Keeping your kids happy and entertained at home isn’t always a breeze, but there are plenty of things you can do to keep boredom at bay.
We’ve pulled together a few ideas that are easy to put into practice and will keep your child away from a screen for at least a little while.
Online deliveries always seem to come in ridiculously oversized boxes, don’t they? But instead of chucking them in the recycling bin, kids can have endless fun building and playing in their own box city.
Just flatten the cardboard out and use a big thick marker pen to draw on the roads. You can then use other smaller boxes, or toys, to create buildings and other features. Gather up a few toy cars and you’re all set.
On the hunt for a treasure
You don’t need a garden to create a treasure hunt. Simply hide a small prize - like a sweet treat or some fun stickers - somewhere in the house. Then give your kids clues, sending them from room to room to find their precious treasure.
If you have more than one child, you can have one of your children design the treasure hunt with you and writing clues for other family members to seek out.
A slight variation on this one is to create a scavenger hunt, sending your kids off in pursuit of a list of items from around the house. These can be any household items, from keys to a teddy bear.
Young kids love being helpers. Whether it’s cooking, cleaning, setting the table or doing a spot of gardening by your side, they’ll be in their element.
If you let them know how important their job is in keeping the house running, they’ll probably be even happier to help out and feel appreciated in the process.
Have your children put on a show for you. You can make it as big and elaborate as you’d like and help them with the planning - or at least point them in the right direction.
For example, if they’re putting together a play, they’ll need a story, and if it’s a musical show, they’ll need to choose songs, dances and props. The cast needn’t be limited to your children - soft toys, dolls and puppets can all have roles too.
Once they’ve put it all together, sit back and reward them with plenty of claps and cheers.
Help your kids set up a toy wash. Some plastic toys, a couple of tubs, some warm water, bubbles and a sponge and you’re all set.
Go and get yourself a cuppa, but keep a close eye on your little toy washers to avoid any injuries if the floor gets slippery.
Into the maze
If you have plenty of floor space, you can use tape to create an indoor maze. If not, you can use chalk on your garden patio to the same effect.
You can make it as simple or difficult as you like, with a few dead ends to challenge them. If navigating the maze isn’t enough, then see if they can dribble a small ball through it without crossing the lines. Better still, time them and set challenges.
Alternatively, if you have a narrow hallway, then create a laser maze out of type. You string pieces of tape across the hall, at varying heights and angles, and your kids have to very carefully duck and weave their way through, Mission Impossible style.
Science needn’t necessarily mean Bunsen burners or memorising the periodic table.
It can be simple, safe and colourful fun that requires nothing more than a few regular household items.
The CBeebies website has some great ideas for science experiments you can do with your kids, like making a fizzy lava lamp. You’ll just need an empty jar, sunflower oil, water, food colouring, bicarbonate of soda and a torch.
You might just turn your kids into budding scientists.
Dig out your old photos or photo albums and show them to your kids. They’ll love seeing you in your old garb and out-dated hairdo, and will listen rapt as you share funny stories from your past.
If you have any spare photos, or a printer, you could let your kids use them to start creating a scrapbook.
Turn your pet into a superhero
Pet charity Blue Cross is encouraging kids to take part in a competition called Britain’s Most Heroic Tails (details here).
They just have to draw their pet, superhero-style, on the front of a movie poster and write a few sentences on why their pet is such a champion. Kids who don’t own a pet can draw their imaginary super pet too.
Whether or not your kids enter the actual competition, having them draw their super pet and get as creative as they’d like can be great fun.
Hot off the family press
Why not create your first family newspaper? It’s a great way to get your kids practising their writing and thinking creatively.
They could interview a grandparent or friend via video call and pen a profile piece or get ‘news’ off them. You can help them think like a journalist and consider the who, what, why, where, when, and how of their story.
The newspaper will need pictures too, and could even have a fun, puzzle section. You can help your kids plan it out, using a traditional newspaper-style layout. The more authentic the better.
With a little imagination and some common household items you can keep your children entertained, stimulate their creativity and get them to realise how much fun they can have at home.