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 39
1. Arty ideas to say thank you to key workers from 5 Minute Fun!
We’re all hugely grateful to all key workers out there, and if your children are feeling the love for them too, here are some easy ways to show their thanks.
Courtesy of our sister title, kids' activities site 5 Minute Fun, there are 5 simple craft ideas and a printable card, including this really simple rainbow handprint.
Make a keyworker card
Alternatively, for schoolchildren, here’s a lovely printable illustration that you can stick on to thick paper and make into a colourful thank you card.
You can find 3 more fantastic Thank you ideas on 5 Minute Fun.
2. Create a melted crayons picture with a hairdryer!
If you, like us, have a tin of crayons lurking in a drawer at home - some with their wrappers on, some short, sad stubby ones, some broken - then dig that box out, and get ready to make some beautiful art. Safety warning - the melting part must only be done by an adult with children watching from a safe, controlled distance.
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We spotted Ally Richmond’s beautiful piece of crayon art on Family Lockdown & Tips Facebook group. Ally told us that her 3-year-old son wanted to help make something lovely to put on their wall to remember how much fun they’re having in lockdown. They had a canvas going spare and decided to try crayon melting. Thank you for sharing Ally!
Here’s what you’ll need:
- Some crayons
- Black marker
- 2 pieces of cardboard
- Canvas or sheet of stiff card
- Black paper
- Sticky tape
- Glue stick
- Something to cover the floor
Here’s how to do it:
- Get your child to stick all your old crayons onto a piece of cardboard - they should stick with glue or attach the ends with some tape. The tips of the ends of the crayons should hang over one edge of the cardboard, so when you heat them, they can drip easily.
- Tape the crayon cardboard onto the top of your canvas with the ends of the crayons hanging over the canvas edge.
- If you want to add an image underneath the melted crayons, copy or draw an image onto black paper (or print out a silhouette). Images with umbrellas work really well.
- Trace the shape of the silhouette on to the cardboard, cut out and temporarily stick on to the bottom of the canvas/card where you want the proper silhouette positioned. This will stop the melted crayons running on to this area. You can stick with tape on either side so it's easy to remove later.
- At this point, move children to a safe distance and well out of reach of the canvas and crayons. Now comes the magic bit - it's an incredible sight as the crayons start to melt. "My toddler stayed well back and just went 'Oooooh!'," Ally tells us.
- Stand your canvas or card upright - Ally stood hers on a plastic kid's chair. Turn your hairdryer on a slow but hot setting, and start heating the crayons, letting them drip and flow down. "Once they start melting, they melt very fast and start running," says Ally, "so point the hairdryer towards the crayons and hope for the best!"
- Once melted, if you're feeling really creative, use a fine tip (end of a pencil, cocktail stick) to brush through the bottom of the melted crayon mix to make it look like rain bounding off the umbrellas.
- Let the melted crayons set and remove the top and bottom pieces of cardboard.
- Stick on the silhouette image in the white area where the bottom cardboard was.
Ally's top tip: "I would advise covering anything relatively nearby when you do the melting. I assumed a big plastic sheet for the floor would be enough. Fool! The children's chair we used to prop up the canvas and even the washing machine are now a delightful wax splatter artpiece too."
3. Join a live interactive 'adventure-reading' of Julia Donaldson's Zog with roars and virtual fire-breathing!
Fancy story-telling with a difference? Join Vickie from Party Bugs in a Facebook Live, as she takes your toddler on an imaginative 'adventure reading' of Julia Donaldson’s wonderful story about a dragon called Zog.
With a pre-prepared collection of printables to spread out before the story starts, this helps your child interact as the story goes along, with Vickie asking your toddlers to go and find the pictures.
Don’t worry if you can’t access the printables though, as Vickie is super entertaining and makes this a really lively storytelling experience. Expect lots of roars and fire breathing!
Colour in Zog!
There's a wonderful free colouring sheet featuring Zog and his friends on the official Gruffalo website.
Activities for Day 38
1. Get REALLY silly with a live Facebook clown-around
Goofy grins at the ready: there's a professional live Clown Camp on Facebook today at 3pm! No props required but why not pop a dab of red (face paint or make-up) on your child's nose to go full clown.
The 30-minute camp, presented by professional clowns from Clowns Without Borders, includes funny warm-ups, join-in games, clowning tips and tricks – and enough general silliness all round to help your preschooler create their own clown show at home. You can also sign up to receive activity packs to help your child find their 'inner clown'.
Clowns Without Borders is a charity that, for the past 6 years, has been sending clowns around the world to bring a little laughter into the lives of refugee children who've been caught up in war, conflict or natural disasters.
- Find out more about Clown With Borders and how you can donate to their work
Clown around some more...
- Make your own red nose. Find an old egg box. Cut off an egg 'cup'. Paint it red. Make a small hole in each side and thread through elastic or string or a shoelace, so your child can put it on their face.
