reset ourselves, children are the same. Picking out a few books to read whether you’re on holidays or spending time at home is a great use of time!

Telling & Creating Campfire Stories

Anytime you go to a cottage and have a campfire someone shares a spooky campfire story. Maybe it’s been passed along for generations or you’re making it up as you go along. Either way, campfire stories are a cottage staple!


What better time to practice baking skills then when you’re on vacation? Try making some homemade cookies, or a fresh pie for dessert.

Introduction to Cooking

There aren’t many life skills as important as cooking delicious, well-balanced meals for a family. In our fast-paced world, we often forgo cooking for take-out, fast food, a quick PB&J or granola bar. But, when the kids are home from school or you’re on vacation you are likely cooking at least 3 meals a day anyway, so get some help! As an added bonus, we’ve found the more children help, the more likely they are to eat their food!

Practice a Sport

Maybe you’re waiting for your child’s seasonal sport to start up, or they’ve just finished their season. Either way, practice their skills with them or have them teach you something you might not have known about their favourite sport.

Learn a New Board Game or Card Game

While children master games like Pie Face, Go Fish, Uno and Hungry Hungry Hippos, different games are more fun for the whole family to participate in. Spend some time practicing classic family fun games such as: Monopoly, Euchre, Hearts, Wizard, Taboo, etc.

Need some more child-friendly activities for the family ideas? Check out these links:

Outdoor Spring Activities for Children

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