Keeping Little Ones Busy During COVID-19 School Closures

10 entertaining and educational activities for children stuck at home

Lockdown, isolation and quarantine during the COVID-19 pandemic don’t need to mean boredom. There are many simple, inexpensive ways to keep small children entertained and engaged at home.

Here are our top 10 ideas:

  1. Stick masking tape to the floor to create a fun walkway or maze for your children to follow through the house or outside. Set up snacks or toys for them to discover along the way. Create shapes with the masking tape and/or write numbers on it and ask older children to identify these. Older kids can also paint or draw on the masking tape.
  2. Use chalk to set up a simple game of hopscotch. Younger children will also enjoy using the chalk to draw on tiles or bricks.
  3. Make your own flower fairy ice. Head outside to hunt for the ‘treasure’ (small flowers and twigs) then put these in an ice tray, fill with water and freeze. You can also freeze small plastic toys/figurines then ask children to put these in the sun to free/rescue their toys.
  4. Make your own playdough by combining 2 cups of flour, ½ cup of salt, 2 tablespoons of cream of tartar, 2 tablespoons of oil, and 1 ½ cups of boiling water. Add a few drops of food colouring for fun!
  5. Tell stories! Read books or make up a story together. Book Dash has hundreds of free children’s ebooks in many of South Africa’s official languages, and Audible has shared a collection of free children’s audiobooks during the COVID-19 school closures.
  6. Turn daily chores into matching games or sensory play activities. Ask children to match like socks together, or fill a tub with soapy water and wash toys together in the garden.
  7. Use blankets, pillows and furniture to create a fort or reading nook.
  8. Turn screentime into exercise and mindfulness time with online yoga classes for kids.
  9. Turn an old box into a car or robot, or use a few boxes to set up an obstacle course. Little ones will also enjoy sitting inside the box with a few crayons to decorate.
  10. Use dish towels to improve your child’s grip and strength: play tug of war with a dish towel, getting your child to hold tight while you pull the cloth; or challenge your little one to squeeze all the water out of a cloth.