Playing at home
Last updated: 29/10/2021
Ideas of things to do with children at home.
It’s always good to have ideas for fun things to do at home with children when you can’t get out or you want to save money.
We’ve gathered some links and ideas below.
If you’ve any ideas or links to share, please comment on our social media posts for this page so that other parents can see them too.
Remember Art Attack? Well, now might be the time to take a trip down memory lane.
There’s lots you can do with items you’ve got around the house without spending an extra penny.
Here are just a few of the great resources online with crafty ideas you might want to try:
- Starcatchers in Scotland is regularly updating its #WeeInspirations page with creative ideas for young children
- 50 ideas for DIY craft projects from Good Housekeeping
- 36 ideas for upcycling from Hands On As We Grow
- 15 more upcycling ideas from Parent Map
- CBeebies’ Let’s Go Club craft activities.
- Art for Kids Hub drawing tutorial videos
We may have moved on 55 years but there are still a few lessons we could take from Maria Von Trapp and the inspiring power of music. We might not be making dresses out of curtains any time soon but if someone can keep seven children of all ages entertained in a world without iPads, they must be on to something.
Here’s some ideas to get you well on your on way:
- How to make musical instruments from household items
- More creative ideas for household musical activities
Even though we can now have music from all around the world at our fingertips, most of us don’t play live music in our homes. Children are expected to hear music rather than play it in a way that was never the case for thousands of years! Why not turn on some music through the radio, TV or your phone and let your children show off their best singing voice and dance moves!?
And, if you don’t quite fancy all that noise, pop in their headphones for a ‘silent disco’.
If you search on YouTube, you’ll find loads of music videos with lyrics, including cartoons specifically aimed at younger children.
Imagination is the best, cheapest and most long-lasting resource that any of us has at our disposal, and this is even more true for children.
Encouraging your children to use their imagination could be as elaborate or as straightforward an activity as you – and they – like. Simply playing with each other, with toys, or with whatever safe objects they have in front of them and creating scenarios and worlds in their minds will help build on their creativity and their ability to entertain themselves. Making a den together can provide hours of fun.
If you want to take this a step further, they might want to delve into the world of drama. Encourage your children to create a play, practise their lines, and even develop a set and props. When they’re ready, they can act it out for you.
There’s no reason this can’t be a one-person show with multiple characters – some stuffed animals, dolls or even adult family members could be enlisted as cast members if needed.
If they’re struggling for ideas for a story-line, why not suggest they put their own twist on one of their favourite books, films or TV series?
And if they’re ready to read from a real script, there are even free plays and excerpts online that you can try.
There are also lots of cheap and easy ways that children can learn about science and have fun in the process with stuff you’ve most likely already got in your house.
Just about anything you can do inside you can also do outside, plus the added wonders of plants, bugs, mud and more:
- Gardening with children (you can do lots of these with a planter inside or on the windowsill).
- Visit Woodland Trust’s website for lots of nature themed ideas designed to fit with social distancing.
- RSPB website has lots of activities that you could try in your garden or when out for a walk.
- Lulastic 80 fun outdoor activities for kids.
- No time for flash cards: 50 simple outdoor activities for kids.
- Check local community groups, housing associations and other groups in your area for community gardens, foraging, outdoor play and lots of other activities which will vary depending on where you live.
But being at home doesn’t need to mean sitting still.
There’s lots of ways your kids can release their energy indoors.
- The NHS has some suggestions for family-friendly indoor games that can get those muscles working and the heart rate jumping.
- Today’s Parent: 15 Ways to keep kids active indoors even if you don’t have much space,
- There are a whole range of exercise videos for kids. Why not try Cosmic Kids Yoga, Just Dance, or Jumpstart Jonny?
One of the best activities for relaxing, learning and using your imagination at any age is reading.
Libraries are free to join and you can register online. Some councils now have a range of digital books and audiobooks which you can access from your own home. There are also free and very cheap e-books available from other websites.
- Find your local library’s website.
- Download Scottish Book Trust’s Bookbug app for kids.
- Scottish Book Trust age-specific book recommendations.
- Top 100 free children’s Kindle books.
- Top 100 free teen and young adult Kindle books.
- Watch children’s stories be read by Hollywood actors at Storyline Online.
Of course, there’s no harm in curling up and watching the TV (or tablet) sometimes too.
- There’s lots of content from CBeebies and CBBC available on demand.
- There’s even an app you can download with all the BBC’s content for kids.
- And there’s a YouTube kids app, to help children and carers search for suitable content.
- Check out Play Scotland’s Boredom Busters website and app for kids.
- See Parenting Across Scotland’s advice page on play and learning at home.
- Consider using Pinterest for finding ideas for “things to do” and how to do them. Warning: looking for ideas may become a hobby in its own right!
Keeping a routine
If children need to stay home for an extended period, it’s important to remember the benefits of having a routine. This helps children manage their expectations and feel secure. This helps with behaviour, emotions and essential life skills.