kids

From the biggest collection of LEGO to pet dress-ups: 12 activities for kids that cost no more than $20.

BIG W
Thanks to our brand partner, BIG W

Living life in the time of a global pandemic has not been a walk in the park, even though walking in parks was about the only thing any of us could do outside.

We became good at improvising, doing what we could in our own space and making the most of the time at home.

But as lockdown restrictions lift and as spirits begin to do the same, there is a movement to make sure the best parts of isolation – the togetherness, the inspired creativity and fun with the family – are not forgotten as we all creep back to normality.

The biggest memories can come from the entertainment generated from within the household. Making family time less of a juggle and helping with plenty of new ideas is Big W’s Entertaining the Kids At Home hub, where there’s colouring and puzzles alongside curated videos to help make the most of a slower pace this winter.

We’ve combined some of these free activities with our favourite affordable kids’ items from BIG W – and there’s A LOT of good stuff.

1. A little hoopla doopla.

We’ve all tried every exercise under the sun to try and keep moving during iso – and one thing we learned is that if it’s fun, it doesn’t feel like hard work. Trickier tasks like hula hooping are not something everyone can master, so it guarantees lots of giggles as mum or dad makes a fool of themselves trying to make it look easy. The Wahu Kess Hula Hoop ($14) is a great one for learning and working on your fitness without realising it’s good for you.

2. Bring your favourite stories to life in masks or puppets.

This is one you can do with just some supplies from around the house, and a bit of imagination.

Colour in and decorate a sheep mask like this one, inspired by the storybook in everyone’s home library, Where Is The Green Sheep?, by Mem Fox and Judy Horacek.

Or, print out this mask or finger puppets based on Julia Donaldson’s classic tale The Gruffalo.

3. Dance (and wiggle) it out.

There is a lot to be said for being able to dance at home. No one is watching, so you and the kids can join one of The Wiggles’ Wiggly World of Dance live classes on Facebook without fear of missing a step. Dance in the lounge room and learn some new moves, expertly led by the ‘bowtiful’ dance instructor Emma Wiggle. It’s free, and they have new classes dropping each week.

4. Pimp out your pet’s wardrobe.

Host a fashion parade with a difference by kitting out your dog in Tails Knit Pet Jacket ($9) and letting them have a run around the block in a get-up perfect for lots of attention. With a diamond knit and high neckline, it’s the ultimate in winter style for doggies – don’t forget the home renos for your fur baby’s bedroom and treat them to extra pats on their own Max and Mittens Round Pet Bed ($5).

5. Grow some ‘grass hair’.

It grows fast and requires regular care and attention so a Boutique Garden Grass Kit ($5.50) is the ultimate little lesson in responsibility. Ryegrass is very easy to grow and after a week the prince or princess on the pot will have sprouts of grass ‘hair’ that will be ready for cutting and styling once it reaches 5cm tall.

6. Be a LEGO Master.

BIG W has one of the biggest ranges of LEGO you’ll see locally, which is just what we want to hear after watching LEGO Masters.

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A favourite for boys and girls of all ages, the LEGO Classic Bricks and Ideas set ($12, for ages 4+) is a great add-on to existing LEGO or the perfect starter pack to begin building your collection.

Oodles of indoor time can be spent making and playing, and this kit has eyes, wheels and hinges which allows children to make a steam train, cosy house, music keyboard, a dinosaur and anything else little imaginations can dream up. Younger siblings can have a look at the 50 fun LEGO DUPLO activities for some inspiration with counting games and shadow theatres – and more – to solve and build..

7. Backyard camping.

The grass is not always greener on the other side so make the most of no travel time in the car and convenient facilities (we’re also thinking about a fully-stocked fridge a few steps away) by enjoying a true blue camping experience in the backyard. The Hinterland 2 Person Dome Tent ($14) will keep campers dry – and its compact size means you can send the rest of the family into the great outdoors and claim a night of peace and quiet inside the house.

8. Sidewalk chalking.

With messages of hope, rainbows and mosaic chalk art driveways brightening up the ‘burbs, a pack of chalk is a sought-after household essential – and does the double of keeping budding artists busy while passers-by can admire their work. The Crayola Washable Sidewalk Chalk 36 pack ($8) has enough to chalk up some outdoor masterpieces. Painter’s tape sticks to many surfaces without damage and is the best for outlining your design.

9. Get on the galaxy rocks trend.

Collecting rocks, painting them and hiding them is totally a thing. Get on board with Zap! Extra Paint Your Own Galaxy Rocks ($10) and join the kindness-spreading treasure hunt for kids (there’s groups in every state, such as Vic Rocks or NSW Rocks on Facebook). Paint some flat river stones with an uplifting message or picture and hide for someone else to find. Jury’s out if it’s more enjoyable painting or hunting for the rocks. Why not do both?

10. Hungry Caterpillar story time.

If you just need five minutes of downtime (and who doesn’t right now?), let Aussie author Zoë Foster Blake read The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle to your tribe. If you have read this book a million times and your kids still insist on hearing it every day, you’ll be thankful that someone else can ‘eat’ their way through the fruit bowl this time. If you haven’t got this classic book at home, it’s available at BIG W for $10.

11. Armchair travel.

Learn about the flora, fauna, landmarks and attractions in Oz while choosing the next family holiday destination (I know, so clever!). The 252-piece Australia Map Puzzle ($15) is a challenging family activity for a rainy day, with the added bonus of acting like a travel brochure and highlighting the parts of this country you need to add to the list for when borders reopen and holidays are back on the agenda.

12. Bat-tastic baking.

There were times over the last few months we all wished Batman would swoop in and save the day, so making some bikkies in the superhero’s likeness might be the lure he needs to pay us a visit. Find the recipe for bat signal biscuits alongside some colouring sheets and trivia questions to keep everyone occupied while the cookies are cooking.

For more ideas, visit BIG W’s Entertaining The Kids At Home hub.

Feature image: BIG W

BIG W

Trying to entertain the kids at home? We get it. It's not easy juggling this new routine. Here are some ideas to make it a little easier!

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