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Published July 11th 2020
Need something to entertain your kids while everyone is in lockdown? Here are 20 tips to keep them (and you) occupied.
1. Creative craft Try do it yourself fun craft like sewing a quilt, knitting a scarf, creating a photo collage album, building a birdhouse from ice-cream sticks, and decorating plastic pot plant holders, to name a few. Getting creative, from design to end product, should occupy any age group for at least a few hours. It's a great way to recycle old materials too.
You may not be able to travel further than your backyard, so why not recreate the camping experience in your backyard or balcony? Pitch a tent, tell ghost stories, toast marshmallows. The good news is, pets are welcome and you can go inside if it starts raining.
3. Piece together a puzzle Clear the dining table and take out that 1000-piece puzzle for some family fun. Check out Jigsaw Planet for free online puzzles at different skill levels. OR make your own by pasting a picture from a magazine onto a sheet of cardboard (recycle cereal boxes), then cutting up the image into different sized shapes.
4. Board games Board games are fun for all ages! Try classics like Scrabble, Monopoly, Checkers, Chess, Snakes and Ladders. OR check out Arkadium for free online games or create your own game following these easy steps.
5. Set up a treasure hunt Treasure hunts are pretty easy and depending on how many items there are, could last a while. Hide 10 to 20 items around the house or outside to keep kids occupied for a few hours. To make it more fun, draw a treasure map, and place messages with clues around each item to help find the next item.
6. Write a letter No, not via email, but on paper. Write a letter to someone you love but may not have seen for a long time, like grandparents, or to a friend or family member who lives on their own. Decorate the letter with hand-drawn drawn pictures or stickers and then mail it to send.
7. Build a cubby house Don't let the weather or limited space stop you. Whether it's a fortress made from blankets and sheets hanging from chairs or bunk beds, or a compact castle from large cardboard boxes joined together, a hideout is the perfect for play and for kids to later retreat and read or create stories.
Learn how to use programs like PhotoShop, iMovie or YouTube to edit photos and videos. Create a photo diary of unusual sights during lockdown and/or create a personal YouTube channel.
9 Alphabet game A very simple and fun learning game. Pick any subject, for example, names of famous people, animals, and food items, then ask kids to write one down for each letter of the alphabet (without using Google!). You could even add a visual component where they have to draw the item alongside the written word.
10. Stone art Collect some flat, smooth surface pebbles on your next walk outdoors, give them a good clean and dry, then get ready to paint. Younger kids can paint faces, animals, flowers, then place them in pot plants as colourful decorations. Older ones may try stylish Japanese designs or create a stone art to frame.
Select a story (or get the kids to write their own), then get them to dress-up in DIY costumes and make their own stage sets to stage the play to the family. This will keep kids busy with the script, decorations, rehearsals, makeup and costumes, and making invitations to the premiere, for hours.
12. Spring clean
Being at home means there is time for clearing clutter in our homes. Ask the kids to put on a solo fashion show with their clothes and shoes in their closets, trying them on and sorting them into piles to keep and to donate. They can do this with their toys and board games too. Get them involved in choosing the charity they want to give to.
An ancient Japanese legend promises that anyone who folds a thousand origami cranes will be granted a wish by the Gods. This quiet, no-mess, and stress-reducing activity can keep young and old kids entertained for hours. Check out this website for other fun animal designs to make.
14. Make a scrapbook
Gather old tickets from fun days out, postcards from holidays, photographs from your child's earliest years, and whatever else you wish. Together, paste them into a memory book, and add poems or stories next to some of them.
15. Cook dinner together
Cooking is a necessary skill for everyone. Get the kids to help in the kitchen - cutting vegetables, mixing batters, or following a recipe. Take them shopping to buy the ingredients too. Some easy, fun, and delicious ideas include tacos, pizzas, spaghetti bolognese, and burgers.
16. Write a short story
Give your kid a notebook and a pen and start brainstorming together a few story ideas. Some suggestions: stories about space, the future, mythical creatures, imagined characters, past holidays or life experience, or a story about their stone art friends (see above).
17. Nature discovery
Get out in the garden and collect leaves, flowers, grass, feathers, bark, and more. Look at them closely under a magnifying glass or microscope and draw their intricate structures, noting differences and similarities.
18. Make a happiness jar
On colourful pieces of paper, write down or draw things that make you happy, and place it in a jar to open at the end of the month and read together. Or you can display the notes on a wall, for daily appreciation and gratitude.
19. Write a journal
Daily journal writing is great for writing skills, creativity, practising grammar and spelling, and reducing stress. You can read back on entries at the end of the week together, and talk about any concerns your kids may be experiencing.
20. Create Your Own Recipe Book
Buy a hardcover book with blank pages. On one side of each opened page, handwrite your favourite snack, meal and dessert recipes. On the adjacent page, paste in a photo of the meal after cooking it.
Do you have any other fun and creative ideas for keeping kids entertained during lockdown? Please share in the comments below.