30 things to do with kids during lockdown
Updated: Jun 11
Stuck for ideas after many days in lockdown with the kids? Here are 30 things we've done, that you might want to try!
At the time of publishing this post we've all been in lockdown for 36 days. Yes, 36 days! That's a lot when you see it written down.
I don't know about you, but I've definitely run out of ideas when it comes to entertaining the kiddies. I even handed over the reins to Jack to be 'the boss', and now the new 'boss' is running out of ideas!
I've been keeping a COVID-19 diary and when I looked back at it for activity ideas, I realised we've done quite a bit to keep ourselves entertained. I'm sure you have too! I thought it might be helpful to share what we've been up to, in return for you sharing your ideas (please comment in the box below).
Once you've tried all of the ideas, I've also found an article on the Manchester Evening News that has another 50 suggestions. Surely, that will keep us all busy for a while!
Take care and stay safe.
P.S. This post includes all of my family's ideas, however where relevant I've included a link to a product on Amazon that we've purchased. This is an affiliate link. That means if you purchase one too I get a small percentage back. Not that you'll notice any difference to your buying journey as it comes straight from the supplier. My blog is part of my copywriting business therefore this is just another way for me to bring in money for my family. I hope you don't mind!
30 THINGS TO DO WITH THE KIDS IN LOCKDOWN
1. Treasure hunt around the house
One of my toughest times in the day is making dinner while the kids ask me to find toys, switch TV channels or have witching-hour meltdowns. However, I've recently discovered if I write a list of items to find in the house, this keeps them occupied while I concentrate on the food. If your child can't read yet, you could draw a simple picture instead of writing words down. There's just one caveat - you end up with a load of items by your feet!
2. Make homemade cards for friends and family you're missing
We've made a LOT of cards, but the kids still seem to enjoy it. So far, we've made Mother's Day cards, Easter cards, cards for friends and cards for keyworkers. If your kids are missing grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins and friends, why not get them to make a card to send to them. I'm sure they have a lot of friends so this should keep them busy for the next few weeks! I always buy this 50 pack of plain cards and envelopes. We just stick and colour onto them. Easy!
3. Tooty Ta and Freeze Dance songs
A little warning before you give this one a go - the songs can get very annoying. If you've not discovered the Tooty Ta song or the Freeze Dance song on YouTube yet, go and check them out. They're silly, but perfect for little people to dance around to. Your kids will love them. I promise!
4. Virtual music classes for kids
Who would've thought your weekly music class with your baby or toddler is now happening online? There are plenty of these around. Many you can take part in for free! Facebook is a good place to find them. We've been giving Boogie Mites Newbury and Music with Mummy a go. Both are always a hit with Erin.
5. 'Fishing' in the garden (can be used in the bath too)
We thought we'd invest in another outdoor-type toy when the sun started shining. I have to always think of something that'll entertain a 5 and a 2 year old, otherwise there are sibling squabbles! I decided on this magnetic fishing game with rods and nets and so far it's been good value for money. Two rods and two nets means there are no squabbles either!
6. Find reading books for school-aged kids on the Kindle
Thankfully Jack's school has now shared an online library resource where we can download reading books for him for free. Before this, we were struggling to find suitable books for Jack at home. We obviously have a whole host of books, but as he was familiar with them he didn't have any motivation to read them. This is when I thought about using my Kindle to download books for him. It was a hit! I think he likes feeling 'grown up' using mummy's Kindle, which has helped with the negotiations.
7. Draw patterns, letters and words in sugar
This one was inspired by Erin's preschool teacher. Grab a small tray, add a bit of salt or sugar, and hey presto you have yourself an art pad! This kept Jack and Erin amused for a very long time. My two love a messy activity and enjoyed rubbing the sugar in between their hands too. There was a bit of mess for me to clear up, but not enough to send me over the edge!
8. Tuff Tray activities
I've mentioned before about how much I love our Tuff Tray. I invested in one last summer and it's been one of our best buys. I'm really not a fan of mess, but the tray let's the kiddies get stuck-in without me panicking about the clean up task. I tend to use the tray for water play, painting, sand and Playdoh. There are however lots of Instagrammers and bloggers sharing much more exciting Tuff Tray ideas. Check them out.
9. Turn your wash baskets into vehicles
Another inspired by Erin's wonderful preschool teacher - sitting in wash baskets and pretending to drive various types of vehicles. Here are the Ruggies doing one of Erin's virtual preschool classes where they had to 'drive their bus' while singing "the wheels on the bus go round and round!" We've since pretended to drive racing cars, tractors, buses and police cars. All with singing and noises of course!
10. Make more rainbows in different ways
I'm sure most households have made rainbows by now! We're still painting rainbows weekly as Jack and Erin really enjoying doing it. We've made rainbows with paint, colouring pencils, felt-tip pens and by sticking coloured materials on paper. So, if you've already made a rainbow and your kids enjoyed it, why not think of another way to make some more?
