10 Activities to do with Children
These are strange times in which we’re living at the moment and they might become a whole lot stranger when, on top of two parents being at home full-time, you add the children into the mix! If schools shut, I want to give you some ideas of things you could do to fill the time while you’re in self-isolation and activities that you can prepare for. Here are ten ideas but I’m sure there are more out there so feel free to share them with me: if we’re in this situation for a while, I’m sure we’ll need fresh ideas over the coming weeks and months!
This may not sound fun but a family pow-wow about how it’s going to work with everyone at home is a good idea to manage expectations. I know that my children can’t wait for school to be closed, not realising that after a week of home schooling, they’ll be asking to return!
Things to consider in the ‘Rules’ might be how the day is structured (will you all get up as if you’re going to school for example?), where people work and whether they need to be left alone (if the door’s open you can come in but if it’s closed I need to be left alone – that kind of thing), activities that will be allowed during the day vs those that won’t (thinking use of mobile phones and tablets!)….each family will have their own way of doing things but I think it’s good to discuss at the outset.
2. What you have already – indoors
Before schools close, have a look around and see what you have at home already and what stocks need replenishing. Has all the paint dried out? Do you have enough paper? Stock up on glue, pipe cleaners, start stashing the loo roll inners, keep newspapers for papier mâche … you get the drift. The Works on Tonbridge High Street and Hobby Craft at North Farm Tunbridge Wells are good places to visit for crafty bits (as long as you’re well enough to go out, otherwise, ask a friend to go for you).
3. What you have already – outdoors
I know it’s been a while since we played outside with all this rain, but I bet that as soon as we’re all confined at home, the sun will come out!
Do you have the right sports kit? Were you going to invest in something large like a trampoline later in the year perhaps for a child’s birthday? It might be an idea to bring that forward and buy it now!
Our friends at Little Big Sports wrote a blog for us on the importance of sport for children and they have lots of stock. They’re also an independent mum-led business like mine so let’s support them!
4. Exploring the great outdoors
Walking the dog, cycling, going for a kick about in a local park have not been banned yet and they’re FREE! You may want to keep your distance from people you meet but fresh air is going to help us all get through this. Being outdoors, come rain or shine, is great for our mental health and there’s fun and educational stuff that you can do along the way such as identifying wild flowers, achieving a personal best cycle time on a route or climbing trees.
This website from the Woodland Trust has some great suggestions of things that you can do in the back garden as well as out and about whilst Raising Shoots provides activities for seasonal walks with accompanying poems and pieces of art. You have to buy this last one, but it looks really beautiful and I’m sure will inspire creativity.
Yes, children like electronic games these days but there’s only so much time they can spend on tablets and computers! You could try local charity shops for different games and jigsaws or buy some online. Either way, it might be a good idea to stagger presenting them, depending on how long you’re inside.
You could combine crafting and board games and encourage your children to design their own! A great printable resource is on Twinkl.
According to children and what we’re hearing from schools, packs of school-work will be sent home and, in some cases, lessons will be performed online. If your primary age child completes the work quickly but you want to maintain some semblance of normality with school-work, then Twinkl is a great resource. There are work sheets for all sorts of subjects and topics and as one friend told me, “They’re so good that children don’t even realise that they’re learning!”
Some other educational apps and websites that have been recommended to me by teachers and friends are: Teach your Monster to Read, Reading Eggs, Maths Seeds, Tables Fables, Doodle Maths, Doodlespell, Doodle English, Mystery Science, Memrise, Linky Thinks, Seneca, Scratch and Lightbot. But this list really isn’t exhaustive!
If you want to keep away from digital resources then try this which we featured in our 2018 Christmas gift guide. Sarah’s literature aids can help children from as young as pre-schoolers to GCSE level and regardless of what happens to GCSE and A-Level exams this summer, we need to keep our children’s brains stimulated!
I know listening is typically for the car but if everyone can sit or lie down, you could benefit from some not necessarily quiet time but quieter time!
Local Kent blogger Guilty Mother wrote a blog on her top podcasts for children that you can read here and for older teens, might I suggest, “No such thing as a fish” (watch the language at times) and even some good ol’ Desert Island Discs! Last week’s was Harry Potter himself, Daniel Radcliffe which I haven’t listened to but there are decades of people to choose from. The likes of David Beckham and Ed Sheeran are likely to appeal to our teens but you might be surprised at other ones they select!
For some other listening, author Oliver Jeffers is reading one of his stories each evening at 6pm and discussing what went into writing it. You can find the author behind “The Day the Crayons Quit” on Instagram and the story telling will be available for 24 hours after its first reading … other authors may do the same.
8. Bit of culture
Did you know that some museums offer virtual tours? Amazing isn’t it? You can have a look around museums and art galleries from around the world such as the British Museum in London, the Guggenheim Museum, NY and the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam. There is a longer list here.
9. To watch
This whole situation would be a lot worse (and in some cases maybe better) if we weren’t living in the digital age. There is so much for us all to watch to keep us occupied but how do we break up the usual ‘down-time TV’ with more informative programmes?
There is a huge back catalogue of documentaries on catch-up but have you considered the TED talks on YouTube. These are probably more suitable for older children but they cover a huge range of topics and are bite-size in length.
Consider setting your child a challenge! Could they learn to play a piece on the piano by memory during their time at home? Could they see how many keepy-uppies they can do by the time they return to school? And you could challenge yourself too, and I don’t just mean staying sane! Could you meditate daily? Maybe do some yoga everyday or go for a run? Perhaps there could be a reward at the end …I think we’ll all need something to look forward to!
Hopefully that has given you some different ideas of things to do with your little ones be it when schools are closed or just in the holidays!
Good luck, stay healthy and keep in touch – I’m just a phone call away