With school closures and another lockdown, it’s a challenging time for families and keeping children entertained can be tricky. Many parents may also be trying to juggle working from home and are rapidly running out of ideas to keep little ones busy – we are here to help!
Check out our list of ideas to help keep your children entertained; while most provide fun for the whole family, some may even give you enough time to answer a few emails!
- Sticky note wall bop: Attach 26 sticky notes to the back of a door and write a different letter on each one (in random order). Make a start line a few feet away from the door (more if you have older kids), and have your child stand behind it with a soft ball, bean bag, stuffed animal or pair of rolled up socks. Now instruct them to throw their object to try and hit the ‘A’ or the ‘R’. Players with more advanced aim and spelling skills can try and hit all the letters in specific words (to make it even tougher, if they miss one of the letters, have them start all over again!). Alternatively, use numbers. Make sure they are retrieving their throwing object themselves - running and bending down to pick it up over and over again is all part of the exercise!
- Indoor bowling: Set up plastic cups in a tower or rows and roll a ball to see how many you can know down.
- Alligator alley: Simply scatter some ‘islands’ or ‘boats’ across the floor (use pillows, stuffed animals, rugs, newspaper, etc) and then have your children jump from one to the next without falling into the ‘water’ and risk being eaten by a hungry alligator.
- Cotton-ball crawl: This is lots of fun and involves moving a pile of cotton balls from one room to another using a spoon. The feather-weight cotton balls make it easy to fly off if they don’t balance it just right!
- Potato drop: Have all participants place a potato between their knees and race to a finish line where they have to drop it into a designated bowl or bucket. If the potato is dropped, or if hands touch it, they have to go back to the start and try again.
- Pillow case race: On hardwood or tile floors, sit on a pillow case (or a t-shirt) and use your arms and legs to scoot around a ‘race’ course.
- Lego colour hunt: Select 4 pieces of coloured paper and then collect 10 Lego or Duplo pieces that match each one (for example 10 yellow Lego pieces for a yellow piece of paper). Now hide all of the Lego pieces in one room/area of your house and lay out the coloured paper on a table or the floor nearby. Start the clock and have your child start hunting. Once they’ve found a Lego piece, they need to return it to the piece of paper that it matches in colour. See how long it takes them to find them all (tell them there’s 10 of each colour so they can count to see if they’re missing any themselves), and then re-hide so they can try and get a lower time. When they’ve had enough of the game, challenge them to have a little quiet time and make a cool rainbow structure out of the Lego.
- Puzzle piece hunt:This is a genius idea courtesy of No Time for Flash Cards. Hide all the pieces of a wooden board puzzle and have your child search for them – returning each piece to the board as they go. This game gets them moving, and their brain working at the same time, and kids love having a goal to complete. They’ll beg you to hide them again!
- Colour match hunt: Get a selection of coloured paper and ask your children to find items that match each colour as closely as possible – see how many they can find and which colour has the most matching items.
- ABC hunt: Have your child go around the house with a basket, collecting items that start with each letter of the alphabet (A for apple, B for Barbie, C for Crayola, etc) – give them a checklist to mark off each one as they go.
- Scavenger hunt: Use this Scavenger Hunt Printable from Living and Life Designed to send your children on a hunt around the house collecting various items that you’ve listed. Make it fun by including specific things like ‘your favourite bath toy’ or ‘a pink sock’ to more general categories like ‘something that begins with the letter T’.
- Animal walks: From crab and gorilla to kangaroo and turtle, this animal walks list not only tells you how to do each walk but it explains the benefits of animal walks for helping children regulate their sensory systems. They are simple and fun exercises that anyone can do to get a quick dose of gross motor play in their day.
- Mirror, mirror:Stand face to face with your child, about a foot apart, and have them attempt to copy all your movements. Reach up and stretch to the sky. Do 10 jumping jacks. Run in place. Act like a monkey. Make it fun and you’ll both be working up a sweat in no time. Then switch roles and copy your child!
- Exercise stations: Set-up a circuit of fun child-friendly exercises – jumping jacks, rocket Jumps (squat down, place hands between feet, and jump up with arms reaching to space), somersaults, hula hoops, limbo etc.
- Masking tape obstacle courses: Use masking tape to make an obstacle course on your floor for your child to walk, jump, race, or roll a ball on. You could also use the tape to create an indoor hop scotch. Here’s a list of 5 activities using 6 lines of tape.
- Yoga: When you’re ready to transition to a quiet time activity, consider 5-10 minutes of yoga. Check out Cosmic Kids for some yoga adventures. Then, set-up a quiet space for your child for a much-deserved rest period.