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Mum's Guide to staying at home - Activities to keep the little ones busy.



Hello all.

This is not a post I thought I would ever have to prepare but we find ourselves in the midst of a global pandemic, with many groups and events cancelled, the advice being generally social distancing and avoiding non urgent travel. 

And so we have put together some ideas of things to do in the home and garden (if applicable ) and linked to some external sources.

Firstly if the schools close, we are sure that they will be sending home work for the children to do. Twinkl have also opened up their membership for FREE during this time which has a whole heap of free information and learning resources. I find it easier to set a routine so my son has clear expectations of what we are going to do for the day. Or he can be difficult to motivate. I have shared an idea below. This isnt my personal schedule but a similar one.

Now on to some ideas....

Outside play ideas

  •  Paint the fence with water . A very simple activity but the little ones seem to love it for some reason and it can help to improve co-ordination. Perhaps challenge the older ones to a game of who can paint it faster . Challenge them to draw shapes etc what ever you like but on a warm day this can be lost of fun and all you need is a paint brush and some water.

  •  A bug hunt! Get those little people out in the garden and hunt for some minibeasts, use magnifying glasses if you have them, look under rocks. You could just spot the bugs or draw them, research about them, maybe even build a bug hotel for the garden. You can extend this learning for what ever age group you have thinking about classification and adaptations and more. You can find multiple Bug hunt sheets on Twinkl .


  •  Shadow drawing- so much fun and a great way to get creative 

  •  Bird watching- similar to the Bug hunt idea, bird watching can be a great fun educational activity. Do you have a bird feeder in the garden? Could you challenge the children to sit quietly and monitor how many birds in a set time period? Older children could perhaps then research which birds they had seen. Lots of fun education activities on the RSPB webpage .
  •  Water play - for younger little ones this is a great activity particularly if the weather is nice. Fill what ever you have with water and then give the child cups, pots and pans and utensils to experiement with. How fast does the water fall from different containers? Lots of opportunities to enhance home learning.

  •  Home sports day- get the family out in the garden. Use whatever you already have, skipping ropes, hula hoops, footballs, chalk to draw hopscotches etc etc. Lots of fun and a great way to keep them active.

  • Bubbles... never ever undeestimate the value of bubbles!
  • Star gazing- let the little ones stay up late and explore the skies, wrap up warm maybe even take a flask of hot chocolate out can you see a shooting star? Can you make up funny poems about aliens or enjoy the story of the dinosaur who pooed a planet lots of resources here.
  • . Garden photography, encourage the children to a photography competition. Who can take the best picture. Give them a different theme, animals, flowers whatever you like.
  • Enjoy A Picnic- take lunch or dinner outside
  • Garden scavenger hunt- its amazing the interesting things you can find in the garden"

  • Build a garden den, use garden chairs and sheets and use that as your base for the day.

  •  Plant seeds- if you have packets of seeds lurking around somewhere- use them. Get the children to tend to the seeds and learn about growth. use as an opportunity to explore thems about photosynthesis and or the environment some resources here.


Inside activites

  • Lego!! Lego can be used for fine motor activites, for general creativeness or even as maths counters. Here's some great Lego challenges. 

  •  Make a rain shaker- all you need is a toilet roll rube some paper to tape over the end and either rice of lentils or even stones from the garden to go inside. Decorate the outside as you wish.
  •  Arts and crafts- more ideas to follow but we all have arts and crafts draws. Now is the time to dig through them and get creative. Make birthday cards , make collages, paint, draw, stick and make.
  • Movie night
  •  Book review- all read a favourite book and sit down to discuss it and explore various comprehension themes.
  •  Make playdoh- or use what you have.

Makes 1 ball
Prep 10 minutes
Cook 3 hours
250g Plain flour
125g Table Salt
125ml Water
Preheat the oven to its lowest setting and line a baking tray
Mix the flour & salt. Add the water and stir until it becomes a ball.
Roll out the dough onto a floured surface and cut into shapes (get creative!) If you’re making hanging decorations remember to punch the hole before cooking.
Put onto the baking tray and bake for around 3 hours until firm. Leave to cool.

  •  The Great British cake off! Do you have the ingredients indoors to bake a cake or cookies? So many simple ideas online. Why not have a challenge and see who will win. Weigh and measure ingredients to get children using their maths skills. Don't have the ingredients to bake? Use Playdough instead!! (Just don't eat it!).
  • Use toilet roll tubes to create stamps for painting 

Some ideas from our friends Mum's Guide to Harpenden- you can read their ideas here

  •  Get the children to prepare a restaurant meal including a menu, tablecloth and waiter service! It can be as simple as fish & chips and ice-cream but parents aren’t allowed to help! You could always try the Mum's Guide to Hertford Pizza or pasta sauce recipes.

  •  Get out and wash the car and hoover it too!
  •  Let them help with washing up. Little ones love this. Make it nice and soapy so they can enjoy playing with the bubbles.  You’ve also now managed to get them to wash their hands without trying!
  • Tidy out the toy cupboard and enjoy playing with old, long-forgotten toys then clean and bag up old ones to go to charity later.
  • Tidy out drawers and wardrobes.  Have fun dressing up in old clothes to see what still fits. Have a fashion parade and then bag up anything that’s too small for charity 
  • For older children, teach them some new housework skills e.g. ironing, washing their clothes, polishing and dusting, polishing shoes. They’ll be ready to leave home by the end of this!
  • Write a postcard or paint a picture for someone in an old people’s home. If they can’t receive post, take a photo of the picture or letter and email it to their office. This way you could share your thoughtfulness with several care homes.

Keep active


Keeping in touch with loves ones

Its important to try and preserve these friendships during periods of isolation. You could encourage your children to write letters or postcards to their friends. Even if you cant send them you could take photos and message those you have details of. Skype and facetime can also be great for keeping in touch with loved ones, particularly older relatives.


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