With the Easter holidays coming up (or starting this week for some), you’re probably on the lookout for some new activities your kids can look forward to. If you’re following the school time table from home, it’s a good idea to set a new routine for the holidays too – having a bit of structure can be really helpful (especially if you're working).
Children (and parents) will of course be disappointed that days out and holidays are on hold, but we hope these ideas for family days in will give you something to look forward to:
Form a band. This could be just for the kids, the whole family, or link up with friends using video conferencing. If you don’t own an instrument, try an online version like this virtual piano or improvise with household objects – and don’t forget the all-important band name!
Choreograph a dance. Everyone picks their favourite song and choreographs a routine for an evening performance. If you’re not sure where to start, look up the music video on YouTube or TikTok (depending on the song!) for inspiration.
Go camping. If you have a tent and a garden you can venture into the great outdoors for an overnight camp. Do all the things you’d normally do like play swing-ball, cook on your camping stove, and do a bit of stargazing. If you can’t go outside then why not set up camp indoors, go Bedouin style with lots of blankets, cushions and pillows, tell stories, play games and ditch the tech.
Visit a museum. They’re closed for now, but you can still visit many world famous museums on a virtual tour. From the Natural History Museum in London to the Vatican museums in Rome, The Guardian lists 10 of the world’s best virtual tours. Chatham Historic Dockyard have created a 'Museum from home', as well as their exhibits, they've come up with lots of activities to do at home.
Have a Bake off. Set the challenges, prepare the kitchen and get ready to bake. If you’re finding it difficult getting hold of the essentials, then why not make it a playdoh challenge instead?
Spend an afternoon at the beach. If you have outdoor space, a paddling pool and a sandpit, then chuck down some towels and whisk yourself away to the beach. Make sandcastles, go paddling, read a book and don’t forget to pack a picnic. If you don’t have sand, mud castles are a great messy alternative. For your indoor alternative (which has the bonus of being warmer and staying dry), find a beach screen saver, cook fish and chips (to be eaten out of paper), eat ice cream from a cone and if you have a gaming console, play retro arcade games like Pacman or Space Invaders.
Tackle an obstacle course. Grab chairs, cushions, sheets, hula hoops, planks, bricks etc. and build an obstacle course. Spend a while designing it to include things to climb over, duck under, crawl through and swerve around.
Alphabet hunt. Challenge kids to find an object around the house starting with each letter of the alphabet. They could draw, write or take a photo of the items.
Visit a zoo or aquarium. You can still watch and learn about animals from home via webcams. Meet pandas, penguins, tigers and koalas at Edinburgh Zoo, or venture further afield for coral reef, sharks and sea otters at Monterey Bay Aquarium, California.
Secret cinema. If you’re planning a night in front of a film, why not make it an interactive experience. If you’ve chosen a musical, print out song lyrics. For any other films, prepare any food or drinks that feature in the film, pick a character and dress as them and don’t forget to join in with the action scenes.
You’ve got talent. Hold your own talent show. Link up with family and friends using video conferencing and invite them to audition too. Go all out and channel your inner BGT judge, with fancy dress and buzzers.
Visit a famous landmark. Just like many museums, thanks the miracles of modern technology, you can take an online tour of some of the world’s most famous landmarks. The Guardian features 10 of the best including the pyramids of Giza, the Eiffel Tower, Stonehenge and the Taj Mahal.
Go bowling. Turn a passageway in to a bowling alley. You’ll need 10 empty plastic bottles, some coloured paint and a football. Put some coloured paint in the bottom of each bottle then fill with water – make sure you seal them REALLY well and put some tape around just to be sure. If you’re playing on carpet, make your lane out of old cardboard boxes, it’ll help the ball roll faster and protect from spills! If you don’t know your spares from your strikes, here’s a guide to scoring.
Wildlife watch. Web cams aren’t just for zoos and aquariums, grab some paper and pencils and go bird spotting with the Wildlife Trust, or head to the Californian coast to see elephant seals. Find out facts, identify species, draw pictures or just watch. If you’re up for a challenge, why not head to Loch Ness and see if you can spot Nessie!
Get crafty. Whatever their age, kids never seem to tire of arts and crafts, probably because there are a million and one things they could do. So pick a favourite or try something new – it could be junk modelling, Lego building, watercolour painting, cutting and sticking, painting stones, making slime, potato printing, knitting, sewing, playdoh modelling, papier mache, balloon modelling, window art…
Become an author. We’re not suggesting you try and write the next bestseller, but writing can be a great way for children (and adults) to explore what they’re feeling, or escape to an imaginary world. There are no rules, you could tell a story, make a picture book, create a comic strip, or write a news article. Do it individually or team up and share ideas!
Games night. Kids can learn a lot from games, but it’s the holidays so don’t let on! Pick board games, video games, card games or bingo!
Relax with a Spa day. Who needs Champneys when you’ve got kids at a loose end?! Let them come up with a menu of ‘treatments’ – hairstyling, foot massage, nail polish, head massage etc. – get lots of towels out, use a washing up bowl for a foot spa, and… relax (if you can stop laughing long enough!)
Animal training. Spending time with pets can be really calming and lots of fun. If you have a family pet, see if you can teach it something new, or make a new toy for it. If you don’t, train some teddies or create an imaginary one and describe all the fun things you’ll do together.
Scavenger hunt. Make a list of things for the kids to find around the house. It could be a written list, or you could take photos of the objects. To make it harder, take pictures of part of the object so they have to guess what it is first.
Build a den. Dens can be built indoors or outdoors. Encourage your kids to get creative and use whatever’s available – checking there’s nothing dangerous around first - old boxes, garden furniture, sheets, sofa cushions, clothes pegs etc.
Come dine with me. Depending on the ages of your children, you could do this over several days, or each take a course. Put together your menus, then each take turns to prepare food for and entertain your ‘guests’. After each meal or course write down a score. The scores are added up and revealed after the last meal or course.
Go on a garden safari. If you have an outdoor space, encourage your kids to go out and explore then put together a guide book or video guide with information about all the creatures and plants so they can take you on safari. Build a jeep out of cardboard boxes, grab your binoculars (you could make them from loo roll tubes!) and let your imaginations run wild!