Parenting through Covid-19: bear hunts plus 49 other things to do with your kids during lockdown

Keep your kids busy during lockdown with these helpful ideas.
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With the country in lockdown kind Kiwis have taken to putting teddy bears in their front windows for kids to spot when they’re out walking/biking/scootering with their parents.

Bear hunts are big right now and the idea is so CUTE internatioal media have picked up the story.

As all parents know, though, you need a few tricks up your sleeve to keep kids entertained. Here are 49 other ways to keep the kids busy.

In the backyard or neighbourhood

1. Run through the sprinkler in the backyard

2. Set up a water station for younger kids with buckets of water and containers from the kitchen.

3. Bath the dog.

4. Slip and slide.

5. Bath their dolls.

6. Make enormous ice blocks then watch them melt in the sun. To make, fill ice cream containers with water and plastic animals or leaves and flowers. Freeze overnight.

7. Wash the car.

8. Go on a bear hunt around the neighbourhood (Kind Kiwis are leaving teddy bears in their windows for kids to spot when they’re out walking with their family. Keep a two metre distance when passing other walkers.)

9. Go for a bike ride or scooter ride

10. Take the dog for a walk

11. Draw on the concrete using outdoor chalk

12. Play hopskotch.

13. Play hand ball

14. Play backyard volleyball or badminton

15. Backyard cricket

16. Lie on your back and watch clouds.

17. Blow bubbles. Click here for how to make your own bubble mix.

18. Picnic in the backyard

19. Do some gardening. You can create portable gardens using plant pots, gumboots, wheelbarrows, buckets, whatever containers you have at hand. You can even plant seeds in egg shells. (Supermarkets sell seeds and basic gardening equipment.)

20. Paint a mural. Stick large sheets of paper up on the fence and paint with full-size paint brushes and water-based poster paints.

21. Make an obstacle course. (This can be done inside too.)

Indoor fun

22. Baking – make cake, biscuits, pikelets or scones (if you can get flour in the supermarket)

23. Make pizza

24. Tea party with dolls/teddies

25. Paint rocks / make pet rocks

26. Make jewellery using string, beads and buttons

27. Make lemonade ice blocks using leftover flat lemonade.

28. Make a bird feeder. Roll a pine cone in margarine then roll in bird seed. Suspend with string from tree.

29. Make huts.

30. Play the ‘floor is lava’ game.

31. Play cards.

32. Play board games – Monopoly, Connect Four, Pick Up Sticks, Yahtzee, Cluedo, Chess, Drafts

33. Get your kids to clean their room and reward them with ice cream

34. Have a poker tournament using buttons as chips.

35. Face painting.

36. Do jigsaws.

37. Play with playdough. Click here for how to make playdough

38. Blow up balloons and play indoor volleyball (good for teaching little ones eye-hand coordination).

39. Treasure hunt.

40. Paint your nails.

41. Make a marble run.

42. Make origami.

43. Play hide and seek.

44. Play charades.

36. Do puzzles / word finds / cross words / sudoku.

37. Indoor basketball using screwed up pieces of paper and a waste paper basket.

38. Lego – everyone loves Lego, even grown-ups.

Teach them stuff

39. How to tell the time.

40. How to tie their shoe laces.

41. How to bake a cake.

42. How to knit.

43. How to sew.

44. How to ride a bike.

45. How to make a cup of tea.

46. How to make a family meal.

47. How to repair a puncture on a bike tyre.

48. How to play the guitar or ukelele (not the recorder…)

Make use of technology

48. Make TikToks

49. Make home videos

50. Watch movies

If all else fails you can always let them watch a little bit of TV. We are spending a lot more time at home than we usually would, after all, and some of us are trying to work from home too. TVNZ 2 has increased its kids content hours for the lockdown period and so has Sky TV. It’s all good – as long as they’re still getting lots of fresh air and time to play outside, and plenty of quality time with you, too.

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