If you’re like me, at the beginning of Lockdown, you probably thought to yourself “how on earth am I going to occupy the kids?”
And, like me, you probably joined Facebook groups and followed blogs of people who can come up with creative activities at the drop of a hat.
Surprisingly, the four year old, the baby and me survived spending 24/7 together. It wasn’t always easy, but we did it! We saved our recycling for crafts, invented games and explored new ideas. And we’ve ended up with a fantastic tried-and-tested rainy day repertoire.
- Masking tape race tracks, townscapes and mazes.
This activity sparks instant imaginative play in my 4 year old. It’s so cheap and easy, and you never repeat the same layout twice.
- Start by taping a simple oval-shaped racing track on the carpet. It’s great fun for vehicles of all sizes.
- As you get more creative, try mapping out townscapes with networks of roads and add buildings made from Duplo or cardboard boxes. Add shops, cafes, garages, fire stations.. the possibilities are endless!
- If this doesn’t inspire your kids, then try masking tape mazes. These offer a greater level of challenge for older children. And once they get the hang of it, encourage them to design their own!
2. Cardboard Tube Marble Runs
This is such a fun activity that is still going strong 2 months after we made it.
- Start with 10-12 empty toilet or kitchen rolls and some masking tape.
- Tape the tubes into a marble run from the top to the bottom of a door, with a bucket at the bottom to catch the marbles (or we used small bouncy balls).
- If you make 2 in parallel, you can have races!
3. Scavenger Hunt
Scavenger hunts work particularly well remotely. During lockdown, my mum played this with my eldest many times over Zoom and it’s now a firm favourite.
- Write a list of 6 or more items for the kids to find around the house.
- For young children, it’s good to keep things open like “something soft” or “something round”.
- For older children, the hunt can be made more challenging with cryptic clues like “a kitchen tool you receive for coming last” (wooden spoon).
- Hide a reward at the end as a prize and make its location the last clue!
4. Memory Tray
Who remembers this game from their childhood? It’s a classic that never gets old.
- For young children, arrange a few objects on a tray for them to remember – they close their eyes, you remove one object, and they spot what’s been taken away. Repeat by removing a different object each time, or get them to take away an object for you to guess.
- For older children, arrange up to 20 items on a tray, then cover with a teatowel and give them 1 minute to remember as many items as they can. This works great as a competition!
5. Indoor Obstacle Course
The perfect way to get kids to burn off energy when they can’t go outside. Again, masking tape is your friend and the possibilities are endless. These are just a few of the ideas we tried out:
- Mark a line on the floor from which they need to throw objects into a washing basket.
- Mark a circle in which they need to do 20 jumps/hops/skips (you can add in a dice roll to make things more interesting). Older kids could try more challenging exercises, Joe Wicks-style.
- Tape a line down the hall for a balance beam.
- Add obstacles of different heights to the route – climb over the sofa or crawl under the kitchen table.
- Finally, use your phone to time how long it takes your child to do the course, so when they finish you can say “Great! Now can you beat your time?”
I’d love to know your lockdown and rainy day favourites. Comment below and follow me on social media to share your best indoor sanity savers!
Want more ideas for family fun? See other blogs on this topic here