It’s day number… oh, I don’t even know anymore… of lockdown/quarantine, and you probably feel like you and your family have taken part in every activity ever invented and a plethora of indoor activities for kids to keep boredom at bay. But fear not, because we’ve teamed up with Jamie Wilco, the author of brand new book Kids in Quarantine: 178 Ways to Stop Your Children From Driving You Crazy During a Global Pandemic, to bring you 20 new brilliant indoor activities for kids to mix things up.
Bring tigers and dinosaurs into your home, via ‘augmented reality’ (AR)
If you don’t know what AR is, think the Pokemon Go craze from a few years ago – you hold up your phone and it looks like there’s a creature or an object in front of you. Now thanks to a new feature from Google, you can pose with a virtual animal just by typing its name and looking at your phone.
How: Type the name of an animal (‘tiger’ and ‘pony’ are a good place to start) into Google and then click on ‘view in 3D’. Other highly-rated AR apps include Jurassic World Alive, Dinosaurs Everywhere and Quiver – find them in your mobile app store. Note: AR will not work on all smartphones!
Learn some survival skills
As we’ve all now learned, you never know what life is going to throw at you. A few basic survival skills can go a long way in unpredictable situations, and most can be easily learned in the garden (or even indoors).
How: See The Survival Mom for a list of 32 skills for kids.
Make your own chocolate bar
Melt down some generic chocolate and get creative, by throwing random ingredients in there; marshmallows, popping candy, whatever you think will work well together. Then put it in a plastic mould, stick it in the fridge and soon your family has got a totally unique brand of chocolate. Maybe the kids can even name it and design some paper packaging.
How: It’s up to you what you put in it, but you will need some kind of plastic mould to create it in.
Play ‘Guess the Animal Noise’
Who said quizzes have to always involve trivia questions? Bring up a list of animal noise sound effects and have your children guess what they are. You can make it even more silly by playing the sound effects to one person, who has to run into a different room to do their own impression of it to someone else, who has to identify it.
How: Freesoundeffects.com has a huge list of animal noises.
Create a schedule clock
This is when you colour in segments of a clock to create a visible representation of what is happening at different times of the day. Obviously a clock only has 12 hours, so you can either just use it for the afternoon/evening, or you can create two separate rings within the clock.
How: Below are two different techniques.
Watch some home videos
What’s the point in filming videos if we never watch them? Curate a short presentation of your family’s best home movies, from before you had kids, through to when they were babies, right up to the modern day.
How: Pick a selection of videos in advance, then hook your computer up to your TV and off you go!
Visit your library without visiting your library
Most local libraries now allow their books to be ‘loaned out’ digitally, via apps such as Overdrive (in the USA) or RBdigital (in the UK). Don’t presume that you can borrow any book you want, whenever you want – there are limits on how many people can be reading a particular copy at any one time.
How: Different libraries use different apps, so you may have to find out which one yours uses. The website, eBook Friendly, has a list of some of the options.
Hold a mini music festival
If you’re bored of watching movies and TV, then host your own indoor music festival! Make your dream family festival line-up, with everyone suggesting two artists – this is your festival, so if it’s The Beatles supported by Ariana Grande and Metallica then so be it. Then look for good quality live performances on Youtube and make an evening of it. Make the atmosphere even more festival-like by cuddling up in sleeping bags, wearing stupid hats and dancing around with glowsticks.
How: Elite Daily has a list of ideas to turn your living room into a mini Coachella.
Use Sporcle to turn learning into a game
Sporcle is a website that turns any topic you can think of into a fun game – from mathematics to learning capital cities.
How: Go to the Sporcle website and have a browse for subjects that interest you.
Take a career test
Kids constantly change their minds about what they want to do when they grow up, changing randomly from football player to astronaut to ice cream seller. Give them a career test to take – it’s just a bit of fun, but it might spark an interest in something new.
How: 123Test.com has one that is easy to use and suitable for kids.
Write letters to celebrities, politicians or companies
Your children might want to tell an author how much they enjoyed a particular book, ask a politician to pay more attention to an important cause, or make a suggestion to a company. Who knows what could happen – when a three-year-old British girl wrote to the Sainsbury’s supermarket to tell them that their ‘tiger bread’ looks more like a giraffe, they ended up re-naming it ‘giraffe bread’.
How: Reading Rockets has a guide to letter writing for kids, as well as some suggestions for who to write to.
Build a birdwatching fort
Do you want your kids to learn about nature? Make a box for them to hide in, given it some spy holes, place it in the garden, then wait for the birds (and maybe even squirrels) to come. Give them a camera and challenge them to take the best photo possible.
How: It’s easier than building a box fort – just take the biggest box you have, cut some small holes to look out of, and place some bird food nearby.
See what free trials companies are currently offering
Huge amounts of businesses, from learning platforms to audiobook websites, are offering their services for free during the lockdown.
How: Money Saving Expert has a list of trials being offered, from the likes of Headspace, Rosetta Stone and Fender.
Take part in the ’30 Day Lego Challenge’
This is a list of construction tasks, one for each day – everything from creating your dream bedroom to designing a new flag.
How: You can see a copy of the 30 Day Lego Challenge here.
You’ll have much better odds with contests that require some kind of creative entry, such as drawing a picture of writing a story – most people can’t be bothered to put a few minutes’ effort in, giving you a huge advantage.
How: Money Saving Expert has an excellent guide on how to enter competitions in the most effective way possible.
Play ‘the Monster Game’
Fold a piece of paper into three sections. One person draws the head, one person draws the torso (without seeing the head), the third person draws the legs (without seeing the head or torso).
How: See The Game Gal’s guide for more info.
Watch the skies
With the skies being clearer due to lack of planes flying overhead, looking for things in space will be the easiest it’s been in a long time. Take this moment to finally learn which lights are stars and which lights are planets, and you may even get to see the International Space Station.
Make a ‘complaint jar’
If you want to keep things simple, have a jar that anyone who complains about quarantine has to put money in to, for example $1/£1 for adults and $0.10/£0.10 for children. At the end of quarantine, the money is donated to charity, or goes to the person who complained the least.
How: Get a jar and stick it somewhere where everyone can see it, to serve as a reminder.
Create a photo book
These days most photos just exist on your phone or computer – so bring your favourite ones to life by getting an online printing service to print them in a beautiful book.
Host a themed movie night
Draw handmade tickets, have someone be an usher, fill a huge box with popcorn, play some trailers of upcoming movies, etc. You can take it even further: you may have heard of Secret Cinema, a series of large-scale events based around the screenings of cult favourites like Back to the Future and Star Wars. By dressing up and being surrounded by realistic props, everyone feels immersed in the movie. See what you can do with things from around the house.
How: See Secret Cinema for inspiration – and scale it down to your budget!
Kids in Quarantine: 178 Ways to Stop Your Children From Driving You Crazy During a Global Pandemic is available now on Amazon. A paperback version will be available in the next few days. New ideas for indoor activities for kids are also posted on the Kids in Quarantine Facebook page.
Have you tried any of these indoor activities for kids? Leave a comment below and let us know how it went. And if you’re looking for more ideas on indoor activities for kids why not check out our list of 30 boredom busters for kids.
Cover picture credit: House photo created by freepik – www.freepik.com