Put that Tablet Away! Fun Activities You and Your Kids Can Do Together

Meganby Megan MacDonald
Children’s Program Coordinator

It happens to us here at St. Alban’s sometimes – the activity we planned didn’t take as long as we thought, and we have to think of something on the spot.  Or, the line at the entrance of a field trip location takes forever, and we’ve got a bunch of excited kids on our hands.  Sometimes the kids just need to be entertained!  I’m sure every parent has been there too.   You want to entertain your kids, while having some fun getting involved yourself. And you don’t want to always be reaching for your phone soMom and kid that the kids can play another round of Candy Crush.

Here are a few “kid favourites” – tried and true activities that are fun, engaging, quick, easy, and require little to no planning.

Standing or sitting still games (or as still as kids can be!)
These ones are great for long line ups, car rides, TTC trips, or power outages!

  • Categories – A-Z
    Pick a category (people we know, celebs, food, places, cartoon characters, etc).
    The first person says something in the category that starts with the letter “A” (for example if the category is places, you could say “Alberta”).  The next person comes up with something in the same category that starts with the letter “B” (“Barcelona”), and so on. The round is over when someone can’t think of an answer for their letter.
  • Categories – Train
    In this variation, a category is selected. The first person says any word in that category (for example, if the category is places, you could say “Toronto.”) The second person has to come up with a word in that category that begins with the last letter of the previous word. (for example, if the first person says “Toronto”, you could say “Ontario”)
  • A-Z Conversation
    Challenge yourselves to hold a conversation, using the alphabet!
    The first person says a sentence that starts with “A”.
    The next person continues the conversation, with a sentence that starts with “B.”
    And so on…

For example:
Are you going to come over and play hockey today?
But I have to ask my mom.
Can’t you just text her?

You’ll be surprised and amazed at how funny and creative your kids can be!!

  • Questions only
    Challenge yourselves to have a conversation – using only questions!

For example:
What’s for dinner tonight?
Are you going to help cook?
Will my allowance go up if I do?
What do you think?

  • Rock Paper ScissorsRock, Paper…anything!
    A variation to the classic rock paper scissors! Instead of playing a rock, a paper, or scissors, you can throw out anything!  Then you have a conversation justifying why your thing should beat the other person’s.  You need to have an action for your item and you need to be able to justify why your throw beats the other person’s.

For example:
Player 1: “Rock, Paper, Tsunami!” (player throws their arms up making a wave motion)
Player 2: “Rock, Paper, Taco!”  (player makes a taco shape with their hands and pretends to take a sloppy bite.)

Who wins?
Player one argues that their tsunami would easily knock out the taco.
Player two argues that the taco would break apart and float away on the shell on the wave.

Clearly Player Two’s taco is the winner here!

Qtip PaintingQ-Tip Painting

You probably already have everything you need for this easy art activity in your house.

Q-tip paintingMaterials

  • Q-tips
  • Paint
  • Paper
  • Imagination!

Making ice cream in a Ziplock bag

Ice Cream in a bagIt’s an activity and a snack in one!  A treat your kids will love – and a bit more healthy than the store bought variety.

  • Ice cubes (enough to fill the large bag about half full)
  • 1 cup milk (we used 2% and it worked great!)
  • 8 Tbsp salt
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 small Ziplock baggie
  • 1 large Ziplock baggie


  1. Combine the sugar, milk and vanilla extract in the small bag and seal it tightly.
  2. Place the salt and ice in the large bag.
  3. Place the sealed smaller bag inside the large baggie.
  4. Seal the larger bag.
  5. Now shake the bags until the mixture hardens (about 5 minutes).
  6. Feel the small bag to determine when it’s done (your kids will have to be patient!). Take the smaller bag out of the larger one and eat the ice cream right out of the bag!

If you have a favourite game that you like to play with your kids, send it in – we’d love to hear from you! We’re always looking for new and creative activities for the kids in all our programs.