11. Various ways to make the trampoline even more fun!
Our humongous 12ft trampoline has been keeping the Ruggies entertained. However, to mix things up we've also added extra items to the trampoline such as filling it with plastic ball-pit balls, placing a water sprinkler underneath, blowing bubbles for them to pop and hung cardboard targets for them to jump up and tap!
12. Draw with Rob Biddulph
Ever since we discovered #DrawWithRob it's become a weekly occurrence in our house. We've also found the Art for Kids Hub on YouTube that helps children draw favourite characters and objects. A friend of Jack's dropped over an outline of one of his drawings for Jack to colour. A great idea to get friends connecting and 'playing' with each other. "Draw With Rob" has now been turned into an art book for kids too. Something for Jack's next birthday!
13. Have a go at growing frogs!
The Ruggies' Nanny kindly dropped round some frogs spawn just before lockdown. At first I was a little confused by the 'gesture' but as the weeks have gone by it's been amazing for us to all nurture something together (we don't have pets). We do now have over 50 tadpoles and I'm wondering if we're going to end up with this many frogs hopping around the garden! When they're big enough we'll take them to the local woods so they can find a new home. If you can get some frog spawn, why not give it a go?
14. Listen to David Walliams FREE audio books (Elevenses)
Every day at 11am David Walliams reads a story from his collection and shares it on his social media pages. He then releases the story as free audio books on his website. Since lockdown Jack has struggled to fall to sleep. However, we've discovered if we put an audio book on he's happy to snuggle down and eventually drifts off. I guess it allows his mind to go elsewhere. It's been a hit with us every night and something I'm sure we'll continue for many weeks to come.
15. Read (and eat) Love Hearts sweets
If you have a reluctant reader (like me), next time you head to the shops buy a few packets of Love Hearts. I told Jack for every Love Heart he read, he could eat it. That soon got him interested in sounding the letters out!
We have lots of puzzles that normally sit on the shelves, not being played with. Over the past few weeks it's been nice to get them down one by one and complete them together. I've realised the big floor puzzles work best to keep the kiddies concentration levels up. The Orchard Toys Big Dinosaurs Floor Puzzle has been a hit with us.
17. Pushing frozen animals (and other objects) down a slide
This one was again inspired by Erin's preschool teacher (isn't she wonderful). I never thought freezing objects in an ice cube could create so much fun! All you have to do is place small objects into an ice cube tray, fill it up with water, pop it in the freezer, leave overnight and hey presto you have little frozen objects. Set up a 'slide' somewhere in the house (we used Jack's Hot Wheels Track and our Tuff Tray), sit down with a cuppa and watch the kiddies enjoy pushing the ice cubes down the slide until they melt!
18. Experimenting with different art materials
Our arty items were looking a bit tired. The paints were drying out, felt-tip pens had lost their lids and the paint brushes had seen better days. I stumbled across this 118 Piece Art Set For Kids and it has been a hit. It includes water paints, pastels, wax crayons, pencils, felt-tip pens, and paint brushes. Basically, everything you could need. I love that it keeps everything in one place too - much easier for storing away. As you can imagine this has proven to be very useful when it's come to making our many rainbows!
19. Make easy-peasy biscuits
Baking with the kids isn't my favourite past-time. I'm not a natural baker! However, for a while now we have made Fork Biscuits using the Happy Foodies recipe. All you need is butter, flour and sugar. Mix the ingredients together and you've got your dough. I get the Ruggies to cut out shapes using biscuit cutters we've collected over the years (we sometimes use Playdoh cutters too!) We then pop them in the oven for 12 minutes. I whip up a bit of icing sugar, and when the biscuits have cooled down, the kids plop some icing sugar on top and decorate with different decorations. I often buy the Crazy Faces decoration pack as it comes with edible ink pens, edible glue, edible eyes and various crazy faces. Lots of variety!
20. Teach Your Monster to Read game
Have you discovered the Teach Your Monster to Read game online yet? It was recommended to us by a friend, and it's been great for Jack. We downloaded the app on the iPad, but you can access it online for free. It has various levels so you can tailor it to your child's reading ability. The kiddies love to play it and they're learning at the same time. Winning!
21. Snack time in a homemade den / or your teepee
Erin got a teepee for her 2nd birthday. Up until now it's only be used to read stories at bedtime. We've taken to spending every snack time in the teepee because, in the words of Jack, "it's more fun". We have built the odd den too which has been a popular destination for snacking! When I've felt in the mood, I've read them a story while they snack. I mean, on these days, I feel like we have a small window of where I'm winning. Why not see where you can take your snacks today to mix up your routine?
