Updated: Aug 31, 2021
Well friends, chances are wherever you are in the world reading this and whenever you read this, you'll have by now experienced lockdown in some form.
I don't know how it's going at your place but we always love fresh ideas for fun things to do at home. Last year I wrote a post called 'WHAT CAN I DO, I'M BORED!' but that was written before the world changed. We still often use those activities and sometimes mix them up with other things too. Before we launch in, here are my 3 top tips for keeping the kids entertained at home.
1. ALLOW THEM TO GET BORED
Yep you read correctly. Allowing our kiddos to get bored actually forces them to think creatively. You know yourself that when you feel bored, you have to think outside the square and address why you feel that way and what you can do about it. You don't have to constantly entertain your kids. Allowing them the time and space to be bored will actually enable them to know themselves more, will encourage them to develop interests and passions and will help them with their own self regulation, choice-making and resilience-building.
2. OUTLINE WHAT YOU ALREADY HAVE & CREATE A RESOURCE SPACE
Sometimes our kids can't see what they already have in front of them. It's actually easy to forget what's there especially if it's at the back of the cupboard or just isn't accessible to your kids. Go through your resources, their rooms, cupboards and drawers and bring out everything that you think might be useful. If you can, create a resource space. It might be a cupboard, a drawer, a shelf, a tub...however you can, try and group those items together in one place. I'm talking dominoes, playing card decks, puzzles, blocks or kinetic sand. Whatever you have, try and put it all into one place. You might be surprised by what you already have! Create a little list (draw or use photos for non-readers to reference) and be sure to show the kids where you are keeping the list and tub so that they can go and access it themselves.
3. ALLOW THEM TO SHARE THEIR INTERESTS AND DISCOVERIES
At some point in your day it is likely that a child is going to want to show you/share with you what they have created. This is sometimes hard when you're in the middle of a Zoom call or long email-returning session. Tell them that you want to hear about it/see it all and that you'll be able to do that at a certain time. Stick to this as best you can (we are all human after all ;) ) Always give age appropriate supervision for anything dangerous and I always suggest monitoring online activity too. Ok all that said, let's chat about some fun ways to keep kids entertained at home.
CREATE AN OBSTACLE COURSE
Indoors, this can be used of course by using cushions, brooms, mops, chairs, washing baskets or twine. Outdoors, you could set up a whole challenge where you can't touch the grass etc. Walk on ropes, climb ladders (safely), jump through hoops, etc. Here's one I set up with Zeeki a few years ago.
MAKE A NAIL BOARD LOOM
Knock some nails into a thick piece of wood. Use elastics or string to create patterns of different kinds.
MAKE YOUR OWN PAINT
We use this recipe HERE but you can also use a little less plain flour if you have no cornflour at home.
Our kiddos fave is ART FOR KIDS HUB tutorials but there are lots out there (and of course lots of tutorials in books too).
My daughter Zippi drawing a llama.
CREATE A SET OF TANGRAMS
If you don't have a set of tangrams (we got ours below from an Op shop for $1 a while ago), you could make your own set by following the instructions HERE. Just make sure you make them on thick cardboard so they last longer! There are lots of shapes and patterns you can make HERE.
MAKE SALT DOUGH DISCS FOR NATURE IMPRESSIONS
Our little hands have always loved collecting little nature treasures from our walks in our backyard and then pressing these into salt dough discs. Recipe HERE.
STOP MOTION ANIMATION
My kids have loved making stop motion animations of all kinds but mostly with Lego. They have used green screens and Zing Studio's and Stikbot Studio apps too. THIS video covers a few basic tips and tricks for stop motion making.
Make a cute little origami pencil box. This was made by Miss 12 back in January and is still going in late August! That's pretty impressive for some paper and instruction following. She watched #9 in THIS tutorial.
HOLD A PUPPET SHOW OR A PLAY
Paper cut outs attached to the ends of spoons or pencils make the most simple of puppets. Plays can be written out and then typed up into a script format using the app CELTX. You also can not go wrong with a white sheet pinned up, the lights off and a light source to create a shadow puppet show!
MAKE A MARBLE RUN
Use toilet rolls, paper plates, straws, masking tape, half cut tubes, old foam pieces and blocks to stagger to help you set up a marble run.
We usually time how long it takes for the marble to reach the end and the one that takes the longest wins! Making a marble run out of lego is also easy and fun!
BECOME AN APPLIANCE DETECTIVE
With parent or guardian permission of course, pull apart an old appliance that no longer works.
My kids LOVE doing this and have pulled apart old computers, toasters, TV monitors, torches, cameras, remote controls, coffee machines and so much more. They play with the levers and see how things piece together. It's a great way to encourage curiosity and to engage and active mind.
GO ON A GOOGLE EARTH ADVENTURE
My 9 year and I this year have travelled to some amazing destinations around the world (all thanks to Google Earth!) We have found turtles in the Great Barrier Reef, been to an indoor waterpark in Chicago and have seen amazing statues on Easter Island. Read THIS blog post here about how we do our Google Earth Adventures. Use THIS free printable to record where you visited and what you saw.
TEA TIME READING OR INDOOR PICNIC
Hold a tea time read aloud with the kids. You read aloud and they sip tea and snack on treats while you read. The only rule we have is that while I'm reading they have to be quiet. They can move, eat, fidget and wriggle but they do it so they can still hear the story. If you can't read it to them, set them up with an audio book or a read aloud on the podcast app.
WRITE A LETTER TO A FRIEND
There's something very special about good old fashioned snail mail! Lockdown is the perfect time to let someone know you are thinking about them. Not sure how to set out a letter? Follow the guide on page 7 of our Mini Freebie bundle found HERE.
Make a set of story stones for yourself of paint up some rocks and leave them to hide in public places for others to find. A lovely little way to spread the love.
FOR LITTLE HANDS
Sometimes it felt like I needed to have seven thousand things for the kids to do when they were little! Busy minds usually have busy hands and feet!
Any activity that encourages the following will be a winner for keeping little hands entertained:
planting, sorting, drawing, threading, carrying, colour coding, baking, washing, bubble blowing, climbing, helping, catching, throwing, connecting, building, stretching, pushing, pulling, colouring, pouring, discovering...
There are SO many other things that you could do including taking an online museum tour, making friendship bracelets, learn how to do french knitting using toilet rolls, do some vegetable printing, create some homemade fabric dyes, make a playdough dress for your barbies, build the tallest house of cards you can or tower (out of marshmallows and spaghetti!), make an indoor fort, create an archaeological dig, play pick up sticks (paint your own that you collected from a walk outside), make your own homemade make up and so much more! Come and join our Membership HERE for more ideas and printables.
This post is featured in Twinkl's Fun Things to Do to Keep Kids Entertained at Home blog, where you can find other brilliant ideas to keep children occupied whilst indoors by clicking here! Go and check it out!
Stay well and happy learning. More soon, Lusi x