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250+ Fun Activities For Kids To Do Instead of Homework

One teacher took away homework and gave kids their lives back instead.

I’m an elementary school teacher in Southern California. For 25 years, I have to admit that I was staunchly pro-homework, until one day I had a revelation. Here’s why I stopped giving my students homework, and my list of 250+ fun activities for kids to try instead.

A Teacher Who Doesn’t Believe in Homework

For 25 years I was pro-homework. I gave it to teach my students responsibility and good study habits. And it worked! At least it helped my students to reach higher levels of academic achievement…or so it seemed.

Meanwhile, my brother (also a teacher) had made homework optional. Students and parents alike both loved the concept. This got me thinking about homework, and whether it was even necessary all for elementary kids. I thought…if I gave no homework, I’d be giving them something even more beneficial. Here’s what I came to discover.

What Kids Get When You Take Away Homework

  • More Free Time. When kids don’t have to spend hours on homework, they’re free to play and interact with their families and friends. For some kids, this means they got their life back.
  • A Positive Attitude Toward School. I remember hating school because of all the homework. When kids first start school, they’re excited to learn. By the end of elementary school, they’re sick of school… and of learning. When I removed homework from my classroom, my students suddenly started liking school a lot more. And when we like something, they put more energy into it.
  • Less Stress. We know kids are feeling more stressed than ever these days, and homework is one cause. Over my 30-year career I have had many parent conferences. Two topics have dominated these: behavior and homework. By eliminating homework, I eliminated much of the problem for kids and thereby eliminated much of their stress.

Generally, kids and parents both cheer when I announce my no-homework policy. But occasionally, parents will ask what their kids should do with all that free time. In response, I came up with this list of fun activities for kids.

