As schools and nurseries nationwide close their doors, for the time being, millions of parents are left scrambling for ways to entertain the kids lest they begin a game of red-marker-on-newly-painted-wall. The stressful situation many parents face to find a doable means of home-schooling while still earning a living themselves can be overwhelming. More often than not these lessons can be disguised as fun activities for kids, not only giving their imaginations some exercise but giving you a chance to get some work done!
So if the kids just don't stand a chance against you at scrabble and you've exhausted monopoly, here are a few indoor activities that'll keep the kids entertained and the carpet clean (hopefully).
1. Beam a shark, panda, pug or tiger into your front room
Google's augmented reality search feature allows you to beam these creatures free. Just download Google Chrome onto your phone and search for their favourite animal. Then click view in 3D and then view in your space and they should be able to prowl the four walls of your living room on your device's screen.
Not all animals are able to be beamed but some fun ones to try are a penguin, hedgehog, or lion. Why not use this feature to make their bedtime stories come to life or invite the creates to a life drawing class to be the children's subject.
2. Get free front-row seats to the theatre
While the curtains are drawn in the theatres countrywide, why not draw your curtains and snuggle up for some family-friendly theatre productions online.
Andrew Lloyd Webber is streaming one of his musical every week on his The Shows Must Go On Youtube channel. Every performance will be available for 48 hours from 7 pm every Friday so don't miss them!
The National Theatre is also screening shows every Thursday which are available for seven days after. Treasure Island is one of these productions so why not don your best pirate costume and the kids as your first mates and head down to the top deck (tv) for an adventure.
3. Enter the kids in a competition
Have you always known they're talented and bound for stardom? Would you like to retire now and let their fame and fortune cover the mortgage? Enter them in one of many competitions running at the moment!
Foyle Young Poets is running a competition for people aged 11-17 and poems will need to be submitted by the 31st of July. Prizes include a bag full of books and other goodies, so send them to the back garden pronto to observe the billowing trees in all their floundering promise.
UK Robotics is also running a competition which asks kids aged 5-7 to think up and draw their finest robot - 'a robot they would like to see in the future'. Children aged 7-11 are also invited to come up with a story about a certain robot of theirs too! Prizes include books and programmable robot kits but make sure they get them in by Monday 8th June.
Another is the RSPB which is running a 'create a piece of art inspired by nature' for artists 18 and under. This one has a little more leeway so why not think outside the box and create a piece of art with some bits of nature itself! The prize for this one is a £100 gift voucher so enter by the 28th of August to win!
4. Support the NHS with art-filled windows
I'm sure we've all spotted the rainbows and the signs up on windows during our hour of activity every day, so why not get involved. Reportedly started by a nurse that wanted to signify a 'sign of hope' for patients and staff in hospitals across the country, kids have been thinking outside the box to spread this sign of solidarity.
Think outside the box - why not use old packaging to create a 3D rainbow to hang on the outside fence. Or create a colourful sign of support to the NHS using only lego as I saw recently.
Cheer up your neighbours and give the NHS the boost they need to keep fighting this on the frontlines as bravely as they are.
5. Enjoy hundreds of free books audiobooks with Audible kids
Amazon's Audible is an online retailer that sells audiobooks with just a click of a mouse. They've currently made hundreds of children's books free to customers for as long as schools are closed'. Just some books included are classics like The Secret Garden, Timeless Tales of Beatrix Potter and Winnie the Pooh.
This is an amazing opportunity to get the kids to read and find a genre of books they are most interested in. Plus most local libraries have also made much of their catalogues for adults and children available as ebooks. For example, a local Essex library is using an app called Borrow Box which allows you to borrow up to seven audiobooks or ebooks at a single time from a wide variety of options.
6. Create care packages for key workers in the family
If you know someone who is still working for the NHS or another essential job, why not get the kids to put together a little parcel full of uplifting paintings or poems to thank them for their hard and selfless work. Include little treats you can sacrifice from your cupboards or add items like personalized hair clips or little badges they can keep or wear when they go to work each day. Plus, even if you don't have any key workers in your family, it'd be a lovely idea to send a package full of goodies to your grandparents or to a family member living abroad during this disheartening time!
