Related: Coronavirus forum, discuss everything related to the on-going COVID-19 pandemic.
This is a Premium feature
To use this feature subscribe to Mumsnet Premium - get first access to new features see fewer ads, and support Mumsnet.Start using Mumsnet Premium
Ideas for keeping Secondary school aged children entertained at home(62 Posts)
Pre-teens and teens can be tricky customers when it comes to keeping them entertained at home.
Here are a few of our best ideas (and some of yours!) for keeping them busy.
Share your own ideas in the thread, and we'll add them to the list.
Strength and honour.
1. Visit the Louvre
Budding linguists will enjoy a virtual trip round Le Louvre. Ooh la la!
2. Take a tour of Ireland and Northern Ireland
Pay a visit virtually to some of Ireland and Northern Ireland’s landmarks.
3. Try out these Stem activities
Stem activities from Network Rail for older train enthusiasts. Follow them on Twitter, too.
Related: The best online learning resources for children and teens
4. Take a dance class
Re-watch Strictly and perfect some new moves or tune into Oti’s dance classes on YouTube. Paso Doble, anyone?
5. Find the international space station
Spot the International Space Station going over. Sometimes it’s good to ponder the wonders of the universe and remember how tiny our planet really is.
6. Try some microwave baking
Make mug cakes in the Microwave. We heard the experts have put together a bit of info on this…
7. Get into conservation
Wildlife, geography, conservation and more with the legendary Steve Backshall.
8. Visit the Uffizi gallery in Florence
Teenaged art lovers will love the bold and colourful pieces in Florence’s Uffizi gallery. Visit it online here.
9. Explore Britain’s secret World War II bunker from your sofa
The Liverpool War Museums closed for now but the virtual tour is fascinating and they’re running some brilliant ‘live history lessons’ from their Facebook page: Western Approaches HQ.
10. Have a movie marathon
The whole of the Harry Potter series should keep them busy for a while. If you had the foresight to stash a box of Microwave popcorn at the back of the cupboard before all this began, so much the better.
Related: Ideas for keeping primary school children entertained at home
11. Try a science challenge
Leave budding scientists in the capable hands of James Dyson for a while with his science challenge cars. (If you’re low on dry spaghetti maybe oversee some of these).
12. Listen to an audiobook
Audible just put loads of its children’s audiobooks online for free. Three cheers for them!
Try Audible for free
13. Take a trip to New York
A virtual trip to New York should always include a look round MoMA. Treat them to a hot dog afterwards and they’ll feel just like they’re in the Big Apple (almost).
...and while you’re (not) there, catch some opera at the Met Opera house, which is currently streaming performances each night.
Exercise classes you can do at home, courtesy of one of the United States’ biggest gym chains.
14. If you have a dog, try to teach him some tricks
“If you have a dog we are teaching our dogs more tricks, I can recommend joining this Facebook group if you fancy learning how to teach your dog some tricks - to do it just for fun or working towards trick titles with DMWYD. Super helpful group, and keeps dogs and kids entertained.”
Related: The best family board games
15. Write a novel
They’re never more creative and less self-conscious about their writing than at this age, believe it or not. They don’t have to show anyone, but then again they might even find time to self-publish it.
16. Start a book club
Or start a grown-up book club with them with books you’ll enjoy too. John Green, author of The Fault in Our Stars and Paper Towns has a list of discussion points you could use to spring off from.
Buy The Fault in our Stars
17. Go to a stay at home festival
The Cosmic Shambles Network is holding a Stay At Home festival with guests including Robin Ince, Josie Long, Mark Gatiss, Stephen Merchant and more. Check it out.
18. Learn how to DJ
By downloading this free app. You did buy them those headphones, right? Please say you bought them those headphones…
19. Learn how to play an instrument
Get them to practise their musical instrument. There’s no time like now to get seriously good at guitar.
20. Host a Netflix party
Netflix and chill (well, less of the chill, perhaps, but they can watch Netflix with their friends, here.
21. Host a virtual house party
Meet up with their mates on House Party.
22. Learn a new language
Download DuoLingo to their phone and they can learn a language for free. How cool would it be to go back to school speaking Mandarin?
23. Help them redecorate their bedroom
Or if you can’t lay your hands on any paint, just a thorough declutter and a couple of hours’ rearranging furniture can make it seem like a whole new room. And giving them a space they want to retreat too might save everyone's sanity.
What are your suggestions for keeping teens entertained? Post them on the thread and we’ll add them to the list.
Mumsnet carries some affiliate marketing links, so if you buy something through our posts, we may get a small share of the sale (more details here).
Send them out to help buy groceries/mow lawns/walk dogs/collect prescriptions for vulnerable neighbours.
Let them paint artwork on their bedroom walls (if it's awful or offensive you can always repaint it when they leave home!)
Get them to do chores round the house. In my house, if you walk on the floor you help vacuum, if you use crockery/cutlery you help with the dishwasher, if you wear clothes you wash them.
Have a "Bake-off", with a parent judging.
