If you're pinged by track and trace and stuck at home with the kids, here's your guide on how to stay busy

THE thing you have dreaded has happened. The school holidays have started – and your family have been pinged by Track and Trace.

But isolation doesn’t have to mean boredom. Here is our guide on how to keep the kids entertained without leaving your home.

SNEAKILY EDUCATIONAL

Read-at-home bingo: Make a traditional bingo board of five squares by five squares. In each, write a different, age-appropriate reading challenge for your child to complete and cross off, eg, “I read to a sibling”. Award a prize for a complete bingo card.

Volcanic eruption: In an empty fizzy drink bottle, mix 10ml washing-up liquid, 100ml warm water, 400ml white vinegar and two drops red food colour.
In a bowl, dissolve half a cup of baking soda in half a cup of water. Pour quickly into bottle and watch the “volcano” erupt.

Teach kids a fun family game: Board games like chess and draughts have simple rules you can find online. You could even create a family tournament.

Explore the world from your lounge: Access worldwide cameras online to learn about geography and wildlife, such as on explore.org, or famous attractions. Then help your kids create a fact scrapbook on them.

Scavenger hunt: Draw up a list of clues. For little ones it could be a rainbow hunt, for example, find something green.
Older kids will enjoy tougher questions like: Find a book that features a female heroine.
Set the timer on your mobile so your child can play again to beat their record.

ACTIVE AMUSEMENTS

Film TikToks: Creating and sharing 15-second videos is great for all ages, as long as kids use a parent’s account so you are in control.
Little ones could make a dance routine for their favourite Disney movie, bigger kids could do so for their favourite tune.

Indoor hopscotch: This builds body strength, balance and hand-eye coordination. Use painter’s tape to mark out the numbered boxes.

Put on a show: This will exercise your child’s imagination, build confidence and improve communication.
If you make the props and costumes, you have filled up a few hours with arts and craft too.
Use a well-known picture book as your story, or the plot of a favourite film for older kids.

Obstacle course: Use objects from around your home to create this. Little ones can crawl over a row of chairs or beneath string stretched between two chair legs.
Use books to mark out a path that kids can run through holding a ball between their knees. Kids will love racing against the clock.

House volleyball: Tie string between two chairs to create a volleyball net and use a balloon as a ball to avoid breakages. Start a family tournament.

HAVING a routine in place for the days you are isolating will create calm. Get up and dressed at your usual time, as this will bring about a feeling of normality. Involve children in making a timetable so you can see at a glance how your week will pan out – the more colourful and fun the better.

  • 8am: Breakfast
  • 8.30am – 10am: Something active or garden fun
  • 10am – Noon: Something sneakily educational
  • Noon – 1pm: Lunch
  • 1pm – 2pm: Quiet activities such as puzzles, reading or screen time
  • 2pm – 2.30pm: Snack time
  • 2.30pm – 4pm: Artistic activities
  • 4pm – 5pm: Something active or garden fun
  • 5pm – 6pm: Dinner
  • From 6pm: Bath time, reading or screen time for older kids.

GARDEN GAMES & ACTIVITIES

Have a posh picnic: Get the kids to design invitations for each isolating family member, make everyone wear their fanciest duds and get baking.
Simple foods like cornflake cakes will be easy to knock up from your store cupboard – throw in some party games and you’ll forget you’re locked in.

Bird watching: Dig out your binoculars, grab a book on birds or get online and ask kids to identify five breeds in your garden then research them.
Next ask them to do the same with insects.

Make a loo roll bird feeder: Spread peanut butter (no added salt or sugar), or vegetable suet, on a clean loo roll, then roll it on a plate of birdseed. String a loop of wool or cotton through the loo roll and hang it from a branch.

Become a nature pirate: Search for tiny natural items in your garden and see who can fit the most inside a matchbox. Look out for teeny sticks, little stones, discarded snail shells, small petals and leaves. Set a time limit and see who wins.

Train the family dog: There are plenty of YouTube videos on how to train your pet.
Kids can start with the basics of sit and stay and perhaps move on to roll over. They will be beaming with pride.

ARTISTIC ENTERTAINMENT

Make a cardboard fort: Chances are you’ve had a few online deliveries so open out the boxes and use to build a den.
Let older kids go crazy with scissors, glue and paint and give them a theme like rocket ship.

Make pizza: Sort dinner while keeping the kids amused.
Put pre-bought pizza bases out and let kids slather on tomato puree then go wild with toppings such as sweetcorn, ham and grated Cheddar.

Revamp their bedrooms: You and your youngsters can get inspiration from sites such as Pinterest. Shop online for materials and show them the basics of painting their room.

Make a memory book: Get them a scrapbook they can fill with pictures, thoughts, memories, plus any items they want to cherish, such as letters.
Younger children can simply fill with drawings and photos.

Make play dough: Great for preschoolers, while older kids can use it to join together toothpicks to create structures.
Put two cups of plain flour, 2tsp cream of tartar, one cup salt ⅛ cup vegetable oil, two cups boiling water and a few drops of food colouring in a pan. Heat slowly, stirring, until mix thickens. Once cooled, knead until even colour.

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