Ideas to keep the kids active at home!

We are all facing prolonged periods of time at home with kids, and the sound of The Wiggles and Peppa Pig isn't everyone's favourite harmony in the home.

Its recommended kids have 60 mins or more physical activity and plenty of mental stimulus every day to keep them happy. We've put together some top tips to help challenge and invigorate you and your kids during these challenging times.

Obstacle Course - Who'll be the Fastest?!

Outdoors lends itself better to this activity but indoors can be just as fun with some creativity using cushions, blankets, chairs and cardboard boxes. Outside you can use natural features of the garden, trees, the house, and whatever else you find about the place.

Make it as long or as short as you like, time it for more fun. Half the activity is the set-up together, this encourages your kids to think outside the box and be creative. Another way to liven up the course is to integrate your kids favourite sport into the course or add a points system for special obstacles. Try keeping the course up for a few days and adding to it as you get better, see who will be fastest around the course and the overall Obstacle Course Champion!

Photo credit: Outdoor furniture design and ideas

An obstacle course can be as simple as this one. Remember, the ground is lava!

Pokemon Yoga - Namaste!

Pokemon Yoga is a fun and interactive way to keep the kid's bodies moving whilst teaching them a new skill. The Cosmic Kids platform promises to teach kids self-regulation, focus and empathy. Get moving together at home and stay nimble, Namaste!

Credit: Cosmic Kids

Fluffy Chalk - It's Street Art

We are loving all the teddy bears around our neighbourhoods, it's a nice way to connect with the community when we are not allowed to do so physically. Contribute to the community vibe even more by taking your artistic skills to the sidewalk.

You may have some chalk lying around the home that you can use to write a story or draw a comic based around your Teddy or whatever you could imagine! Leave some fun quotes or riddles for your neighbourhood to ponder.

If you don't have any chalk at home - this "Puffy Chalk" is easy to make and requires only a few basic household items - flour, water, dish soap and colouring (we figure you could get creative with the colouring - turmeric or other organic items could suffice, - happy experimenting! This article has some good tips on prep and clean up too.

If going outside isn't something that is safe for your family to do, this shadow drawing technique is super fun and easy to set up. You could even put some of your masterpieces in the window for others to enjoy!

NB: We encourage everyone to act responsibly and exercise caution in public spaces.

Photo credit: Simplemost

Shadow drawing is fun and easy.

DIY Jobs and Chores - Make it their business!

With everyone being around the house more, it's a perfect time to knock off some big jobs that have needed doing for a while. Instead of tackling these on your own, enlist the kids and give them different roles in the project. Who'll be the foreman for the day, who'll be the boss, more importantly, who'll be making the morning tea?

Change the roles around each day and have a staff meeting each morning, you can pay them virtually or gain privileges for work done on the project. These activities teach kids some basics of business, responsibilities and different job roles, most of all you'll get your jobs around the house done faster and it will keep your kids active for hours.

Photo credit: Utility wallet

Your garage could look like this when the kids are done!

Backyard Sports - It's Championship time!

Time to turn the backyard into a championship arena where legends are made. Your job is to hype the players and help set the games. It just takes imagination, and a little extra effort on your part to make it fun for the kids.

Backyard games to try:

  • Cricket - can be a tennis ball and a piece of wood for a bat
  • Soccer - use any ball, be the goalie with only one hand for variation
  • Rugby - passing drill skills, touch, or play on your knees in small spaces
  • Netball - use buckets for hoops at each end of the garden
  • Mini-putt Golf - set up a course around the garden, keep scores, make it tricky
  • Tag - it's simple but you'll all be running about in no time
  • Hide and go seek - another old favourite
  • Foursquare - small area marked into a 4 grid, any ball will do, work to be king
  • Family bike ride - try new routes and distances around your neighbourhood each day, take turns at leading
  • Spotlight - when dusk falls get out the torch and find the kids!

You can turn a game into part of a longer championship tournament, keep scores and even record player stats, this could be goals scored, metres travelled, tackles made, passes completed etc. You can run over the stats and championship points later, then formulate a target for the next day. Keeping score or timing activities can add some competition and fun to the activity and help kids improve their skills, most of all it keeps them engaged longer.

Photo credit: NewsMail

Backyard cricket is an easy one to play.

