If I can say one thing about lockdown, I can definitely say my imagination has been challenged!
Coming up to eight years old, Lily is at the lovely ‘bored’ stage in life, where no matter what I throw at her (not literally), five minutes after we’ve finished the activity, she is bored again.
What’s made it harder is Chris and I are both working full time, taking it in turns during the day to focus on homeschooling and keeping Lily entertained and happy through the madness.
I’d love to say this is a complete guide to keeping your kids happy throughout the entirety of lockdown – although 1, I’m not an expert, nor a children’s entertainer, 2, I’m not sure my website could handle so much content all at once, and 3, my brain hurts and I am tired from doing all of these activities I’ve listed!
But I do hope it at least gives you a couple hours away from the dreaded phrase ‘I’m bored, what now?’
1. Get crafty
If your child or step child is anything like Lily, craft is up there with some of the best things to do. Personally, I dread the mess, but it makes her smile, and I secretly enjoy creating my own monsters out of straws, glue and paint!
There are loads of different things you can do with paint, but in this glorious weather we’re having, chalk has been the way forward! Practically mess free and easy to clean, Lily can spend hours outside drawing on the walls of the house and on the pavement, playing naughts and crosses and writing our names in a mass of colours.
One technique I also saw online, which looked AMAZING, was one mum drew chalk flames on the wall of her house for her fireman-obsessed son. She then gave him a hosepipe and he was able to ‘put out the flames’ – brilliant idea!
Other craft ideas we’ve done include creating a house for Lily’s favourite teddy this week, named Canada – where I only had one spare small box so created an interchangeable oven/tv (she was impressed), a felt tip mosaic, where I let Lily stick tape in all sorts of patterns on some card, she coloured in the gaps and voila, art (I also ended up doing this on our hallway wall – although I waited for Lily to go to her mums, I love her but didn’t fancy paint tipped across the landing), and of course, drawing and colouring in rainbows to go on our windows – which I have got to say, Chris took part in too, I just can’t work out which one he did and which one Lily did.
2. Get adventurous
What has kept Lily the most entertained (and quiet) during lockdown has been our garden camping adventure.
I had the brilliant idea of us getting the tent out (Chris will decide this was not a good idea at all when it has to go away and he spends a day trying to fit it into a small bag). Lily absolutely loves it! She’s filled it with our old cushions and blankets and created her very own outdoor den, which is the first thing she runs to play with when she gets back from her mums!
I’d love to say we have actually camped out in it, but we haven’t. We attempted it. Had some snacks, watched a film, had a hot chocolate, went to get ready to sleep in the tent and boom. tears.
Considering we don’t share DNA, this girl is just like me, loves the idea of camping until you realise it doesn’t include the home comforts. Glamping on the other hand… count me in when lockdown is over and I can find a getaway with a hot tub, mattress and warm shower.
3. Family fun
Also known as family fallout when I win Frustration for the third time in a row and both Chris and Lily think I’ve somehow cheated (no, I’m just a bit savage and competitive), family board games are nearly always a winner in our house.
Something you could also do, which is on my list of things to do with Lily over the next few weeks, is create your own board game! This could be literally anything, focusing on something your child/step child likes – in Lily’s case, she’s obsessed with foxes (as am I), we are going to create a woodland themed adventure board game, where the players are mini foxes travelling through the woodland in search for treats! – but you could do anything, even make a game based on your family, or based on a special day out you’ve all had together!
4. Learn a language
Lily’s first and only ‘plane holiday’, as we like to call it, was to Spain, three years ago when Chris proposed.
Since then she has loved the country, although I think she believes the place we went to itself was Spain, and the thought of going to another ‘part of Spain’ confuses her! She also has changed ‘love you to the moon and back’ to ‘love you to Spain and back’ – it’s a compliment, despite you needing a 2 hour flight for Spain against a multi-million pound rocket and a couple of weeks to get to the moon!
But anyway, she loves Spain so we decided to learn some Spanish so that when this is all over, and we eventually are able to go on holiday again, she can speak some Spanish! So far, I can say ‘me llamo Sarah’ – you guessed it, ‘My name is Sarah’ and ‘Tengo 25 años’ – I am 25 years old – not so helpful when you’re wanting to order a cocktail at the hotel bar, but it’s a start!
Admittedly, something we haven’t done a lot of during lockdown despite Lily loving it. Chris and I are both on an 8 week PT programme ahead of our wedding in October (hopefully), and I am determined to be good.
A plate of cookies would probably last longer whilst in the oven!
But baking is one of our favourite things to do, it’s so much fun to relive something that I remember doing so often with my grandma when I was Lily’s age! And the possibilities are endless when it comes to baking.
Most recently, we made our own pizza base dough to do pizzas – you’ll find in my later blog posts that Lily is a super fussy eater, so at any opportunity where we can make our own foods together, and Lily can try new things, even if its just sweetcorn on pizza, for example, is great! (and tasty!)
I’d love to say we have had loads of picnics but we haven’t. And I will make it my mission when we next have Lily to have more picnics outdoors!
I have no idea what it is about eating outdoors that makes it so fun and exciting but it is. I even remember as a child begging my parents for us to eat outside – I guess it is something different!
So there you go, six tips and ideas to make lockdown that bit more enjoyable for the kids! And if anything, I hope it halts the ‘I am bored’ line!