I was genuinely worried about sharing this post, as didn’t know if people thought I was taking advantage of the Coronavirus situation, but it’s also something I’ve been thinking about since this whole situation started evolving – how am I going to keep my kid entertained at home while she is off school?
However, I hope by sharing this, it can help families who may be struggling with ideas, while sharing some love for some businesses who may need a bit of extra love right now – big or small, businesses need our help to keep jobs safe.
Lily loves reading, writing and drawing, but with an uncertain amount of time at home, I needed to think a but more outside the box!
I know that many parents who are able to work from home, like me, will be looking for activities to keep the children entertained while taking business calls, online meetings or just to get some work done!
I know Lily loves her routine still, so I’m planning on making her a timetable to keep her routine and learning going, at least Monday to Friday, integrating the work her school is giving her, along with other structured activities, regular exercise, and playtime too.
I’ve split this into a few sections as I know that every kid enjoys different activities and learns in different ways, so whether you’re homeschooling or just looking for a fun activity to keep them busy, I hope this helps.
1. Toys and Activities Ideas
2. Online resources
3. Downloadable indoor & outdoor activity guide
Please note: I’m only sharing these as I hope they hope other parents. I know there are more than these, but these are all ones we have used ourselves and can personally recommend – I always want to be honest in all our recommendations.
1. Toys & activities ideas
Learning Resources UK
We love all their educational toys and activities, suitable for all children, whatever they enjoy. From their Coding Critters and STEM toys to early education, there really is so much to keep the kids entertained without them even realising they are learning. Lily loves the Coding Critters and her fantastic till too, to spend hours playing shops!
For more information, visit https://www.learningresources.co.uk/
My Busy Bots
For those looking for activities for younger children, My Busy Bots is a lovely small business with some fantastic educational busy bags helping with everything from literacy and numeracy to motor skills. They’re all in little zip bags, so perfect for keeping tidy or in a bag for future days out.
For more information, visit https://www.mybusybots.com/
Button & Squirt
Another fantastic small business is the incredible Button & Squirt, who helps children and families learn about our planet. We are huge fans of their Amazing Dinosaurs, Amazing Animals flash cards and colouring books, all teaching children through hand-drawn images, facts, letters and numbers. She also has now added some amazing downloadable activities on her website too.
Fore more information, visit https://www.buttonandsquirt.co.uk/
Kids prefer something more active and to get their hands messy? Zimpli Kids is a fantastic resource for eco-friendly sensory play activities including eco slime, their unique Gelli Play, SnoBalls and more! Bury things in the gelli, make baths with them, set up your own sensory activities for hours of fun with them!
For more information, visit https://www.zimplikids.com/
Lily loves her Fuzzikins – her reusable critters that can be coloured in and played with, over and over again. They can use their imagination to draw, colour and create their own masterpieces. We found her last batch in Sainsbury’s, but they are available online too. We really recommend the school to practice roleplay, as well as the little campervan too!
For more information, visit https://interplayuk.com/pages/fuzzikins
Little Brian Paint Sticks
This is a total life hack when it comes to parenting – painting, without the mess! The paint sticks dry in 30 seconds, are easily washable, and don’t require pots of water, newspaper or anything else – the simplest way to keep kids painting, fact!
For more information, visit https://www.littlebrian.com/
My Fairy Garden
Another product that I know we’ve spoken about before, but this is a great way to help kids learn about growing their own plants, grass or whatever they’d like from seed. When we are unsure how long we may be inside for, this can become a long-term project for them.
Fore more information, visit https://interplayuk.com/pages/my-fairy-garden
Imagistones Story stones
Help develop their imagination with the Imagistones – hand painted story-stones with a whole range of different themes from this lovely small family-run business. Great for all ages as it can inspire conversation and drawings from younger children, as well as writing and creative crafts in older children.
For more information, visit https://salesimagistones.wixsite.com/imagistones
Little Boo Learning
Lily has enjoyed Little Boo Learning since she was young. Another fantastic small business, creating wipe-clean and personalised learning mats, including numbers, letters, and picture-matching too.
Find out more at https://www.littleboolearning.com/
Enjoy age-appropriate pre-made activity bags from the lovely Time Out Bags. They were originally designed for travel, but when looking for activities that are varied and fun to do with the kids at home, these are just perfect. We had the Christmas box, but all the standard bags come in drawstring bags to keep them tidy. Lily loved all the crafts, books, activities inside, that kept her busy for hours.
Find out more at https://www.timeoutbags.com/
2. Online resources & apps
Learning Resources UK
The Learning Resources UK blog has some fantastic downloadable and printable activities for children. They are great quality and can support all kinds of learning, including STEM. https://blog.learningresources.co.uk/category/free-activities/
Lonely Planet Kids
We are huge fans of Lonely Planet Kids. Their resources are always of incredible quality, helping children learn about the planet, countries and other cultures. The activity sheets are downloadable, and cover some beautiful topics that you can use as activities for children or even the basis for a little home project you set with them! https://www.lonelyplanet.com/kids/activities
This site is a haven for teachers, but they have created pre-made packsfor parents to be supported during the school shutdown, with learning materials for all ages. They are downloadable and you really have everything you need to follow the curriculum. https://www.twinkl.co.uk/
iChild is a great resource for printable activities, whether you’re looking for projects, craft ideas or themed literacy/numeracy activities. They are well organised by age, topic or type of activity, and there are hundreds available for all ages. http://www.ichild.co.uk/
Lily really enjoys Reading Eggs – an online app that is free for 30 days. It assesses your child’s reading level, then sets games and activities that are fun and interactive, with rewards too. https://readingeggs.co.uk/
Keeping active is super important for your mind as well as your body, but it can be difficult when stuck at home. Cosmic Yoga is a fun way to keep exercising in a fun way for all the family. https://www.cosmickids.com/
Five Minute Mum
Five Minute Mum is an incredible haven of activities for younger children that are simple and actually work to keep your kids under control when you aren’t sure what else to do with them! They’re fun, easy, and there’s something for parents looking for writing / number activities, as well as those times when you just need 5 minutes peace! https://fiveminutemum.com/
I’m including these because Lily is officially the biggest Sylvanian Fan ever, so these colouring downloads and greetings cards downloads will be perfect for keeping her entertained while I’m taking work calls – why not use them as a template to send to family members, friends or neighbours who are self-isolating? I know her Sylvanian Families collection will also be a very useful distraction as she can spend hours using her imagination to play with these amazing toys. https://www.sylvanianfamilies.com/en-uk/coloring/
3. 60 family-friendly activity ideas – indoors and outdoors
Just because of social distancing, it doesn’t mean we can’t get outdoors. Fresh air and exercise has never been more important, so here are a few ideas for activities that can be done indoors or outside!
Why not write them all on scraps of paper and get your family to pick the activity as a surprise out of a jar?
Also remember, the National Trust is currently offering free access to many of its grounds during the Coronavirus outbreak, and although facilities will be closed, they hope to keep many of their open spaces available to enjoy. Keep an eye on their statements for updates
Click on the images below or download as a PDF here: