Any quality time you spend with your children, nieces, nephews, or grandchildren time is well-spent – but sometimes, you might need a little inspiration to figure out how to make the most of it.
So to help you out, we’ve put together a list of 22 fun activities to do with kids, for a range of different ages and interests.
Whether you want to get creative, go for a day out, or you’d ideas for what to do when you’re apart, we hope you’ll find something you want to try with your loved ones.
1. Cook a meal together
For kids who enjoy helping out in the kitchen, cooking a meal could be a great way to spend some quality time together. Working together on a delicious dish can be fun, but it’s also a good opportunity for kids to learn some culinary skills.
If you have a signature dish, why not teach them how to cook it? If they already look forward to your speciality when they visit for dinner, they’ll be probably just as excited to learn the recipe as you are to teach it.
Or, if you’re in need of some meal inspiration, why not visit the food and drink section of our website? Here, you’ll find everything from tips on how to make the perfect pizza to recipes made from leftover foods.
2. Take on a DIY craft project
There are all sorts of ways to get creative and crafty – but taking on a project that involves lots of imagination can be amusing for children and adults of any age.
To get inspired, why not check out this list of 51 great D.I.Y. craft projects for kids from Good Housekeeping? Many of these crafts can be made with bits and bobs you’ll probably already have lying around the house. From mini lid banjos to fairy jars, there’s bound to be an afternoon of creative fun for just about any child to enjoy.
3. Make a time capsule
Kids of any age will likely enjoy making a time capsule. Picking out what you want to share with the world can be exciting for both of you, and it’s also a chance to get them thinking about what the future might be like.
They might want to include personal items, write letters, or even make their own crafts or drawings to leave for the citizens of the future.
However you decide to go about it, creating something to leave for someone to find many years from now can be a fun and thought-provoking way to spend time with your loved ones.
If you’re looking for some ideas on what to include in your time capsule, you might want to check out these tips from Personal Creations.
4. Play music together
If you play an instrument, why not share your love of music with your loved ones? No matter their age, chances are they’ll be fascinated with what you can do, and might even want to have a go themselves.
If you have a child, niece, nephew, or grandchild who plays their own instrument or enjoys singing, then it could be lots of fun to play together too. You could even put on a performance for your family.
5. Bake and decorate gingerbread
Baking is another popular pastime that children love and never seem to tire of. Anything you decide to bake can be fun – but younger children in particular will often have lots of fun decorating the finished product.
Gingerbread is ideal for this. It’s easy to make, a favourite for many children and adults alike, and having lots of different cut-out shapes can make it even easier for the kids to unleash their creativity. Plus, they might even want to share some of their baked treats with their friends.
If you fancy baking gingerbread with your loved ones and need a recipe, why not try this one from BBC Good Food?
6. Visit a beach
Almost anybody loves a day at the beach – and that’s especially true for kids. Whether you want to go for a swim, build sandcastles, or just sit and watch the waves with some ice cream, you’re bound to have a great day out.
Trips to the beach have been a classic staple of British holidaying for centuries – and it’s no wonder since the UK has so many picturesque beaches to choose from. If you’re on the lookout for one near you, you might want to have a read of our list of the best beaches to visit in the UK.
Alternatively, why not go for a stroll while admiring the coastal views? Our article, The best coastal walks to try in the UK, has many to choose from.
7. Visit a trampoline park
For an active and exhilarating day out, you can’t do much better than a visit to a trampoline park.
Kids of all ages will enjoy bouncing around on various different kinds of trampolines and playing games, and it can be an effective way to help them shake off some energy and get some exercise while having fun.
There are many different popular trampoline park brands around the UK, so it’s worth searching online to see what’s available near you.
8. Visit a museum
There’s a wide variety of intriguing museums to visit around the UK. Whether you and your loved ones are interested in art, science, human history, or even dinosaurs, there’s likely to be a day out that’s right for you.
Places like the National Gallery, Natural History Museum, and Science Museum in London; the National Railway Museum in York; the National Museum of Scotland in Edinburgh; and the Titanic Belfast are must-visits. But it’s always worth looking online to find museums in your area – as not all great museums are well-known.
For even more inspiration, you might want to check out our list of 14 UK museums you won’t want to miss.
9. Visit a historical site
The UK is also full of excellently maintained historical sites and monuments. Lots of kids love visiting castles, so some favourites like Warwick and Leeds in England, Edinburgh in Scotland, Caernarfon in Wales, and Carrickfergus in Northern Ireland are all great choices for a fun and educational day out.
For even more ideas on great sites to visit, you might want to have a look at our list of 28 of the best historical sites to visit in the UK.
10. See a show
Why not take the kids to go see a show? Whether it’s a concert, a pantomime, or a movie at the cinema, everybody loves a night of entertainment.
If you’re not sure what show to book, then you’ll hopefully find some ideas in our article; 14 of the most popular theatre shows.
And if you fancy catching a movie with very young children, it’s worth looking out for showings specifically for kids – some Vue locations, for example, offer ‘Mini Mornings’, where tickets to family-friendly films cost only £2.49. Another example is Odeon cinemas’ Odeon Kids screenings, which take place every weekend and every day during the school holidays.
11. Take a walk in nature
When all else fails, the beauty of the natural world is always there for us. Whether or not your kids enjoy long walks, even taking a quick trip to go for a stroll on a picturesque track can be a lovely, relaxing experience for the whole family.
You might already have a favourite spot in your local area – but there are also lots of great famous green spaces to visit around the UK. For some inspiration, you might want to read our list of 10 of the best National Trust places to visit.
