Running out of things to do with your kids during lockdown? Here are 6 ways to keep your children entertained and stay sane while you’re stuck at home.
1. Art projects for kids
Get creative with art projects that will keep your kids busy for days. Plus, you'll have a great art collection by the end of lockdown!
- Make potato stamps using potatoes and paint. First, cut the potato in half and leave it to dry out for half an hour. Then draw the shape you want on the side that has no skin. A marker or pencil should do the job. Then cut away around the shape using a kitchen knife so the shape stays raised (do this for younger kids and supervise older kids). A brilliant and safer way to cut your shapes is with small cookie cutters. Next, help your child carve patterns and shapes onto the skinless side. Use a paintbrush to add a layer of paint or dip the potato into a saucer of paint. Stamp your potato prints onto paper using different colours to make pretty designs (for more see how to make potato stamps).
- Make collages using old magazines and newspapers. Cut or tear pictures out of old magazines and stick them on a piece of cardboard or paper with glue.
- Create decorations like simple paper chains out of paper strips. Cut strips of paper and loop them together. Use staples, glue or sticky tape to make bands out of the strips. You can make decorations, necklaces and bangles out of the chains. This is a great activity for both individuals and groups, the more loops, the longer the chain!
- Download and print colouring in pictures to keep your kids busy for hours (free colouring pages and drawings).
- Build sculptures out of Playdough, lego, homemade paper mache and toilet paper roll inners.
2. Enter a cute baby competition
This one is packed with fantastic lockdown activities for kids. It'll help keep your kids entertained and get them excited about winning. The added bonus is that you can actually win up to R5000 by entering a baby competition!
- You can enter children from 0 to 7 years of age into this Cute Baby Competition for free online.
- Get your older kids to help you find outfits and dress your baby or small child up. Then get them to find props and set up an attractive place for the photoshoot. When you take the photos your older kids can be your assistant photographers.
- Once you have entered your cute baby photo by submitting it online you can enlist your older children to campaign for votes. Asking friends and family to vote for your family’s cute baby is a fun team-building exercise. It also gives your older kids a chance to practice selling, friendly competition and communication skills.
3. Bake or cook during lockdown
Baking and cooking with your children is fun and educational. It helps to improve their concentration, fine motor skills, memory and maths. It’s also a good activity for fussy eaters, as it encourages them to try new things. Getting creative with food is one of the best things to do during lockdown with kids or without.
- Bake cookies with them and get the kids to decorate them with sprinkles and icing sugar. There are loads of simple recipes out there!
- Make banana sushi - coat the bananas in peanut butter, caramel or chocolate, add sprinkles and cut the bananas into slices (for healthier ‘sushi’ use nuts, seeds, raisins, sugar-free nut butter, coconut, granola and honey)
- Make pancakes or crepes with different fillings and toppings. Keep it simple with sugar and cinnamon or jazz up your pancakes with berries, cream, syrup, nut flakes and fruit. Spinach and cheese, mince or cheese sauce with bacon bits are favourite savoury fillings.
- Make pizza in the oven. Buy pre-made pizza bases and add your own toppings. Anything goes - from pineapple to anchovy or egg! Or, you can make your own bases from scratch, Jamie Oliver style, which is delicious but can get messy.
4. Play games at home
Let your hair down and have some fun with your children while you’re stuck at home in lockdown. There are so many exciting games you can play with kids (and grown-ups) of every age and skill level. Here are some of the best games to play during lockdown.
- Set up a scavenger hunt with clues leading to a treasure. For younger kids, you can use images or objects as clues instead of written clues. You can do a scavenger hunt indoors or outdoors and make it easier for smaller kids.
- Play hangman or the alphabet game. Both are educational and can keep kids entertained for hours. For the alphabet game get your kids to think of words starting with A, then B and C and so forth. For older children, they can write their words down and list as many as they can think of in a limited time. You can also use categories of things, like all foods starting with A, all cities, animals, cars, etc.
- Show them how to play charades. This game is great for the whole family to play together. Basically, each person takes a turn acting out the name of a movie, book, play or song etc. and the rest of the family has to guess the name.
- Let them build a den. Kids love building dens, fortresses and castles out of pillows, cushions and old bedding. Add to the fun by letting them play with some pots, plastic bowls and pans (warning: this could get noisy).
- Make an obstacle course indoors or outdoors using furniture and linen. For the little ones, you can use pillows, cushions, sleeping bags, mats and blankets. Old boxes are gold for obstacle courses (as tunnels and houses).
5. Grow plants and seeds at home
Teach your kids to nurture things by showing them how to care for plants. Growing plants is also educational and teaches them patience and discipline. It's one of our favourite kids' lockdown activities!
- Grow potatoes or avo pips. Poke toothpicks into the potato or pip and place on a jar or glass of water with the bottom submerged in the water.
- Plant seeds to grow herbs, beans and peppers. Broad beans and corn kernels are particularly satisfying and will give you a result within a few days! Place them on damp tissue or toilet paper to sprout first (keep them moist). Used yoghurt or ice-cream tubs and milk bottles (cut in half) make good containers for growing seeds. Just add some soil and keep them a little damp.
- Teach them how to care for plants. Show them how to water plants, change the water and ensure the seedlings get enough light.
- You can get older kids to chart the growth of their seedlings (note down how the plants change every day or two).
6. Dance or exercise during lockdown
Burn off some of that excess energy and tension. Not only is exercise a healthy thing to do (in or out of lockdown) but it's also a relaxing activity for the whole family.
- Do kids yoga sessions. There are lots of free yoga apps, videos and classes you can join online.
- Dance! Put some music on and get the little ones moving. Change songs to create variety and end off with slower, more calming music to wind things down. You can even get your kids to dress up and put on a dance show for you.
- Do some simple exercises with your children. Show them how to do basic stretches and star jumps, or join a class online. There are tons of free classes and tutorials online from sing-a-long exercises to PE classes for kids.
7. Go online in lockdown to learn and meet-up with friends
Keep your kids stimulated and connected by letting them explore and learn online. It’s important to make sure your kids stay safe online, so check the places they go online and keep an eye on them.
- Listen to stories and podcasts for kids. You can find educational and entertaining stories for all ages online, some for free.
- Join kids classes in music, art, biology and heaps of other subjects.
- Set up play dates with their friends on Skype, Zoom or FaceTime. This also works well with family members (especially for quality time with grandma and grandpa).
- Get your kids learning online. Sign them up for classes in school subjects or get them to learn a new language online (see free resources like Duolingo).
- Take virtual tours. You can “send” your children on virtual tours of places, game parks, museums, art galleries and more (see 12 museum offering free tours)!
These are some of the best things to do with kids during lockdown! Luckily plenty of these activities for kids during lockdown are cheap or free, so you can definitely keep the children entertained without breaking the bank.