Top ideas for staying and playing at home with the kids during the School Holidays & Beyond
Families are staying at home due to coronavirus, so we’ve put together a list of fun indoor and outdoor activities that you can do with the kids, or they can do on their own. This includes arts and crafts, online adventures, baking and cooking, indoor play, backyard play and learning at home.
We know this will be a tricky time for many and we are all learning as we go. Remember that this is also a time to be kind to ourselves. These are extra-ordinary circumstances and it’s okay to not have everything perfect. Make sure you can schedule in some time for yourself to have a little break doing what you love, even if it’s only for 10-30 minutes during the day. Have a piece of your favourite chocolate, read a book or have a cup of coffee or tea (hot).
Don’t put too much pressure on yourself.
It’s important parents don’t put too much pressure on themselves during this time. If you need to let the kids have screen time to get things done around the house, or do some work, don’t feel guilty. We’ve got to do what we’ve got to do.
Don’t forget that back when we were young, most parents did not plan things for kids and there were few school holiday programs and activities, play cafes or entertainment venues. Kids just found things to do. We’re going back to basics and it could be a great way for our children to learn to be self-sufficient, plus this offers a great lesson in resilience.
Lower your expectations.
Parents should lower their expectations of what they think they’ll achieve in a day… and then lower them again.
Kids actually don’t need much to keep them entertained. Let them explore and play using their own imagination – we don’t need to fill all their day with things to do.
Also, this is a great opportunity to spend some extra time with your kids, playing, reading to them or just giving them a cuddle. They grow up quick!
With this in mind, we’ve got a a whole bunch of ideas for you to do with the kids if you have time and need some inspiration. Just pick a few things that they’ll like doing or you will enjoy doing together, but don’t feel like you need to tick them all off the list.
Australian Company of Performing Arts
ACPA is hosting online dance classes using video calls and live streams to maintain interaction with their students.
Children aged 2 and up can enjoy a range of dance classes in the comfort of their own home. Plus, ACPA is offering a 10% off classes in Term 2.
Ph: 8352 7860 | Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Anzac Day is such an important day to show our respect and honour to the ANZACs. There will be no public events in South Australia due to COVID-19, however, we can all join together in our own homes to remember them.
Light Up the Dawn – stand in your driveway and hold your own service or follow media coverage and broadcasts. Read more here
Wear a sprig of Rosemary, traditionally worn on Anzac Day, and sometimes on Remembrance Day. Rosemary has particular significance for Australians as it is found growing wild on the Gallipoli peninsula.
Make Anzac biscuits and share the story of the ANZACs with your children. Follow our recipe here
Make a poppy flower, a field of poppies or poppy lantern. Find some poppy making inspiration on the ANZAC Poppies 2020 Facebook page here.
Go on a Bear Hunt
Inspired by the classic children’s book, join the Bear Hunt all over Australia. People are putting teddy bears at the front of the house or through a window so that kids can spot them while walking around the neighbourhood. Read more here
Libraries SA Online Children’s Programs
Because you can’t visit the library over the school holidays, the wonderful staff from Libraries SA have been busy creating online children’s programs for everyone to enjoy at home. There’s experiments, craft and even Robot Tai Chi! CLICK HERE TO WATCH and be sure to visit regularly for new sessions.
Google 3D Animals
See 3D animals in your own home with this neat Google trick using augmented reality. Read more here
Dancing with Glow Sticks
This is a fairly simple and fun activity. Just attach glow sticks to your kids and turn out the lights. See video below by Angry Dad.
Build a Cubby or Fort
Let the kids build a cubby or fort at home using bits and pieces, old sheets, pegs, and their imagination. Last year Mr 11 made this one below with his older sister and slept in it for over 3 weeks. I have to admit it was a bit back breaking for Mum and Dad to crawl in to say goodnight each night, and it literally took up his whole bedroom, but he loved hanging out and sleeping there.
Camping at Home
Along the same lines, while we can’t go away camping or go on holidays anywhere these school holidays, we can camp at home. Pitch a tent in the backyard or if you have space, pitch the tent indoors or make your own with sheets. As @_katventures pointed out, the advantage of having an indoor tent with younger kids is that Mum and Dad get to sleep in their own comfy beds.
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Autumn Leaf Crowns
There are plenty of Autumn leaves around during these school holidays so make your own leaf crowns. Read more here
Make the most of the great Autumn weather and use the sun to help you make some shadow drawings. Read more here
Watch the video below for the 50 best ever LEGO DUPLO play ideas!
P.E. with Joe
‘The Body Coach’, Joe Wicks, has become Britain’s (and the world’s) P.E. teacher every Monday to Friday. Check out this YouTube sensation here for some daily exercise during the week (here it’s on at 5.30pm). Read more here
Adelaide Zoo and Monarto Safari Park Livestream
Zoos SA are bringing the animals to us by livestream. We can catch up with Adelaide Zoo’s Giant Pandas Fu Ni and Wang Wang and Monarto Safari Park’s Southern White Rhino Ibutho and Chimpanzee troop. You can also watch animals from around Australia and overseas too. Read more here
Make a Family Music Video
Get in on the fun with TikTok; make your own lipsync music video or coronavirus inspired masterpiece. Read more here
Watch Australian Ballet Performances
The Australian Ballet’s free cinema-quality digital season brings full length performances to Australians at home. Read more here
Play with Mud
Playing in mud is one of the best activities the kids can do in the backyard. A bucket and spade is all you need but if you have them, old kitchen things and Tonka trucks are fun too. If the weather isn’t too cold the best thing is to wear as few clothes as possible for less laundry, or make sure they wear things you don’t mind getting dirty.
