25 Projects with Paper for Families Who Are Self-Isolating

Kids working with paper

Coronavirus has most of us hunkered down at home. For many, with schools closed and offices shut down, we find ourselves juggling work, home learning and activities for kids. We also find ourselves struggling with filling the time that used to be devoted to sports and clubs with something new. It’s paper to the rescue!

That’s right, that ubiquitous household staple that can go from work to fun in the snap of finger. We’ve rounded up 25 creative ways to use paper to help keep boredom at bay during this time of social-distancing and self-isolating.

For more paper fun, download these coloring pages!
  1. Write out a daily, or weekly, schedule and post it for the household. Structured time is important now that your regular routine has changed.
  2. Plan a scavenger hunt, based on skill levels, make it easy for little ones and more complicated for the adults. Start everyone off with the first clue and as they make their way through the hunt, leave clues written out on paper in the form of hints or riddles.
  3. Learn more about the ancient art of origami and bend and fold your way out of boredom. There are plenty of places online that can give you tutorials. https://origami.me/diagrams/
  4. Start doodling! For younger doodlers, the Kennedy Center and children’s book authors and illustrators are hosting Lunch Doodles
  5. Create or print out your own coloring pages. Have one person draw a picture and others fill it in. Or download and print templates like these for kids. Crayola also has pages for children and adults.
  6. We are not going outside as much as we were, so why not bring the outdoors in and make some paper flowers. Lots of websites show how to make different sorts of blooms, like this one from Country Living magazine.
  7. Feeling fidgety? Make your own fidget spinner out of paper. 
  8. There are plenty of games that require only pieces of paper and pencil, like hangman and tic tac toe.
  9. Read a book. And it does not have to be a solo activity. Choose a book that everyone can enjoy and have each member of the family read a chapter aloud. 
  10. Fold paper airplanes and if you have a backyard host a paper airplane battle or race.
  11. Plot out your family tree and create one by cutting out a tree trunk with branches and leaves for each family member. 
  12. Ever hear of cryptograms? Stump family members by having them decode secret messages. Write out a key for the alphabet substituting one letter for another. There are even websites that will create them for you. Then write out quotes and sayings on paper using the alternate letters and see how fast they can crack the code. 
  13. Download and print out a bingo game. Or better yet, make one of your own. Perhaps one tailored for social distancing? 
  14. Write letters to family and friends reminding them how much they mean to you. Perhaps write a thank you note to the postal worker who continues to deliver mail.
  15. Create a scrap book that includes your family’s oral history. Interview your parents or grandparents and write out stories from the past to put with your photos.
  16. Puzzles like crosswords and sudoku keep you occupied while sharpening your mind
  17. Have a masquerade ball, print out and decorate your own masks
  18. Start a journal. It is easy to begin. Not sure how to start? Try writing out what you are grateful for every day.
  19. We all have a book in us, whether it be poetry, essays or fiction. Find your book and get tips on how to start writing a novel here.
  20. Write out positive affirmations and post them throughout the house. 
  21. Learn how to read a road map. Plan a road trip to take once we are traveling again.
  22. Learn a new language, or at least new words. Write out flash cards and quiz each other.
  23. If you don’t have one already, there is no better time than to create a family emergency binder
  24. Start working on your personal finances and write out a budget and investment plan. 
  25. Take some time and practice your cursive handwriting, it does more than just look pretty.
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