Bucket List Jar - Piggybank those plans

While we are currently limited, every time we wish we could do something, go somewhere, treat ourselves, see someone we love, visit a new place, invite people to visit us, we write it down on a post it note and put it in a big jar. When all this is over this will be our bucket list and we'll work our way through the jar and be more grateful than ever for the little, usually commonplace, and often underrated moments in our lives. Until then we'll enjoy watching the jar fill up with social connections and fun things to look forward to.

Virtual Travel - Meet a Life-Sized Tiger Up Close!

You don't have to be an expert in Geography or Biology to teach the kids about our world. Travel "domestically" and explore your backyard, identify and name the plants in your backyard, spot the native trees and birds on your neighbourhood walk. Learn a language, the Kupu app enables you to take a photo and upload it to see the Maori translation, a great aid for deepening your understanding of Te Reo. Duo lingo is another free language-learning website and mobile app with an abundance of international dialects on offer.

Presumably international travel will be a little tricky for some time, but we can still go further afield. Pick a country or place you may have been curious about, use a globe or a world map to locate a place to "visit". Get together and explore various facts, history, language, population, places of interest and draw the country's flag.

Egypt and Africa certainly provide a wealth of fascinating animals and amazing facts, research dinosaurs, pyramids and learn some basic words. With a little imagination you could even stay in one of these countries when you go camping outside (camping - pitch it in the yard!). Imagine you're on an African savannah and listen out for Lions and elephants. Google has launched an augmented 3D reality tool that allows you to see in accurate scale what a Lion would look like on your couch or in the backyard.

If you just want to sit on the couch and be transported somewhere else - this website has a host of live cameras, you can watch the Northern Lights or Gorillas in Condor, real-time.

Photo credit: Google

Tiger on my bed!

Dancing - Cut Some Shapes

Dancing is a great way to be active and it can help your kids express themselves. Set up a dance off, each pick a song and then get busy on the floor, you can judge each other, but be nice! Talk about style and best moves. Pick out different genres of music, challenge them to dance to music from different cultures around the world, you'll be laughing on the floor before you know it. Or, have your kids pick their favourite song and then work out a dance routine to it, this can really soak up the hours.

Have you joined TikTok yet? Now's the time to try! Failing that, just get the UE Boom blaring and shake it all out!

Trampoline Fitness

If you're lucky enough to already have a trampoline in your backyard, no doubt you are making the most of it already. If not, it's definitely one to think about when you can get one delivered.

Zip em in there or get your fitness on too!

Drawing - #shredtillbed

Every day during April 2020, our mate from Shotgun are releasing a rad new MTB illustration for your kids to print-out and colour at home.

There are 30 'Shred Til Bed' MTB animals for kids to collect and colour. All illustrations are drawn by the super talented Mike Hearsey from @snide.art, who is certainly worth a follow on the gram if you like bike art.

To get your first piece of MTB artwork now (and then one each day to your inbox during April), head over to the shotgun website.

Photo credit: Shotgun Kids x2

Books - That They Don't Even Have to Read

Needing some reprieve from hands on / noise inducing activities? Audible has made kids' books free on the site. "Whilst schools are closed, we are open," they said. Set the kids up in a comfortable spot and let them immerse themselves in a good old fashioned story, our phone, tablet or laptop can read to them while you pour yourself a nice big glass of water, remember to always hydrate!

Camping - Pitch it in the yard!

Go for a camping holiday, in your back yard. Kids love camping, it takes time and some preparation to set up a good camp - a perfect time killer and you can stocktake your gear for your next trip. Start with a camping checklist of all the things you'll need to take.

Every good camp site has a great cooking set-up. This is a great chance to prepare then eat some meals outside as a family. Get stuck into some classics like pikelets or pancakes, hotdogs or bacon and beans, easy fun dishes that the kids can prepare is best. Here's 25 camping recipes using 5 ingredients or less. If the weather is an issue, just do some day camping and have kids come indoors to sleep. If you're short of a yard, set up an indoor camp zone with blankets, sheets, couches and tables, just as fun for the kids and it breaks their routine up a bit.

Few tips for the trip:

  • Create a checklist of things you'll need the day before
  • Have the kids pack their own bags for the expedition
  • Let the kids choose the tent spots, ask them why they chose that spot
  • Let the kids get the tents up and do the work, it will be handy skills on the next real trip
  • Eat outside and let the kids help or prepare the meals
  • Sleep in the tent with the kids for fun
  • Eliminate or reduce screen time while camping
  • Do some star gazing after dusk
  • Game of spotlight before bed ensures a good sleep for all
Photo credit: The Dyrt
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