8 Ways to Keep Kids Entertained When Hosting Houseguests

When you're hosting lots of fun family, there's always a gaggle of kids roaming the house searching for new adventures. The last thing you want to do is park the crew in front of a droning TV so the adults can get the chance to chat amongst themselves. With a little creativity, and some prepping magic, there are ways everyone can have an enjoyable time all in the same space.

  1. Make a scavenger hunt: This is an exciting activity for kids of all ages. Before guests arrive, put together a sheet of paper with items for visitors to search for during the visit. You can create two different options to use, one with words and another with pictures, so even the youngest houseguests can get involved. Award prizes to those who find everything in the scavenger hunt at the end of the visit.
  2. Play restaurant: Sure, they might not be able to cook everything on the list, but let the kids come up with a menu for one meal during the visit, like breakfast, and create actual menus. Older ones can assist in the kitchen with prepping the meal, like putting Pillsbury cinnamon rolls into pan then icing them when they come out of the oven, while the rest of the kids can seat the customers and take orders, just like in a real restaurant.
  3. Play two truths and one lie: Once guests arrive, discreetly ask each one for two truths and one made up thing about themselves. Write out everyone's answers on notecards, with the person's name on the back, and tape cards to the living room wall. Give everyone the day to try to figure out who belongs with each card and then share the answers after dinner.
  4. Build a time capsule: Invite kids to create a time capsule filled with all the awesome parts of the visit. They can draw pictures, write stories, or select small items (like a special cookie cutter) and store them in a small box. Find a spot to store the finished time capsule until the next time you're all together, then take it out and share the memories.
  5. Put on a production: Kids love showing off their talents, so pick a night for a big show. During the visit, everyone can work on their part of the production, like group songs, short skits, or magic acts. The night of the performance, pop popcorn, get comfortable on the couch, and watch the show.
  6. Write a group story: This is a great idea that gets everyone involved. Pick up an empty notebook before guests arrive, and on the first night, talk about what type of story you should write. Then each person gets a turn writing one page before passing the notebook to another writer, with adults helping younger kids as needed. On the last night, read the story out loud and see what type of adventure was created.
  7. Create an art gallery: During the stay, pick a wall or hallway in your home to use for creating an art gallery. Set up an art table stocked with paper and materials for the kids to use for creating colorful artworks. Parents can be available to help out as needed. Then hang the finished works on the wall with tape alongside titles. Host an art opening on the last night of the visit and encourage all the young artists to mingle and talk about their works of art.
  8. Get out the games: Set up a table with all your favorite board games and start an ultimate weekend game challenge. Kids can play whatever they want and the winner gets to pick the next game. Keep playing and see who is the master of the game table.

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