Whilst we are all not in the same boat during the Coronavirus Pandemic, we are all trying to weather the same storm. Everyone is experiencing unusual circumstances and for some that is juggling working from home and home-schooling children. Whilst schoolwork will take up a large portion of their day, how do we keep them occupied for the rest of the time? Here are 20 ideas for keeping your children occupied and entertained.
Lighten the load by spreading it around, assign chores to everyone else in the home. Dependent on their abilities and age this can be loading the dishwasher, hoovering, dusting or washing and ironing. Don’t feel guilty, these are life skills you are teaching them!
Add some fresh air to their daily routing by dolling out gardening tasks. A great idea is to get the children planting seeds, give them the responsibility for watering and maintaining them.
3. Treasure Hunt
If you have a mix of older and younger children enlist the help of the older ones to create a treasure hunt. Hide “treasures” around the home and the garden and write clues on how to find them, if you are all feeling particularly creative you can even draw a treasure map!
4. Have A Clear Out
Ask your children to have a clear out of their toys, books, games and clothes. Those they have outgrown can be taken to a local charity shop once they are open again or even listed on your local social media page for others to enjoy.
5. Video Call Friends and Relatives
Whilst we all need to stay at home, we do not need to lose contact with friends and family. Schedule in video calls for the children so they can speak with their friends and family members.
6. Get Painting
Whilst the weather is nice, crack open the paints, cover the garden table over, and let them get creative. The Artful Parent has 7 great children’s painting ideas, we love the spin painting!
7. Time Capsule
As our circumstances are so unusual why not record it forever with a time capsule? You can create your own family time capsule with a simple story about what is going on and how it affects the family, seal it with some relevant items in an air tight container and bury it in the garden. If you would like to follow a time capsule guide this YouTube video from MooGooPi is a really good visual guide.
8. Scavenger Hunt
Traditionally Scavenger hunts are all about traipsing through the countryside looking for signs of nature, that is still doable if you are lucky enough to live in a rural location and it can be done during your daily exercise. However, there are a whole host of scavenger hunts you can do. There are 30 printable Scavenger hunts available on the Buggy and Buddy website. How about a recycling scavenger hunt or an emotions one?
9. Traditional Garden Games
Impart some of your own fond childhood memories and teach the children how to play games like Leap Frog, British Bulldog, Hop Scotch, Mother May I? and the hundreds of other traditional games we all played. With a small amount of online research, you will soon have plenty of ideas and can show them one every day!
Depending on the age of your children, give them recipes to follow and the ingredients and let them get culinarily creative. You have a “two birds and one stone” scenario here, the children are occupied and you don’t have to worry about dinner preparations!
11. Build A Den
Whether this is inside or out, everyone loves to create a den! Inside they can use duvets and blankets, pillows and sofa cushions. Outside let them raid the shed for loungers and chairs, give them old blankets and sheets to drape across the washing line or swing and slide. Let their imagination run wild!
12. Create A Play
Give the children a story and get them to create and practice a Play based on the story. Tell them they will need to perform the for the rest of the family (other family members can video call in for this). They will have hours of fun practising and you and the rest of the family will have your evening’s entertainment sorted!
13. Camp Out In the Garden
Whilst we can’t very well go on holiday right now, it could be a good time to let the children experience camping out in the garden! Set up the family tent and airbeds, sleeping bags and duvets, arrange snacks and books and torches. What a fabulous experience they will have!
14. Dress Up
Donate some old clothes and shoes, handbags, accessories (and if you are feeling brave make-up) and let them play dress up! Good old-fashioned fun! And great pictures to send to other family members.
15. Exercise Circuit
It is so important to keep exercising, but the options can seem limited. Why not challenge the children to create an exercise circuit. Best compiled in the garden but with care, it can be created indoors. They can include things like running, shooting for a goal, throwing items at a target area, skipping, cycling, rolling or roly polys, cartwheels, crawling under or over things… Then set timers to see if they can beat their personal best!
16. Write Letters
A great idea to keep children occupied is to write letters, they can be for friends or family or even to NHS workers, Care staff or any other key workers – how about writing one for your Postie, after all they are still bringing our post. Won’t it be a lovely idea to give them a letter for a change. From a safe distance of course!
17. Do A Virtual Tour
Museums, Zoos and Art Galleries the world over have created virtual tours. Why not browse the Louvre, or the British Museum? Visit San Diego Zoo – these tours are fascinating and educational!
18. Mood Board
Keep the children looking forward and get them to create a mood board of all the things they are looking forward to doing when life returns to normal.
19. Family Tree
A lovely idea and one which will make your children feel closer to family is to create a family tree. They can call and ask relatives to fill in the blanks and see how far the family tree can reach. This doesn’t have to be technical, try using blank sheets of paper and as branches veer off Sellotape more sheets to create your sprawling family history.
20. Film Day
Dig out all your old Film sets and have a film day! How about a Harry Potter day? Or a Star Wars week? Don’t forget the classics like the James Bond films.
We hope you have found some of these ideas helpful. Your only challenge now is going to be carrying on with your work and resisting the temptation to join in the fun!