They'll mostly still be set schoolwork online, remind them of that!
Movie day/night with popcorn, fizzy drinks and several films in succession.
Get them to video chat with their friends, perhaps they could have a Jamming session with instruments remotely.
Have a sort out of old clothes/toys, clean them and pass them on to families with younger children.
Let them sleep in nice and late, and stay up past their bedtime.
Go hiking in the countryside (National Trust made their parklands free to use for the crisis duration)
Binge watch Box sets
Give them a patch of garden to grow veg or flowers over the summer.
Put thick cardboard down the stairs, sofa cushions at the foot of the stairs, then let them slide down the staircase. (It's deliciously irresponsible fun).
Charity shop challenge: £10, 10 minutes, make up an outfit from things you find in a charity shop.
Creating their own mine craft world
Home gym (even if it's weight training with tins or resistance training with shopping bags)
the Body Coach is doing a 30 min PE session every morning on YouTube.
Photography and photo editing project.
Make up the photo books I've been meaning to do with all my digital pics.
Write letters to older family members who are not online. And phone them too.
Couch to 5k
You can't do that at home!
We're in a flat without a garden, in the middle of a conurbation, have to stay isolated due to underlying conditions... I'm starting to despair a little. DH and I have to work so tying up two laptops and two tables, and two separate rooms. Dd's room is a box room in the eaves
I'm not the box room troll I promise! so no space to work, DS has a desk but it's so far from the router there's no signal (he has never had computer-based homework before!).
Not sure what to do really.
Outdoor space is all verboten because of the volume of population (they have been set PE homework! <weeps>), baking is out (DH using kitchen table to work, on conference calls all day).
Sorry to be so negative but we're not even a struggling family, so lord knows how they're managing.
Rearranging their bedrooms
@ADreamOfGood everyone is allowed out to exercise, jogging, walking and cycling are all OK as long as people keep 2 metres apart.
DS is currently playing football in the park, which is fine as he is with only one friend, and they're not playing contact.
Get the Lego out of the loft!
Life skills - cooking, baking, painting fences/rooms
Daily gratitude diary
Creating YouTube content
Sorting out bedrooms
Duolingo to learn a language for free
Futurelearn or coursera for older teens
@InMySpareTime I know we're allowed but it's more of the volume of people that live here and the size of the park!
DH has tried to go out at night several times but we live on a main road and there are dozens of people trying to walk their dogs, giving him evil looks if he steps near them (not that he wants to go near anyone anyway).
perhaps they could have a Jamming session with instruments remotely
Oh dear god, I can't think of anything worse than this with the lagging on Skype- especially at the moment when everyone is overloading the wifi!
Dave's guitar riffs will be buffering all over Jimmy's vocals...
Well, we went for a walk in the dark! And managed to avoid too many people. Probably helps that it's really cold this evening. Brrrr.
Hi, I'd really like to do partner gymnastics/partner acro with my son, but all the youtube videos seem to be incredibly bendy twin girls. Anyone find anything that's a bit less intimidating??
Films (could try and throw some educational or historical ones in so they learn something)
Making things. If you have daughter with long hair, scrunchies. Plenty of ideas on Pinterest
Cleaning lol (have to bribe mine to do that)
Learn dance routines
Painting by numbers
Diamond painting kits (great if they used to love Hama beads when they were younger)
Chin-ups challenge using a home chin up bar. Chart progress over days
Do TikTok dances with them
Martin Lewis has a Financial Education Textbook you can download - have yet to look at it but it's to teach 14-16 year olds about managing finances etc. Might be worth a look
Martin Lewis has a Financial Education Textbook you can download
A textbook, you say?
<^rushes to cancel movie and pizza night^>
@longlinesprime yes cos we all need sarcastic feckers at the moment don't we. Nothing wrong with learning a bit of financial management when they've got sod all else to do. Didn't suggest they spend their Saturday night doing it so enjoy your pizza
Sorry, @4forkssake - it was a joke and I did consider saying that but then figured it was obvious.
But I accept that people are on edge and less likely to read things that were intended to be gentle joshing as that and more likely to see it as a malicious personal attack. It truly wasn't meant that way.
My DC still have shedloads of schoolwork and DD's schools is running the normal timetable over web conferencing. But I agree that financial literacy pack is good so I wasn't knocking the actual idea.
Dd2 14 has been knitting as well as a few other crafts, she wants to try felting.
Dd1 16 will mainly be sleeping, gaming and moaning.
@Longinesprime sadly sometimes on here things are said that aren't meant as a joke so apologies back to you. My eldest has to log on to school so lessons as normal here.
No worries @4forkssake!
In a way, I wish they weren't sticking to a rigid schedule for school as it means we all have to follow their school timetable and family activities can only really happen in the evening - so not much different from when they were at school!
DS has signed up for Skype language lessons, and he might take some music lessons too. Schoolwork is going to be a bit shit as he was supposed to be doing GCSEs, but that's a whole other thread! DD is happy just watching Netflix and doing art, I think..