With the kids at home and activities limited by social distancing, how can you keep your kids entertained and active at home? It is challenging times and telling young kids they need to stay home and away from their friends is not easy, we are here to help.
Getting outdoors is great for everyone, who doesn’t love to burn off a bit of energy and enjoy the fresh air but what about when we need to avoid parks and playgrounds…Here are some ideas that make use of your backyard and available household objects. Have fun!
Include things that naturally occur in your backyard, i.e. around a tree, under the clothesline, certain pathways, steps, grass to roll on, crawl across, around the house, down the sideway etc. Get the kids involved to make the course, take turns to change the course up. Do the course in a different order, how quickly can you complete the course. Possibilities are endless.
Things you can include in the obstacle course are:
- Hopscotch- all that is needed is chalk and a path, driveway, footpath
- Under and over – obstacles to crawl under and climb/jump over. I.e. make something out of clotheshorses and broomsticks, or other household objects
- Balls or objects to throw into a bucket or through some sort of made up goal
- Zigzag, - any objects can be laid out to make a course to zig-zag through, or move through in other ways - i.e. sideways, on your tummy, on all 4s, backwards. Use any household goods to act as witches hats, i.e. plastic cups, plates, pegs etc.
- Balance – walk along a plank or imaginary line on the ground
- Chairs – to climb under or sit on and climb under, run around etc
- Strength exercise – like pushing a heavy object a certain distance – like a tyre or carrying a bucket with water in it a certain distance(appropriate to age of child)
Have fun and be creative, great for parents to keep active too?
Hide and seek
Hide a certain amount of objects and then set a timer to see how quickly all the listed objects can be found. Can be done repeatedly using different hiding places and having a different person hiding and finding objects.
Balloons are great to play all sorts of games – ie balloon tennis, this is great fun and surprisingly energetic. See how many times you can hit the balloon to each other before it hits the ground.
Try running in a straight line from designated spot to spot whilst keeping the balloon up in the air. Time each other to keep it a bit competitive and fun.
Make up your own bowling kit with bottles that you have in the house (empty) and an appropriate ball.
Bean bag toss
Make beanbags if you have the right materials available, use old socks, balloons, gloves and fill with sand or rice.
- Have an object placed in the backyard and see who can throw their bean bags closest to that object
- Use a bucket or other object like a hoop or marked area – and see how many beanbags you can get into that object. Make more interesting by having an activity that needs to be performed between each toss – i.e. run to a certain point in the garden before you can throw the next beanbag.
- Throw and catch – bean bags are often easier to catch than balls and suitable for young children
Activities depend on how many children participating. Use anything that is of interest to your children could be a collection of balls, small stuffed toys, anything
Have individual stations – place all the objects at one end, set a timer, run up to get one object, bring back to your “nest”, keep going, see who can get the most objects in 2 minutes. Race against your child. Do the relay in reverse, returning all the collected objects to the original spot. This works well if you have children of different ages and abilities as one would have collected more when you did the first race, but have to return more on the second attempt so evens it out.
- Modified games – ie modified soccer, football, basketball, netball. Create your own rules etc.
- Pass and move – pass the ball and move to another spot, creates continue movement and is the basis of most ball games.
- Use pool noodles if available to create goals to kick or throw balls through.
The old favourite can have many twists. Once tagged person required to do a certain activity or movement to be freed!
Tails – use an old scarf, hankies, any type of material. Tuck into the waistband and try to steal other people’s tails whilst not losing yours.
Scavenger hunt –
Find 2 leaves, one flower, 10 blades of grass, 3 weeds, a peg, a pebble etc
Some of these ideas could involve children helping make the equipment, which helps fill more time.
I.e. bowling – kids could paint; decorate bottles to make as the pins.
Beanbags – kids could help make beanbags out of old socks, balloons, rubber gloves, fill with sand or rice.
Get kids to create a hopscotch, does not need to be the traditional format, come up with other patterns.
Collect – interesting things from the garden that maybe used in activities.
These activities are great for increased physical activity, as well as together time to create family bonding.
I hope this gives you some ideas to entertain and keep kids active. If you have more ideas please comment, share, and let us know how the games went?
This article was written by Carol Syer, Dry Programs Coordinator at Active Monash. Click here to see programs and services available for children and teenagers.