29 kids' activities to keep them busy (and you sane) during lockdown

Deep breaths

Kids home-schooling activities
(Image credit: Getty)

Deep breaths

It's half term and we all need a break from juggling homeschooling and working from home. After almost a year of the same, it isn't getting any easier. Let us help - we've spoken to mummy blogger at Not Another Mummy Blog and podcaster Alison Perry for her top tips for keeping your kids' busy.

Keeping children occupied– and making sure they’re not plonked in front of a screen too much – seems like a big ask. I mean, who has time to plan a spreadsheet of character-building, mind-stretching activities? (Check out our guide to the best ways to keep your kids active while home-schooling, here)

So let's stare down the barrel of that lockdown gun and laugh in its face - where we can. There's a load of stuff, both educational and fun, that you can plan into their day.

But before we get to the list, let's talk structure.

How to structure your kid's home-school days

If you still haven't got this nailed down, don't worry. Now's as good a time as ever.

Try dividing the day up into a timetable and stick it on the fridge so that everyone can see it. Have time set out for educational tasks and break it up with fun activities (and actual breaks!) to keep your kids engaged and happy.

One other tip – don’t stress about filling every moment of their day. And don’t stress if they do end up watching a bit more telly or playing computer games than normal.

This is a tricky time for all of us, and it’s all about balance, right? Keep reading for more home-schooling activity ideas.

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Kids home-schooling activities: for toddlers

1. Playing with pots, pans and wooden spoons – encourage them to make as much noise as they can! (You might want to wear ear plugs)

2. Water painting the patio – just get a pot of water, some paint brushes and (assuming it’s a dry day) let them paint!

3. Listen to the CBeebies podcast

4. …or get moving with the Wiggle Waggle series.

5. Make a sensory box – this is a pretty excellent guide showing you the basics you need to get started.

6. This is such a clever and easy idea – make your own indoor objects puzzle game.

7. Work your way through reading The Book Trust’s 100 Best Books. (Each Peach Pear Plum is there – love it!)

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Kids home-schooling activities: for ages 3 to 5

8. Create a back garden (or indoor) scavenger hunt – make a list of things that you have in your garden (or hide some things!). For smaller ones, you can search online for ready-made lists with pictures.

9. This recipe for banana sushi is one kids will love getting involved making. And you might enjoy helping them eat it!

10. Watch Oliver Jeffers read his amazing stories – occasionally on Instagram Live, so keep your eyes peeled.

11. Download some free colouring printables – you can Google for and get these on pretty much any theme. Disney! Dinosaur! Space! You name it…

12. Get your kids to do this 30 Day Lego Challenge and get creative, building cool stuff.

13. These free activity sheets from Orchard Toys look brilliant.

14. Snuggle down and listen to free stories on the Storynory website or podcast.

Kids home-schooling activities: for ages 5+

15. Go garden camping! Pitch a tent on your lawn, get your camping stove going and toast some marshmallows.

16. Download some free resources from Twinkl (used by school teachers all over the UK). You can access them by school year and topic.

17. Earn a Blue Peter badge. How cool is this? There are instructions here on exactly what your kids need to do, to earn different Blue Peter badges.

18. Arrange a Facetime/Skype game with one of their friends who is also at home – they could play Hangman or Charades from a safe distance.

19. Have a family board game tournament. Our favourites are Cluedo, Game of Life, Monopoly and Labyrinth.

20. You're going to have plenty of toilet roll tubes lying around so get them to make a cardboard tub construction set.

21. Join the rest of nation and do P.E with Joe Wicks every week day morning at 9am on YouTube. Or, read the Marie Claire guide to keeping your kids active while home-schooling, now.

22. Ace children’s picture book author Rob Biddulph is doing Draw With Rob, every Tuesday and Thursday on Facebook and Instagram. Grab some paper and a pencil and get drawing with him. See his first one here!

23. Make a stop motion animation video – these looks great and they’re easier than you think (and bonus for us, they take a long time to make. So more time for our coffee break).

24. Design your own board game – here’s how!

25. Learn to juggle with this step-by-step guide.

26. Make fajitas for dinner with this recipe that shows what the kids can do, and what the grown ups can do.

27. Learn amazing stuff about sloths that play sports and domino designers with the free Scholastic material.

28. Have a kids’ yoga session – great to calm them down after an high energy activity. Cosmic Kids on YouTube is great and free!

29. Download a free children’s audio book from Audible with their one month trial. They have Harry Potter, David Walliams, Roald Dahl, all the greats! (Just don’t forget to cancel the trial if you don’t want to sign up for a monthly fee!)

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