Keeping kids busy at home
With a slight lifting of lockdown, it feels like there’s light at the end of the tunnel. It’s been a challenging time for parents and children alike, though there’s going to be at least a few more weeks of us all living closely within our bubbles.
Understandably, days can feel monotonous and it’s easy to get stuck in a rut. So if you’re looking for ways to freshen up your kids’ daily activities – we’ve come up with a wide range of at-home ideas, each with links for added inspiration.
Go for virtual days out
1. VISIT AQUARIUMS – enter a magical underwater world with tours at aquariums from around the globe.
2. EXPLORE THE LOUVRE – take the family to Paris and enjoy a virtual tour of one of the world’s most famous museums.
3. WALK THE GREAT WALL OF CHINA – you don’t need to leave your home to explore some of the wonders of the world, including The Great Wall of China.
4. GO ON A SAFARI – watch wild animals live in the beautiful African bush. Elephants, lions, leopards and many more make appearances every day in one of Africa’s remotest locations.
5. FLY A GLIDER – soar above five USA terrains while learning about different types of land and water features.
6. GO DOWN THE FARM – take a look around Canadian farms – find out what they produce and what goes into to making them run smoothly.
Learn something new
1. MEET THE CRITTERS – an online club run by Irwins and Australian Zoo is a fun way to learn about conservation, with virtual zoo tours, activities and education all in one.
2. SAY ‘HOLA!’ – learn to speak a new language with fun, bitesize online lessons in Spanish, French, Italian and more.
3. BE A VIDEO WHIZ – teach kids how to edit their videos with stop motion animation and other online tools.
4. GET SCIENTIFIC – for kindergarten age up, this site has some great at-home experiments you can do with your budding scientists.
5. PLAY US A TUNE – take up a new instrument or improve your playing with online music classes and tutorials.
6. GET ARTY & CRAFTY – enjoy free daily arts and crafts lessons on Facebook Live – visit the website to see what you’ll need for each project.
Make more of the garden
1. HUNT FOR TREASURE – treasure hunts are easy to set up and will keep the kids occupied for a while. Hide 10 to 20 items around the garden – but try to remember where you’ve put everything!
2. EXCITE THEIR SENSES – fill a sensory bin with anything and everything; the simplest things can keep toddlers happy.
3. NICE ICE FUN – fill ice cream containers with water and add plastic animals or leaves or flowers - then freeze overnight and watch the block melt outside the next day.
4. GO BACKYARD CAMPING – get the camping gear out of the garage and go for a camping holiday in your own garden.
5. USE YOUR GREEN FINGERS – create vege patches with a difference by using plant pots, gumboots, wheelbarrows, buckets or any improvised containers.
6. PAINT MASSIVE MASTERPIECES – let their creativity run wild by sticking large sheets of paper on the fence and painting a mural with full-size paint brushes.
Get busy in the kitchen
1. OPEN YOUR OWN PIZZERIA – create the dough, kneed it, flatten it, and then add some tasty toppings for your own custom-made pizzas.
2. BECOME A SOAP STAR – now that we’re all experts at handwashing, we can also learn how to make our own soap.
3. MAKE A RACKET – get out the pots, pans and wooden spoons (and ear plugs!) – and encourage your little ones to let off steam by making as much noise as they can!
4. BUBBLES AND SQUEAKS– a make a bubble solution and have fun blowing ginormous bubbles through a home-made wand.
5. PLAY DOUGH & SAVE DOUGH – save money and keep the kids entertained by making your own play dough.
6. MEX-IMISE TEA-TIME FUN– roll activity time and tea-time into one, by getting your kids to help you make fajitas.
Do some keep fit
1. GO ON A BEAR HUNT - make family walks more fun by hunting for bears in your area.
2. GET PHYSICAL – every weekday at 3pm on TVNZ 2, children can take part in a Les Mills workout designed especially for kids.
3. BUILDING CONFIDENCE – kids love creating obstacle courses – it’s a great way to challenge their imagination and co-ordination.
4. “AND BREATH…” – yoga for kids is a great way to calm them down before home schooling or bedtime.
5. FUN WITH THEIR BEST FRIEND – our dogs love having us at home, so here are some great ideas for activities the kids can do with their pooch.
6. HOP, SKIP & JUMP – turn your garden into a sports arena with all these games ideas.
Winding down to bedtime
1. STELLAR STORYTIME – treat your kids to a bedtime story read by a NASA astronaut while they float around their space ship.
2. VISIT THE DR – dig out those Dr Seuss books and take a look around Suessville – it has games, videos and background information to all your favourites.
3. “WHY DOES THAT HAPPEN?” – a kid-friendly podcast series answering many of the questions that children love to ask including explaining Coronavirus.
4. DOWNLOAD A FREE CHILDREN’S BOOK – download classic kids’ books with a month's free trial including Harry Potter and stories from David Walliams and Roald Dahl.
5. LISTEN TO A PODCAST – enter a world of sound, music and stories with podcast adventures from some of your kids’ favourite characters.
6. FAIRY TALES TO DOZE OFF TO – snuggle down and listen to all the classic fairy tales including Snow White, Rapunzel, Hansel & Gretel and more.