Following the ever-changing developments with Coronavirus and the Government’s latest announcement about staying home, a lot of parents may be wondering how to keep their children busy, particularly if you need to continue working from home. So we’ve created a list of activities to keep your little ones entertained and occupied during this time.
Your child’s/children’s school is likely to keep you informed around the measures they are taking and available resources during this time. However, we’ve compiled a list of free and paid for online educational resources that you can use to keep your children learning in a ‘home school’ environment. Here are a few links to help you get started:
- BBC Bitesize – now offering daily content to help your children with their education and wellbeing. Resources divided into primary, secondary and post-16 covering a range of topics from English, Science, Maths, Art, computer science and much more.
- Khan Academy – daily schedules for children aged 2 to 18, plus other resources (particularly good for maths). Simply create an account, personalise what content your child to focus on, and you’ll be provided with relevant lessons.
- Audible – whilst schools are closed, they’re open and providing stories to stream or listen to for free
- National Geographic Kids – lots of fun activities and quizzes for children, as well as extensive primary resources for teachers
- British Library has lots of useful resources including how to draw a Grufalo, make a mini book and much more
- Mathster – download and print a range of worksheets to help your children with their maths – available for a range of ages
- Duolingo – for learning languages
- Lunch Doodles with Mo Willems invites kids to join him to draw along. You can view these on YouTube, or join him live
- Crash Course Kids – focusses on science covering a range of topic
- Virtual museum – take a virtual tour around a range of museums from the comfort of your sofa
For younger children
After lessons, how do you keep children occupied in their downtime? Here are a few ideas to keep them active and engaged without having to resort to too much screen time.
- Rainbow Trail – Many homes across the nation have been putting rainbows in their windows for children to spot in their local neighbourhood.
- Den building in the back garden – gets them out into the fresh air
- Treasure hunt – can be done indoors or outdoors
- Board games – you could even get them to design their own
- Arts and crafts – from painting to play doh, origami to photography, or even just creating a collage from newspaper and magazine cuttings. Any if you’re missing not being able to pop to Hobby Craft, check out Baker Ross – they’ve got a range of arts and craft supplies.
- Toy wash – give them a bucket of soapy water where they can wash their toys
- Pasta jewellery – if you find that you’ve got more pasta than you know what to do with, you could always make pasta jewellery or pasta pictures – there’s plenty of ideas on Pinterest
- Paper aeroplanes – who can design the aeroplane that goes furthest?
- Garden obstacle course – keep children active with a garden obstacle course. You can use household items, from brooms, kitchen bowls, empty flower pots, old blankets, get the kids weaving in and out, under and over
- Baking and cooking – if you’re children are older, why not get them making their own lunch, or helping you with the dinner? And who doesn’t love baking a cake? You could have your very own bake-off
- Gardening fun – why not plant some seeds and watch them grow over the coming weeks? From garden herbs or flowers, to growing your own veg, there’s plenty of muddy fun to get involved in. Check out Kids Gardening. Or check out this Butterfly Garden – where you can raise and release real butterflies.
Of course, whilst it’s great to have a bit of structure and routine, as children often respond well to this, it’s important to be flexible too. Sticking on a movie in the afternoon may be just the ticket to keep them occupied whilst you carry on with a few jobs or respond emails. Depending on what television provider or package you have, there should be plenty of choice, including new releases such as Frozen II, Angry Birds The Movie II, The Addams Family and The Secret Life of Pets II are all among the latest releases. You can also check out children’s films on Netflix.
For older children
Older children are, of course, better able to manage their own time, so give them the space they need to keep in touch with friends via Skype. Some other ways to keep them occupied include:
- Science projects – can you challenge them to take on a scientific challenge? There are some great ideas here
- Family book club – pick a book each week and sit down together to discuss your thoughts on it
- Ted Ed – interesting educational videos suitable for older kids and adults of all ages
- Family slideshow – everyone gets a turn to share some of their favourite photographs from family holidays and events
- Board games – people of all ages love board games, and older kids will enjoy more challenging options such as Articulate or Cluedo
You’ll find lots more educational resources in this brilliant round-up.
Hopefully this has given you some ideas to get you started. It’s a time of uncertainty, and nobody yet knows how long your children will be out of school for. However, the important thing to remember is that if anyone in your family does develop any COVID-19 symptoms (mainly a dry cough and fever), you can find all the latest Government guidance on what to do here.