250+ Fun Activities For Kids To Do Instead Of Homework

  1. Build a robot out of cardboard.
  2. Ride your bike.
  3. Plant a garden.
  4. Maintain your garden.
  5. Make a compost pile/bin.
  6. Make a water catch basin.
  7. Harvest your garden.
  8. Share your harvest with those in need.
  9. Make a fruit stand and sell your harvest.
  10. Organize a backyard carnival for the neighborhood kids.
  11. Play football.
  12. Play with action figures or dolls.
  13. Make a cardboard fort.
  14. Make a fort out of sofa cushions and blankets.
  15. Go for a hike.
  16. Read just for fun.
  17. Paint a picture.
  18. Paint something a new color.
  19. Bake.
  20. Cook.
  21. Organize your room.
  22. Organize your drawers.
  23. Pull weeds.
  24. Play baseball.
  25. Play video games.
  26. Watch a movie that was made before there were ratings.
  27. Make a movie.
  28. Write a song.
  29. Sing.
  30. Dance to music.
  31. Write a letter and mail it.
  32. Talk on the phone.
  33. Bury a treasure.
  34. Make a map to a buried treasure.
  35. Write a story.
  36. Write in a journal.
  37. Build something out of PVC pipes.
  38. Roll down a hill.
  39. Build a bike jump.
  40. Build a go-cart.
  41. Play a board game.
  42. Create a board game.
  43. Do your laundry.
  44. Clean the bathroom.
  45. Jump on the bed.
  46. Wrestle.
  47. Fly a kite.
  48. Make a kite.
  49. Build a model.
  50. Do a friend’s hair or nails.
  51. Plant a tree or bush.
  52. Trim a bush.
  53. Dig a hole.
  54. Water the plants.
  55. Pick fruit.
  56. Throw rocks.
  57. Climb a tree.
  58. Build a treehouse.
  59. Build an outdoor fort.
  60. Play with a pet.
  61. Teach your dog to do tricks.
  62. Pick up dog poop.
  63. Walk the dog.
  64. Help an elderly neighbor.
  65. Walk to the store.
  66. Take photos.
  67. Build with Legos, blocks, or Kinects.
  68. Make an electrical circuit.
  69. Make your bed.
  70. Make a list (favorite movies, friends names, bucket list, etc.).
  71. Play bowling with household items.
  72. Play bounce back with a tennis ball and brick wall.
  73. Shoot baskets.
  74. Throw a ball up and try to hit it.
  75. Mow the lawn.
  76. Wash the car.
  77. Vacuum the car.
  78. Vacuum the house.
  79. Learn a foreign language.
  80. See how many objects you can stack.
  81. Dust.
  82. Sweep.
  83. Mop.
  84. Play darts.
  85. Play with pill bugs.
  86. Eat something healthy.
  87. Play jacks.
  88. Play marbles.
  89. Learn to juggle.
  90. Play ping-pong.
  91. Go on a swing.
  92. Build a swing.
  93. Play tennis.
  94. Play hula hoop.
  95. Play with a Kendama.
  96. Tell jokes.
  97. Oil something that squeaks.
  98. Take out the trash.
  99. Learn to throw a lasso.
  100. Jump rope.
  101. Play handball.
  102. Play kick the can.
  103. Play tag.
  104. Race a friend.
  105. Go to church/temple etc.
  106. Play school.
  107. Play catch.
  108. Chase butterflies.
  109. Imagine what the clouds resemble.
  110. Play a musical instrument.
  111. Create a musical instrument.
  112. Create a play or musical.
  113. Create something using an App.
  114. Count your money.
  115. Play miniature golf.
  116. Learn to ride a bike without holding on.
  117. Play a computer game.
  118. Watch YouTube videos.
  119. Talk in strange voices.
  120. Play with water balloons.
  121. Throw a frisbee.
  122. Make funny faces.
  123. Run in the sprinklers.
  124. Go swimming.
  125. Go for a jog.
  126. Play with toy cars.
  127. Build a marble track.
  128. Make a waterfall.
  129. Play hide n seek.
  130. Play with an RC car.
  131. Make an RC car track.
  132. Build an obstacle course.
  133. Time yourself doing the obstacle course.
  134. Take something old apart (clock, radio, etc.).
  135. Sew something (pillow, clothes, etc.).
  136. Play with stuffed animals.
  137. Rearrange your room.
  138. Plan a trip.
  139. Play cards.
  140. Learn a card trick.
  141. Build a house of cards.
  142. Learn a magic trick.
  143. Create your own card game.
  144. Play dodgeball.
  145. Watch a documentary.
  146. Watch a sporting event on TV.
  147. Watch cars drive by.
  148. Play invisible ball catch.
  149. Play dress up.
  150. Do a puzzle.
  151. Decorate your mirror with dry erase markers.
  152. Paint a design on a rock.
  153. Fix something that’s broken.
  154. Skateboard.
  155. Rollerblade.
  156. Ride a scooter.
  157. Play hockey.
  158. Pull something with your bike.
  159. Ride a plastic toy vehicle.
  160. Ride an electric toy vehicle.
  161. Create a tournament.
  162. Take a nap.
  163. Have a pillow fight.
  164. Do exercises (push-ups, sit-ups, squats, etc.).
  165. Organize trading cards.
  166. Trade trading cards.
  167. Play trading card games.
  168. Make up your own trading card game.
  169. Play soccer.
  170. Play kickball.
  171. Play with makeup.
  172. Play house.
  173. Wash the windows.
  174. Change a lightbulb.
  175. Play a game in the pool (Marco Polo).
  176. Play with pool noodles.
  177. Clean out the refrigerator.
  178. Play tic-tac-toe, five in a row, or dots.
  179. Play on a play set.
  180. Go to the park.
  181. Play swords.
  182. Climb a pole/rope.
  183. Read a book to a younger person.
  184. Crochet or knit.
  185. Do a needlepoint.
  186. Carve something out of wood/soap/potato.
  187. Build with clay/play dough.
  188. Play cops and robbers.
  189. Draw funny things on top of photos (mustaches, missing teeth, etc.).
  190. Make your face look funny with objects (spoon on nose, tape face, chopstick teeth, etc.) Take pictures.
  191. Learn strange human tricks (catch coins off elbow, etc.).
  192. Write secret messages.
  193. Start a charity.
  194. Go to the library.
  195. Listen to a podcast.
  196. Color.
  197. Make recycle art.
  198. Paper wad trash basket toss.
  199. Research a topic that interests you.
  200. Drive nails.
  201. Decorate the ground with sidewalk chalk.
  202. Catch and release insects.
  203. Walk on something narrow and keep your balance.
  204. Make a cardboard arcade game.
  205. Play 20 questions.
  206. Lie on your bed.
  207. Play Pickle with two others.
  208. Make and fly paper airplanes.
  209. Make a pile of leaves and jump in it.
  210. Make a lemonade stand.
  211. Sweep the gutter.
  212. Blow bubbles.
  213. Lick donuts (Ariana Grande fans only.)
  214. Pick up trash in your neighborhood.
  215. Help serve food in a homeless shelter.
  216. Do a scavenger hunt (maybe even in the house!).
  217. Decorate a can or jar.
  218. Make a gift for someone. Wrap it.
  219. Create something with paper mache.
  220. Play with cornstarch & water.
  221. Go camping/picnicking in the backyard.
  222. Have a tea party.
  223. Make a flower arrangement from wild flowers or yard flowers.
  224. Visit an elderly relative.
  225. Start a collection.
  226. Organize a collection.
  227. Draw a picture of something around the house.
  228. Make a leaf pressing.
  229. Have an upside down or inside out party.
  230. Make up a chant or a cheer.
  231. Cut out paper dolls, snowflakes, etc.
  232. Do origami.
  233. Put snow in a sensory table and change the color with food coloring.
  234. Offer to help snow shovel your neighbor’s yard…especially if they are elderly.
  235. Melt ice with salt.
  236. Go sledding.
  237. Build an igloo.
  238. Go fishing.
  239. Float on a raft, inner tube, etc.
  240. Have a snowball fight.
  241. Play tug of war (even in the snow).
  242. Pin the nose on the snowman.
  243. Make mud pies and other mud fun.
  244. Start a business (pulling weeds, washing cars, babysitting, etc.).
  245. Learn to balance objects.
  246. Do cartwheels or other gymnastic moves.
  247. Fly a toy/RC plane.
  248. Frame some artwork.
  249. Bat around a balloon.
  250. Make a balloon powered car.
  251. Hold an egg drop contest (protective egg container).
  252. Play table football (with a paper triangle).
  253. Play table soccer (with 3 coins).
  254. BE A KID!

Other Ways To Replace Homework

Teachers, looking for other ways to replace homework with something more meaningful? Try the Let Grow Project! Kids are sent home with one homework assignment: Do something on your own you’ve never done before. For example, they could cook dinner for the family, ride their bike to school. or take a walk in the woods. There are all sorts of fun activities for kids to try on their own for the first time. Kids, parents, and teachers all love how this program empowers kids with responsibility and independence!

At Let Grow, we believe in the power of unstructured free play, and that sometimes it’s okay to let kids be bored. But if you need a little help finding fun activities for kids to do, snag our free “I’m Bored” Kit. It offers over one hundred fun things to do, along with a Bingo game and colorful poster.

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