By Sabrina Rogers-Anderson
When lockdown first hit, we all snapped to action. “We’ll learn how to bake bread! And build a dollhouse out of recycled materials! And whip up homemade Play-Doh and slime!”
Fast-forward several long, monotonous weeks later. There are six types of homemade bread going mouldy in the pantry and children can’t stand the sight of slime anymore. Everyone is climbing the walls with boredom and no one can think of a single fun thing to do.
We’ve got your backs, brave parentals! We took a deep dive online and into the minds of our most creative educators to bring you these 10 super-fresh activities to keep little ones entertained.
1. Host your very own Mini Olympics
We’ve been loving doing this in centres. Dress in your country’s colours and set up a series of sporting events ranging from a relay race to basketball and a hula-hooping contest (hey, no one said they had to be actual Olympic events!).
Olympic athletes get hungry after all that hard work, so lay out a spread of international foods. Try Mexican tacos, Australian sausage rolls and mini Belgian pancakes. Yummo!
2. Make your own drive-in movie theatre
Transform cardboard boxes into cars by carving the top off them with scissors and leaving a 15-centimetre lip for children to place their snacks on. Get each child to draw wheels, headlights and other decorations on their boxes. Place the boxes in front of the TV, pop some popcorn and hit play on their favourite movie for an awesome at-home drive-in experience.
3. Build a bug hotel
A bug hotel is one of our favourite things to build in centres. It will attract beneficial insects to your garden that will help pollinate your plants, and provide a safe haven for many endangered insect species. All you need to do is collect natural materials, including a cardboard box, sticks, bits of timber and twine, and put them all together. You’ll be amazed to see all the beautiful bug residents that soon appear!
4. Go crazy for hair colour
Brighten up your child’s day with a splash of temporary hair colour – we love doing this in centres for Crazy Hair Day and raising some money along the way! Choose spray-on colours that are easy to apply and wash straight out or temporary hair dyes that wash out in a few shampoos. You can find them at your local supermarket or chemist.
5. Create a sensory food tray for babies
Sensory tasting activities are a great way to introduce children to a variety of foods without overwhelming them! Simply pop a variety of foods into a cupcake tray. Through this, the babies have a chance to touch, feel, smell and taste the different fruit, vegetables, grains and dairy independently. We think it’s such a wonderful way to discover and explore different flavours.
6. Play sock basketball
Need a no-effort game the whole family will love? Sock basketball is guaranteed to bring on the LOLs! Place a washing basket on the floor and get the whole family to line up a couple of metres away. Each member must attempt to toss balled-up socks into the basket. The person with the most socks in the basket at the end of the game wins.
7. Create your very own ‘Spoonville’
Remember the teddy bears in the windows from COVID in 2020? Some of our educators have been very creative in creating something new and interesting for children to enjoy on their daily walks! Everyone is encouraged to bring a spoon to add to the collection.
8. Write thank-you letters to COVID nurses
Want to teach your children about gratitude and give back to the frontline healthcare workers who are keeping us safe during the pandemic? Get your children to write thank-you letters or draw pictures for the nurses at COVID test or vaccination clinics. When they’re finished, mail them to your local hospital.
9. Do a virtual aquarium or zoo tour
Plenty of zoos and aquariums around the world offer virtual tours to allow little ones to get up close and personal with wildlife during lockdown. Brisbane’s Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary has plenty of Koala Cams, Sea Life Melbourne lets you spy on their marine beauties in their live feeds and San Diego Zoo offers live cams of a huge range of exotic animals. So cute!
10. Reach out to us
If you’re an essential worker, still navigating your way through lockdown, we’re here for you. Our doors remain open. However, even if your child is at home with you, reach out to your centre to see how we can support with Zoom calls or activities. These are challenging times and we’re here to take the pressure off!
If there’s anything our team can do to help your family through these times, please let us know. We’ve been through it together before, and we’ll do it again!