31 March 2020

Ideas for Fun at Home *lockdown edition*

Hello from the depths of coronavirus lockdown, here in Auckland New Zealand!
I've been thinking of all of you with younger kids and heaving a bit of a sigh of relief that my kids are all so independant, screen-savvy and self-sufficient these days, which is allowing me to keep working my two jobs from home - mostly without too much interruption.

My lot are all giants now, aged 17, 15 and 11. See that little one in the photo above? Same height as me.
They are so far happily connecting with their friends online via PS4 live gaming and HouseParty snapchatting, but eventually they must get bored of that, right?
And there's only so many walks with the dog we they can take...

To help provide some ideas of stuff to do for fun while on Lockdown I've dug into the archives and rounded up some of my old "at home" holiday fun ideas. After all it is officially school hols here in NZ at the moment, and there's really nowhere else to be but home on Lockdown...

I have always been a big believer that there's lots of fun to be had at home...

go on a photo scavenger hunt

Do your kids need fresh air but they're getting bored just walking round and round the block looking for teddy bears in windows? Try a photo scavenger hunt. All you need are a few photo-taking gadgets (a.k.a. phones, ipads) and a simple list.

Offer prizes for the best photo in each category, then go on a walk around the neighbourhood to see what you can find. You can adapt this idea to the ages of your kids - even tweens and teens might give this a go, and probably produce some pretty cool snaps...

Indoor Forts for rainy day fun
Younger Years - TV watching from a fort on a rainy day

camp inside on a rainy day

When the kids were younger they loved nothing better than to "camp" inside on a rainy day, watching movies and playing board games. It's pretty simple and fun to put up a dome tent in your lounge or make a fort out of chairs and blankets, then deck it out with pillows and rugs and play board games or card games like Last Card or Go Fish, which are good for almost any age.

You can also spread out a rug in front of the tent and have an indoor picnic lunch by the fire/heat pump.

Backyard camping

camp out in your backyard (if you have one)

If you're lucky enough to still have a kiwi backyard, make the most of the fine autumn weather and do some backyard camping. Our own backyard can be a fine destination when a tent is involved. It's an adventure right at home, and there's nothing in the Lockdown rules to prevent it.
We've done this a number of times and it was always great fun...

Lazy family brunch with toaster waffles

have a lazy pajama day with family brunch

Next time there's a rainy day, declare a Pajama Day and stay in your PJ's all day. Toast frozen waffles or make pancakes for a relaxed family brunch. (You can make pancakes from scratch or use the easy shake-em-up bottled kind - next time you do that supermarket trek pick up a bottle, and some dairy whip).

If the kids are old enough, they can do the work of frying the pancakes, setting the table a bit fancy, and putting out the toppings. After enjoying brunch together, slob out and have a cosy Movie Marathon while the rain falls down and the wind howls.

Family movie marathon sleepover
family movie marathon sleepover back in 2012

have a movie marathon family sleepover

You can't beat a movie marathon sleepover – drag mattresses into the lounge, string up some Christmas lights and settle in to watch movies back-to-back. Check out my movie reviews page for kids and family movie recommendations.

Honestly, I reckon it's the dragging of mum's mattress onto the lounge room floor that really demonstrates our commitment and makes it a big deal. I did this once to celebrate my birthday and it was pretty magic I tell you.
HINT: If you don't have Disney Plus yet, I highly recommend it for during the lockdown; there's a HUGE range of family movies and shows, including the latest Marvel collection and the old time classics. ($9.99/month with the first week free). #NotSponsored

Young Moviemakers
Young movie makers with clumsy old fashioned handi-cam, These days a phone is all you need...

make a movie or a music video

Getting the kids to come up with their own movie or make a music video lip-syncing to a favourite song will keep them occupied for a while.

Use a phone or ipad to film the masterpiece. Back in the day, Miss Fab and her pals made a couple of DIY epics on her camera without any assistance. If you have an ipad, the kids can use iMovie to edit their epic. If inspiration is lacking get them to do a version of a classic tale like Red Riding Hood or Goldilocks and the Three Bears.

Our favourite theme dinner ever - backyard cookout
our best theme dinner/cookout ever

have a theme dinner (or two)

Raid the cupboards and find stuff to have a dinner party on a Theme. Our favourites have included an Indian Party and a Spanish Party; a Fancy Dinner Middle Eastern, or Chinese ones. You can spend the day planning, raiding the cupboards for inspiration, decorating, researching ideas on the internet and getting things ready.

If you want to plan ahead, next time you're at the supermarket pick up a couple of bottles of .99c fizzy drink. Then add theming for a dinner with my free soda bottle printables on a heap of themes...

My star wars free printable soda bottle labels

Movie theme dinners are great fun where you can eat themed food and then watch the movie e.g. Star WarsToy Story (Pizza Planet), Jungle Book, Lion King... the sky's the limit, really.

Here's a list of our Theme Dinners For inspiration:
(I'm just now thinking how cool it would be to dress up 1980's style and watch a Back to the Future Marathon, while drinking Pepsi and eating microwave pizza...)

Cook sausages for your dinner in a pan over the fire

have a cookout with campfire games

We call these "fire nights" and they are our fave. We light a fire in our brazier (or our old tin bucket before that) and cook sausages in a pan over the fire. Then we toast marshmallows and play campfire games. Sometimes, we've themed it like our Cowboy cookout, but most often we just play circles and triangles / Truth or Dare.

throw a party for no reason

You don't need a reason to throw a party - any day we are alive and healthy is a good reason. So we are stuck in our bubble with the same people day after day - all the more reason to throw a party for no reason to liven things up.

Raid the cupboards and find or make food to hold an impromptu party, scones with jam and cream, muffins, plain bikkies with colourful icing, popcorn, cut-up fruit, icecream sodas... whatever you can find. Decorate with Christmas decorations, or spread a tablecloth on a box under a tree (I still keep a box of bunting handy just in case).

You can paint each other's faces or do "makeovers"dress up silly or on a theme; put on YouTube and have lip sync battles; find a good beat on Spotify and have a rap-battle... any excuse for a good laugh and some silly dancing.


So there's a few ideas to help you survive the rest of the school holidays in lockdown without going too stir crazy.

Stay Safe out there, people!

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