So are you finding you need some activities to keep kids busy? We find ourselves in quite extraordinary times. Never before in our lifetime have we experienced anything like this current pandemic. With impending school closures, self isolation, social distancing, school holidays looming, sports cancelled and most social gatherings cancelled, not to mention potential lockdown, what are we to do to keep kids busy? We’ve gone from a household of 10+ sporting sessions a week to NOTHING! It’s really quite surreal. My boys are doing their own form of training and keeping themselves active. We’ve managed a few lovely family walks in the evening and even the puzzles have come out. However, with quite a lot of ‘home’ time coming up we want to help them be happy, reduce their stress and anxiety. If you’re anything like me a little screen time and electronics is ok, but I certainly don’t want my children spending hours on this a day. I say we embrace the situation and bring families together. Let kids get creative! I’ve done the hard work for you and made it easy to give you a quick reference list to help kick start this creativity. I started to think about this the other day. I saw people posting, wondering what they are going to do with their children and prevent them from driving each other up the wall. I started to think of things and then my brain literally decided to spew out all these ideas (it got my own creative juices flowing). I ran the list by my boys for their tick of approval of ideas to keep kids busy. It got the A- OK!
This is not limited to any age group. I think there’s something for all ages. My boys range in age from 9-16 and I know there’s definitely something here to keep them busy and, of course, the younger ones. (disclaimer to please choose age appropriate activities).
So without further ado here’s the list of activities to keep kids busy:
- Watch the Lego Masters series online (channel 9) and get kids into the Lego mood. Give them ideas of what to create. Watch a bit yourself it will be easy to set challenges.
- Build a fort in the loungeroom using pillows, sheets, blankets, chairs etc
- If not in total lockdown, go to Bunnings get a few clamps, bamboo sticks and some hessian – create outside houses, tee pees, forts (and if you have boys like me it won’t be long until the nerf guns are added)
- Soccer juggling, basketball shoots – set a goal for them for the day or week ie 1000 shots by the end of the week. Give them a book and calculator to record it all.
- Make a maze in your yard or home.
- Write instructions for someone on how to do something, like make a sandwich
- Get them to create a meal plan, or even better provide them $20 to purchase dinner items
- Make the tallest tower from stationery, sticks, paper, plastic paper cups, sticky tape
- Get the siblings, family together and write a mystery story… How to do it…1. Get a piece of paper, first person writes a sentence/paragraph, then leaves one word on the next line and folds over the page so no one can see. 2. Next person sees that one word and continues the story with their own creativity and so on and so on….. Then open up the page and read the story. Sometimes they are crazy, funny stories
- Write book/story, create cover
- Pay them for some chores they don’t regularly do (and jobs you just want done) like cleaning grout in tiles… this was a great one in our last Christmas holidays (simple tooth brush,vinegar and cloths should do the job), washing the car, cleaning the outdoor setting etc
- Make dinner, cakes or cookies, and if they are old enough let them do it on their own (with supervision, of course)
- Dust off the old board games. Monopoly, twister, trouble, checkers, snakes and ladders, pick up sticks.
- Create your own board game
- Dominoes – create the patterns on the floor, see if they can topple, climb little steps and still tumble down.
- Rubiks cube, my 9 year old learnt to solve this using youtube (man we had to do it the old fashioned way in the 80’s .. pull the stickers off hehe)
- Paper planes (if you can’t get them in the mood – watch the movie Paper Planes first)
- Painting, get some little canvases from the cheap shops and let them create a piece of art for their room or as a gift for a family member
- Make jewellery from buttons, beads, pasta, flowers
- Paint rocks
- Learn knitting or sewing (if you have the ability to teach them)
- Show them the old fashion tomboy knitting https://www.pinterest.com.au/pin/311100286740862423/
- Games we use to play like elastics (yes I’m a 70’s child and went to school in the 80’s… don’t know what I’m talking about… just google or youtube elastics game)
- Get them to choreograph a dance or art production
- If you have old boxes, see what they can make from it. Create furniture, cubbyhouses, cars, trains)
- Make masks from cardboard (superheroes, animals, fairies)
- Playdough (easy to make if you don’t have any) (lots of recipes here’s one here https://www.bestrecipes.com.au/recipes/playdough-recipe/oyycpq9f)
- Our boys loved ninja warrior, get them to create their own course or training course
- If they are older get them to put together a proposal of where the next family holiday should be (once this is all over). And get them to pitch it to the famil
- Create a stopmotion movie. My middle son was so awesome at these using lego and making his own sets. See one of his below… circa 2013 (7 years old)
- Science experiments easy to do at home. There’s some great ones here (https://www.fizzicseducation.com.au/category/150-science-experiments/)
- Start a veggie garden. Get some easy to grow seedlings, maybe herbs to start with
- Big box of chalk. Get them drawing on the pavers or driveway.
- Make a hopscotch or four square/handball court
- Make some slime (glue/shaving foam, borax, colouring – just youtube it)
- Foot massage ..Seriously. It’s a great tool to have in your bag to help relax and calm a childs mind. My 9yo thought it was funny that I offered him a foot rub one day (I felt he need to calm and reset). Once we got started he thought it was the best thing EVER. It’s also a nice 10-15min of quiet time together. So just get out the moisturiser and get started. Also a good way to get them to shower or bath (mine know they need to be nice clean feet!). and well maybe you could get the favour returned. Maybe they can create a day spa!
- Create your own instrument or band with what you have available
- Hide and seek. All kids love this game. My kids and all the cousins play this, from 3yo-16yo’s. I love watching the older boys help the little ones hide.
- Decorate a biscuit or cupcake. The smiley face biscuits, just need some milk arrowroots, icing and lollies.
- Play shops. My boys loved doing this when they were younger.
- Get out the family photo albums, if you have a cupboard full it will keep them busy for ages! (and if you don’t…. you need to get printing!)
- Dress ups
- Make puppet socks – how many socks do you have that have lost their mate? We use to do these a lot when the boys were younger. They love designing little creatures.
- Make your own craft animal. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=InSf-Fu8tTk
- We use to make stuffed animals/creatures. You’ll need to help with this of course, but simply cut out some old material (upcycle your own clothing) in desired shape, sew together and leave a little opening to pop some stuffing inside. If you can get to the shops spotlight sell it. Sew to close up. And then create away, continue to add button eyes, capes etc
- Get them to learn a magic trick
- Make potato stamps, cut a potato and create a shape out of it. They can then pop paint or dip in paint and stamp away
- Make a marble run.
Ok kiddos… now don’t tell us your bored. This should keep your kids busy for a few days at least! Surely for a month. A great idea is to let them choose one or two things from the list before they can have screen time. Sometimes they can get so enthralled with an activity it will be lunchtime before they even think about screen time. Creative activities for keeping kids busy is wonderful for their intellecutal and cognitive development. It also helps with the sanity of the family too 😉So please feel free to share or comment. I’m sure there are plenty of parents right now that need activities to keep kids busy in our current situation. And, not just now, use it anytime, any school holidays, any days you just want to get away from electronics. Keep it for a reference guide. I hope I’ve done the work for you and made life a little easier.
Love and sanity
Here’s Master L’s stop motion video age 7 (and by the way he’d be stoked to get some LIKES on his video. I had his youtube set to private so not many views)