For the free-range children of the ’80s and ’90s, coming up with screen-free things to do when they were bored was easy. For kids of today, it can be less so.
Parents these days don’t tend to send their kids out the front door, yelling, “Come home when the street lights come on!” So finding ways to keep them entertained can sometimes be a challenge.
Here are 15 retro-inspired activities that your kids can do at home.
Your favourite classic games are the perfect for the bored kids of today.
Retro gaming activities
1. Play a board game - Bonus points if said board game is a retro special!
2. Build a blanket fort - A broom wedged between the couch cushions is a tried and tested place to start.
3. Play marbles - Build a track in the dirt or search up the rules to some classic schoolyard marble games.
4. Pull an old electronic device apart, then try to put it back together - Find an old radio or DVD player, grab some screwdrivers and explore. Avoid devices that have screens, though - you don’t want to cut yourself on glass!
A 1970's fad that is still a great way to get the kids connecting with nature.
Retro nature activities
5. Pick and press flowers - All you need is some flowers, a couple of heavy books, absorbent paper and time.
6. Paint pet rocks - Use poster paint or markers to transform pebbles into friends.
7. Camp in the garden - If you have a tent, great! If not, try to build one with household items. Actually sleeping in it is optional, but highly recommended.
8. Make a fairy ring - Use rocks, flowers and anything else you can find to create a magical circle for tiny visitors.
Dubbs, Lines, Rolls! Handball is a great way to keep the kids active and enntertained.
Retro energetic activities
9. Do an aerobics workout video - Leg warmers or not, get up and dance like it’s 1988.
10. Host a kids-only handball tournament - There’s only one rule for a kids’ handball tournament: no adults allowed!
Let your kids get creative with coloured chalk and dedicated patch of concrete.
Retro creative activities
11. Write a letter to a pen-pal - Break out the fancy paper and scented markers, and create some snail mail.
12. Learn to finger knit (or even standard knit!) - Find a tutorial online or Facetime a grandparent to teach you the art of knitting.
13. Draw on concrete with chalk - Create a hopscotch course or simply beautify your driveway to spread some joy with your neighbours.
14. Tie-dye something - Order a kit online or get creative with whatever you have at home. Make sure to head outside though - it’s a MESSY activity.
15. Print out lyrics and learn the words of your favourite song - Or, do it the old fashioned way and write them out yourself (scented marker optional).
Reviewed by the healthylife Advisory Board July 21, 2021.