There is no easy solution for entertaining toddlers all day every day — but between the moments of screaming for snacks and fighting over inanimate objects — we've found a few activities that really do work.
An indoor scavenger hunt is one of them! It's got all the best ingredients: it's EASY, requires no special supplies, and creates no mess.
Step 1: Gather a variety of your kids' toys or just random objects around the house. I used my kids' toys (stuffed animals, heads bands, toy kitchen gadgets) but I'm now realizing it would have been more entertaining to branch out. Wouldn't it have been funny to search for dad's boxers, a banana, and mom's sandal? Will be doing that next time.
*Pro tip: Take a picture of all of the items you're hiding. That way you can reference it during the hunt and know when all of the items have been found. Also, don't hide any actually important items like keys or the remote....just in case you can't find them.
Step 2: Hide everything! Make your kids wait in one room while you hide items around the rest of your apartment or home. They will be getting very anxious and excited while you finally get 5 minutes to yourself. Hide things anywhere — in sock drawers, under the bed, in closets, behind doors, etc. For older kids, get more creative — camouflage items among bath toys, in the laundry bin, or amidst the big pile of stuff under the sink.
*Pro tip: Take pictures of where you hide everything. Parenting-during-COVID-brain means you'll immediately forget the exceptional hiding places you chose. You know when you can't find those items, the kids will immediately insist they can't live without them.
Step 3: Release the wolves....I mean the kid(s) to go on the hunt! I gave them each reusable grocery bags to collect the items as they went. They were ecstatic each time they found an item, only slightly pissed when a sibling found an item first, and begged to do it again.
*Pro tip: Depending on your kids ages (and how sneaky you were with hiding spots), you might need to give them hints while they're searching. I used the "hotter or colder" approach and it worked well.
We're now on Day 3 of scavenger hunts, adding to the pool of items each time, and getting more creative with hiding places. I overheard my older daughter on FaceTime tell someone that scavenger hunt was the best part of her day, so I'll take that as a win!
Hope this brightens your day just like it brightened ours!