Spending the school holidays in isolation, quarantine or lock down? Here are some great ideas to keep the kids busy during a half term at home.
It’s not easy spending the whole day at home. You’ll have one wanting to play a board game, a toddler wanting to destroy it, and another wanting to do something else entirely. With rules changing all the time, I’ve been keeping some activities up my sleeve in case we have to stay in for longer than we planned.
If you find yourself unexpectedly having to stay home with the kids, here are some fun ideas to keep everyone a little happier.
If you can’t go out to buy craft supplies, you’ll need some easy ideas using things you probably already have at home. Here are some good ones:
Toilet roll spooks: gather toilet rolls, coloured paper and glue to make this army of ghouls, ghosts and monsters!
Leaf ghost: Paint a leaf white then add googly eyes and a spooky face, or use the leaf as a template, cut out the shape on white paper and draw on a ghostly face
Rock painting: Decorate some rocks from your garden. You could make monsters, pumpkin faces, witches… anything!
Pumpkin Pie Playdough: Add some cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg to your favourite playdough recipe to make it smell delicious and colour it with orange food colouring, or a mix of red and yellow.
Mummy jam jar lights: Wash out some old jam jars and wrap with strips of kitchen roll or toilet roll. Tape into place then stick on some googly eyes and pop a battery-operated tealight or a glow stick inside!
We definitely need a bit of screen time built into our day, and if you’re putting on a movie, you could make it even more special with popcorn, lots of cushions and blankets. You can of course theme it any way you choose, but here are some of our suggestions for a Halloween-themed movie day!
Home Scavenger Hunt or Obstacle Course
If your kids like hunting for things, you could set up a scavenger hunt or challenge around the house and garden. Here is a printable Halloween hunt, but you could add your own too.
My kids’ absolute favourite way to spend time at home is for us to set up an obstacle course. My husband excels at this, and has things to jump over (because the carpet is lava, of course), makes slingshots, sets targets for them to throw balls through and all sorts.
My son also likes to set booby traps, and we’ve had lots of fun with that!
You can still take part in fancy dress and pumpkin carving competitions – just do it on Zoom! Round up the kids’ friends to take part too and you could do a virtual fancy dress parade.
Of course, it doesn’t have to be Halloween-themed – you could do a Junior Bake-Off, show each other science experiments, or get even more creative!
Online Tutorials & Workshops
Kids missing dance? Fancy learning a new skill? Eventbrite has loads of online classes and workshops that you can sign your children up for to help fill the days. There are art classes, music lessons, meditation and much more.
In Calderdale, you could sign up to a Jumping Clay workshop where you pay online and they deliver a pack to your door and send you a link to a tutorial (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Add some marshmallows and chocolate digestives to your next food shop. Wrap up warm and toast the marshmallows over the BBQ or fire pit in the garden. When they’re done, squish them between two chocolate digestives – heaven! If it’s dry outside, you could snuggle up under blankets while you eat them, enjoying the fresh air.
Take a virtual Day Trip
Ever fancied checking out The Louvre, British Museum, Buckingham Palace, a zoo or even Disney – without even leaving your house? Discover a world of culture in your PJs thanks to these free virtual day trips.
Have a Halloween Party
Preparing for the party could keep the kids busy for hours! From making decorations to planning the menu and party games, there are lots of things they can get involved with and they will have lots of fun along the way.
When all else fails, I run a bath and let them all get in for a good soak. Plenty of bubbles, containers to tip water in and out of and maybe some glow sticks. This always helps reset everyone and cheers up the mood, plus they come out clean, which saves time at bedtime: win/win!
Hopefully the time will pass quickly and you’ll have lots of fun along the way!
Don’t forget you can get our full October half term listings here, with lots of fun days out suggestions.