- Play 'Fill the clown trousers'. Tear up some newspaper and scrunch it into lots of small balls. Find some sweatpants with a very stretchy elastic waist – or borrow some from a wider-waisted member of your household. Put them on and use your hands to pull out the waistband so there's a big gap between the sweatpants and your body. Get your child to throw the newspaper balls and see if they can get them to land down your trousers!
- Walk a circus clown's tightrope. Using a line of masking tape, mark out a 'tightrope' on your floor. Get your child to walk along it, without stepping outside the line. Extra points for silly, theatrical wobbles!
Design your own football kit
Why not design your own football kit with this free downloadable from Twinkl?
Or play Poppy Cat finger football, using a scrunched-up paper ball and the clever free printable colour-in template we spotted on RedTedArt?
Activities for Day 37
1. A balloon, 2 pins and a 2p coin - join a live and crazy Theatre of Science about the Solar System
Crazy and hilarious, Theatre of Science is one of the most popular science sessions we've seen. "My boys love your lessons and have refused to do any others that I come across," comments one mum on Facebook. "We learned so much and you are very informative as well as extremely funny!" enthuses another.
Tune in today at 1.30pm for some real theatre and a free interactive lesson taught by a qualified science teacher.
The lessons go through simple experiments, story times, interactive games focusing on a different topic every Tuesday. So far we've learnt about rainbows, air, animals and the eye - you can catch all of these lessons on the Theatre of Science YouTube channel.
And today is all about planets - thanks to popular demand. If you're joining you may need a few items to follow along:
- Black pepper
- Bowl of water
- Washing up liquid
- Glass bottle
- Just-boiled kettle
- 2 pins
- 2p coin
- Felt-tip pen
Make a solar system book to learn the planets
This lovely craft project by Paper Magic is a great way to teach little ones the different planets and their order in the solar system.
Print out this free playdough counting activity
3. Free coding classes! Make your own computer game with live workshops from the National Videogame Museum
Get code creative with the National Videogame Museum (NVM) by joining its exciting livestream every Tuesday and Friday at 11am.
The live workshops are hosted on its YouTube channel with different lessons focusing on activities such as coding games, drawing pixel art characters or playing educational games.
You can catch up with all the previous lessons as well as taking a look at the free PDF based activities on the NVM website, if you'd prefer to get your kids away from a screen.
Make your own video game using Scratch
One of our favourite activities by the NVM is how to make your own video game using Scratch. It's a great activity to teach kids about coding in a hands-on way, using the free programming tool Scratch.
There's also a handy PDF you can print out for step-by-step instructions to refer to.
Activities for Day 35
1. Join a superhero live for storytime today - with the chance to get a hero shout out!
Little superhero fans can join some of their favourite characters for a livestream Facebook event incorporating stories, quizzes, Q&As and even the chance to get a personal shout out.
Children's entertainment company, Superhero Patrol, hosts the livestreams every evening at 6pm on its Facebook page. And so far we've seen appearances from superhero favourites including Spiderman, Batman, Captain Americaand Iron Man .
Head over to the Superhero Patrol page today to see which superhero will be making a special appearance this evening...
Make a superhero mask
No superhero costume is complete without a mask and this free YouTube tutorial from Little Crafties shows a super simple way to make one.
Follow along to learn how to make a Batman, Spiderman or Hulk mask.
- Coloured foam sheets or coloured card
- Marker pen
- Hole punch
2. Make your own fingerprint animal pairs game
This is a brilliant way to combine two fun activities - first some lovely finger painting followed by an Animal Pairs Memory game.
It's brought to you by craft company Hobbycraft which is providing simple step-by-step instructions.
You'll need a few basic colours of paints, then get your pre-schooler to dip their finger into the following:
- White paint - sheep
- Yellow - duck and fish
- Pink - pig and butterfly
- Green - caterpillar and frog
- Brown - hedgehog
Pop their fingerprints onto folded card and use felt tip pens to add in details like the faces and legs for each animal. You'll need two of each animal. Then cut out your cards and lay them face down on a table. Take it in turns to turn over 2 cards each to see if you can remember where each animal is, and find a matching pair. Whoever finds the most matching pairs is the winner.
Create a wonderful fingerprint painting!
We spotted this amazing painting on the Family Lockdown & Tips Facebook group shared by mum, Victoria, that's mostly made from fingerprints!
Victoria and her 4-year-old daughter used a canvas to create the painting but you could also use paper. They also use watered down acrylic paints but you could use whichever paints you have handy. This is how they did it...
- Use kitchen roll to stipple on the blue sky and green grass
- Once that has dried, use thumbprints to make the flowers
- With smaller fingertips add in the centre of the flowers
- Paint on the sun and vertical grass stems
- Finish by splattering different coloured paints across the picture for a colourful finishing touch
5 ways to play with the Surge Blaster by Gelblaster
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