Keeping children entertained can be difficult at the best of times. Keeping them occupied when confined at home, with strict restrictions, may seem nigh on impossible.
But here are a few ideas we hope might help to fill some of the days:
An obstacle race
The Tokyo Olympics may have been cancelled for this year but that doesn’t stop you setting up your own mini version in your garden. Search the shed for poles, plant pots and buckets and get your children to help lay out a suitably challenging course. Set your stopwatch and watch them sprint round. You could even set up a step ladder as a makeshift podium and award some medals.
A scavenger hunt
This type of hunt works well if you’re catering for a wide age range, as the younger children can focus on looking for sweets you add in at random, while the older ones put their energy towards finding the harder clues, which lead to the bigger prizes.
Now’s your chance to get creative and set some great clues, referring to family members or specific elements of your home. We’ll give you one to start you off! “For your next direction, where might you see your reflection…?” There are always plenty online if you don’t have time.
A day out at the zoo
You may all be stuck at home but there are some amazing resources to bring the outdoor world right to your living room.
Several of the zoos, like Chester, Edinburgh and Dublin have set up webcams so you can still see the penguins, tigers, pandas and elephants close up. Or check out all the materials at the online home school safari that Knowsley Safari Park have created.
It’s also possible to do a virtual tour of museums from around the world, so if you’ve got older children you might want to take a look at some of these fascinating sites and landmarks . You could easily find yourselves visiting places as an armchair traveller that you’d only dreamed of up to now.
While you’re all inside a lot of the time, cooking and baking can be a fun activity for children of all ages. Even really young kids can help out in the kitchen and getting them involved will teach them invaluable culinary skills. You could focus on easier recipes like biscuits or cookies that don’t require too many ingredients and move on to more adventurous menus with the older ones. If you want to expand the curriculum, you could use the current circumstances to teach them about rationing and budgeting – or use your receipts for some quick mental arithmetic.
There are a whole host of possibilities for some really creative projects and for once, there is plenty of time to devote to them. Why not set up your very own family card factory? Kids love making cards and it’s a good way of keeping in touch with family members you’re not seeing face to face at the present time. They could even try some hand and foot painting on them for the ultimate personal touch. Rainbow chalk drawings on the pavement, jewellery making out of pasta and DIY rain clouds in a jar are just some other ideas that might appeal.