How to entertain your kids at home
By Cable.co.uk | Monday, February 8th 2021
The Covid-19 pandemic and several lockdowns mean that we’re all spending more time at home than ever before. With schools closed and socialisation a big no, you might be scratching your head looking for ways to keep your children busy and entertained. Look no further, from the same team who gave you tips for homeschooling, a guide to parental controls for streaming and the best internet providers, here’s a list of fun and engaging activities for your little ones to pass time and enjoy themselves.
Playing comes naturally to kids and they’re always looking for ways to entertain themselves, alone or with you. Our suggestions are tailored to all ages and we hope you’ll find something that’ll pique their interest – including some digital options. But before letting them enjoy some downtime in front of a screen agree on some rules and stick to them as much as you can – we know this is easier said than done.
1. Have a spa day
Who doesn’t enjoy a day at the spa? We may not be able to go somewhere to get pampered but how about having a spa day with your children at home. Everybody loves a good massage, some yummy smelling moisturiser and feeling a little bit extra. Tell the kids that’s the plan for the day and spend some time looking after each other. Make some nice milkshakes or teas, get a candle burning – under supervision, paint nails, give and receive massages and put on face masks. You’ll all feel so relaxed afterwards.
2. Create a soothing box
A ‘soothing box’ is a box where your child can keep things that help them calm down and feel at peace with themselves. In these stressful time of lockdowns and almost no social interactions, it may be a good idea for them to have a place where they keep whatever they like. A lovely book, some colouring pencils, their favourite blanket or teddy bear or maybe some memories that spark joy. Let them decorate the box and personalise it.
3. Join the Mad Hatter’s Tea Party
Get them involved in the kitchen and prepare a Mad Hatter’s tea party, like the one in ‘Alice in Wonderland’ but less chaotic – one can dream. You can pick a few easy recipes for finger sandwiches or muffins. Set up a picnic in the living room and wear fun paper hats you’ve all made.
4. Have a sleepover / Camp at home
We can’t have friends or family over but you can make any night feel more exciting when you turn it into a sleepover. You could all camp out in the living room, make a special tent or pillow fortress, get some popcorn and healthy snacks, watch a movie, play board games or tell stories. Just put your PJs on and enjoy some family time.
Alternatively, if the weather is alright and you have a garden you could have a fun camping experience without leaving home. Pitch a tent, make it comfy and warm, have a barbeque, roast some marshmallows, tell stories and look at the night sky. Sounds like the perfect plan, doesn’t it?
5. Give them chores
Children love being involved and following by example. Why don’t you get them involved in day-to-day chores adapted to their age? They can help you hand laundry or fold it, arrange a room, do the dishes or look after your houseplants or garden. Tell them what they have to do. Explain why. Join them. And give them a small reward once they are done.
6. Toy wash
A classic that never goes out of fashion. Fill a plastic bin, bowl or a sink with water. Bring a box of toys that can be washed – nothing with electronic pieces or batteries – and a bunch of towels. And let them focus on washing their plastic animals, small cars, toy food or building blocks. Make sure you’re supervising, though, if you don’t want a small pool on your floor.
7. Listen to an audiobook or read a book together
If your children arne’t old enough to read, why don’t you take some time for telling them stories or reading them one of their favourite books? Another alternative could be picking a lovely audiobook and letting someone narrate the story for you. Not sure where to start? Roald Dahl’s ‘Matilda’, ‘The Hobbit’ or ‘Mary Poppins’ are all-time family-friendly classics that won’t disappoint.
8. Grow a garden
Even if you don’t have a garden, you can show your children how to care for plants. A few pots, some soil and seeds will be enough. And once things have been planted you can give them the task of looking after and tracking progress for each plant over a few weeks. Seeing how seeds turn into plants, and then into flowers or even vegetables will be a wonderful lesson about nature they’ll learn and carry with them forever.
9. Board games
Nothing like a good board game to help you keep your kids entertained for hours. Pick wisely based on your children’s age but some firm favourites are Exploding Kittens’ – it’s as fun as its name suggests, Clue, Monopoly, Dobble or Jenga are also fun options.
Another classic. Puzzles can be very time-consuming and challenging, but also incredibly rewarding when you see progress. There are puzzles for all ages and they are a fantastic way of stimulating your little ones’ mind and to keep them occupied for quite some time. If you’re feeling creative you could even have a puzzle made out of some of their favourite pictures.
11. Online activities
And if you are happy to give your kids some screen time while you try to get some work down, we’re also going to suggest a few child-friendly online activities. An amazing option is Google’s Be Internet Legends, which offers a fantastic introduction to online safety education for children. It’s designed to teach 7 to 11-year-olds digital safety skills. Similar to this, Digiworld is an interactive platform that helps 5 to 16-year-olds develop digital resilience so that they can be safer online.
You could also let them get creative in Minecraft. The best-selling video game of all time is fun for all the family and safe enough just in case you need to leave them alone. Or your train them to spot fake news by navigating the internet with them and having honest conversations about how to find reliable information and trustworthy sources.
And last but not least, don’t forget arranging some digital meet-ups with their friends and relatives. The fact that we can’t see each other in person is a strong reason to let them engage with people they care about via Zoom, Google Hangouts, FaceTime, Skype, WhatsApp and any other video-calling service.
12. Get out
We all need to minimise social interaction to stop the spread of Covid-19 but we’re still allowed to go out for exercise and walks. Take advantage of that and take your children on an adventure. Explore your neighbourhood by bike or on foot. Climb the nearest hill. Go to the park. Get some fresh air and enjoy nature. It will do all of you real good.
Which of these activities to keep your children entertained at home will you do first? If you’ve got more ideas or suggestions we’re happy to hear them.