With new lockdown measures in place parents are finding new ways to keep young ones entertained during long days at home.
Here are some ways to fire up your kid's imagination, from arts and crafts to exercise activities – leaving you more time to work from home or simply take a breather. Here are some ideas to keep your young ones entertained during lockdown, I hope they help.
Set up an Obstacle Course
This works best in the back yard, but if it’s wet outside you improvise. You could have your child do 5 star-jumps, throw balls into a laundry basket and crawl under a row of chairs. Add in a ladder, a box to crawl though, hoops or sticks to jump over....get creative! Alternatively, you could host your own Olympic Games.
Make a Box Car
Let your kids zoom through the living room in their very own race car. Get the instructions here.
Your own Drive-in movie
Make a box car (as above) for an indoor drive-in film. Add popcorn and you have happy children.
It's the easiest activity and kids get a real kick out of it. Fill a clear glass with lemonade and drop raisins into the glass. What happens? Do they sink or float?
It might take a minute or two but watch the raisins dance! They can then write a story about what they observed and why they think the raisins dance.
Spend some time outdoors by doing some gardening. Your little ones will love getting messy in the fresh soil and being on garden hose duty. It’s the perfect time to get your vegetable garden ready. Prep the soil; get your seed pots ready, make some plant tags all ready to plant your seeds once you have them. King Seeds are still sending in Level 4 if you want to order online https://www.kingsseeds.co.nz/
I love planting seeds with my children and watching them grow. It’s funny how when children are involved in growing vegetables they can actually be eager to eat them.
Make a Cardboard Dollhouse
Create your own dollhouse, as intricate or as simple as you’d like. Here are some instructions to get you started. You might not be able to go to the shop to pick the perfect paper to decorate it but this can make it extra exciting. Do you have some clothes that no longer fit or have a few stains? Use the fabric to decorate, make some curtains, and create bedspreads or rugs. This activity should keep them entertained for a while.
This DIY at home Bubble Recipe will provide your kids (and dogs) with hours of fun!
This is nice and easy to make and is always a hit.
Beat around 4 tablespoons of dishwashing liquid (or baby soap or bubble bath would do the same thing if you need something sensitive for your littlies) with half a cup of water.
Beat until it gets the right texture. Add more water or dishwashing liquid to get desired amount of bubbles and a few drops of colouring. I made 3 batches to get a mixture of colours.
I’ve done this activity before on a rainy day in the bath, happy kids, mess contained, perfect!
Go on a Scavenger Hunt
Make a walk more engaging by turning it into a scavenger hunt. Select objects for your young ones to tick off, including a street sign, a crack in the footpath, something blue, a green letterbox, a bird in a tree, and so on. There’s no rush to complete the list in one outing!
My kids love making their own scavenger hunts inside too. Hide blocks, toys, pictures or whichever you choose and play the hot and cold game. "you are getting closer....warm, warm, warm....hot!"
Collect and Paint Rocks
Collect rocks, then make a craft day out of it. Paint them with whatever paint you have at home and maybe even turn them into rock magnets for the fridge! Painted rocks make for a good scavenger hunt once painted too.
Wash the Car
If it’s warm enough outside, get the kids to help you out with cleaning your family car(s). A bucket of soapy water is always fun!
A Dance Party
Bring the party to your living room with Kidz Bop, a YouTube channel packed with dance-along videos and step-by-step tutorials. The dances are performed by kids, for kids! Add some scarfs or dress ups for a bit of extra fun.
Art Recycling Project
From tin can wind chimes to papier-mâché plant pots, there’s a potential art collection tucked away in your recycling bin. Have a look at your recycling and see what you can build with whatever’s inside. If you have a hot glue gun, pull that out, setup a table with bits of recycling, paper or cardboard shapes, pom poms, googly eyes, shells, whatever you can find around the house and let their imaginations go wild! This was my daughters creation, all that was needed was bark from the garden, a cardboard box, hot glue gun and she used a few bits and pieces she found in her fairy garden.
Another classic fun thing to do at home. Who can find the best hiding spot in the house?
Build a fort
Who doesn't love building forts? Get your torches and read some books in your hut. Outside huts are fun too! Tree prunings make awesome huts.
Kids love Lego! Give them some inspiration, creative ideas, and let their imagination soar.
Here's some ideas:
- Make a marble run
- Build a Motel
- Build your favourite character
- Build a robot
- Build a car, attach a marker and use the car to draw
- Build a pyramid
- Build an animal
Make a bug hotel
This activity may sounds a little bit different but it has to be one of my kids favourites; it keeps them entertained purely with nature which I love. Go searching for insects, learn what they eat, and make them a hotel in the garden. Use sticks, leaves, bits of wood, and whatever loose parts you can find in the yard.
Freeze different animals (or whichever toys you choose) in a container along with some leaves or ‘dinosaur food’ and let the kids break it apart once frozen. This is a great activity in the bath too.
Children can have so much fun playing with rice. A big container with some bowls, cups, spoons, utensils, whatever you find to add to it. My son likes adding his trucks and diggers to the play. It also makes the perfect sprinkles for playdough icecreams or donuts
Playdough is an all-time favourite, especially for younger ones. The creative potential is endless to pass the lockdown time with flying colours! Playdough is best stored in the fridge in an airtight container.
- 4 cups flour
- 1 1/2 cups salt
- 3 tbsp oil
- 1 1/2 cup warm water
- food coloring of your choice (optional)
- In a large bowl, mix salt and flour.
- In a smaller container, add 1/4 cup of warm water. 1/2 tablespoon of oil, and 2-3 drops of food coloring. Mix.
- Add 1 cup of the flour and salt mixture.
- Mix until combined and dough starts to form.
- Transfer dough to a floured surface. Knead. Add flour or water as needed.
Making volcanos erupt is always fun. Build a volcano, you could use paper mache or do it in the sandpit, add a bottle in the middle to fill with vinegar and a dash of red food colouring. When you are ready for the eruption add baking soda.
Another favourite in our house is the travelling water experiment. Get 5 glasses and fill with a bit of water. All to the same level. Small glasses work best, the ones pictured are too big and took a long time to get results but its all we had.
Add food colouring in cup 1, 3 and 5. We used red, blue and yellow. Fold paper towels to travel between the glasses, trim so they are not too long.
Watch the water travel and observe the changes to cups 2 and 4. We left ours for a full day.
Cooking With Your Little Ones
Many of us could do with a bit of meal inspiration. Cooking with young ones needs to be very forgiving on ingredients, easy to follow instructions, quick and most importantly, FUN! Here’s a selection of recipes to help you get through…you’re welcome!
It’s not always easy being cooped up at home, but with a little bit of effort, you can create some fun things to do that will help pass the time and also make some wonderful memories. You’ll probably have to work with what you have on hand, with stores being closed, but with a little creativity, we’re sure you can make most of these ideas work.
Stay safe in your bubbles … You’ve got this!