Balancing the demands of daily life can be tough: raising a family, maintaining the home, cooking dinner and now, working from home whilst the kids are there too. With the current restrictions shutting schools and limiting the amount of time you can spend outside of your home, there will be parents everywhere that are scrambling for ways to keep their little darlings occupied. We’ve put together some fun ideas to keep them busy for short periods of time.
Keep a few mystery shoe boxes filled with exciting toys or activities. Rotate them frequently and take out only one at a time. Let your little one un-pack the toys and discover what’s inside the box.
This also works well with baking ideas, adding the recipe and a few dry ingredients to the box.
LEARN TO SEW
Punch holes in a paper plate and have your child thread a string through the holes. This teaches them great hand eye coordination and patience too.
Puzzles are a great way to keep your child occupied while teaching them valuable skills. And they come in all kinds of age ranges to perfectly suit your child. Don’t have any at home? There is nothing stopping you from extending the activity by printing your favorite picture and then cutting it up into your pieces.
HOUSEBOUND TREASURE HUNTS
Create a map of your home and hide small items around it. Mark each piece on the map. For those that are older, clues can be used to describe each hiding place. For example: ‘I am cold and my light comes on when I’m opened’. When the hunt is over, they can then organise their own hunt for the parents to partake in.
Take a messy play tray or a washing up bowl. Fill it with any uncooked rice and pop in several things to help your kids to become rice-panning-experts: Spoons, bowls, cups, balls, toys – anything you can think of!
LIFE SIZE DRAWINGS
Stick a load of A4 sheets of paper together (or if you have a big paper roll even better!) and place it on the floor. Encourage the kids to lie down on it and outline their body with a pen. From this moment on there is no way to stop the kids getting creative: colour in, add accessories to the figures like stickers or stamps, design clothes with old material off-cuts or other things you might find in the art drawer.
STAGE AN IMPROMPTU CONCERT
Ask your children to practice a favourite song or dance and have them perform it in front of the family in a post-dinner talent show.
PRINT OUT COLOURING PAGES
Low on art and craft supplies? No worries. There are plenty of free printable colouring pages online. Crayola have some great examples HERE
AT HOME SCIENCE EXPERIMENTS
Simple science experiments are a great way to engage young children. It nurtures their sense of curiosity and allows them to explore the world around them. The BBC have some amazing examples HERE
Baking with little ones can be a messy and time-consuming activity. Shorten the process by buying pre-made cupcakes that can be decorated with a variety of different things – ready made icing, sprinkles and different sweets all add to a great cupcake decorating station!
MAKE SALT DOUGH
Bake simple salt-dough ornaments and then paint them into seasonal designs or use whatever cookie cutter shapes you have available.
Virtual tours are a great way to visit worldwide museums, zoos and theme parks without ever leaving your living room. A comprehensive list can be found HERE
Making activity dice is an opportunity to be both creative and active. Our favourite free printables can be found below:
Sometimes the most fun can be found in the simple things – like tape!
- Tape Shape Game: Use tape to put a variety of shapes, letters and/or numbers on your floor. Get your child stand on their favourite one then give them instructions to follow that will lead them to their next destination (for example: “bear crawl to the square”, “hop like a Frog to the T”, “Run to the rectangle”).
- Tape Lines: Make 5–10 separate lines of tape, each about a foot apart, on your floor or carpet. Label the first one the “start” line and then give your kids simple instructions:
- Long Jump: See how many lines they can jump over. Have them try and beat their best score each time. Experiment with arm swinging vs. arms behind their backs.
- Run ‘n’ Jump: Now let them take a running start and see if they can jump even further!
- Long Jump Backwards: Increase the difficulty by performing the tasks jumping backwards.
- Hop: How far can they jump on one leg?
- Reach ‘n’ Stretch: How far can their leg reach with one foot on the “start” line?
Ever seen how much fun kids get from balloons at birthday parties? A simple yet effective way to create some fun:
- Don’t Let the Balloon Touch The Ground– hit the balloon up in the air but don’t let it touch the ground. To make it more challenging for older kids, have them juggle more than 1 balloon, or tie one hand behind their back.
- Penguin Waddle: Place a balloon between your child’s knees and have them waddle across the room without dropping it. Make it more challenging for older kids by having them go around a few obstacles. If they drop it, they have to go back to the start.
- Balloon Blow: Set up a “course” and see if your child can blow a balloon all the way to the finish line. They’ll have to do lots of army crawls working their upper body and core strength along the way.
- Balloon Volleyball: Make a “net” by tying a piece of string between 2 chairs and then have your child hit the balloon back and forth by running from one side to the other, trying to keep it off the floor.
Good luck to all parents – we hope you stay safe and stay sane!
Get in touch: E: [email protected] T: 01235 821942