22. Rediscover your old board games
We've had boxes of games sat in the garage for months and months. Actually, probably since Erin was on the move and could destroy any game Jack and I tried to play. We got them back out of storage the other day and really enjoyed getting stuck in. Erin can play some of them now too. If you've not done this yet, get out all of your old games and go through them one by one. The favourite in our house at the moment is Mr Pop!
23. Dot sticker activities
Lockdown has made me discover some great new online resources - one of them being Happy to Shelf. It's a blog from a mum who shares fun activity ideas that also helps the kiddies learn. Happy to Shelf's dot sticker activities initially caught my eye. We tried the ladybird activity where I drew five ladybirds and wrote a number on one side of its body. I then numbered the dot stickers and Jack had to find the correct numbers to add up to the number written down. He liked the challenge. Erin's task was to match colour dots on her ladybirds. However, her concentration soon went and she was sticking dots all over our faces. Better luck next time! Here are the dot stickers I purchased to recreate the activity.
24. Discover #DisneyMagicMoments
We subscribe to Disney+ so I'm on their email list. Normally, their emails are pretty boring and end up in my deleted folder. However, since lockdown they've got more exciting. Some of the emails have quizzes like "Which Frozen character are you?" There's also a website called DisneyMagicMoments.co.uk. You can experience Disney rides virtually, learn how to draw Disney characters and there are free downloadable colouring and activity sheets. Something that's kept us entertained!
25. Make a bug garden
Pre-lockdown hunting for bugs wasn't our thing. We'd be out and about socialising or taking the kiddies to clubs, which didn't give us much time to explore the simple things around us. However, bug hunting in the garden has now become a popular game. One day, we decided to make a garden on the Tuff Tray by collecting soil, leaves, grass and anything else we could find. We then went on the hunt for bugs. We found four black caterpillars (that we now know are called cutworms and turn into moths). We carefully scooped them up and placed them into our bug garden. We did then put them back before bedtime so they didn't feel completely trapped! Jack now has the My Living World Bug Safari set on his birthday list. Who would've thought?
26. Homemade bunting
Part of my work involves writing and advising on blogs for businesses. Over Easter I helped Popsy and Mama and Squiggle and Dot collaborate on an Easter crafts blog post. One of the ideas was Easter bunting. You simply cut out egg shapes and let your kiddies free to decorate the paper eggs. When the eggs are dry, you string them together to make bunting. Easy! We're now going to create our own traditional bunting by cutting out triangles for the Ruggies to decorate. Once they're finished I'll string them together to finish off our bunting. Nice idea if you want to make something for grandparents to put up in their home to remind them of the kids.
27. Mess up Mummy and Daddy's bed!
I apologise for this idea in advance. Especially if you've made your bed today! But, it was such a hit on what started as a 'meh' day, that I had to include it. One day I totally lost my fun-mummy mojo. I'd run out of ideas and I didn't want to play anymore. I handed the reins over to Jack and told him he was the 'boss' and could choose what we did. He said, "Jump on Mummy's bed." Going with the flow, we all headed to my bed, they jumped, they hid, they tickled each other and pretended to sleep. It was a happy 30 minutes and I got to lie down and laugh with them too!
28. Giant Jenga, great game, but also good for building houses
A wedding present for Pete and I was giant jenga. Random, but it went down a hit at the wedding after a few drinks. Since then it's been sat in the garage. Jack found it and wanted to take a look at it. He had other ideas though, he wanted to use the bricks to build a house. It was a great game! We did eventually play Jenga with the bricks later that day too. I've since looked at buying large building bricks for outside, but they're so expensive. Giant Jenga works just as well and is less than £20!
29. KiwiCo Marble Run Challenge and other KiwiCo activity ideas
Another brand I've discovered in lockdown is KiwiCo. The business offers monthly subscriptions where they send STEM activities in the post for your kiddies to try out. We've not paid for this as I'm not totally convinced we need to pay for yet another thing to entertain the kids. But, the company has lots of FREE activity ideas on its website. I've also signed up to the newsletter which is pretty helpful. The company set a marble run challenge where you have to find items round the house to create your own marble run. Jack really enjoyed this. We've also tried out a few of the free downloads, such as the paper airplanes and coin experiments.
30. Make homemade hairbands
Erin's Nanny gave her a hairband making kit. I wasn't sure whether the activity would be too hard for Erin, but after we opened it she enjoyed choosing colours and items to go onto the hairbands and watching me make them. We went off piste and used the materials to make bracelets and necklaces too. Even, Jack wanted to get involved. The kit has continued to be played with other the past few weeks. There's nothing worse than buying a kit like this and it being left on the shelf after one use!
Phew! That's it. I'd love to hear about what you've been up to so we can all share our ideas to keep the kiddies entertained. Please use the comment box below to tell us.
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