Feeling the strain
It’s now been four weeks since schools and nurseries closed and many parents are beginning to feel the strain.
Even the most creative parents amongst us will eventually run dry on ideas. Living in London, many of us do not have gardens and with current restrictions on leaving the house, many families are isolating together in a confined space. It’s therefore not surprising that families are struggling.
Children’s mental health is also being adversely affected, with 1 in 5 primary school aged children afraid to leave the house and more than a third are anxious about missing school work. (Read report)
Ideas to keep the kids entertained
Don’t worry. There are plenty of fun, low-cost and free activities you can have up your sleeve. Here are some of our top tips and ideas on how to keep kids busy, calm and upbeat during this testing time.
For our baby and toddler play ideas click here.
Build a den or fort. Use cushions, blankets, duvets and build a den. Alternatively make a fort from cardboard.
Treasure hunt. Hide clues around the house and let the kids find them to reveal the hidden treasure.
Get building. Use blocks or lego and get creative. Why not have a go at the 30 day Lego challenge?
Get active. Start the day with a PE lesson from Joe Wicks. Or why not try Yoga, it is great for the body and the mind. Make an obstacle course in your house or garden. Set yourself a challenge, how many star jumps can you do in a minute?
Plan a scavenger hunt. Draw up a list of items that need to be found around the house or in the garden. Example.
Get baking. Why not let the kids help make their own dinner or bake a yummy treat together? Check out our food page for some inspiration and recipes.
Throw a disco. Exercise can be a great mood booster. Dim the lights, play your favourite tunes and put on a disco in your living room. Want to learn some new dance moves, then take a look at Go Noodle.
Grow a garden in your kitchen. Just because they are cooped up inside doesn’t mean children can’t keep learning about the natural world. Help them grow their own mini garden in the kitchen with these cress heads.
Make something. Explore the power of flight with your very own home-made rocket launcher. From friendship bracelets to a chocolate painting, check out the Tate’s website for some inspiration and creativity.
Salt dough. If you have salt and flour in your cupboards why not trying making and shaping salt dough.
Kim’s game. Why not test your memory with Kim’s game?
Make a ‘calm down’ jar. Tempers are bound to get frayed and young children often exhibit challenging behaviour when they are stressed or worried. Becky Goddard-Hill, co-author of new kids happiness activity book Create Your Own Happy, suggests parents help youngsters by making a ‘calm down’ jar.
Paper origami. Make a monster bookmark, an origami fish or a paper boat. Check out these simple origami ideas that will keep the kids busy folding paper for a while.
Play a game. Board games can be great at relieving boredom but there are a whole host of games you can play that require nothing other than a pen and paper. One of our longest serving volunteers, Liz Rawes kindly shared these pen and paper games with us as they worked well in entertaining her own children and those she has supported over the years.
Mindful Monster activity cards from Scope
Learning for kids has lots of fun and simple ideas to do with your kids that promote creative play and learning.
Twinkl is a great resource for supporting home learning and has free downloadable activity sheets to keep the kids entertained.
Oxford Owl have hundreds of free e-books for your child to read.