Go for a Bike Ride
Going for a bike ride around your neighbourhood is great exercise and an excuse to get out of the house. With so many people staying at home and working from home right now, there is less traffic on the road too. This is a great opportunity to teach your child how to ride a bike if they don’t already know how to. For older kids like my 11 year old and 15 year old, bike riding is a great way to have a bit of freedom.
This is a great time to make a photo album of your last family holiday, birthdays or the last year. Or go through and select your best photos to do an album for the grandparents. We do this as a Christmas present every year for the grandparents. It’s great to have pics printed up and the kids love looking through the photos. You can order your photos online through places like Snapfish or Officeworks and get them delivered. You can also do a photo book for something a bit more fancy. For older kids this could be a project that they can work on.
As well as the Bear Hunt idea above, there is also a Rainbow trail movement asking everyone to put rainbows at the front of their house for kids to spot. Why not get some chalk out and colour your driveway and footpaths with rainbows and other drawings.
See if you can find a few copies of the same jigsaw puzzle, make it a challenge and give each family the jigsaw and see who can get it finished first. Do Zoom video calls or FaceTime to check on progress.
Getting kids into the kitchen is messy and fun but the more independent they become, the more confidence they will develop. Try this Cheesy Toast Sizzler Bread Recipe – it makes an easy lunch for the kids to make.
Making treats is a great way to get the kids excited about helping in the kitchen. We’ve got a whole bunch of easy recipes you can do with the kids in our Baking & Cooking guide from these Chewy Chocolate Cookies to Lemonade Scones, ANZAC biscuits and more. CLICK HERE FOR BAKING & COOKING IDEAS
Care for Your Elderly Neighbours
Look after elderly neighbours who live near you. See if they need anything from the shops and check on them (from a safe distance) so they are not alone. Drop off some of your baked goods to them or if you have some extra soup or dinner, take a serve over to them so they don’t have to cook that night. Get your kids to help them take out their bins, and bring them in for them each week. The kids could also sweep up any Autumn leaves for them too. Always wash your hands carefully before giving them anything, or touching anything in and around their home.
You could put in place this system as shared below where your neighbour puts up a green card if they are ok, and flip it to the red card if they need something.
Others may like to make their own sign below. ?
Cleaning Up & Housework
This is a great opportunity to teach the kids how to do some chores around the house if they don’t already do this. With everyone at home all the time, the house does get messy and dirty quickly so it could do with some extra love. Get them to vacuum and mop the floors, clean the windows, take out the rubbish, wash the car, unpack the dishwasher, hang out clothes, fold laundry etc. Turn up the music and do the cleaning together and it will be done in no time when everyone chips in. If they’re doing extra jobs, a treat at the end doesn’t hurt to keep up the motivation.
Bring out all the old games you’ve had in the cupboard. We’ve dug out our old Playstation to play SingStar; get the Wii out or any of those old video games you haven’t played in a while. Get out all those board games too and rediscover how much fun some of them are.
Introduce your kids to some older movies that they may not have seen before or haven’t watched for a long time (that are age appropriate of course). We recently enjoyed watching Pirates of the Caribbean – there are classics like Princess Bride, E.T., Back to the Future, Karate Kid, Shrek, How to Train Your Dragon. Here’s a list of the Top 100 Kids & Family Movies as rated on Rotten Tomatoes here.
Send a Letter
Everyone loves to receive mail so why not send a letter to the grandparents or friends. Include a special drawing or photos too.
Under Table Hammock
How cute is this idea for little ones to chill out in their own little space.
Paper Plane Competition
Take paper planes to game level with this simple idea below – each hole is worth a different number of points. The person with the highest number of points win. Read more about making paper planes here
Fun Nerf Learning
What a fun way to do spelling with a Nerf challenge.
Play Musical Instruments Online
This Virtual Musical Instruments site lets you play a virtual guitar, panflute, bongos, piano or drums using your computer keyboard. CLICK HERE
Mo Willems Daily Drawing Lessons
Mo Willems, the author of one of our favourite classic books, ‘Don’t let the Pigeon Stay up Late’ is uploading daily drawing lessons on YouTube with LUNCH DOODLES. CLICK HERE
Hot Dub Time Machine
Hot Dub at Home 3 is happening Saturday 18 April 2020 (6-8pm Sydney time), plus you can watch a previous decades podcast episode or the the 2000’s party mix (they’re aiming for a new one every Wednesday) with Hot Dub at Homes available to view on the Hot Dub Time Machine website under the “stream” tab.
We’ve got a heap of other ideas in our categories below. Just click on each guide for more inspiration.
♥️ Indoor Play
♥️ Backyard Fun
At Play & Go Adelaide we make every effort to provide accurate information to the best of our knowledge at the time of publication. We recommend confirming times, dates and details directly before making any plans as details may be subject to change.
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