Daily free ideas and activities for families at home
Stuck for ideas or overwhelmed by everything that's out there? We've got tried and tested daily (yes daily!) ideas for babies, toddlers, preschoolers and schoolchildren that are fun, educational and easy to do
Activities for Day 55
1. Quiz time! Guess the children’s books from these emojis!
Right now, our brains have turned slightly to mush. We have a revolving door of daily questions such as, What’s for lunch? What’s for dinner? What day is it? And sometimes, where am I? And if you think that’s bad, our kids seem to be sporting permanent square eyes and are almost incapable of doing of anything other than stare at a screen or eat, often at the same time.
So when we come across something that really gets the kids' brains ticking, we rejoice! Which is why we had to share this fantastic brain teaser with you. Can you guess the title of the children’s books with the story told using emojis?
This one kept us and the kids busy for ages, we hope it does for you too. (Answers at the bottom of this page – no peeking!).
2. Go birdwatching with gorgeous free activity sheets from Nest Friends!
As the weather looks like it's getting warmer again, bird spotting is a lovely way to discover local wildlife. Nest Friends has a brilliant free downloadable birdspotting activity sheet to help along the way, which helps pre-schoolers and early primary schoolers spot different features on lots of different birds such as sparrows, robins, blackbirds, blue tits and more.
As well as visual features, the sheet also teaches kids about what the birds eat and there's even a space for them to write down how many times they've spotted the bird during the week.
More like this
Colouring and drawing activities
For days when you're struggling to spot any birds, there's also some great colouring and drawing sheets that are also free to download. Kids can have a go at colouring in a robin or blue tit using the image as a colour guide or even have a go at creating their own bird.
If you're looking for more activities to get your kids exploring the outdoors, check out these fantastic nature kits from 'grow your own' butterflies to bug safaris and a weather station.
3. Live dancercise! Former Strictly judge Darcey Bussell runs a free lunchtime dance shake-up by her troupe!
If you're looking for an activity to get through that afternoon lull, former Royal Ballet principal ballerina, Darcey Bussell, is working with her dance school, DDMIX, to bring free 20-minute online dance classes everyday at 1.30pm.
The 'Shake Up' workouts are a great activity to get your kids up and moving in the middle of the day featuring dance lessons for all abilities, so the whole family can get involved.
You can find them live everyday at 1.30pm on the DDMIX Facebook page. Darcey features in many of the lessons but there's also some led by the brilliant teachers at DDMIX such as a fun cheerleading workout.
For more brilliant activities to keep your toddlers and schoolchildren active, we've handpicked the best free online exercise classes that are available at the moment, from PE for babies to family zumba.
Activities for Day 53
1 Love animals? Join Sophie the vet live today for her free virtual vet school!
Meet Sophie the Vet, who runs a virtual vet school for kids aged 5-12 via Facebook. Each week, Sophie takes a look at a different topic, which are genuinely fascinating and especially great for animal-loving kids.
This week’s class at 10.30am, is all about how to become a vet or a veterinary nurse and what it’s really like to work with animals. Sophie has a lovely way about her, and she talks to the kids in a friendly, engaging way. Sophie also sets ‘homework challenges’ such as creating a toy or an activity for your pets at home!
You can catch up on Sophie’s previous vet school classes, which include understanding your cat's habits, how to keep chickens, looking after your guinea pig or hamster (which we failed at miserably as a child) and taking care of your dog.
2. Try these 3 easy toddler play ideas!
We know how hard it can be keeping toddlers entertained throughout these long lockdown days: the same four walls, with the same toys, it can be tough thinking of something new to pull out of the magic activity hat every day.
So, take a look at these really simple ideas, which will hopefully entertain your toddlers and possibly give you time for a quick cuppa and biscuit. Actually scrap the biscuit, because after your first bite your toddler is likely to be hovering like a dog at the dinner table.
Sarah Jones, and her 2-year-old daughter Orla, came up with this flour-based activity while baking. Sarah said “We were making some pancakes and Orla was getting very enthusiastic! It was proving tricky to keep the flour in the bowl so I put some out on the board and gave her a chopstick and she drew pictures in the flour. She was amused for at least 20 minutes and very content just drawing!" You could use cornflour or even a tray of rice or small lentils. Thanks Sarah and Orla.
Sticky animal rescue
MadeForMums member Abi Walker managed to keep her daughter Maisie entertained with an ‘animal rescue’ activity. All you need are some toy animals, (or cars, or dolls – whatever you have), masking tape, and just stick them to a door or window. Then ask your little one to rescue the toys. Peeling the tape off is great for helping along those fine motor skills and Abi said Maisie enjoyed re-sticking the animals back on the window, and asking her to rescue them for round 2!
