How can I keep my children entertained at home? 

We’ve all been spending more time at home during lockdown. For parents, this means finding new ways to keep your children entertained.

Remember to avoid putting too much pressure on yourself. Every child is different, so there’s no perfect approach. Try a few different things and see what fits – this may be different from one day to another.

Activities at home boy with crayons

Let your child lead the way

Try taking your child’s lead. Not everyone finds it easy to play with children, and older children might not want to play. If that’s the case, see if you can notice what your child seems interested in.

Younger children often enjoy exploring everyday objects. Try putting some out and see what they do. This could be a tray of rice, for example, with funnels, sieves, tubs and spoons. Sit back and watch. Or join in and explore with them.

Use items in the home for play

For lots of children, you can use things found around the home to play:

  • Get some of your clothes out and let your child play at dressing up or role play.
  • Put an empty box or toilet roll tube out and ask your child to think what it could be. Make it into something – let them use their imagination. Or use your recycling to make models with them.
  • If you’ve got any empty bottles around, try filling them with dried pasta, rice, lentils or anything that might make a sound. You can then use this as an instrument. Other ways to create home-made music include stretching some elastic bands over a box, or even banging a saucepan with a spoon.
  • Do some shadow drawing. Line up some toys or objects next to some blank paper and shine a light on them to cast a shadow on the paper. Draw round the shadows.
  • If you’ve got scarves or gloves, see if you can imagine that they’re animals. Give your child a puppet show. Or if you have more than one child, suggest they create one together.

Find some age-specific activities

Every age group will be interested by something different, so think about what your child or teenager might engage with. If you need some ideas for different age groups, read our suggestions for toddlers, children and teens.

Focus on what makes you and your child happy

  • Talk to your child each day. Tell them how you’re feeling, and what you’re going to do that day to care for yourself. Ask them what they’d like to do.
  • Capture moments that are special to you. Start a photo diary of lockdown to remember what you’ve done. Or make a time capsule.
  • Take some time to list things that make you happy. Think about your plans for the future and what they might look like. Get your child to share their thoughts.
Go back

How can I help my family cope emotionally with the pandemic?

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Home schooling tips

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Coping with lockdown as a single parent

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Activity ideas for teens

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Activity ideas for children aged five to 12

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