The world has been in quarantine for more than a year already. Despite the rise of anti-COVID-19-vaccinations, federal and local governments in the US still require citizens to practice social distancing as the country (and the rest of the world) continues to combat the pandemic.

For families, the prolonged social distancing measures can pose a challenge. Granted, everyone has been in quarantine and adjusted to the new normal, parents are still brainstorming ways to keep their kids busy during the long days at home. Whether it’s online piano classes for kids or watch Disney princess movies in order, parents are still listing down ways to help their children beat cabin fever and keep them creative at the same time.

If you’re running out of ideas, fret not mom and dad. You can try several out-of-the-box suggestions to put the excitement back into your child’s routine.

DIY Board Games

If the kids are tired of playing Monopoly, UNO or the standard board games, let them create their own board games. Give them a poster board, construction paper and markers. Let them design their board game, one the family can play later.

If they need ideas or inspiration, give them a theme. For instance, ask them to design a Candy Land theme or a board game set in outer space. This fun activity hits two goals at once: it’s a learning experience that requires the use of critical thinking to create a game with rules.

Once the kids are done, play the game during family night and test everyone’s skills with their game.

Plant a Garden

Pre-COVID-19, planting a garden is one of those tasks that may seem difficult to schedule. But with COVID-19 putting a halt to everyone’s busy schedules, now is the best time to tackle your gardening project. Make it more fun by having the kids do some gardening with you.

Start by choosing what you’re going to plant: herbs, flowers or vegetables (or all three) and let the kids pick out the plants you can put in. Order your supplies and seeds online then spend a day setting up the garden (and get some Vitamin D while you’re at it).

Your kids will enjoy planting, digging around in the mud and watering plants. They also have something to look forward to as they wait for the plants to grow. You’ll also enjoy tending to your garden and seeing it come to life.

Mystery Movie Nights

Add a twist to family movie nights by putting some mystery in it. Have everyone in the family pick out three to ten family-friendly films you can stream on Netflix or Disney+.

Supply your children with a list of options. Then write each movie on a strip of paper, fold them up and put them in a jar. On family movie night, have someone reach into the jar to select the film you’re watching.

The best thing about this twist is that no one has to fight over the pick since everyone agreed to watch the movie that gets chosen.

Host a Snack Competition

Food projects are sure to keep your children entertained during the prolonged quarantine season. Mix their love for snacks by turning it into a cooking competition. If you have smaller children, know that this competition does not require the use of an oven or a stove.

Make the competition more challenging by creating a mystery basket of ingredients (one per kid) and set an amount of time for each “contestant” to cook their snacks. Give the kids easy ingredients to use to inspire their creativity. Add dry cereal, peanut butter, marshmallow and chocolate chips to their baskets.

Have a Camping Trip in the Backyard

It has been a year since going to the beach, let alone the park, has been a thing for the kids. Instead of letting them succumb to cabin fever, bring the outdoors to them. Set up a tent in the backyard (or in your living room if you don’t have a yard) and enjoy a full-fledged camping experience without leaving your house.

For dinner, eat hotdogs and s’mores then set up a pretend fire. Have the kids curl up in sleeping bags to watch the stars. Even if you end the night sleeping in your beds, the kids enjoyed a different kind of break from their normal routines.

Gadgets and TVs while away the time. But when it comes to entertaining the kids during quarantine, unconventional and no-screen-time activities are better at keeping them active and creative. Try these activities at home.