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1.Do some gardening (wrap up warm then reward yourself with a hot drink and biscuit!) – check out our Gardening with Kids Blog here for some ideas
2. . Learn a new hobby – knitting, sewing, magic tricks, anything you can think of!
3.Do the Match box challenge – How many things can you fit in one?! Maybe one for the slightly older ones with the small items.
4. Do some crafts
5. Blow up a couple of balloons – play catch, see who can keep it off the ground the longest, draw a face on it, make a goal and see how can score. Balloons keep my little ones busy for hours.
6. Do some Face Painting
7. Have a movie day – make it more special by having the kids make/sell tickets and snacks, dimming the lights, having an interval etc.
8. Make and do an assault course- put all the pillows, cushions on the floor for them to navigate and use string to tie “laser lines” in the hall way and get the kids to go over/under them
9. Make a bug hotel with twigs, cones & stones from the garden. Put it in the garden and check everyday for new guests!
10. Try some science experiments -make a volcano, or pour lukewarm water over Skittles sweets on a plate to make a rainbow. This website has some good ideas using materials you might have lying around the house.
11. Have a birthday party for one of their favourite toys – think party food, party games, balloons, music, the lot!
12. Dig out the old board games – older ones will love playing them with you and whilst some might be too grown up for little ones, simple games like Pie Face and Buckaroo are popular with my under 3’s! For more board game ideas by age group click here.
13. Let the kids do their, their dollies’ and your (!) hair & make-up
14. Get them to put on a fashion show
15. Run a bath with loads of bubbles and let them have a splash about and play. We can spend a good hour playing in the bath – my 3 year old loves pretending to make cakes out of the bubbles.
16 Look at what household objects you have around the house that they could play with. Kids are intrigued by things that aren’t theirs. They love tipping all the pegs out of the peg basket and putting them back in one at a time. Repeatedly! Older kids can join in by counting the pegs.
17. Build a den with blankets, throws and cushions. Why not get in to read a story?!
18. Fill an empty ice cream tub or Tupperware with water and throw a few small toys in. Put the tub in the freezer overnight and then the following day empty the ice bock out onto a tray and let them have fun trying to chip away at the ice with spoons to get to the objects. Keeps them busy for ages and mine love playing with ice!
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19. Grab some old socks, draw faces on them with markers or get creative with whatever craft supplies you have in and do a little puppet show together.
20. More fun with socks (!) – get them to put them into pairs – my 3 year old LOVES doing this and it saves me so much time! Sometimes I time how long it takes for her to do them all.
21. Play hide and seek (hilarious with toddlers!)
22. Make hand and footprint keepsakes. (Whilst this might seem a messy option, you’ll look back one day and be glad you did it)
23. Make a ‘post-box’ out of an old cereal box. Littlies will love just posting things though whilst toddlers and pre schoolers might make more of game out of it and write little letters and deliver them.
24. Make Rainbow Spaghetti – cook some spaghetti and separate into freezer bags (one per colour). Add food colouring and a little water to each bag (red, blue green for example) squish it all up so that the spaghetti takes on the colour and then rinse each coloured spaghetti in the colander. Don’t forget this step or your little one will have stained hands! Put the spaghetti into a safe container and let them dig in for a bit of sensory play. Older ones might want to thread some cheerio’s onto the spaghetti strands. Nanna Mumbler does this with my older 2 and they love it – they call their play table the ‘spaghetti table’
25. Make an indoor or outdoor treasure hunt – tell them the items they’re looking for in each room and then guide them using warm, cold, colder etc
26. Play with bubbles – my kids never tire of it! See if they can catch them before they pop
27. Dig out or set up some toys they haven’t played with in a while. Kids forget what they have, or sometimes just need someone to set something up and play with them. Blocks, role play , cars, jigsaws…..
28. Do a toy swap with friends – choose 5 toys and temporarily swap with children of a similar age – toys that will have become boring for your little ones will delight someone else, and vice versa
29. Baking – for something particularly easy, rice crispy cakes are always a winner.
30. Make cards for family and friends – this is one of my little girl’s favourite pastimes. You can even post them; who doesn’t love getting something nice through the post?!
31. Make musical instruments – rice in bottles for shakers, elastic bands over empty tissue boxes for guitars. Pots and pans for drums. Then form a band and perform your songs! You can even film yourselves and send to family and friends.
32. Do some jigsaws
33. Tidy up the garden – the kids will have a great time and you’ll get some help with a job!
34. Chores in general seem to be hit with younger kids – my little boy loves nothing more than wiping down the table with a sponge?! Make the most of the help and involve them to assist with your jobs
35. Have a clear out/tidy up – my kids love ‘helping’ me sort out the cupboards/wardrobes etc
36. Don’t feel bad about CBeebies, Xbox or tablet use – whatever gets you through the day!
37. Make a Kids’ Gym in the Front Room – include ‘work out’ stations such as a trail of paper which they have to walk on without touching the floor; time them jumping on the spot and doing star jumps; do some easy gymnastics such as forward rolls, giving them as much help as they need
38. Make your own TV show – interview some teddies, do a show and tell, host a gameshow – you could even film it!
39. Have some meals as tea parties or picnics – throw a rug down, get out some dollies (for the little ones) and eat your lunch as you would in the park!
40. Play Doh – can be a nightmare to clear up, but needs must……make more of an activity of it by making you own – here’s an easy recipe.
41. Give older kids a topic to research & present back, or video each other presenting
42. Tuff Tray – a staple of child minders, kids will have hours of fun creating ‘mini worlds’, construction sites, messy play and even just simple ball pools in their trays. Check out this website for some ideas.
