Activities for kids when there is no school

19/03/2020

Parents often long for the end of summer, when kids go back to school, and are no longer at home needing to be supervised or entertained. This year is set to be especially challenging with the extended school closures, so here are some ideas.

There is a mix of activities, both screen-free, and online, and a balance of fun and learning. I find the best way to manage being at home is to have a good structure to the day, with a range of activities planed for different times. Task lists, star charts and awards are good ways of managing and balancing activities.

 As far as possible, the list includes free activities or ones that have low costs. 

1) Dig out the board games and card games, and have games nights or days, playing a range of games. If you don't like the games you have, why not design a new one? If you don't have any board games or cards, check out your local charity shops, and if that fails, you can of course buy them online. 

2) Libraries are issuing books for extended periods, so why not visit, and collect books for the family to read, including some craft and activity books.  Public libraries do offer e-books, audio books, electronic magazines as well as paper. There are many free Kindle books that you can explore. Read more here.

3) 100 activities for kids at home: this blog has a great list of different activities to keep your family occupied. With such a long list, there is likely to be something for everyone. 

4) Get some fresh air - You are allowed out doors once a day for exercise, as long as you don't  come in close proximity with others (and of course are not symptomatic) 

5) Try a virtual museum tour - many museums allow you to explore their collections online.

6) Take the time to have a good clear out. You can sell unwanted stuff on Ebay  for a small fee, or Facebook Marketplace  which is free.

7) Author Neil Gaiman has loads of downloadable kids activities on his website, as well as a video of him reading the Graveyard book. 

8) Pick up some jigsaw puzzles from local charity shops (or buy them online) and look out for puzzle books in the local newsagents. Word searches, crosswords, dot to dots are all great activities for children. Or you could make your own, downloading and printing from the internet.

9) Printable children's activity sheets. A quick internet search will offer loads of printable activities for children. You could start with these:

10) Arts and Crafts - try learning a new craft or skill, or take the time to practise an old one. Newsagents often have craft magazines with all you need to make an item. For almost any craft you can think of, there is someone on Youtube with a video showing you how to get started, from crochet ; knitting; painting ; easy sculpture; card making; Easter crafts; sewing etc. I usually get my craft materials from Amazon, or Ebay.

11) Cooking and baking - there are so many shows and videos out there, and again, if there is anything you want to learn to cook, then there is likely to be a video on Youtube showing you what to do. (Of course, young children should not be cooking unsupervised!) 

12) Creative writing - there are loads of writing competitions for kids. Encourage them to write their own stories and enter a competition, or simply to write for the fun of it.  You can find some great prompts here.

13) Exercise classes - I love Yoga with Adrienne, and she has a channel on youtube with Yoga for all ages. ; but there are also family Cardio Workouts; aerobics; zumba dance, and loads of other exercise classes. As always with a new exercise, take care, and if you have any health issues, check with your doctor. 

14) Free educational subscriptions: many companies are offering free educational materials and subscriptions to help with home schooling. You can find a list here

15) Watching movies and TV is often a default. With Cinemas closed, you could have a family film night, complete with popcorn. There are plenty of good shows, documentaries etc out there, as well as a chance to catch up on those series you missed. Free options include:

Paid options include:

  • Amazon Prime: If you are a student, they have special discount rates. Prime members have access to a range of movies and shows; books and magazines, as well as free next day delivery on a range of items. 
  • Netflix (You can have various profiles for different family members.) Check that you get the subscription that is right for you. 
  • Britbox (the relative new kid on the block). They are offering a 30 day free trial. 

16) Free stuff - Facebook Marketplace; Freegle and Freecycle all give away stuff, and these giveaways often include toys, books, puzzles and craft items. You can sign up for free. Olio even has free food. 

Finally, if you have exhausted all of these, and are looking for other ideas, simply do a search engine search for 'Activities for kids.'