At Interparcel we can help send these packages full of joy to your loved ones during this time. All of our UK services remain mostly unaffected and we offer affordable services, full tracking and contactless deliveries to keep us all connected and safe.
7. Get exercising indoors with free online classes
Cosmic kids' yoga is offering short ten-minute yoga classes with Frozen or Minecraft themes to appeal to all tastes. Get the kids practicing their downward dog pose while the dog looks on in disbelief to get some indoor exercise on those rainy days.
Why not learn some indoor cycling skills? Are they too young yet to start revising for their theory and practical driving test? Start them off with some balance boosting activities from British Cycling. No bikes needed, just scroll through their app for games like 'swipe and swap'.
Fancy yourself as a ballerina but want to disguise your training as a kid's activity? No problem! Train with The Ballet Coach - suitable for ages 3 - adult, English National Ballet School-trained Sarah Du-Feu can have you pirouetting into a nearby lamp in half an hour!
8. Create a stop-motion movie with for free
ACTION. CUT-Turn your kids into the next Quentin Tarantino and make your very own Oscar-worthy film. Stop-motion is a technique used to bring inanimate objects to life - like in Wallace and Gromit. This is done by moving the object a tiny amount in each frame and combining them to make a whole movement. Get their toys to be extras or even cast them as the lead. All they'll need is the Stop Motion App from Google Play or the App Store to get started.
Just make sure they handle the camera with care as their budget will be pretty modest we reckon.
9. Conduct a fun plaque experiment to get brushing properly
If you're going to the shops to pick up the essentials and a Boots in nearby you can get £2 Kids' Plaque Reveal Tablets. These chewy tablets highlight any and all plaque lurking in those hard to reach areas for the kids with a purple-blue temporary dye.
Once they've brushed their teeth as normal they just have to chew the tablets to reveal all the areas they'll need to cover better next time. Make it into a game for the one with the least plaque to encourage them to brush better! Or check out some videos like Open Wide, What's Inside to learn more about how to care for those pearly whites.
10. Throw a virtual party
It doesn't have to be a birthday or a special occasion to have a party! Why not organise a kids zoom call, we're sure they're missing out on having fun with their friends as much as we are so this would be a fun activity to let them have fun with their friends from a safe distance.
Why not get them to dress up and have a virtual fashion show? Make virtual awards for best dressed and have a giggle while doing it!
Or play a virtual game of bingo, get all of their friends to pick their numbers and assign the role of number caller to one of the adults! You can also get free bingo cards for each player so everyone can have their own and play a proper game of virtual bingo!
11. Feeling musical? Learn a new instrument or just annoy the neighbours
With lots of time to learn something new and that keyboard or piano (fancy!) gathering dust in the corner, why not have a tinkle! Online piano lessons for kids have become free in the last few weeks so why not benefit from this! Alternatively you can always just put on a karaoke video or app and sing your heart out to your neighbours annoyance.
Or better yet if the kids are feeling crafty AND musical combine the two and get them to create their own musical instruments with items around the house. Let them rifle through the recycling and make tin can shakers so they can create their very own version of STOMP in the front room.
12. Host an online Netflix party
This ones for adults and kids alike, Netflix has a feature through which synchronises everyones videos and adds a group-chat feature which allows you to chat and laugh whilst the film plays! Perfect for long distance watching why not let them catch up on the latest episode of Pup Academy with their friends, sharing the laughs and passing the time whilst staying connected to their friends.
It's essential during this uneasy time to find outlets to calm anxiety and distract from the restrictions we're facing. Although these ideas are geared toward children, parents can benefit from the small joys they can bring and channel their children's energetic imaginations to adapt to working from home. We at Interparcel hope you're all staying safe, staying well, and getting creative!
If you have any questions about our services during COVID-19 please contact our dedicated customer service team via telephone, email or live chat from 8 am - 8 pm Monday to Friday.