By Luke Blackwood / Clinical Psychologist
I recently let out a sigh of relief as I put down the phone. My sister had just returned from Germany, safe and sound. Given Germany’s current situation, I was expecting her story to be characterised by fear and the management of COVID-19 (Coronavirus). It was not.
She told me of the family she was staying with and the dinner they had the night before she left. The atmosphere was intense as the family sat around the kitchen table to work out the plan for home schooling Peter (three-years-old) and Jonnie (seven-years-old). The thought of this new role and spending so much time with the boys was daunting for the mother, yet my sister was in awe of the efforts that were being made to keep them active and engaged. They were about to have the most quality time with their parents that they have experienced in their life and their young minds were eager to learn.
Whilst we must be strategic in the way that we respond to the COVID-19, it is important not to panic and to stop to appreciate the gifts that a change in the operations of society can offer. This could be extra quality time with loved ones, time off work to pursue a hobby, learn a language or a chance to reach out to someone you care about.
There are a number of things you can do to keep the family engaged, learning and active as the family starts to spend more time at home together. I have put together a list of 21 activities to beat boredom and connect.
1. Yoga Game
Yoga is a great way to move our bodies, burn energy and have some family fun. Draw your own cards or get some printable cards to play a game where each player picks a card at random and everyone does that pose. Try and notice the different sensations during each pose.
Paperzip have free printable yoga cards for kids here.
2. Art activity
Art activities are only limited by your imagination but Redescover Families has some fun ideas to help you and your family connect which can be accessed here.
3. Arrange a Skype dinner party with loved ones.
4. Play a card game:
There a number of different card games you can do with a regular deck. Kids Spot has 12 classic card games that you can teach kids here.
5. Play a board game.
You could plant a tree, start a flowerbed, grow a vegetable garden or get creative with some of Learn Play Grow’s gardening activities here.
7. Make a cubby house or pillow fort
8. Make and fly a kite
WikiHow has a simple kite design here.
9. Do a puzzle
10. Do an exercise game
Maybe the floor really is lava? Start a tug of war or build an obstacle course. My Kids Time has some great ideas to get the family connected and moving here.
11. Explore the garden
12. Explore nature
13. Cook a new meal or try baking
14. Ask the child what they want to learn about, research it and try and find samples.
15. Practice mindfulness
16. Have a Talent Show
17. Make a musical instrument from your recyclables
18. Solve a crossword or puzzle.
There are a number of websites that have free online and printable puzzles like Lovatts Crosswords and Puzzles which can be accessed here.
19. Paint a rock like an animal
20. Write a song
21. Have a dance off
I hope these activities help you and your family beat the boredom, connect and have some fun together!
We would love to hear your tips in the comments below.
By Luke Blackwood
Founder and Clinical Psychologist
BPsych, MPsych (Clinical), MAPS