Due to COVID-19 you may find yourself at home in isolation with your kids, but there’s one thing that won’t get shutdown: playtime.
There’s a strong possibility you’ll work your way through your collection of boardgames, books and films quickly. Before you know it, you’ll hear the word you dread the most. The B-word. Bored.
Boredom inspires creativity
Take a breath and know that it’s good for kids to be bored. Also, be kind to yourself during this time and know these circumstances aren’t normal. You don’t have to be a super parent every single day. Remember: the most elaborate activities often end in minutes thanks to short attention spans.
If you have to give your kids extra screentime, it’s fine. If a box becomes a spaceship, great. If a kid drops a tub of glitter on the floor inside the house, cool, your partner will clean it up later.
Here’s a few activities you can do with your kids at home to liven up the day.
Build a cubby house
An absolute classic. Pick a room at your place, preferably the most spacious one, and build a cubby house using pillows, blankets and chairs. Your mini architects will provide the vision and you’ll be responsible for making sure the cubby is sturdy. Don’t forget to make the cubby comfy on the inside and invite all the soft toys over for a cubby-warming party.
Make play dough
If your play dough supply is a little crusty it may be time for a fresh batch. But rather than buying new tubs, make it yourself. This activity is excellent because your kids will have fun mixing the ingredients together, deciding the colour and then seeing the result. Add glitter to the mix to make your new play dough sparkle. There are different ways to make play dough so find the recipe that works best for you and prepare to smoosh.
Put your kids to work; pretend work, that is. Pick an industry and let a child’s imagination bring it to life. Look around the house and see if there are objects you can use to help bring a pretend workplace to life. Got a chair and a smock? Great, you can open a hairdresser. Why not raid the junk drawer for empty food storage containers and utensils to open a restaurant. Make sure everyone gets a turn trying different jobs and remember that someone needs to be the customer; most of the time, that means you.
Get a piece of paper and write the opening line of a story. The piece of paper gets passed around in a circle, each person writes a line, folds it over and passes it on. Once its done a few laps you read out the story. The goal is to write a story that makes no sense. The sillier the tale, the better. The game can be played on paper or done verbally depending on the age range of the players.
Camp in the backyard
If you’ve got an outside space to work with try camping. It’s the ultimate staycation. Day or night, get out the camping gear and pretend like you’re out in the wilderness. Is that a lion? Or just dad who hasn’t shaved for a week? Let your imagination run wild.
Open a bakery
Your local café may be takeaway only, but a home bakery is open 24/7. Track down the easiest way to bake a simple cake or batch of cookies and get your kids mixing. Just be wary of kids in the kitchen and make sure you put strict rules in place. A good alternative option is to make raw balls because no baking is required, and kids can experiment with flavours. Baking is messy fun and you get to try delicious creations afterwards – it’s a win-win. Well, except for whoever must clean up so plan ahead or outsource the job to an understanding partner.
When in doubt: invent a game
Set a challenge to invent a new game. Use this as a secret weapon if your kids give you grief about being bored. Kids will get more out of a game if they made it up themselves. Make suggestions, borrow ideas from other games but make them entirely your own.