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Ideas for keeping primary school-age children entertained at home

(90 Posts)
soniamumsnet (MNHQ) Thu 19-Mar-20 15:33:46

If you have primary-aged kids at home and demanding a lot more of your time than is traditional in term time, look no further.

We've shared some of our best ideas here, along with a few of yours - from craft activities, made-up family games, useful online resources to baking ideas (and how to make it even easier with cake mixes).

So go grab the glitter and the laptop (but not together). You got this.

1. Get baking

Why not use this time to make some wonderful creations in the kitchen together? And, what's more, you can teach them basic food science while you do it.

Make the experience even easier and get great results with Betty Crocker cake mixes and icings. To inspire you, there are also lots of great ideas for baking with kids on the website.

Buy Betty Crocker products here

2. Make live art

Take inspiration from The National Gallery itself and help bring art to life - by recreating famous artworks using household items.

See creative live art examples here

3. Garden bug safari

Collect bugs in pots, identify them indoors, observe their bug-like behaviours and then release them back into the wild.

4. Make pet rocks

Collect pebbles from the garden (if you have one) and then go mad with the glue, glitter and felt tips. Googly eyes not necessary but to be encouraged.

Buy googly eyes here

5. Try a balloon game

Got any balloons left over from party bags? Then you have a noisy but busy hour ahead of you. There are plenty of balloon game ideas online.

See balloon game ideas

6. Make theme park

"Spend a few days making your own 'theme park' in the garden using materials available in your home." - Antiopa12

7. Make a beach

Can’t get to the beach? Try to recreate the experience at home with the paddling pool, beach mats, ice creams.

Buy a paddling pool here

Related: The best garden games for kids

8. Host a dog show

"We had a lot of fun creating an agility course for the very bemused dog, Olympics-style. You can have a family competition with different events and an opening ceremony and awards.” - Antiopa12

9. Watch storytime online

Watch Stay at Home Storytime with children’s author and all-round kids’ book genius Oliver Jeffers, who wrote Stuck!, The Day The Crayons Quit, The Incredible Book Eating Boy and many more.

10. Virtual musical statues

For any primary-age kids sad to be missing out on birthday parties over the coming months, Nutty’s Children’s Parties (based in London) is taking the party to Facebook with Boredom Busting videos every day. Let the virtual musical statues commence!

11. Superhero activities

Try out the Superhero activities online at Super Hero Parties. Spidey is even doing personalised videos and video chats for isolation special occasions.

12. Do some yoga

Bring some zen to their day Dahl-style with this Cosmic Kids Yoga take on The Twits. Help them paint the ceiling with their feet from a downward dog position and jump like the monkeys who finally fix The Twits. Worm spaghetti at the ready.

13. Make secret codes

Bring out the Alan Turing in them and try Lego Secret Codes at Frugal Fun for Boys (we think it looks like frugal fun for girls, too, but we’re not splitting hairs now). Create a code using different Lego bricks for each letter of the alphabet and then write secret messages to each other.

14. Draw pigeons

Fans of Mo Willems (his Don’t Let The Pigeon Drive the Bus’ is a Mumsnet favourite) will love Lunch Doodles on YouTube. Join in as Mo teaches you how to draw his signature pidgies and more.

15. Customise a t-shirt

Got fabric pens? Missing being able to buy them cool T-shirts for summer? Then you got 99 problems but a lack of new T-shirts ain’t one. Pick out some plain-ish garments (tote bags and T-shirts work well) and let them upcycle them with fabric pens. Don’t worry - no one’s going to see them, remember? You can sneak them out in bin liners once this is all over. They’ll be too distracted by soft play and McDonald’s being open again to notice.

Buy fabric pens here

16. Make a map

Pretend ones, dragony ones, ones of the moon, ones of places you’ve been on holiday, one of your local area with all their friends’ houses marked on, one of the inside of your house. Kids love maps. We love maps, too. Try it.

