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It’s bad enough being stuck indoors when the weather’s terrible, but if you’re self-isolating from coronavirus as a family and can’t go out for days then it can be a real challenge keeping kids entertained.
There’s probably only so much screen time you want them to have, so how do you stop them (and you) from climbing the walls until it’s safe to go outside again?
Kids are great at keeping themselves entertained with their own imagination, and there’s usually a favourite stash of gadgets, board games and toys to rely on, but it’s always useful to have a few ideas on stand-by for the times when they get bored.
Here’s 14 ways to keep them busy, having fun and maybe learning a bit while they do it …
It doesn’t have to be for something expensive, a Crème Egg will do, just write some simple cryptic clues and leave them around the house so one leads on to the next and finally to the prize. If you like, make them a bit tricky so kids have to look up answers eg: ‘this was invented by John Logie Baird’ (then hide one behind the telly!)
It’s just like beer pong … without the beer! You need paper cups, juice and ping pong balls. Split into teams and lay out six cups for each team in a triangle at the ends of the dining table. Take turns throwing the ball into the other team’s cups. If you get one in, one of them drinks it and it gets taken away. The team with cups left at the end wins.
Everyone loves getting a surprise card when it’s not their birthday, especially older relatives who kids might not be getting to see so much at the moment. Just fold pieces of coloured card and let them go mad with the glitter and sticky stuff, or get them to draw something happy on the front then pop it in the post to cheer someone up.
Most kids love pizza, and with freezer aisles looking a bit bare, now’s the perfect time to start making your own. It’s simple, you only need plain flour, salt, baking powder and a little bit of oil to make the base, then let them add whatever their favourite toppings are. It’ll save you having to think of something to make for their tea too.
This is one everyone can join in – get each member of the family to choose their favourite tunes, get them on shuffle, push back all the furniture in the living room and then bust out your best, and worst, moves. It’ll help you stay active while you’re stuck inside, burn off a few calories and you can have a laugh at some awful dad dancing.
You don’t need a hoop, or an actual basketball, so there’s no danger of smashing anything up. Just get a bucket and roll up a pair of socks. Put the bucket halfway down the hall and then keep moving it further away each time everyone gets a shot in. Make things harder for older players by blindfolding them or making them throw over their shoulder.
Draw up a list of things that kids can find in the house and then let them loose to see if they can find where they are. Once they’ve got them, they need to take a photo on their phones if they’ve got one, otherwise a tick on the list will do. Things like an orange coloured pencil, something fluffy and maybe a jigsaw piece would do.
All those times you said ‘no’ to the face paints because they were such a hassle to wash off and they get on everything … forget those! These are different times and face paints are actually a great way of letting kids get creative. It might not be very professional and there could be some scrubbing, but who cares if you end up like a unicorn?
Don’t worry about snacking on biscuits because you can always dance them off later – you just need caster sugar, egg, butter and plain flour and you can make your own. Get everyone to take a selfie and try to recreate it on the top of their biscuit, either using little coloured icing tubes or just indenting with the edge of a fork or spoon.
Another one to make the most of the hall space – half fill up some old empty water bottles (preferably 10 if you can get hold of that many or can dig them out of the recycling) and set them out in a triangle shape at the end of the hall, then bowl either an indoor ball or a rolled up sock at them to see who can get the highest score.
Get the dining chairs or garden chairs out and put them in rows either side of a makeshift indoor catwalk then get kids to go and pick out their favourite fashion look, putting together their best outfit. The rest of the family can grab FROW seats, like Anna Wintour, and you can put a photographer at the end of the runway for pose pics.
Prepare for some mayhem with this one because there’s got to be plenty of crawling, hopping, climbing, and falling on cushions. Best to make everyone go around one at a time to avoid too much pushing and shoving (and potential accidents, A&E have got enough to do), and it’s easier to clock everyone’s personal best too.
Get up in the loft or the shed and dig out an old roll of wallpaper – probably one you scraped off before the millennium and forgot you had – then get kids to start painting or drawing on the back and see how far they can get. Just keep rolling it out as they fill in more space. If they’re using paint, put newspaper underneath to save the carpet.
This will keep kids busy and give them something positive to focus on if they’re worried by what’s going on in the world. Get a stack of old magazines and go through, getting them to choose all their favourite things like clothes, animals, colours, or places like the beach, cut them out and paste them onto card to make a good mood board.
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