CORONAVIRUS UPDATE - I’m afraid I am now closed until further notice, but fear not, I have compiled a list of fun family activities below that you can crack on with at home to ease the pressure. Stay safe and keep having fun where you can.
HOLIDAY ACTIVITIES AT HOME DURING LOCKDOWN, OR QUITE FRANKLY, ANYTIME!
1. Camp out in the lounge. Stick the tent up or build a den, fill it with duvets, grab the torches, don’t forget a midnight feast. I’m a fairy lights kinda gal. But hey, avoid candles.
2. Start sewing seeds for veggies or flowers - tap up your neighbours for spare seeds they may have in the greenhouse or do swapsies. Get them to pop them through your letterbox when they’re next out exercising. Get creative with plant pots - tins, yoghurt pots, egg boxes, mushroom crates. Even create a simple herb garden in your kitchen or on the dining table from supermarket potted herbs.
3. Create an assault course in the house or garden. Nothing too crazy, we don’t need any broken limbs.
4. Build a bird house or feeder from spare wood in the garage. It might not look pretty, but it will serve a cool purpose. Stick out any scraps from cooked veg peelings to pasta that falls on the floor and misses the 30 second rule. Set up a spotters sheet to see which birds come to your garden or window cill.
5. Spend 24 hours without electricity. Plan your meals, activities and entertainment without any power at all. No phones either. Got a burning question? Pretend google is on holiday. Dust off your camping stove or sandwich it up. Get creative. Play a game by candlelight or create your own Rory’s Story Cubes if you don’t own them for improvised story telling.
6. If you don’t already have one, make a reading nook. Lots of cushions in a corner, string up some fairy lights, or set it up outside in the sun with a makeshift table for snacks, dust off the garden umbrella if you’re really optimistic about the weather.
7. Create an epic fort. See if you can make a fort that stretches between rooms. If you don’t own many blankets (I’m always cold, so we’re sorted), grab the bed sheets, maxi skirts, towels and your peg basket.
8. Family jamming session. Create a set of musical instruments yourself if you don’t have any. Grab the pans, wooden spoons, Tupperware of pasta as a shaker, keys, teaspoons, whatever. Not everyone has rhythm, but hey, embrace it!
9. Cosmic kids yoga. If you’re not already loving this, or maybe can’t find one suitable for the older guys, try and nail the sun salutation (get google on this one). It’s perfect for starting your day. Alternatively, there’s some cool guided mediations out there if some of the older guys are getting a little worried about any of this.
10. Sort out a family album. If you don’t have any pictures to hand, get everyone involved in drawing relatives, maybe find out interesting facts about them and stick them in a notebook/scrapbook. If you fancy taking it a step further, the elders in your family are guaranteed to have some fabulous stories you could whittle out of them over the phone and then write down as keepsakes. Living in a forest for 3 months, fleeing a hostile takeover In their country of birth? Epic. Wedded in such impoverished times, they were given a cabbage on their wedding day? Get it down!
11. Jazz up your plant pots. Most people will have unloved terracotta pots in their gardens. Most people will have half empty tins of paint in their garage. Put your hands together.
12. Similarly, grab your food tins, wash them out, paint with those garish nail varnish colours you’re not so sure about anymore, the ones lurking at from the back of the cupboard. Voila. New pen pot or skittles set. Depends how many baked beans you’re eating.
13. Art session. If you are lucky enough to have any blooms in your garden - daffs, blossom branches, even cool looking foliage, grab a few stems or branches (no illegal scrumping) and set up the paints. Put the flowers in the middle of the table, everyone sit around and get them to interpret the still life in their own way. There’s no wrong way. Wine optional for grown ups. Extra points if anybody plays Yo Yo Ma in the background.
14. Start a lockdown journal. Grab any wrapping paper you have laying around or cut magazine pics out and cover a notepad. If the younger ones aren’t in the mood for masses of writing, or even if you want to get creative with words, simply choose three words to sum up your day, each day. Good way to get emotions down on paper.
15. Board games. Do it. Playing cards. Get them out. Set up one or two evenings a week if you like and take it in turns to choose the game. No cheating.
16. Dust off the wii bowling, mario kart or dig out guitar hero. See if you’ve got anything you can play together, not solo. Unless, of course, you need a time out!
17. Picnic in the lounge or outside if it’s lovely out. Spread out the blanket. Stick some ingredients in the kitchen. Everyone has to contribute a dish. But you must try each other’s creation. Crisps in homemade hummus. Too easy. Carrot rounds sandwiched with chocolate spread. So be it.
18. Let everybody have a day of being king or queen. They get to decide the plan for the whole day. Cadbury’s for breakfast? Go with it. Painting Dad’s toe nails? Lush. Bedtime at 2am? Challenge accepted. Good for teaching responsibility and decision making.
19. Photography day. Lend them your camera or phone and encourage them to see things differently like give them a list of words ‘dark’, ‘spring’, ‘exposed’, ‘smooth’, ‘yellow’ and get them to take a photo that makes them think of that word. Or a friend suggested simply take a few pictures of flowers when you’re next out on a walk around the block. Print them off at home if you can, host an art gallery. Why not serve canapés?
20. Get cooking. Baking for sure. But dig out some old cookbooks, get them to flick through and pick a recipe. Be honest if you don’t have the ingredients and pick another one or change it to what you do have, you may find your new favourite dish. But get them to make the whole thing. Potato peelers are scary, but they will only scrape a knuckle once! Maybe twice.