17. Have a dance party and learn some maths

Get them bopping along to some seriously ear-wormy tunes (sorry) on Supermovers. The good news is they’ll be learning their times tables, grammar rules and much more at the same time. The bad news? You’ll be humming ‘Capital Letters and Full Stops’ by The Hip Hop Granny until isolation is over.

18. Go stargazing

You don’t even need a garden (though hot chocolate and hats and gloves do make it more fun). Dig out your telescope and download SkyMap or another constellations app on your phone to help you tell your Orions from your Ophichuses. Or visit the CBeebies Stargazing page.

View telescopes here

19. Host a debate

Teach them the art of debating with battles such as Monkeys vs Sharks and Chocolate vs Chips on the podcast Smash Boom Best.

20. Go on a virtual art tour

The Musee D’Orsay, as well as lots of other galleries, has a virtual tour with plenty of Van Goghs and Monets for kids this age to spot.

21. Try some engineering activities
The Leaders Awards are there to encourage a love of engineering in the young. They’re going to have lots of online activities and competitions running over the coming months.

22. Do a PE class with Joe Wickes

The now-ubiquitous Joe Wicks is running PE with Joe every weekday at 9am. And we can all join in! (Or slope off back to bed with a cup of tea while Joe exhausts your kids for free.)

23. Do Harry Potter-themed yoga

Cosmic Yoga for Kids has a special Harry Potter version for Hogwarts fans. Lumos!

24. Write some fan fiction

“Make up some fan fiction eg when captain underpants visited our school.” - EllieQuinn

25. Start a nerf gun war

In the garden, ideally.

26. See a West End Show

You can now watch a streamed version of the 2017 West End production of The Wind in the Willows, starring Rufus Hound, for £4.99. POOP POOP to that, we say!

27. Learn some art history

Do they know their Monet from their Manet? More importantly, do they like to get drippy, splashy, smudgy and swirly while enjoying a bit of art history? Sign them up here.

28. Listen to the radio

Gather round the Wireless and tune into the BBC’s School Radio for music, drama and more.

29. Try some mindfulness exercises

Music and mindfulness for slightly older kids at Go Noodle.

30. Brush up their classical music education with David Walliams

The Marvellous Musical Podcast, courtesy of Classic FM is excellent. Very interesting and very silly.

31. Host the trampoline championships

Just don’t break any wrists.

View trampolines here

What are your suggestions for keeping primary school kids entertained? Let us know by posting on the thread.

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WorriedAboutMom Thu 19-Mar-20 16:17:41

-Kinetic sand in a large plastic container with moulds & spades.
-blackboard & chalk, whiteboards with markers, painting (all can be done on Ikea Mala easel)
-colouring/sticker books
-educational apps on IPad
- outdoor games such as ball games, water table, riding bikes/scooters
-making indoor/outdoor dens
-Baking e.g. gingerbread men
-Helping with gardening
-Making Mother's Day cards!

TantieTowie Thu 19-Mar-20 18:33:20

Skype/Face Time play dates with their friends
Help with lunch/dinner
Planting seeds (order online if don't have?)

BertandQueenieforever Thu 19-Mar-20 18:34:33

Cosmic kids yoga on you tube.

ILikePaperHats Thu 19-Mar-20 20:42:56

Joe Wicks is doing daily workouts for kids on his YouTube channel at 9am weekdays I think

EllieQuinn Thu 19-Mar-20 23:34:53

We’re on lockdown this week. So far, aside from tantrums and being bored, we have

Had a nerf gun battle in the garden

Brought ALL the cuddlies downstairs and made a zoo, made a poster, brochure, map of the zoo, set up a gift shop, and recorded an advert for the zoo

Ninja training

Made pipe cleaner superheroes and a shoe box spaceship for them

Disco

Card game

Board game

Making our own comics

Recorded a video to amuse toddler cousin

Science experiments from Pinterest

Baked a cake

Harry Potter cosmic yoga on YouTube- a big hit!

