16 online ideas to keep kids busy
Kids got cabin fever already? We've rounded up some of the best digital classes, from drawing, cooking to yoga, to keep 'em busy.
You don’t need me to tell you that we are in unprecedented times. School closures are going to mean having the kids around for the foreseeable – so whether you’re going full-on homeschooling timetable, are looking for something to keep them occupied (probably while you work) or somewhere in between, here are a few interactive online things we’ve seen that might help.
Got any more suggestions? Leave them in the comments!
Rob Biddulph is the bestselling and multi-award-winning author/illustrator and also the official World Book Day Illustrator for 2019 and 2020.
Every Tuesday and Thursday he is uploading new draw-along videos where everyone (adults included if you’ve time) can learn to draw some of the characters from his books. So far we’ve drawn a dino & a sausage dog and even my three-year-old has enjoyed it.
Steve Harpster has been a professional illustrator and author for over twenty years & has been teaching kids to draw using his online videos. He’s now uploading free drawing videos every day onto his Facebook page.
Creative writing with Sarah Webb
Irish children’s author Sarah Webb is proving the pen is mightier than coronavirus with her daily Creative Bursts series, posted in collaboration with the Museum of Literature Ireland. The series includes writing prompts for budding authors aged 9+, as well as some slightly more complex prompts for those aged 11 and over included in the free downloadable PDFs. Plus, all you’ll need is a pen and paper – easy as pie.
We all need to keep moving and everyone’s fave curly-haired Body Coach has announced that he’ll be live-streaming 30-min P.E. classes every weekday morning at 9am sharp from 23 March. We’ll be tuning in for, errr, “educational purposes”. If you want something sooner, check out his back catalogue of kid-friendly work-outs.
Yoga, mindfulness and relaxation designed especially for kids aged 3+, used in schools and homes all over the world.
Lots of authors are reading their books and recording them for the kids to listen to – we’ve picked a couple out but there are tons more. Let us know what else we should include and we’ll add to the list.
If you’ve pre-school or reception children Oliver Jeffers will need no introduction – he wrote much-loved family favourites like Lost & Found.
Every weekday at 6pm UK time he is reading one of his books, and talking about some of the things that went into making it (recordings available on his website shortly after). As he says, we are all at home, but none of us are alone. Let’s be bored together.
Astronauts on the International Space Station have recorded themselves reading a variety of different kinds of children’s books – and as this was a pre-coronavirus project, there’s quite the back catalogue to choose from.
Online bake-along with Three Bears Cookery Club
One side effect of kids being at home all day is that they. are. always. hungry. Luckily, these clever classes from Derbyshire-based Three Bears Cookery Club aim to keep little ones entertained and take care of the constant snack conundrum. From Mon 26 Mar, the team will be running live classes two to three times a week over Zoom to help teach junior bakers handy kitchen skills – and you may get a tasty treat out of the bargain, too. Sign up for their mailing list for more info.
History / culture
Visit museums and exhibitions that you might never have been able to in real-life using Google Art & Culture – you could probably look at this all day every day and not even have scratched the surface. There are museums (such as the National History Museum in London) from all over the world, art (where you can zoom in) and famous landmarks and buildings.
BBC Bitesize have loads of resources, including French, Spanish, German, Italian and even Mandarin, all aimed at KS2.
Coding with CodeCamp
Here’s a sneaky trick – instead of worrying about the kids spending their days playing video games, have them build their own instead! To give you a helping hand, the tech whizzes at CodeCamp have made their subscriptions free, which means you can get pre-made lessons plans delivered straight to your inbox. Your littlies will be creating games they can download to their phones before you know it.
Child more a fan of a desk-based activity? Try:
- Twinkl (used by school teachers all over the UK), access by school year and topic
- Mathletics, accessed by school year
- Colouring in on pretty much any topic you can think of!
Mum and Daughter team Deborah and Heather are otherwise known to their Instagram audiences as @bowelbabe and @bowelgran (posting about living with stage-4 bowel cancer). Before the diagnosis, Deborah was a deputy headteacher and Heather taught preschoolers and babies gymnastics and movement development for over 30 years. Between them, they are sharing resources, fun ideas and challenges using the online school they’ve set up.