Many of these can be organized in seconds and promise lots of fun
When we’re all just trying to get through the busy week juggling deadlines, after-school activities, and somehow making a quick dinner (a few times, at least), spending quality time with the kids usually takes a back seat. But, no worries! It’s easier than you think to carve out just 10 minutes a day with one of these super-quick activities for kids. You can fit every one of these fun ideas into your daily schedule, and none of them require much planning or technology.
1. Play a Minute to Win It Game (or Two)
What's better for filling a few minutes than a game 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 and have your players go through a few rounds of each; you'll be amazed at how fast time flies.
2. Read a Book
We're betting that you can read at least two picture books in 10 minutes or, with an older child, a chapter of their current reading choice. Need to freshen up the bookcase? Check out our ultimate book list and our picks for the best books of 2023 (so far).
3. 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, create pictures, and tell a story. When your time is up, toss the shapes into a bag, stash the activity, and reuse it later.
4. 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 old 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.
Related: 100+ Indoor Activities for Kids
5. Have a 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.
6. 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, lumbering, or slithering like a furry, feathered, or scaled friend.
7. 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 for kids. Don’t stress about making “something.” This artsy activity from Mama.Papa.Bubba. is entirely exploratory.
8. 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!
9. Play Follow the Leader
Get creative with the classic “follow the leader” game. Choose a theme (such as acting like animals or moving like snowflakes), create super-silly walks, or explore outside with a follow-the-leader nature walk.
10. Build a Tower
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 heights.
11. Microwave Some S'mores
There’s no rule stating that you have to build a full-on campfire to toast a few s’mores. Ten seconds in the microwave will give you fluffy, puffy, totally melty marshmallows 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!
12. Make a 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. 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.
14. Let Them Thread a Strainer
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.
15. Make a 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 bag and take them out anytime your child wants to build.