14 indoor activities to keep your child busy at home
 

14 Indoor Activities to Keep Your Kids Busy at Home

Staying healthy and happy together

By June Yong | 25 February 2020

With the COVID-19 virus still at large in Singapore, many families with kids are keeping our schedules lean, reducing unnecessary activities, and choosing to remain indoors (or at least close to home).

If you’re anything like me, you may have entertained thoughts like, “What if we get quarantined? How are we going to stay happy, healthy and sane at home?”

Cabin fever is real, and for some, even scarier than the virus itself! But fret not, here are some fun activities you can do with the kids if you are staying home more.

 

  1. Write ‘thank you’ notes for our front-liners
    #BraveHeartSG is an initiative led by Facebook crowdsourcing platform Stand Up For Singapore. The group started the hashtag and invited people to pen notes of encouragement for doctors, nurses and other healthcare workers.

    It is not too late to hop on the gratitude bandwagon. So gather your markers and notecards and get your children writing or drawing their appreciation for our workers at the frontline.
  2. Do a video call with family/friends
    Since we are cutting down on meeting with big groups of friends, we can use technology to stay in touch.

    Especially if you have friends staying overseas, it can be interesting for the kids to see what their little friends are up to, and to hear more about life in a different country.
  3. Play board games
    When the weather is bad or when we’re stuck indoors, we turn to board and card games. Our favourites include Monopoly Deal, Uno, Go Nuts for Donuts, Organ Attack, and Rummikub.

    I love that the kids learn to take turns, negotiate (at times), and lose graciously. It’s not easy of course, but this is an ongoing process, and the more practice they get, the better.
  4. Play the tape shape game
    You will need washi tape or masking tape for this activity.

    This idea from Simple Play Ideas gets your kids moving and using up their energy, and is perfect for toddlers and preschoolers.

    Simply make shapes — like a rectangle, triangle, square, circle, or letters like A or X — by using the tape on the floor. Then get your kids to move like a bear, crawl, or hop to a particular shape!

    For slightly older children, you can make it more challenging and set up 3 or 4-step instructions. For example, step into the square, shake your hips and turn one round, then dance to the circle.

    Get the older ones involved in planning out the series of steps or actions to take, and join in!
  5. Do an indoor treasure hunt
    Children love treasure hunts (regardless of the eventual treasure)!

    This will take some planning to think of the various clues and to hide each clue card well, but it definitely does not need to be Sherlock-Holmes-worthy! Start with simple hiding places like the fridge, the storeroom, the common bathroom, or a particular painting or photo frame.

    If you have children older than 6, I’m sure they will be setting up their own treasure hunt for their younger siblings in no time—after experiencing yours.
  6. Work on a chore together
    Maybe it is time to spring clean! Get rid of old toys, assemble a new shelf, or organise the storeroom. Whatever it is, work on it as a team.

    The beauty of getting kids involved in chores is not just that they learn responsibility; they also develop confidence and self-esteem as they contribute to the household. If this is one of the first few times they are doing chores, be sure to affirm them for their effort!
  7. Flash light scavenger hunt
    This is one of our favourite night-time activities. You will need some flashlights, and small, preferably brightly-coloured toys or figurines to hide. Just hide the toys, turn off the lights, and let the kids loose in the room.
  8. Snuggle up for movie night
    About once a month, or on long weekends, we like to snuggle up on our bed and enjoy a good movie. Whether it’s Frozen 2, Star Wars, or Playing with Fire, the whole family will be in for a relaxing treat.
  9. Plan a weekend meal and write up a grocery list together
    Who says meal planning has to be Mum’s domain? Gather the kids at the table and have a few options at hand. Whether it’s pancakes for lunch or crispy corn fritters for tea time, there is always something magical about involving the kids for a meal.

    They learn how to think and plan ahead, and also about following a recipe. And after all their hard work, they get to taste the fruits of their labour. What’s there not to love?
  10. Find shapes in clouds
    This activity is ideal for younger children, but even older kids might like to join in too. Just sit close to the window, pick a cloud and share what animal or object it resembles.

    If you’re feeling adventurous, you can even extend this into a cloud craft activity! Check out some ideas here.
  11. Make a 'hope' jar
    We’ve all heard of gratitude jars but how about doing a hope jar in this season? Just recycle an old jar at home, get the children to decorate it by writing the words “Hope Jar” on a card and sticking it onto the jar.

    Then distribute coloured strips of paper and write down (or draw out) your hopes. It could be a hope for Singapore, for yourself, or for your family.
  12. Operation bless-a-neighbour
    We are blessed to be living in a country like Singapore, but how often do we think of sharing our blessings with others around us? For this challenge, get your children to look out for a neighbour who may be in need – perhaps an elderly person who lives alone, or a young couple with a pre-schooler who would enjoy some babysitting help for a weekend afternoon.

    Or if there really isn’t an obvious need, get the kids’ help to bake a cake, and share it with the family living next door. It may be a simple act but it is also a precious opportunity to teach our children values.
  13. Play poison ball with a balloon
    There is only one rule to this game; just avoid getting hit by the ball, otherwise you will be “poisoned”.

    It may be simple but the kids never get tired of it. We changed the game slightly by using a balloon instead of a regular ball because it is less painful when you get hit.
  14. Build a fort in the living room
    You will need an old bedsheet, and a stand or some form of support.

    Which child doesn’t like to play pretend? This activity may require some out-of-the-box thinking in terms of how to prop up the bedsheet (maybe 2 dining chairs?) but it promises hours of play afterwards.

    My kids will bring their pillows and soft toys into their “fort” and camp in there for hours!

We hope you find these ideas useful for the next time you’re stuck indoors!

© 2020 Focus on the Family Singapore. All rights reserved.

 

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