Based on our social newsfeeds parents are doing a fantastic job of bringing joy into their kids lives at this difficult time. We’ve seen backyard camping, families creating Where’s Wally scavenger hunts in their local neighbourhood and plenty of exercise and art & craft.

We’ve aimed to create an environment at home that’s different to the structured environment they experience with home schooling. We’re  providing more time for the kids to use their imaginations, more independent play and lots of fun. We’re focussing on keeping them socially connected, even though they are in isolation.

So with this in mind here are our ideas for things to do while you’re staying at home.

Exercise daily. Our kids are loving riding their bikes and scooters and the weather has so far been perfect for this. We love walking together and they have also joined in on the Zoom exercise classes that we are doing. Most of you will have worked out places locally to do your daily exercise but if need new ideas here are some options to head locally. If you turn up somewhere and lots of people have had the same idea, change your plans! Also, the key word is exercise, not picnic! And playgrounds are closed so don’t touch the equipment.

Build a fort or a cubby. We just do it indoors with pillows and sheets but we know some of you are REALLY handy so are likely building fancy treehouses!

Build an obstacle course indoors or outdoors. This is a great one for exercise and something the whole family can help with. Just ensure it’s safe! Here’s some inspiration.

Scavenger hunts. Click here to find some of the ones we have developed.

Build a structure with a deck of cards. The tallest is the winner!

Do something fun for your neighbourhood. Things are popping up all over suburbs. Someone in our suburb has created a Where’s Wally walking trail and another family has done a Harry Potter Scavenger Hunt. Can you come up with an idea for local kids in your suburb?

Blow bubbles. Our kids always enjoy this – even if it’s only for ten minutes. The dog even gets in on the action too!

Write letters or do drawings for your friends or family. Our kids have loved making letters and care packs and walking them to their friends’ houses.

Lego, puzzles, board games – raid that cupboard for games you haven’t played in a while or a jigsaw you haven’t done yet.

Declutter! See if you can get the kids involved in decluttering your house. Who knows, they might find some presents they are yet to crack open!

Make a recycling boat. Use items around your house (e.g. recycling and arts and crafts) and create a boat that can float on water.

Build a robot. Again, recycling is great for this!

Visit Questacon. We’re massive fans of Questacon in Canberra and it has adapted to suit the current situation while the venue is closed. Its ‘Questacon at Home‘ page offers lots of resources for you to explore at home including a huge collection of DIY science experiments! You can make some gooey borax slime or conjure your own miraculous cloud-in-a-bottle or split light into a rainbow with a DIY-spectrometer!

Have a paper plane competition. Google different methods of making planes and see which one goes the furthest.

Make some puppets and put on a puppet show. A quick Google and you’ll find lots of ideas.

Check out the Hills District Mums Activity Library. If you have a child under the age of 5 years old, our library of suggestions will keep your child busy and engaged. Perfect for long weeks in isolation, rainy days, stay at home days and days where you just can’t work out what to do with them! Kids up to the age of 10 might enjoy most of these activities too. Click here.

Choreograph a dance or put on a magic show.

Listen to a podcast and discuss it as a family. We love the ABC ones. Our younger kids love Story Salad on the ABC Kids Listen app. And our older ones love Short and Curly.

Book in some virtual playdates with friends and family. We’ve been using Zoom, Facebook Messenger and Houseparty. It’s good fun and let’s face it, no one is too busy at the moment!

Get creative with glow sticks.  It’s great now that it gets dark early. We stuck some glow sticks on our kids and they made up a dance!  They loved watching the video back.

Craft and painting. This is not our jam at all but we figure we may need to get into it a little. A few ideas include:

  • Autumn craft – you can get pretty creative with leaves and sticks, some string and a bit of glue. Maybe a pretty Autumn leaf mobile?
  • Papier mache – we remember doing this as a child. We were trying to make a piggy bank – we papier mache-ed a balloon and used a piece of an egg carton for the pig’s snout and then another bit of the egg carton to make little piggy ears. Then we painted it all pink. There was no Google back in those days but thank goodness there is now so you can get actual instructions on this craft exercise.
  • Make a suncatcher – go on a scavenger hunt for flowers and leaves and other things in nature. Then use a few simple things like clear contact and scissors to make a pretty suncatcher. More details on doing this can be found here.

Gardening and watering. This is a nice way to be outdoors while doing something at home. Water restrictions still apply but are not as strict as they have been recently so once again you can water with a hose before 10am and after 4pm. But you can use your watering can any time! Or maybe you could create a veggie or herb garden? Or even a fairy garden!

Chalk driveway drawing. This is all the rage during isolation it seems and for good reason – it’s fun!

Learn something new. YouTube is so good for this! Our kids have decided to learn the keyboard. But you could learn 10 words in a new language or even learn some sign language.

Do some Bluey craft. Bluey is everyone’s favourite at the moment and we’re lucky that there’s a whole movement dedicated to Bluey themed craft! Click here for ideas. We’re going to give this money box a crack at some point and we think the toilet paper roll figures are quite timely!

Cook or bake. Teach your kids your favourite family dinner or make a special sweet treat for afternoon tea.

Be bored. Most importantly, give your kids a chance to be bored – this is ok! They will then have to use their imagination. Don’t over schedule them, enjoy every activity and let them immerse themselves in things they are having fun doing. Pick your battles, there will be plenty of battles coming when they are schooled from home again.