43. Let them help you make meals or even make their own – pizzas are a great shout as they can choose their own toppings
44. Dig the Lego/Duplo out – always keeps mine busy for a while. Make it more interesting for older ones by having a Lego building contest or do a 30 Day Lego Challenge – find out more here.
45. Get older kids to write their own story – they can pick a topic out of a hat
46. Have a Hygge! Click here to see what its all about….
47. Do some Life Sized Drawing – Place a load of A4 sheets of paper (stuck together) on the floor and get the little ones to lie down on them. Outline their body with a pen then let them loose decorating themselves – they can draw their faces and dress themselves in whatever clothes they want
48. Play dressing up! Go one further by acting out the story/playing a game in character – my daughter loves donning her Elsa dress and directing Olaf (Middle Mumbler) and Sven (Baby Mumbler) in her own Frozen remake…
49. Get them to make their own magazine or newspaper – I still remember this being one of my favourite things to do as a kid. They can interview family and friends over the phone to find out how they’re spending their time and write about all the fun activities you’re doing with them at home!
51. Colour in – the simple things are often the most effective and my 3 year old will colour in for hours.
52. Do some finger painting – you can buy kits for a couple of quid or just use the paints you have at home. Older children can make some pretty impressive pictures using their fingerprints and younger ones will have a ball just making a mess!! Some ideas include cute little yellow chicks, fingerprint monsters and autumn trees.
53. Do some Junk Modelling – gather up your clean, dry recycling (so start saving it!) and get the little ones to construct something out of it. This is a staple of local libraries and my little ones have a great time whenever we go. Think empty cereal boxes, kitchen roll holders, yoghurt pots, left over wool – anything and everything you can find. They’ll construct robots, buildings, towns and loads more. Once they’ve made their structures, they can paint them.
54. Have a Glow stick bath
55. Build a spaghetti and marshmallow tower. Make it into a challenge
56. Go on a virtual Field Trip! Did you know you can take virtual tours of loads of famous museums, places of interest and even Mars?! We’ve pulled together a list of some of the best virtual tours here.
57. Line a baking tray with foil, fill it with water and freeze – it’s an ice rink for toys, or a science experiment to see which items have the most traction when you slide them around
58. Create a time capsule – fill it with info about whats happening today, include notes on how you’re all feeling, include newspaper articles, draw pictures, anything you fancy! Put it away and open it next year to see how things have changed (hopefully for the better!!)
59. Gather leaves, paint them and stick them on paper – make a tree or other picture with them
60. Trace some leaves or coins with crayons to make pretty pictures
61. Have a dance party! Glow sticks add extra fun. Older kids can make up and teach each other (and you!) a dance routine
62. Write funny sentences on slips of paper, fold them up and put them into a hat then pull them out one at a time, reading aloud to hear your hilarious story unfold!
63. Make paper bag puppets then put on a puppet show with them
64. Make faces using bits and pieces from the garden
65. Choose a fairytale (or any book), and have each person pretend to be a character with one of you as an interviewer/journalist to ask you all questions. Make sure you answer them in character!
66. Make invisible ink – then you can get to work being detectives!
67. Make origami flowers and spritz with a tiny bit of perfume. Give them to friends and family members when safe to do so.
68. Repurpose cardboard boxes into a dolls house, hospital, vet, parking garage – anything you like!
69. Make a cardboard box into a TV, put it on your head and read the news!
70. Make a peg dolly (wooden pegs are best). You could even make a cute peg dolly family box frame – see how here.
71. Play I Spy. My littlest ones are a bit too young to do ‘begins with’ so we do it with colours – ‘I spy something pink’ – it’s helping my little boy learn his colours too.
74. Turn the living room into a shop – fill it with your tins, books, shoes, anything you like, and let ehe little ones role play at doing the weekly shop or being the cashier. My little ones LOVE this game and it keeps them occupied for hours. You can even make your own till out of cardboard boxes and draw price tags to practice numbers.
75. Cut out pictures from a magazine or old greetings cards, then make new pictures with them
76. Create a “Favourite Memories” or “Thankful” jar
77. Make bookmarks – you can give them to friends and family as gifts
78. Build a castle and paint it – use cardboard boxes, egg boxes, washing up bottles – anything you can find. Their toys can then play Kings and Queens!
79. Paint rocks from the garden – save any particularly pretty ones to give as gifts
80. Make a suncatcher or a dream catcher. You might need items you don’t have lying around the house but if you can get your hands on them this is a great activity for older kids. This website has good instructions.
98. Make Tissue Box Monsters! Found out how here. Make a game of it afterwards by seeing how many pom poms players can get into their monster’s mouth in a minute
99. Download a movie-making/editing app and make movies with each other and/or the kids’ toys. This website has some good ideas.
100. Make a birdfeeder – here are some ideas. You can all keep an eye on any feather friends who come along to enjoy it.
101. Make shoes or t-shirts – let the kids decorate any old canvas trainers or t shirts you have lying around to make new ones. They can use pens, glitter, sequins, wool – anything they like!
AND A FEW FOR GOOD LUCK! 😍
102. Make a Messy Tray – Fill a tray with something like shaving foam/ rice/ slime/ flour/ jelly/ ice/ sawdust and hide things in it for them to hunt out or just let them play with it, explore, or get messy! (Ideally do this on a laminate/tiled floor or pop a tablecloth down. Have a towel handy and wipes ready for operation clean up!)
103. Water paint the fence! Apparently this has the potential to keep little people busy for hours! All that’s required is a bucket of water and a paint brush and point them at the fence!!
104. Send them on a Bug Hunt! They could draw what they find, photograph it or capture them briefly in an ice cream tub to show you.
We hope his gives you some inspiration!! Please join our Facebook Chat group to share ideas with other local parents or to let us know of anything you’d like us to add to this list!