15 activity books to keep your kids entertained at home

Because eventually even screens get boring.
Making sure to color inside of the lines
If you're at home with kids in dire need of entertainment, you've come to the right place.Getty Images stock
/ Source: TODAY

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If you're home-schooling your kids during coronavirus school closures, you might have a few hours of online activities to do each day — but how do you fill the time after that?

Somewhere around your 17th hour of screen time, you might wonder if there are other ways to occupy your child. That's where activity books for kids come to the rescue!

These favorite activity books provide all kinds of activities for kids at home of all ages. Admittedly, some require supervision. But some allow for a glorious window of independent play. Still more, a few are even offering free online books or activity pages during school shutdowns.

1. Melissa & Doug Water Wow!

These reusable coloring books allow toddlers to “paint” with water for a no-mess activity.

2. “Draw Here,” by Hervé Tullet

Fans of “Press Here” can loosen up creative muscles with art activities that go beyond coloring, like scribbling around colorful dots. Or try Tullet’s fun "Ready, Set, Draw" game.

3. “Start with a Word: A Journal for Finding Your Star,” by Peter H. Reynolds

This journal of creative prompts encourages kids to find words to express their thoughts and feelings but also lets them invent band names, make up ice cream flavors and have fun.

4. “Tinkeractive” Workbooks

These workbooks are leveled by grade and subject matter to help kids get excited while learning an appropriate curriculum.

5. “Brain Quest Workbooks”

Another workbook that’s leveled by grade to make sure activities are appropriate and teaching your child new skills.

6. “Kate the Chemist: The Big Book of Experiments,” by Kate Biberdorf

This book of 25 experiments from Kate the Chemist is a treat for the senses and the mind. Check out the recipe for puffy slime she shared with TODAY.

7. “Awesome Science Experiments for Kids,” by Crystal Chatterton

Check out more than 100 fun experiments for kids ages 5-10. Make a tornado in a bottle, a wind-powered car or — safely outside — a foam explosion.

8. “My First Cookbook,” from America’s Test Kitchen Kids

This cookbook has recipes and instructions that are perfect for little hands, including healthy after school snacks and breakfast, lunch and dinner. America’s Test Kitchen Kids is also providing free resources, including videos, recipes and experiments, on its website.

9. “Share Your Smile,” by Raina Telgemeier

The best-selling author of “Smile” and “Guts” shows kids how to tell their own stories in this make-your-own graphic novel.

10. “Mad Libs Workbooks”

Take the fun of "Mad Libs" and add some explanations about parts of speech and you have fun lesson plans for grades one through four.

11. “Uni the Unicorn Dream & Draw Activity Book”

The unicorn who believes in girls sparks imagination for little ones who can draw Uni’s imagination, play with the stickers included, connect the dots and more.

12. “Don’t Let the Pigeon Finish This Activity Book,” by Mo Willems

If Mo Willems’ lunchtime doodles have been saving your sanity, consider more pigeon-inspired fun.

13. “Coloring Without Borders”

This coloring book to benefit children at the border is full of fun coloring pages and other activities. The nonprofit Families Belong Together is also providing free worksheets and pages during school shutdowns.

14. “The Goods,” by McSweeney’s

Full of games and activities for big and little kids along with some thought experiments, like how to tell if your parents are aliens.

15. “Animation Studio,” by Helen Piercy

This activity book leaps off the page to create a mini animation studio for your budding filmmaker.