As the pandemic still rages around the world with no signs of stopping, many nations are entering their second phase of lockdowns to control the virus. That means kitchen nooks are turning back into offices and parents’ childcare roles are expanding once again. If you exhausted your supply of child-friendly fun in lockdown mark one, we’re here for you. Here’s a list of Isolation Games: all-new ideas to entertain your child in these strange, crazy times.
1) Build An Obstacle Course
Hours fly by in minutes with this fun and creative activity. Whether you’re stuck indoors or exploring the garden, building an obstacle course with the materials you have at hand can challenge your kid to employ construction and architectural skills, and provides you with a fantastic activity for the rest of the day as the obstacle course gets navigated.
“Pillows, chairs and cardboard boxes can be stacked in the living room, or take the chalk out to the sidewalk to create a 2D obstacle course where creative challenges like “flap your wings like a goose” can be part of the course,” says David Kinney, a writer at Writinity and DraftBeyond. “There are so many options your kids will love with this game.”
2) Find A Penpal
If your child’s of an age where they’re approaching writing and language, finding a penpal with which to communicate is a great way to spend the day whilst practising skills they might be missing out of school. Penpals don’t have to be in far-flung corners of the world – if you have co-workers or friends with kids of a similar age you can start a penpal group even if they live right down the street. Handwriting letters and receiving them in the mail might be a throwback, but the physicality of it will thrill your kid.
3) Go For A Virtual Tour
Even before the pandemic many museums, galleries and zoos were bringing a virtual experience to users around the world and the opportunities to take a virtual tour have rapidly expanded in COVID times. Chester Zoo in England, for example, hosts live virtual tours giving you the chance to explore the wildlife in real-time. Many other establishments have virtual tours on their websites that you can take any time – there’s a whole world to explore.
4) Backyard Camping
For many kids, the thrill of ‘roughing it’ can be found pretty close to home. The simple change of routine from dinner at the kitchen table and sleeping in your own bed to camping in the back garden can be an exciting experience that’ll give them a love for the outdoors for their whole lives. Roasting marshmallows and ghost stories by flashlight are just as fun whether you’re ten feet from your front door or ten miles into the backcountry!
5) Build A Fort
Let’s be honest – every adult still harbours a small part of themselves that loves the idea of building a snug little fort under the kitchen table. Indulge this nostalgic urge with your child and build the ultimate fort with pillows and blankets. Once the fort is built, you and your child can climb inside for reading time or another activity in this new and ultimately cosy environment.
6) Start A Book Club
Sometimes it can be a challenge to encourage kids to read, especially when we’re surrounded by so many screens and digital entertainment tools. Starting a book club is a way to bring reading to life for your children. “Encourage your child to come up with some topics of discussion around the book and then get together as a family to discuss it,” says Tina Middleton, a journalist at Last Minute Writing and Research Papers UK. “Letting your child lead the proceedings will get them thinking about books in a new way.”
7) Make Your Own Board Games
With some cardboard and some coloured pens, you can come up with all new board games that can be played as a family. Put your child in control, letting them design the board and the rules. The simplest games can be played with dice and “advance forward” or “move backwards” X squares, but your child can get creative. If you need some extra inspiration, give them a theme from dragons to outer space! Remember to play the game with them at the end, as this rewards their creativity and hard work.
As we head into lockdown 2.0 fatigue is setting in for many people and the temptation is there to reach for the iPad. But there are so many fun activities which will challenge your child and let you connect with them. Get creative!
Angela Douglas is a writer at Belfast Writing Service and Gum Essays and a mother to twins. Angela has learned to love playdough and colouring in, but still has a soft spot for a glass of red wine when the kids are in bed.