Today's blog looks at ways to keep children occupied, particularly during holidays, lockdowns and isolation periods.
There are lots more ideas in our blog published in March.
1) Scavenger hunts
One of the simplest things to do is to create a 'ticklist' based on a place or activity. For example, a family walk where they have to find or spot certain items. The actual list will depend on the location. For an outdoor walk it could be things like an oak leaf, a robin, an acorn, a white stone, a bicycle. If you do this in the house, you could hide a series of items, such as playing cards or a decorative item. The child who is first to find all the items gets a small reward. There are a wide range of free reward templates you can use for activities such as these. There are also a lot of free templates for a range of scavenger hunts.
2) Christmas Crafts
- Christmas Cards: with Christmas coming soon, making Christmas cards is useful, and a great way to keep children occupied. I buy a lot of Craft supplies from Amazon, (and they will be open and delivering throughout lockdown) They have a great range of card supplies, from blank cards to kits like this ones in the pics below. There are also lots of free templates that you can download, for children to colour in.
- Christmas Decorations: this website has 50 different ideas of decorations for children to make, that use only a few items. (If you need to buy any items, check out Amazon's range.) You can find another 50 ideas here.
- Advent Calendars: advent calendars are easy to make - all you really need are 24 'containers'. If you need inspiration, try these ideas. If you would prefer a simpler option, you can also buy advent calendar kits.
- Christmas presents: another great option is making gifts, which also saves some money on presents. In our household, we often do 'nothing new for Christmas,' so gifts are either home made, or sourced from charity stores. There is still time to raid the charity stores, but you could also look at the ideas in these blogs: https://www.diyncrafts.com/9351/homemade/100-mind-blowing-diy-christmas-gifts-people-actually-want
- I like these 'vouchers' that you can print offering to do something for another person:
3) Puzzles and games
Facebook Marketplace, charity stores etc also usually have a range of items that you can buy cheaply, while sites like Freegle will have free items. It may be prudent to plan a shopping trip to buy a selection of puzzle books and activities to keep your children occupied. If you are already in lockdown, then Amazon and Ebay have lots of options that will be delivered to your door.
You can find instructions for simple card games here.
Subscribing to a service like Amazon Kids+ will give your kids unlimited access to 1000s of kid-friendly books, movies, TV shows, educational apps, and games. (From £1.99 per month, but you get a month's free trial, which may well see you through lockdown!)
Make your own games: this site offers a range of templates to create your own board games.
4) Free online games
While it may not be advisable for children to be in front of a screen all day, there are a range of games available that they can play for free. This blog looks at some of them.
5) Further ideas
If none of the ideas above grab you, then take a look at these blogs, which list a range of activities for children of different ages:
- 22 ways to keep a toddler busy other than watching TV
- Keeping your kids busy when you're stuck at home
- 42 Easy activities to keep kids busy while parents work
We're likely to be living with Covid for some time, so it's worth having a bank of ideas and materials to use.