Flattening the COVID-19 curve means that we all have to stay home as much as possible. For many families, this presents a unique challenge of keeping boredom at bay and finding activities that are fun and entertaining for the whole family.
At the same time, this period presents an opportunity to spend quality time together as a family, experience new things together and even learn something along the way. When this is all over, you could have a new favourite activity to share as a family.
Here are a few ideas for you and your family:
Boardgames and card games
They’re perhaps the most obvious choice, and for good reason: board games have stood the test of time because they’re an interactive, slightly competitive and fun way to while away the hours.
Raid the games cupboard and see what you’ve collected over the years. “Scrabble”, “Monopoly”, “Cluedo” and “Connect 4” are classics that are just as fun today as they were decades ago, and you’ll love teaching the kids some of your old favourites.
If you have a deck of cards lying about, now is the time to put them to good use! From Go Fish to rummy, bridge, spades and poker, the options are practically endless. Find inspiration, rules and guidance on the Bicycle Cards website.
Prefer your entertainment on-screen? There are lots of family-friendly games to play across different kinds of gaming consoles. If you have one in your house, why not ask the kids to show you their favourite game?
Otherwise, there are lots of options available to buy online, including second-hand consoles. Some, like the Nintendo Switch, Nintendo Wii, Xbox One and Xbox 360 have fitness and sports-based games so you can add a little movement to your family game nights.
Arts and craft
If you’ve got creative kids, there are plenty of arts and crafts that you can do at home using things around the house and just a few materials.
Make your own snowglobes, have a caterpillar race, make star crayons, or make playdough. There are lots of parents, educators and creatives sharing their ideas for fun and engaging arts and crafts projects. A little searching on the web and social media will yield dozens of ideas that you and your family can enjoy together.
For something a little easier, get out the pencils, crayons and paper or colouring books. Colouring in has slowly made its way from child’s play to mindfulness practice and is a great way to immerse yourself in a creative task.
Staying indoors means that adults and kids alike can accumulate lots of pent-up energy. Dancing isn’t just a great release and way to squeeze in some extra movement, but it can also help with lifting your mood and making you smile.
Switch off the news, put on some of your family’s favourite tunes and have a dance-off!
If you’d prefer a more organized activity, why not teach the kids some of your favourite dance classics like the macarena or the Nutbush? Your kids might also have some to share with you, like one of the trending dance routines on TikTok.
You might not feel very motivated to exercise at the moment, but movement remains an essential part of living a healthy lifestyle. One of the ways to make it feel like less of a chore is to exercise as a family.
Personal trainer Joe Wicks has put together a free series on YouTube called PE With Joe which has workouts for everyone from kids to adults. Each of the virtual classes is equipment-free, fun and perfect to do together as a family. For shorter workouts, try Joe’s 5 Minute Moves series.
Cooking and baking
Now is an excellent time to improve your cooking and baking skills. Grab the cookbooks from your bookshelf and scour them for something healthy and delicious. If you’re looking for recipes on the internet, try SBS Food, Taste, Food52, or Delicious.
There are also some great free cooking shows to stream on YouTube. Charli’s Crafty Kitchen is made for kids and by kids, while WhatsUpMoms offers delicious recipes that kids will love, as well as recipes that kids can make. Try Tasty for entertaining food-focused content, including recipes that feature fun and easy-to-follow visuals. For something with a novelty factor, Binging with Babish teaches you how to recreate food from popular shows and movies, like a Krabby Patty Supreme from Spongebob Squarepants or Pumpkin Pasties from Harry Potter.
Storytime doesn’t have to be reserved for little kids. Children and adults alike love a good story and reading as a family is another screen-free way to stay entertained and connected.
Pick an age-appropriate book and take turns reading using an egg timer or alarm on your phone. It’s a great way to practice reading for primary-school kids, while older kids and adults can do their best impressions of characters.
Build a fort
Raid the linen cupboard, pull the cushions off the couch and build a cozy fort for the family. Get creative and use doonas, blankets, and chairs, and decorations like fairy lights.
Once your fort is built, cuddle up and get inside to play board games, read a story, or open up the front so you can lie back and watch a film together.