If you’re trying to keep your kids occupied at home during the lockdown, you may be scratching your head for activity ideas. Even the best behaved children will grow restless when cooped up at home without much to do, especially with little or no outdoor space available for leg-stretching. Playing the same games with the same toys can become tedious after a while, but when you look beyond the toy box, you’ll find all sorts of other engaging activities suitable for your space. Here are six kid’s lockdown activities to inspire creativity for starters:
Many children enjoy cooking, so let yours take a turn in the kitchen. Cooking is a vital life skill, so any practice and training you can give them will come in useful in the future. Depending on your children’s ages, and also your available ingredients, you could help them bake cookies, fry eggs or decorate a ready-made cake, for instance. If you have a responsible teenager, they’ll enjoy choosing a recipe and producing the whole dish themselves, with as little supervision as possible. A young child will love simple tasks like stirring a mixture, pouring sauce from a jug or adding an adornment to a dessert.
There’s nothing like a whole family singsong to promote calm and joy. Your children will love the togetherness of shared music-making, and delight in the sounds you send ringing around the room. Singing relaxes tense muscles and draws rejuvenating oxygen into the lungs, producing a sensation of serenity, while the rhythm and melody lift the spirits and get everyone swinging along, so it’s always good to sing. When you’ve got everyone joining in, embellish your concert with some improvised percussion. Pan lids make great cymbals, and plastic grain jars can serve as shakers, for instance, so chances are there will be enough instruments for everyone. Encourage your children to swing and clap to the beat, or lead a dance around the room. Perhaps round off by introducing a new song, and letting the kids teach you one, too.
3. Treasure Hunts
When space is limited, physical activity needs to be controlled, and the best way to do this is through organized games. Treasure hunts are ideal in this way, generating excitement while requiring disciplined processes. The clues direct players from one specific point to another, for instance, and potential hiding places need to be carefully checked. Use pretend treasure, such as old toys, cards decorated with happy birthday clipart and tasty treats to prevent emotions running too high, and keep clues simple enough for your youngest child to understand. Pictures and signs may be more appropriate for them than words. Perhaps drop a hint to older children to hold back and help younger ones along. When they tire of seeking, swap roles and let them set the clues for you.
Create an opportunity for your children to show off the amazing facts they’ve learnt at school. Invite them to set a general knowledge test for you, or a specialized quiz based on their favorite theme like animals. They’ll need some table or floor space for preparing this, and materials for making question cards. Supplies of paper or card, colored pens and safe scissors will help them along. Extend the activity by suggesting they add illustrations, flamingo clipart designs or decorations to each question card. Younger children may need help in thinking up questions and presenting them, so stay on hand at this stage. They’ll love testing your knowledge, especially if you swallow your pride and pretend to be stumped by some of their questions. Afterwards, turn the tables and set a quiz for them. Perhaps include questions that require some Internet research or a look through the window, to stretch the fun even further.
5. Softball Games
If you have a softball available, make use of it while the children are confined at home. It will be particularly handy if there’s nowhere outside to kick or throw a ball, providing boundless scope for physical fun around your rooms. Encourage organised games rather than free play, to sustain a level of orderly calm. Before handing over the ball, clear away any precious ornaments and appliances, and shut off any no-go areas. As for games, obstacle courses around the furniture are fun to devise and pursue, while constructing slides for the ball to roll down can also be fun and engaging. Rolling, kicking, batting and catching games can all be played safely with your softball, and you could throw in some extra challenges, like spinning around and clapping before catching the ball, or crawling under a table to bat it.
If you can see sky or greenery from your windows, you’re sure to see birds from time to time. Whether they’re flying across the skyline or pecking the ground under your window, they’re always interesting to watch. When you can’t go out, let an open window bring the outdoors inside for you. Point out birds to your children and discuss what they’re doing. A sweeping swarm of birds might be preparing for migration, for instance, and if you notice one flitting to and fro with food in its mouth, it’s probably feeding its young. Help your children find out more about the birds they see, by identifying them online and studying pictures and facts about them. Suggest they take photos or videos of them, or count sightings from day to day. Younger children will enjoy flapping and hopping like birds themselves, while older ones may relish the challenge of producing a pamphlet on the topic.
These absorbing activities will provide your kids with plenty to get their teeth into while stuck indoors, and they’re sure to spark more ideas, too. With a little planning and ongoing support, you’ll be able to keep them happily occupied, day after day. They may even need a nudge when it’s time to step out again.