Mother daughter baking together

How To Keep Your Kids Busy During Lockdown

It’s so important to always keep your kids busy and active during holidays, however it starts getting really tricky when there is a lockdown due to a worldwide pandemic when activities outside the home are limited by rules or perhaps you want to rather stay home and play it safe even if some things are open.

I was so excited to be featured on Cape Talk radio at 14h30 on 04 January 2021 to discuss this topic – here is the link if you want to listen to it.

***Disclosure -The links in this post may contain affiliate links and I may receive a small commission if you make a purchase after clicking on a link.***

How To Keep Kids Busy During Lockdown

Have A Routine

A routine is always important during school term time, but I find it just as important, if not more during school holidays. If I have any hope of getting any work done at all I need to have a routine that is clear and that the kids understand. I like to get the kids involved with the routine planning.

And yes it does take some time and effort to plan a schedule and to implement it. But once that is done it will make your life so much easier. I’ve always had a holiday plan in place, even before lockdown.

Now with the pandemic it is more important than ever to keep your kids busy during lockdown.

Divide The Day Into Different Sections

It is so important to maintain balance and a routine is fantastic to help with that. For this reason I divide the day up and give time slots for certain types of activities.

Our holiday routine always includes the following sections:

Exercise & Outdoor Time

Exercise is always important for kids and especially so during lockdown when they are stuck in the house. If you have a garden that is big enough that will be amazing at this time, but it is also good to get the kids off the property in a safe way.

We love walking and try to get out for a walk at least once a day. Other things that we together is  yoga, exercise videos, cycling, playing cricket and playing netball. Sometimes we head out onto our very quiet road to play.

We live right on the beach and that was our plan for the festive so we had to adapt big time when Ramaphosa closed our beaches since we are in a hotspot.

Riding bikes in the road
My son and I getting out and about on the road.

Chores

Yes I know, it doesn’t sound like an exciting activity but really your kids can be kept very nice and busy, while being a fantastic help. They can help with cooking, shopping, cleaning, gardening, laundry and many other things.

Indoor games

There are so many games that your kids can play such as cards, battleships, pictionary, charades, fort building, dance offs and more.

Free play

Its always important for kids to have free play time, where they can choose to do what they like. I also feel that while it is so important to help kids to structure their days and their time it is also essential to teach them not to rely on their mom to come up with ways to play!

Screen time

Screen time has its time and place! Kids can have fun video calling friends, playing games, watching videos and more.

Crafts & Activities

You can search for kids activities on Pinterest, on a mommy blog like Fun Mamma SA, or check out Fun Mamma Rainbow Kids on Facebook or you can order age appropriate kids activity boxes from places like Wackybox or Poppet Post. These are a fantastic option when you have younger kids because you don’t have to think or plan, just order and give your child’s age and you get a box of things to keep your child happy.

Mom’s time (coinciding with something to keep the kids busy)

Whether it be for work or rest make sure that your kids know what part of the day is for you to be undisturbed and either tell them what they need to stay busy with during that time or let them choose themselves and add it to the schedule.

I like to have my kids do an activity of some sort in the morning while I work for an hour or two and then in the afternoon when they are more tired and likely to be noisy I allocate my work time when they are having screen time which is almost guaranteed to give me another hour or two undisturbed.

If your children are very young it can be tricky. I always got my work done in the morning when my kids were more likely to stay focused on something. I would start them off with something such as drawing, colouring in or playing with playdoh, then leave them to do that activity while I got some work done close to them.

And don’t forget that making use of awesome diaries, planners and journals makes it so much easier to plan these uncertain times. I don’t know about you, but I LOVE awesome stationary – check out The Papery for all your planning and organizational needs!

The Papery Banner Ad

Start and End With Something Physical

Make sure to start and end every day with some physical activities. Having kids that are cooped up with you all day is not going to be fun for anyone, it is essential to make sure your kids get some exercise every day.

We like to start and end our days with taking walks outdoors  – you can make this fun by doing a scavenger hunt along the way.

Get Your Kids Involved With Everything

The whole point of this post is ways to keep your kids busy and active, not you! Moms have more than enough to do already.

If your child is walking then your child can start with chores already, even if it is only to pick up a few toys at the end of the day. Older children can make shopping lists, hand up laundry, do dishes, help with preparing meals and more.

While getting young kids to help with chores may seem like more trouble than it is worth stick with it and it will pay off in the long run. Make chores a family affair so get in there with your kids and get things done during chore time. I find my kids always work better and give me less trouble when I get involved rather than just give them instructions and leave them to do it.

When you cook supper get the kids to get the food and utensils out, set the table, help with peeling, chopping, stirring and anything else that needs to be done to get the meals ready.

My kids love choosing what we eat at night, so I give them some paper and get them to make the meal plan for the week. It helps me immensely and keeps them busy for a while!

Make sure to get your kids to use their screen time productively too. They can search for fun things to do, whether it be searching for colouring pages to print out or looking for a recipe to make chocolate chip cookies. If they look for a recipe get them to also write out a shopping list for the things you need to buy.

My kids and Hamish from Fun Mamma SA
My kids and Hamish, from Fun Mamma SA, on a Lockdown Scavenger Hunt!

Mental Health During Covid-19

It is so important to ensure that our mental health is in prime condition, just like it is important to ensure our kids are mentally healthy. Covid-19 has been very hard on children as well as on adults. Kids need to play, they need to be outdoors and they need their minds and their bodies kept active. The disruption to the lives of children during this pandemic has been huge.

I know how important it is for my kids to process how they are feeling, this was especially true of the first lockdown which was so harsh. My son was having a daily melt down. I spent time each day one on one with both kids to talk about how they were feeling, what they were struggling with and what they were worried about. It really helped them with coping better.

Mommy I’m Bored

I remember what used to happen when I went to my mom and told her that I’m bored and I have implemented the same thing in my household. If my kids come and tell me that they are bored then I always find something for them to do and it is not something on their wish list.

I have a plastic jar and in it I have pieces of paper, each with a chore written on it. If they say they are bored they can to put their hand in and pull out a piece of paper and do whatever chore is written on it.

Going Out During Lockdown

Yes restaurants are still open and plenty of other facilities but we are playing it safe right now.

We do go out occasionally but we keep it limited to places like Scott’s Nursery in Vredenburg where everything is outdoors and it is quiet. My kids can feed the animals, play on the jungle gym and swings, we can have a light meal in the tea garden and I can choose some plants for my garden.

When we eat at restaurants we choose places that have outdoor seating with good social distancing such as Blikkies Pizzeria in Paternoster or Die Padstal in Vredenburg.

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3 comments

  1. Very helpful article with great tips. We have 1 week left before the kids return to day care and I’m excited to try out a few new activities with them.

  2. This is a great article for busy parents with young kids. I love the idea of allocating chores to keep them busy. I remember as a child I used to lay the table at meal times and would always help with washing up afterwards It must be so hard to keep kids entertained during these Covid times, and many parents are having to do home schooling. I agree, exercise is essential, both for physical and mental health especially during lockdown which we have here in the UK.

    • Hi Kathy, yes your lockdown is really tough! My sister and some of my cousins are in the UK. We have a lockdown now in South Africa but it is not as harsh as yours at the moment. Good luck!

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