In between getting the kids online for their “after-school” zoom class and meeting your own deadlines, quality screen-free time with your kids may have taken a backseat in the last month or so. But, no worries! It’s easier than you think to carve out just 10 minutes a day with one of these super-quick kid activities. You can fit every one of these fun activities for kids into your daily schedule, and none of them require much planning or technology. Scroll through the album below to see them all.
1. Play a Minute to Win It Game (or Two)
What's better for filling a few minutes than a game that's designed to be no longer than a minute long? Pick one or two of these simple but exciting minute-to-win-it games for kids, have your players go through a few rounds of each, and you'll be amazed at how fast time flies. See the games here.
2. Finger Paint with Clay
Finger painting is fun. It just is. There are no other words for it. Really. But it’s also one of the messiest art activities that your crafty kid will do. If you’re short on time, but the littles are big on art, break out the clay. Tear dime-sized pieces of soft modeling clay apart. Your child can use a finger paint-like hand motion to smooth the clay across cardboard, creating a textured, layered faux finger painting.
3. Read a Book
We're betting that you can read at least two picture books in 10 minutes, or if you have an older child, a chapter of their current reading choice. Need to freshen up the bookcase? Check out our ultimate book list and our editor's picks for the best new books for April 2020.
4. Make a Noise Maker
Forget about those pricey musical instruments that your child sees (and begs you for) at the toy store. Toss dried beans or anything that makes noise into a reused water bottle. Close the cap tightly and have a 10-minute music-making fest. Grab a microphone (or make one from another water bottle) and create a family band. Got more time? Check out these other homemade musical instruments that actually play.
5. Tell a Heart-Felt Story
Literally, tell the story with felt. Cut craft felt shapes out. Cover a piece of cardboard with a felt sheet, taping it on the back. Your child can puzzle together the felt shapes, creating pictures and telling a story. When your time is up, toss the shapes into a bag, stash the activity and reuse it later.
6. Dance Party
Sneak in 10 minutes of cardio with your child. Create a 10-minute playlist (or check out our ultimate dance playlist), put on the music and dance until the songs run out.
7. Act Like an Animal
What’s your child’s favorite animal? Go ahead and ask them. Now use that creature or critter as part of a quick animal action game. Challenge your child to move like the animal, running, crawling, leaping, limbering or slithering like a furry, feathered or scaled friend.
8. Play with Tape
Your kiddo can’t stop peeling the washi tape off of everything crafty that you create. So turn it into a 10-minute activity. Don’t stress about making “something.” This artsy activity from Mama.Papa.Bubba. is entirely exploratory.
9. Create a Family Tale
Only 10 minutes of family together-time? Yes! Sometimes a few minutes can be worth more than you’d think. That is if you’re actually communicating and interacting with one another. Sit in a circle and start a story. Go around the circle, asking each family member to add to the tale. It's simple and effective!
10. Microwave Some S'mores
There’s no rule stating that you need to build a full-on campfire just to toast a few s’mores. Ten seconds in the microwave will give you fluffy, puffy, totally melty marshmallows that the kids can sandwich in between graham crackers and chocolate. Get creative and add sprinkles, a scoop of ice cream, a hint of chocolate sauce or sliced fruit!
11. Play I Spy
It’s a time-tested classic and a traditional game that just about every child plays at some point or another. It’s also easily adaptable, requires no materials and takes almost no time to complete. Put a twist on the same ol’ game and set up your “I Spy” with a theme. Pick a letter (all things that begin with “B”), a color (only purple objects) or any other focus that your kiddo can dream up.
12. Sock Puppet
Old socks, a marker, and creativity are all the child needs. They can take these out anytime and reuse them. Put on a puppet play, act out a favorite story or just talk—through the puppets.
13. Follow the Leader
Get creative with the classic “follow the leader” game. Choose a theme (such as act like animals or move like snowflakes), create super-silly walks or explore outside with a follow the leader nature walk.
14. Mix Colors in a Bag
So your kids want to paint. But you have 10 minutes of free time left in your day. Okay, no problem here. Add a dab of each primary colored tempera paint into a clear zipper baggy. Tape the end after closing it. Your child can mush and swirl the colors through the outside of the bag.
15. Strainer Threading
Your kids are about to explore and experiment with shapes and lines while building fine motor skills and learning about colors. Yep. It will seriously take only 10 minutes to do all this. Hand out a rainbow assortment of pipe cleaners and the spaghetti strainer and let your kids thread all those fuzzy little chenille stems through the holes and slats. Easiest. Activity. Ever.
16. Popsicle Stick Alphabet
Hey, why stop with one letter? Why not build an entire popsicle stick alphabet? All you need is a box of craft sticks, or whatever is left over after a freezy-fun snack, and a little creativity. Stash the sticks in a zipper baggy and take them out anytime your child wants to build.
17. Awesome Engineering
Build a tower. Have a race to see who can build the tallest tower that still stands. Use blocks, pillows, ice cubes (yes, ice cubes) or anything else that can stack up to skyscraper-esque heights.
—Erica Loop with Gabby Cullen