21. Scavenger hunts. No matter what your age, it’s always fun. Sure, chocolate is an allure for some people, but there’s not much chocolate in our house at the moment. You can cut out large numbers (so they can check they have them all) out of card or coloured foam and stick them to lolly sticks or twigs. Poke them in plant pots or behind cushions with just a tiny bit poking out (to avoid the house upturned and all the sofa cushions on the floor). Kudos for taking advantage of camouflaged hiding spots. Still a standing favourite with any age group in our house, through the years of childminding. Take it in turns to hide them. Contain it to one room for young ones, the whole house for others...
22. Have a weekly project. Pick the subjects together, space, weather, human body, wild birds, anything. This way, you’re not always the teacher and you get to learn something together. Make posters with your facts, leave them to draw pictures relating to that topic when you need a cup of coffee. Stick the work on the wall each day to show off your new found knowledge. I hope everybody has blutack at home!
23. Puzzles. Not jigsaws, although there’s always a time and place. But make your own crosswords, word searches, clues to hidden locations for the next clue, treasure maps, coded spy messages. Sudoku if you’re in Einstein’s league.
24. Colouring session. Have any old colouring in books? Or draw outlines of things yourself and colour them in all together. Remarkably relaxing. We’re trying to do one kind thing a day for people. Often that’s colouring in a picture that a friend or family member might like and then take a photo of the finished item and email or text it over to cheer someone’s day. Even pop one in to your neighbours mail box, if they might be feeling lonely. A new colourful work of art on the fridge works wonders for the soul.
25. Get sewing. Any old scraps of fabric, even an old tshirt - pin cushions, sun glasses pouch, pencil case, sleep mask, play food, patchwork quilt for the eager, sleeping bag for a teddy, utility belt, superhero cape, cushion for the bed appliquéd with a symbol. Ooooh, a Harry Potter lightening bolt on a cushion. We’re blatantly making that soon.
26. Create passports. Find an old photo to cut out and stick inside. Make stamps out of potatoes for printing, pick a country for each page, draw their flag, learn a few facts, find it on map. Stamp it. Choose the next one. Oh the places you will go.
27. Learn a few constellations. Draw the shapes roughly during the day. Try and match them to the sky later that evening. Provided cloud cover doesn’t spoil plans. Drag the duvet outside if you have to. Hot water bottles? Yup.
28. Learn a few basics in a new language. Hello, I’m hungry, how are you, please, thank you, what’s for dinner. Stuff you will use around the house with each other. Va bene.
29. Create a wildlife garden - logs, twigs, leaves, pine cones. Carefully check on it each week and see if you get any new visitors. Keep a written log. Maybe spiders like it when it’s cold, then the ladybirds move in, who knows what you’ll figure out.
30. Time capsule. Create a template for all of your favourites things - places, food, programs, games, music, books, etc. Get them to fill it in every few months (or weeks as things may change quickly whilst stuck at home, baked beans may not rouse the senses eventually) and see how things change. Make a capsule from a plastic bottle, saw off the top and cover the sharp edges with tape. Cover in foil or stickers, whatever. Or even fill a glass bottle to smash on their 18th birthday!
31. Papier-mâché. Oh, it’s so messy, but so worth it for a sorting hat or an astronauts helmet or a piggy bank. Good ongoing project.
32. Nature collage. Cut grass, twigs, leaves, snail shells, anything you can find in the garden or on your exercise outing. Create a collage of a nature scene or shake it up. Create a supercar from what you’ve got. Create a crazy solar systems with cut out planets of different coloured leaves. For younger ones, simply give them an egg carton to fill with natural treasures from outside.
33. Printed cookies. Use a simple shortbread or sugar cookie recipe and cut out your desired shapes, but don’t stop there. Use forks, spoons, straws, corks, toothpicks and create unique designs on the top. Eat your art.
34. Create a recipe folder of their favourite meals. Draw pictures of that meal or take pics of them with the dish. If you have any old mags with recipes in, they could cut out any recipes they fancy trying and stick them in the back.
35. Eat dinner in a different location - bedroom, hallway, landing. Let them choose. Spread out a rug or use camping chairs and trays. But don’t eat where you...
36. Make a family playlist - anything goes. Mix your Elton John with your Pearl Jam. Get Nina Simone involved. Don’t be shy. Let It Go will probably make an appearance. Accept it. You know you love belting it out too.
37. Hide a secret note each day for them to find, stating what you love about them or a few positive words - coloured post it’s rock. Create an A3 page or little book where they can stick each note down to create a book of love and affirmations for tough times. ‘We love your scrummy bottom’, ‘You are a tough little cookie’ or ‘You have 3 seconds to hide...’
38. Spend the whole day in bed. Breakfast, lunch, dinner. Plan movies, games, look at old photos. This is when you dig out the Lord of the Rings trilogy. Jammies a prerequisite.
39. Bonfire or firepit. My folks always had a glass of wine with a bonfire, it was always a fun family affair. We carried on the tradition. But you could make it mocktail evening. Stick some fruit juices and lemonade outside and let them get mixing by the firelight. Obviously marshmallows.
40. Have an upside down day. Make breakfast for dinner. Wear jammies all day, wear your jeans to bed, watch a movie in the morning (ooooh, decadent), have a bath with your clothes on, get the kids ideas in there too. Have a crazy, crazy day. It will be long remembered.
Wishing you all safety and sanity!
A great big warm welcome to Monkey Moo's. Monkey Moo Childcare is a fun packed childminding service based in a warm and welcoming home in Blean – half way between Canterbury and Whitstable in Kent. Childcare includes an after school club for children from Blean school and holiday cover for children over three and up to twelve. Each afternoon and holiday day is packed full of adventure and creativity.
If you are looking for a fun and happy place for your children to enjoy whilst you are working, then you’re in the right place. Click here to find out more about Zoë Croucher - the childminder behind Monkey Moo Childcare.