kids

Bracelet-making and 'sensory trays': 17 genius ways parents are keeping their kids occupied at home.

As measures to control the spread of coronavirus intensifies, your kids are probably spending more and more time at home.

If the idea of finding ways to keep them entertained is stressing you out, then we are here to help.

Whether you’re attempting to co-exist with your little ones while you’re working from home or trying to pass the time now that the park is out of the question, we asked parents to share what they’re doing to keep their spirits and sanity levels intact.

And we got some very creative answers.

Our very own Claire Murphy breaks down your most answered questions about COVID-19. Post continues below.

Video by Mamamia

So, if you’re looking for ways to keep your little ones occupied, here are 17 activities to consider.

1. Go old school with Ice Magic.

“Self-isolation tip: Ice Magic and a tub of ice cream is sure to keep the kids quiet/occupied for at least an hour,” writes Mamamia parenting writer, Nama Winston.

 

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2. Give the toys a bubble bath. 

Given the current COVID-19 climate, this passes the time and encourages good hygiene. If you want to amp up the experience you can even use a scented bath bomb which will have the whole house smelling lovely.

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Image: Supplied/Misti.

3. Making block castles.

A classic activity, challenge your kids to build bigger and more creative structures and watch them play out their inner architect.

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Image: Supplied/Misti.
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4. Reading.

Another activity that you can do together or - depending on their age and literacy level - leave them to their own devices.

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Image: Supplied/Misti.

5. Make puppets...

To entertain her three-year-old daughter Rosie, Melissa used a selection of finished paper towel rolls or rectangular pieces of cardboard as the base. Then she used craft supplies like glue, feathers, stickers, googly eyes, craft paper, patty pans, pom poms and felt pens to finish them off.

Reading - no reason not to dress up at home
Image: Supplied/Melissa.
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6. ... and host a puppet show.

Once they've finished making the puppets, it's time for a show. To do this, Melissa draped a sheet over some bar stools, securing everything in place with some pegs.

"Rosie sits behind it on her little chair to do the puppet show, after selling tickets to the show," she told Mamamia.

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Image: Supplied/Melissa.

7. Themed bath time.

Mum-of-two, Sarah has a different bath time theme every night. For example, one night she held a dance party bath with glow sticks (left) and another night her two sons had a 'soup bath'. She placed pom poms into the water and gave them both soup spoons to scoop them up.

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Image: Supplied/Sarah.
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8. Make a DIY pizza bar.

It's a meal and an activity in one and all you're going to need are some topping ingredients, tomato paste, or pizza sauce and a 'base' of some sort. You could go the extra mile and make some dough out of flour, water and yeast, or use pre-made bases, English muffins or even bread.

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Image: Supplied/Sarah.

9. Create a sensory box.

Perfect for curious toddlers and young kids. If you've got the rice to spare, tip some into a box and throw in some of their toys and random items from around the house.

They'll delight in the objects and textures.

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Image: Supplied/Misti.
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10. Mud baths.

Kids love mud. It's messy, sloppy and so much fun. If your normal parks and playgrounds are currently out of bounds, think of this as a way for your child to get some 'nature time' in.

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Image: Supplied/Sarah.

11. Building space ships and garages using Magna-Tiles.

Like building blocks, Magna-Tiles offers your kids endless entertainment, giving you some much needed 'me-time'.

Here's Sarah's four-year-old son, Hudson, posing with his creations.

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Image: Supplied/Sarah.
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12. Make bracelets.

Get busy and creative with some beads and string. Even better, throw some letter beads into the mix and your kids can practise their spelling too.

 

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13. Make a 'box road'.

We have the Instagram account @busytoddler to thank for this one. Susie flattened a box from an online shopping purchase and simply drew a road on top of it.

"I flattened one of the many online shopping boxes in my garage and drew a road on top in marker. Nothing fancy, I just did the best road I could," she wrote.

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"Then I brought downstairs toys that aren’t usually in my family room: magnetic tiles, animals, cars and trucks, blocks... anything I could think of to imagine and create with."

 

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14. Chia sensory tray.

A DIY chia seed jelly mix is a great way to keep curious kids entertained. Instagram user and mum-of-three, @play_at_home_mummy used 2-3 tablespoons of chia seeds and 2 cups of water and refrigerated the mixture overnight.

If you're afraid of mess (fair), consider laying down a plastic sheet or tarp to help with drips, take this activity outside, or do it in the safe confines of a shower or bathtub.

 

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15. Tray painting.

If you don't trust your kids to not make a mess with a set of paints, put the colours in a medium to large plastic container and let them paint the bottom of the container instead. When they're done, you can take a photo of their artwork before giving it a wash.

It's so simple.

 

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16. Colouring in.

Don't underestimate the classics. Go old-school with a set of colouring pencils and a colouring-in book or worksheet. For something a little festive, just google 'Easter colouring in pages' and you're set.

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17. Make a 'feelings wheel'.

This is a great idea for older kids. It's going to be a tough couple of weeks, if not months and a 'feelings wheel' could help create a conversation around emotions like anxiety, uncertainty and fear. This also lets them come to you if they're feeling uneasy while also highlighting coping strategies they can use.

 

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• FEELINGS WHEEL • It’s possibly the roller coaster of having Daddy back home after months away, or possibly just a new part of being 5, but Miss 5 has been struggling with working through her big feelings lately . She can usually identify them, but it’s been really stressful for all of us trying to de-escalate the feelings once she’s having them - especially since she’s not a particularly ‘cuddly’ person, so giving her a hug (something which helps Miss 3.5 through almost all her feelings), isn’t something that helps Miss 5 . So today I made a ‘Feelings Wheel’ - it lists some emotions that are sometimes difficult to work through, and provides a strategy to deal with them. We talked together about strategies for each emotion, so these are all things that we have come up with that have stemmed from her own ideas . I just cut out a circle using cardboard and two ‘wedges’, then cut a window out of the wedge so that we can turn it around the wheel! . I was going to draw faces to describe each feeling but I couldn’t fit them - if you were going to try this with a younger child, I’d recommend pictures as well as/instead of words! . If you’d like the template (just the circle and wedge shape that you can trace over into cardboard - not a printable of the whole wheel), let me know in comments and I can pop the link in my bio if it’s helpful! . . . #earlylearning101 #playathomemummy #diymum #diytoys #cardboardboxcreative #toddlerplayideas #toddleractivitiesathome #kidsactivities #stayathomemum #playathome #playbasedlearning #learningthroughplay #reggioinspired #childhoodunplugged #teachermum #preschoolplay #homeschoolpreschool #everydayplayhacks #activitiesforkids #childhoodunplugged #playbased #reggiokids #montessoriathome #playideasforkids #letthekids #diykids #kidsemotionalhealth #emotionalintelligenceforkids #homeschoolaustralia #playmatters

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How are you keeping your kids busy indoors? Tell us in a comment below.

The Australian Government Department of Health advises that the only people who will be tested for COVID-19 are those with symptoms who have either returned from overseas in the past 14 days or been in close contact with a confirmed COVID-19 case in the past 14 days. 

If you are sick and believe you have symptoms of COVID-19, call your GP ahead of time to book an appointment. Or call the national Coronavirus Health Information Line for advice on 1800 020 080. If you are experiencing a medical emergency, call 000. 

To keep up to date with the latest information, please visit the Department of Health website.

Read more on COVID-19

Feature images: Supplied and Instagram @xandervintage.

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