If you’re running out of ideas to keep the kids entertained in isolation, here’s a few you might not have tried…
Despite a slight relaxing of the rules, for many people lockdown continues to plod wearily along, wringing many of us parents dry of creative ideas to keep the kids amused.
In the early days everything was fine, of course. We rediscovered board games, thanked the heavens for streaming TV, and made the most of fine spring weather for walking or, for those that have them, playing in the garden.
But two months or more in and the daily routine has started to get stale. The young inmates, meanwhile, are starting to get restless, even with every Beyblade under the sun! If that sounds like your household, here are a few more unusual ideas for keeping children entertained and interested during the dog days of lockdown.
1. Write lockdown letters
What children really want to do is see their friends. While that’s still not possible, why not introduce them to the lost art of letter writing. We know for a fact that kids love receiving real letters in the post, because we’ve seen it with our own eyes. At first, they could just write letters to friends or family (grandparents would love a letter from the grandchildren they can’t see). If they get into it, they could progress to writing to penpals from around the world. Sites like PenPal World can help your child connect safely with other children from Europe and beyond.
2. Make smoothies
Baking was all the rage during the early weeks of lockdown, but I can say from bittersweet experience that you really can have too many cupcakes. And what of proper cakes? Well, all too often the kids get bored with all the faff and an adult ends up doing the tricky bits. So why not transfer their enthusiasm for the kitchen to something easier, healthier and also extremely tasty. We’re talking smoothies, of course, and there are some great recipes here.
3. Unleash their inner snappers
You’re not supposed to wander too far from home for your daily exercise. Which means that, for many of us, the usual walking or biking trails have become a bit dull after two months of the same scenery. So how to make daily exercise more interesting? Why not give your children cameras and let them snap interesting things they find on your daily outings, or just take pictures of beautiful nature. Lend them your camera phone if they don’t have one of their own. Even better, order disposable film cameras online and give them the reward of real prints for their artistic endeavours.
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4. Build a den
Younger kids love dens. It’s where they can hide from grown ups, play the outlaw or have tea parties with toys. The great thing about them is that they can be indoor or outdoor, and brilliantly simple (a few chairs and a blanket) or stunningly complex (a teepee of collected branches, decorated with fairy lights). Build a den in the morning and your children will be back and forth to it all day, maybe even all week.
For an easy alternative in good weather, just put a tent in the back garden and make it an adult-free zone.
5. Learn to dance
Children are natural dancers (it’s only grown ups that get all embarrassed), and dancing is great exercise. Clear out a space in the living room, fire up your favourite music and dance like nobody’s watching (except the kids, who will have great fun at your expense). Or if your kids are a bit older, why not learn some proper moves. There are lots of videos on YouTube and elsewhere that can help.
6. Get slimy in lockdown
Slime is an oozy, gooey treat for young children, who love making mischief with it (serving it to dad in a bowl, for example). Don’t have any slime? Why not make your own?
7. Feed the birds
With fewer cars on the roads, springtime suddenly seems like a cacophony of beautiful birdsong. So why not encourage some of our feathered friends into your garden – or even just the patch of grass across the road – with a bird feeder? Then your children can have a great time identifying these new visitors, while taking a new delight in nature. You can buy a birdfeeder, of course, but it’s easy enough to make your own using nothing but a plastic bottle.