Jumping on the bed -not usually allowed

Puppet show

Made a blanket fort

On my list still to go are:

Plant seeds

Bug hunt in the garden

Make a gingerbread house

Lego secret code (google it)

Balloon tennis

Ladle hockey (we invented this, it requires one or more plastic balls like from a ball pit, plus one ladle per player- can use a sieve at a push) more fun as an indoor game.

Making a mega marble run using duplo, cardboard tubes, eg. Etc

Make musical instruments & dress up as rock stars, video the performance & send to grandma

Get the fabric pens out and embellish a t shirt or vest

Make pizza

Am going to get some worksheets from Big Life Journal, they look nice

Collage

Making Easter decorations

Long baths

Painting the garden fence (???)

Lego challenges

We might get in the car and have a driving lesson (without turning it on!!) go on an imaginary journey

Draw a basic map of the local area and get them to draw in the landmarks, themselves, friends etc

Getting the toy swords out for a fencing lesson

Treasure hunt with clues

Make shadow puppets

Salt dough

Write a story- each person adds a line and it gets really silly

Make up some fan fiction eg when captain underpants visited our school

Cuddly toy skittles

Antiopa12 Fri 20-Mar-20 06:13:14

We had very limited horizons because of the extreme nature of my son’s didability. From experience you need to use your imagination and decide if you cannot go out then you can recreate the experience in your back garden (if you have one). So...
Spend a few days making your own “theme park” in the garden using materials available in your home.
Can’t get to the beach? Try to recreate the experience at home with the paddling pool, beach mats, ice creams
Dog show? We had a lot of fun creating an agility course for the very bemused dog
The Olympics? You can have a family competition on some unusual events with an opening ceremony and awards
Nature reserve? Go bug hunting and learn about the specimens you find
In short, Whatever your family likes to do outside try to bring elements of that experience home

Cherrypi Fri 20-Mar-20 06:17:03

Salt on a tray to make marks in.
Cornflour and water.
Library ebooks and audiobooks. Borrowbox has loads of Disney content.

twinkledag Fri 20-Mar-20 12:01:50

YogaBugs in Youtube.

twinkledag Fri 20-Mar-20 12:02:03

*on

horseymum Fri 20-Mar-20 12:12:01

Learn an instrument- buy a decent ie aulos or Yamaha recorder ( about £10-12 online) not the £2 toy ones if you can afford it. twinkl has a very basic course. It can sound lovely honestly!
Ukuleles are a bit more, about £20, loads of play a long videos on YouTube and you can slow them down too.

Rompertupper Fri 20-Mar-20 17:02:03

Mine will be plugged in to their devices. Maybe a walk at lunchtime/in the evening. Some of us have to work full time, even if it is from home.

Aragog Fri 20-Mar-20 17:40:08

Cosmic Kids yoga
Go Noodle
Super Movers on CBeebies

All screen based websites for keeping active

mummmy2017 Sat 21-Mar-20 08:00:41

Mesclun Mix Salad.
Cress. Grows in days.
Carrots take 50 days.
Bean Sprouts.
And you can eat these, sunny window
would work.
And if you research it online you can use as a home school exercise.

Judy1967 Sat 21-Mar-20 17:50:58

ALL resources on www.connect-kids.org are now FREE! Use the lesson plans and the stories to teach your children to embrace the gift of diversity, learn tolerance, and to love themselves and each other more, and so make this world a better place for us all. Please SHARE THE LOVE by sharing this message with everyone you think could benefit. Consider using online hook ups like ZOOM to meet up with your friends, wherever they may be, the more diverse the better, and together go through the material with your kids. Let’s use this opportunity to teach our children to BUILD BRIDGES WHILE BEHIND WALLS.
Enjoy. Keep well and keep safe.
Judy and the Connect Kids team

zowiewowie Sat 21-Mar-20 22:29:59

My little boy made an online Random Idea Generator programmed with around 200 ideas and growing. You click the button and it gives you an activity idea at random! He would LOVE it if you send him your ideas via his website too- it’s keeping him busy!