Practise scissor skills
Abi has also been helping Maisie practise cutting with scissors, which is a great skill-boosting activity. To do this, you just need some coloured paper or card, some children’s scissors (and a watchful eye while kids are using them) and a pen and some stickers.
Here's how to do it
- Cut the paper into strips
- Draw different dotted lines on each strip
- If you like, decorate with stickers
- Ask your child to cut along the lines or around the stickers
If you’ve been up to any cool crafting at home with your children, do let us know by mailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org – we’d love to see and share your creations.
2. Make a cardboard box maze and ingenious fishing game with YouTubers Maddie & Greg!
There are so many videos for kids on YouTube, it can sometimes be hard to weed out the wheat from the chaff, but Let’s Go Live with Maddie & Greg is brilliant, educational and safe YouTube viewing.
Each day TV presenter and YouTuber Maddie Moate from CBeebies show Maddie’s Do You Know? teams up with BBC science journalist Greg Foot to come up with inspiring ideas to make, play or learn more about.
We loved their show on how to make a cardboard box maze game and an ingenious hook game for older primary school children - that's a bit like the grabber game at the fair!
This week, Maddie and Greg are running Oceans Week, releasing daily videos at 11am, looking at all sorts of marine topics including rockpools, coral reefs and open oceans.
3. Play this free printable toddler Memory Pairs game!
There’s no denying that at the moment, our kids who are stuck at home, are often using screens more than we’d like. This printable Memory game, courtesy of French children’s storytelling tech company Lunii, enables you to simply print off the pictures and start playing the classic Memory Pairs game.
How to play
- Print out the pairs and cut them out
- Lay them out with the picture side visible
- Your child then tries to memorise where there are
- Turn over all the cards
- Take turns to flip over two cards trying to remember where each pair is
- If you find a pair, put them to one side
- See who can find most pairs
Don't miss the downloadable Lunii app too, which features lots of stories for toddlers.
3. Watch rapping teacher MC Grammar teach, erm, grammar!
If you're looking for a way to mix up your homeschooling, check out these live lessons by MC Grammar that teach grammar and punctuation through rapping.
Primary school teacher and educational consultant, MC Grammar, drops a new song video every Tuesday at 10am on his MC Grammar YouTube channel, like this one on antonyms. Then on Thursdays, he'll host a longer lesson going into more detail about the subject.
Aimed at 6 to 11 year olds, each session is tied in to the National Curriculum.
All of the rap lyrics are saved in the description box of the video, making it even easier for kids to sing along to.
We’re putting our hand up right now, and totally admit that we as parents have sometimes struggled to grasp some of our 10-year-old's grammar based homework, but MC Grammar is a totally refreshing, brilliant way of teaching not only our kids, but occasionally us too!
Activities for Day 50
2. Do the Scared Pepper experiment in the fantastic Dyson home science challenge!
If you have a child at home who is into engineering, science or STEM, this free PDF download from the James Dyson Foundation, is truly fantastic, as it is absolutely choc full of 44 brilliant science and engineering challenges, all pretty much using stuff you already have at home.
The challenges and experiments have been compiled by the engineers at Dyson to get your kids brains ticking, and they’re aimed at children aged 7 and up. But with adult supervision, there’s definitely stuff to excite and delight younger kids too - like this...
Scared Pepper experiment
We tried out the Scared Pepper experiment with a 6 and 10 year old. It was not only a mini lesson in the science of water surface tension, but it’s also a great analogy for kids to help explain why washing their hands is so good at killing germs. Tell your kids, the pepper are the germs, and that when we wash our hands with soap, the germs run away!
Here’s what you’ll need:
- A bowl of water
- Black pepper
Here's how to do it:
- Put some black pepper in a bowl of water, and have your child pop their finger in the middle of the bowl - nothing happens!
- Now put some soap on your child's finger, and pop it in the bowl and see what happens!
(You'll see the black pepper disperses, flowing away from your child's soapy finger. The soap lowers the water's surface tension and the water tries to spread out - this means the pepper on the surface is carried to the sides of the bowl.)
There are so many great experiments to choose from, such as:
- making an egg fit into a bottle without breaking it
- creating an underwater volcano
- creating a glitter tornado in a water bottle
- making raisins dance
This is a simply brilliant free resource - download it from the James Dyson Foundation
3. Go bonkers with Raving Kids 30-minute danceathon on Facebook!
If you find your kids are getting antsy come late afternoon, give them a mental mayhem release and let them rave it all out with Raving Kids At Home on Facebook every day at 4pm. Run by Farrah, who is an expert in Bollywood dance and fitness, Raving Kids is a high-energy, utterly bonkers kids rave, alongside her family at home.
This is one of those Facebook lives where you're not quite sure what is going to happen. Farrah is so full of beans, it’s like she's sunk 5 Red Bulls and is pulling her best Ibiza moves, and you can't help but wave your arms, and reminisce about your former clubbing days.
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