You have 10 minutes with absolutely, positively nothing to do. Consider one of these super-quick activities before your kids have to head out the door, head for the bath, or get ready to eat a meal. You can fit every one of these ideas into your daily schedule, even if it’s jam-packed (Seriously!). Scroll through the album below to see them all.

1. Finger Paint with Clay

Finger painting is fun. It just is. There are no other words for it. Really. But it’s also one of the messiest art activities that your crafty kid will do. If you’re short on time, but the littles are big on art, break out the clay. Tear dime-sized pieces of soft modeling clay apart. Your child can use a finger paint-like hand motion to smooth the clay across cardboard, creating a textured, layered faux finger painting.


2. Make a Noise Maker

Forget about those pricey musical instruments that your child sees (and begs you for) at the toy store. Toss dried beans or anything that makes noise into a reused water bottle. Close the cap tightly and have a 10-minute music-making fest. Grab a microphone (or make one from another water bottle) and create a family band. Got more time? Check out these other homemade musical instruments that actually play

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, creating pictures and telling a story. When your time is up, toss the shapes into a bag, stash the activity and reuse it later.

4. 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. 

5. Awesome Engineering

Build a tower. Have a 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-esque heights.

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, limbering 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. 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. Microwave Some S'mores

There’s no rule stating that you need to build a full-on campfire just to toast a few ooey gooey s’mores. Ten seconds in the microwave will give you fluffy, puffy, totally melty marshmallows that the 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!

10. Play Eye 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 ol’ game and set up your “Eye 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.

11. 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.

12. Follow the Leader

Get creative with the classic “follow the leader” game. Choose a theme (such as act like animals or move like snowflakes), create super-silly walks or explore outside with a follow the leader nature walk.

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. Strainer Threading

Your kids are about to explore and experiment with shape 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. 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 leftover after a freezy-fun snack, and a little creativity. Stash the sticks in a zipper baggy and take them out anytime your child wants to build.


You’ll also love:

8 Clever Ideas for Plastic Cup Play

18 Ways to Make the Most of Playtime

Art Projects You Can Set Up in Minutes

Will you try to fit one of these activities into your day? Share with us in a comment below.

—Erica Loop

Feature photo: Caleb Woods via Unsplash


activities for kids