It's really fun for kids to use and I love it because it's one less decision for me to make!

It has everything from baking to ice excavating to radio garden to malign mixtures and potions to pirate day and more 😂www.whatshallwedo.co.uk

museummumblog Sun 22-Mar-20 00:14:37

Hope it's ok to post - I've spent the last few days pulling together some of the best museum games, activities and downloads for families isolated at home. All FREE, easy to follow and fun. Here's the link museummum.com/2020/03/21/covid-culture/

ChazsBrilliantAttitude Sun 22-Mar-20 20:45:04

My DC are a bit older but skipping ropes have gone down well. They are both sporty and want to keep up their fitness. (They are boys)

AutumnIrene Mon 23-Mar-20 20:07:39

The Big List of Children’s Authors Doing Online Read Alouds & Activities

GoNoodle® engages 14 million kids every month with movement and mindfulness videos created by child development experts. Available for free at school, home, and everywhere kids are!

World Book Online have just made their fabulous collection of over 3,000 ebooks and audiobooks available for free for children to access at home. They have books suitable for all ages. You need to sign up but hopefully it works.

25 Nature Webcams for Science Learning at a Distance

With a combination of independent and collaborative learning activities, the home learning books provide a great opportunity for parents to learn with their children.

The Wind in the Willows West End production is available to stream online for free

Scholastic is offering free online courses so your kids can keep learning while schools are closed

Stuck at home? 17 Museum Virtual Tours to Take from your Sofa

Our Favorite Virtual P.E. Resources to Keep Kids Moving at Home

A Big List of Podcasts for Little Kids

Bestselling Children’s Author Mo Willems Is Teaching Kids Drawing On YouTube

Join Joe Wicks for live PE lesson following UK school closures

UntamedShrew Mon 23-Mar-20 22:47:26

I got my son to interview his grandparents via FaceTime then write up their biographies and fact files. Was a hit on both sides, kids and the olds all loved it.

My daughter I got to make a school with her teddies and she has to teach them the maths from her school book (only way she will do maths!)

They also made rainbows for our windows to cheer up our street. And swept and packed a bag of leaves from the back yard.

This makes it sound an easy fun day. It wasn’t - working with kids around means you just do two jobs, badly. Great idea to share any tips. I love that Zowie’s son made a website, wowie indeed!

AutumnIrene Tue 24-Mar-20 13:17:33

Amazon Unlocks Batch of Kids’ Shows Free to Stream for All Customers

Corbettmaths Primary. Videos, Worksheets and 5-a-day math problems

30+ Virtual Field Trips for Kids

The Hidden World of National Parks

Edinburgh Zoo Webcams

Mystery Science has free, easy science for remote learning

Audible is streaming hundreds of children’s books for free

#DrawWithRob video for you and your kids.

25 Foods You Can Re-Grow Yourself from Kitchen Scraps

The James Dyson Foundation Science Challenge cards Lots of science projects you can try at home.

Knitting for Kids

Twinkl Parents Hub - As a parent, you want to do all you can to support your child's learning, but finding the time and knowing where to start can be a challenge - and that's why we're here to help.

FROZEN Ride | Frozen Ever After Full ride through 4K | Walt Disney World Epcot | FL Attractions 360

National Museum of Natural History in Washington, DC, can be toured virtually.

10 Instagram accounts to follow for crafts and activities while schools are closed

Gre8scott Tue 24-Mar-20 19:42:35

Oti Mabuse doing a kids dance class every day at 11.30
Hobbycraft giving ideas for crafts at 11am gladgow science centre doing a science experiment at 10am every day
Royal scottish national orchestra doing a music lesson every Wednesday

Gre8scott Tue 24-Mar-20 19:43:32

David walliams releasing a new audio story every day
Aubile app doing free stories for kids

LarryDuff Wed 25-Mar-20 08:21:07

thanks for the zoo idea, big hit with my 5 year old yesterday smile

stayingaliveisawayoflife Wed 25-Mar-20 09:32:22

This has some good ideas.

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