These past few weeks have been a roller-coaster of emotions and a never-ending stream of news headlines, to say the least! Amidst the mad scrambles for hand sanitiser and disinfecting supplies, and (for those who work) getting into the swing of our respective companies’ Business Continuity Plans, many of us parents are also scratching our heads on how to meaningfully engage the kids.

The usual solutions, like indoor playgrounds, the pool or the shopping mall, now spark more fear than joy in our hearts, as we worry about our children easily picking up germs in such public spaces.

We try to stay home more, but the inevitable “Mummy/Daddy, I’m bored…” is bound to reverberate within those four walls at some point or other.

Activities to do at home with kids

Fret not, dear parents. Here are six fun and fairly inexpensive ways to keep your young ones meaningfully occupied at home during this period – aside from homework, tuition and the like of course! Who said staying home has to be “boring”?

#1 Sensory Play

To us adults, sensory play kind of activities can sometimes seem purposeless or just a big mess, but our children often see it quite differently.

Indoor activities for toddlersPhoto credit: Busy Toddler

Toddlers and preschoolers love to be engaged with all their senses and there are many doable sensory play ideas you can try with items around the house, such as uncooked rice, pasta and oats.

Related Read: DIY: How To Make Sensory Bins For Toddlers

Meanwhile, homemade play dough, slime or kinetic sand are great for the older kids.

Indoor activities for kids sensory play

Sensory play bins can be used to reinforce learning or simply as an avenue for free play. You can have individual portions for each child, or encourage them to play together and take turns.

Check out the links above for some groovy ideas to get you started.

#2 Water Play

No more trips to the water park or the swimming pool? That’s ok – water play can be done at home too! With our hot and humid weather, having some splashy fun is definitely a great way to cool down.

Water Play at Home

Besides playing in the toilet, which was going to get wet sooner or later anyway, you can explore water play on the balcony, if you have one of those homes which allow for easy drainage. You can also take your water play outside just along the corridor if your neighbours don’t mind you getting the floor a little bit wet.

Make homemade water bombs to aim at a target and chalk up points for the number of bullseye hits – water guns (Check out this water gun at Lazada) and a bucket of water will do the trick too.

Fill a bucket or bathtub with water and drop various items in it to be fished out with a hook or net. “Draw” with water on the concrete floor of your HDB corridor and watch your drawings vanish into thin air!

Related Read: 5 Fun Water Play Activities You Can Do At Home

#3 Board Games

You might associate board games as an activity for older kids and teens, but did you know that there are many suitable board games for very young children as well? Blokus, Uno, Jenga, Twister and Katamino are great for children even before they can read, and are great to promote family bonding!

Stay home activities and games for kids

If your child can read and count, then any of the usual suspects will work for you, such as Monopoly, Scrabble, Pictionary and Taboo. For those who love a good strategy, try Settlers or Cranium.

#4 Create Art

Now we’ve certainly got nothing against the many excellent art studios out there but there is really no need to have a structured “class” for your little ones to enjoy some art-making at home.

Take the opportunity to introduce them to something new, and don’t worry about creating that perfect piece of instagrammable art. Instead, allow them to explore the new medium for themselves and see what they come up with!

Colour pencils, watercolour paint and crayons are probably nothing very new to your kids. So how about giving them new ways to use these mediums? For example, try some of these colour pencil craft ideas, introduce them to blow-painting using straws, or create some scratch art with oil pastels or crayons.

scratch art for kids
Photo credit: Artful Parent

Some other fun ideas include vegetable printing, making natural dyes for cloths, finger painting on the toilet walls and working with modelling clay.

#5 Workout Videos

Get fit as a family from the comfort of home with a vast menu of home workout videos to choose from! Choose from pilates, yoga, aerobics, Zumba, hip hop or K-pop, just to name a few. Besides burning calories and working up a good sweat, exercising together is definitely way more fun than working out on your own, and is a good way to role-model a healthy lifestyle to your children.

Here are some fun videos to get you started! You can also search for more ideas on YouTube or Netflix.

Yoga for kids: Cosmic Kids
K-Pop: KpopX Fitness Official
Zumba: GoNoodle




#6 Reuse & Recycle

With all the home deliveries that many of us are turning to during this season, your collection of cardboard cartons and boxes, milk bottles and egg trays, are probably going to go up!

Instead of throwing them out as trash or bringing them straight to the neighbourhood recycling bin (which, if you do, good on ya!), why not take on the challenge of crafting something extravagant and out of the norm for your family?

DIY Cardboard Recyling

The reason why we suggest working on something that’s more challenging for a change is that this means that the project would require all hands on deck, so it’s a good opportunity for parents and children to learn to work together. The more the merrier, right?

Check out these inspiring ideas to get your creative juices flowing!
Cardboard kitchen
Cardboard aeroplane
Plastic bottle crafts
Egg carton crafts

Or get heaps of ideas for simpler upcycled projects here.

By Dorothea Chow.

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