During the current lockdown, it can be challenging for parents to entertain kids at home. At the same time, we’d also like to avoid excessive screen time. Here are a few ideas and activities for different age groups, to help you live each day in the calm amid the storm.
This article was first posted on 19 March 2020
Toddlers (1-2 yrs)
Toddlers can be super energetic, demanding closer attention and constant supervision. On the other hand, their intellectual development is really high at this stage and they can enjoy and engage in many different activities.
- Take reading to the next level and add a hand puppet (read here how to make one out of a sock) to narrate the story or act as a character.
- Yoga with mom at home with relaxing music can be an opportunity to exercise while they have fun trying to copy the movements.
- Dance with them to the sound of fun and energetic songs, such as ‘Itsy Bitsy Spider’ and ‘Five Little Monkeys’.
- If you have extra space at home for water or a sand pit, you can add some coloured sponges or plastic fish for fishing. Challenge your child with naming colors and squeezing the right colour sponges.
- Play with toy musical instruments or homemade percussion instruments.
- Shhh… don’t tell dad. Borrow his shaving cream, place a big plastic on the bathroom floor and have fun with the white foam.
Preschoolers (3-5 yrs)
Preschool years are the best time for new challenges and activities that will boost the child’s ability to manage themselves and deal with all the energy they have.
- Play dough is a great tool to spend time with a toddler to help them create new worlds and make up their own stories.
- Playing with dollhouses or building a train track are other simple activities kids at this age love to do.
- You can offer different materials, textures and tools to let them create their own art masterpiece.
- Jigsaw puzzles not only are fun, but they also have many learning benefits.
- Bake cookies and decorate them together.
- Let them create their own puppet theatre paper characters, then build and decorate the stage using a card box.
- Hide and seek is fun guaranteed.
- Organise a picknick, right in the middle of the living room. Just because you can.
Primary schoolers (6-11 yrs)
This is the age when kids start solving problems independently and feel more confident, only engaging in activities that hold their interest. It’s the perfect age to try more challenging activities that can boost their self-confidence.
- Let them mix ingredients to make their own slime with food colouring and glitter, to give a personal touch to their creation. How about this fluffly slime…?
- There are great and easy science experiments that you do at home using household items.
- Take baking or cooking to the next level and find a recipe that they can do all by themselves.
- Let them create art pieces with beads, weaving or origami.
- Tinkering/upcycling with household junk, to build robots, cars, airplanes, or whatever their imagination wants.
- Have a dress up party and make a fashion show video for the grandparents or other family.
- Organise a treasure hunt, where you start with a letter, which explains how they have to find clues throughout the house. Read here for more ideas.
- Ask them to find information online about their favorite topic and give a mini presentation.
- Give them a ball of wool and tell them to weave a ‘laser web‘ in their bedroom.
- Bake cupcakes, make some sandwiches and organise your own high tea.
Pre-teens and teens (12-18 yrs)
Teenagers can be a really challenging for parents if they have to stay at home for a long time. The good side is that we can engage in activities with them that can bring moments of laughter, joy and unique opportunities to bond.
- More elaborate crafts, like painting on canvas or fabric, needle felting, crochet or make a dream catcher can not only keep them busy but also de-stress.
- Board games with the whole family is a great way to pass time and relax.
- A family book club for bookworm families.
- Start a compost bin and learning advanced gardening. How about learning more about creating your own edible garden?
- If you’ve got a fancy camera, give them a mini course on how to operate it.
- Ask them to help redecorate a room in the house.
- ‘Just Dance’ video games, in case any outdoor activity is not an option.
- Make a stop motion video together with Lego or other small figurantes.
Make the best of your time with the kids home. Let’s think about it as a time to have families together and enjoy precious time with our loved ones.