And if you want to add a dash of adventure to your walks, why not try geocaching for some treasure-hunting fun?
Things to do at home
12. Build a blanket fort
If you have very young children in your life, building a blanket fort can be the perfect way to spend a day indoors. They’ll love having an adventure in their own living room or bedroom, and the finished product makes a great space to let their imaginations run wild.
You can build a blanket fort with just about anything you have laying around the house – and figuring out how to do it can be a big part of the fun. But you can also buy kits to help you construct a solid frame, which can really take your fort to the next level.
Once the fort is built, why not encourage the kids to decorate it? For example, fairy lights can be a nice way to light up the interior while adding a touch of magic.
13. Explore the world of books
While younger children will often enjoy a good bedtime story, reading is important for kids of all ages (and adults). So, why not try reading your loved one a favourite book from your childhood, or one you’ve picked out especially for them?
Another great way to get kids reading is to take a trip to your local library. Many libraries have dedicated quiet sections for children to read in peace, which makes it easy for them to explore and find a book (or three!) that they want to take home with them.
14. Try birdwatching
If you want to get outside with the kids and explore the natural world, then birdwatching could be a good way to spend quality time together.
Whether you want to find a pleasant local spot to watch for birds, or you just want to set up in your own garden to see who comes along, it’s best to have a set of binoculars (or one each), and a guide to help you identify the birds you spot.
Before you get started, you might want to check out our beginner’s guide to birdwatching.
15. Play board games
Board games are always a reliable family activity, especially on a rainy day. And whether you’re a fan of family favourites like Monopoly and Cluedo, children’s classics like Snakes and Ladders, or if you’re on the lookout for something new to try, there’s a wide variety of ways to have a fun and relaxing game night with the children in your life.
As part of this board game renaissance, board game cafés are also becoming popular. So, if you fancy trying out some new games, or just want to play some old favourites accompanied by some nice food and drink, then why not have a Google to find a board game café near you?
Most board game cafés are child-friendly, though some are adult-only – so, it’s worth checking before you visit.
16. Complete a puzzle
Another perfect activity for a rainy day, and one that’s also commonly found on board game café shelves, is the classic jigsaw puzzle.
You can find all sorts of puzzles online and in shops, but if you want to try something new, then why not have a go at solving a 3D puzzle with the kids?
Just remember to take their age into account when picking out your puzzle – as there’s a wide range of difficulties available.
17. Share your favourite music
Depending on their ages, sharing your favourite tracks and tunes could be a great bonding activity for you and the kids.
Chances are that your favourite genres and artists will differ, and learning about new music is always fun and insightful – especially when it’s a favourite of a loved one. So why not grab the CDs or load up your favourite playlist and make an evening of taking turns playing tracks you want each other to enjoy?
A good streaming service can make this a lot easier. Spotify and Amazon Music are great choices. However, if you’re a fan of classical and jazz music, then you might be interested in Vialma, which you can find on our discounts page.
18. Get out the photo albums and home videos
Kids who are a little older will especially appreciate this, but digging out old photo albums and home videos can be fun for the whole family.
Showing them what they were like when they were younger while taking the time to reminisce about your own life can be a great experience – and you’ll likely end up whiling away many hours exploring your family history together.
You could even try tracing your family tree. We have plenty of tips in our article here to help you get started.
19. Have a movie night
While going to the cinema can be fun, it can be just as enjoyable to have a movie night at home every once in a while. You could pick out a fun family movie, grab some popcorn or other classic movie snacks, and set up on the couch with a cosy blanket.
Movie nights are a great choice for a regularly scheduled activity too – you could even take turns picking the film.
20. Start a series
Alternatively, why not start watching a TV or film series together? Diving into an enthralling series can be a good alternative to a movie night – and even a great way to spend time together when you can’t do so together in person.
Streaming services like Amazon Prime Video and Disney Plus offer watch-party features – which means that you can watch episodes together while on a video call. While you can do this with movies too, getting stuck into a series can encourage you to schedule future evenings together to watch the next episodes.
If you’re looking for ideas for what to watch, you might want to check out this list of the Top 50 Family TV Shows from IMDb.
When you can’t be together in-person
21. Play games online
Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, casual online games have become a lot more accessible. If you’re on a video call with your family, it’s easy to set up and play games that don’t need a board or other elements that require you to be physically together.
For example, if you want to play a game like Pictionary, all you need is some paper and a pen each and this Pictionary word generator – and you’re all set for a long-distance game night.
Alternatively, web browser games are a great way to have some fun with your family, as long as you’re on a PC. One popular favourite is Gartic Phone – a game where players have to draw and guess each other’s prompts, leading to hilarious results of miscommunication.
22. Exchange letters and care packages
For a more long-term activity to get stuck into with your loved ones when you can’t be together, why not exchange letters and/or care packages every now and then?
Digital communication can become a bit overwhelming or even boring over time – especially since it’s had such an increased presence in all of our lives in recent years.
So why not start exchanging regular handwritten letters? Letter writing can be a fun, creative activity for both you and the kids, and receiving them will be something you’ll both look forward to.
Another option is to try sending care packages occasionally. These can be as simple or as extravagant as you like, but favourite snacks, small toys, and luxury items like bath bombs are always great choices for gifts to include.
Some days, it can be really difficult to think of something fun to do. We hope that one or more of our ideas inspire a fun day of quality time with the child or children in your life. But regardless of what you decide to do, time spent with loved ones is always time well spent.