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An image of a young girl drawing with chalk on concrete

School holidays seem to come around all too quickly and children across the country have spent time in isolation, for all the parents who are searching for ideas on how to cope, we are here to help. Read on for plenty of activities to keep boredom away from toddlers to teens.

How often have you said you "haven’t got time” to do (something)… And if you now find you have time on your hands, you could be feeling overwhelmed and lost. Now is a great time to invest quality time.

Obviously, some of these suggestions are not practical if you are isolating because you have COVID.

If you are isolating out of safety concerns and are otherwise healthy, think of your childhood and those experiences that stand out. Use these to guide you for activities. I recall making gingerbread people with my grandmother, so this could be great bonding with my child now. My grandfather tried to teach me chess, not my strong point, but I know the basic rules to pass on.

My child loves board games, and yet at 8 years old had never played the traditional version of Monopoly until one Sunday in lockdown. His excitement at this game, and that it took up an entire rainy afternoon is a joy I will remember from this time of restrictions.

I also recall learning how to sand, stain and varnish a piece of furniture with my father, I still own it 30 odd years later.  My mother I can thank for teaching me countless favourite recipes made together, many are my own child's favourite to this day, and often serve as the "comfort food" when we need to mend. These are the experiences you can pass on to your children.

We all learn from the experiences of our life. And this pandemic is shaping history right before our eyes. It is a period in time our children will remember. As a parent, I want it to be remembered for the good memories, not the tough stuff. I hope you do too.

If you are struggling for activities, distractions, or fulfilling pursuits for your children, below are some inspirations for you.

Girl with disability renovates a piece of furniture with help from another woman.

Toddler/ Preschool

  • Dress Up's
  • Playdough
  • Playing “shops”
  • Duplo
  • Wooden puzzles
  • Learning nursery rhymes
  • Spend time on a swing
  • Go for a ride around the block
  • Dry and press some flowers
  • Little ones might like first aid play or play doctors kits. A chance to role-play between patient and carer. Teddy bears and dolls can become patients too.
  • Pizzas – Use a flatbread, and prepare cut capsicum, mushrooms and grated cheese and ask children to decorate the pizza
  • Sandpit play
  • Felt animal sewing
  • On hot days, supervised water play is a fun way to cool down - think like sandpit play, only with water, buckets, tubs, little boats or floatable items
  • The Imagination Tree is a crafting site from babies through to school age.
  • Scope suggest some fun things to do for sensory play

 Sand play


  • Building an indoor cubby with blankets, pillow, cushions and furniture
  • Building an outside teepee with long sticks and an old blanket
  • Make your own kite
  • Read your children a classic book, a little each day
  • Scavenger hunts
  • Puzzles, Card games and board games
  • Gardening or pick and press flowers
  • Paper plane making – turn it into a competition
  • Make some bath bombs
  • Build a marble run from round materials
  • Create an obstacle course, one for you, one for your pet
  • Thinklum coding and robotics school offer Online Coding School Holidays Camps for Kids
  • Hewlett Packard are offering free printables 
  • Build a Domino trail
  • Indoor or outdoor treasure hunt
  • Water play with sprinklers - make sure it is supervised, but a fun way to cool down
  • Scavenger hunt in your yard – Nature Play SA have some resources to use for scavenger hunts and outdoor play
  • Make Sock puppets – a few socks, big buttons, needle and thread or glue, then put on a play
  • Chalk art –draw, write, on concrete – your driveway, a path – share a positive message with your neighbourhood
  • Go fishing (check on the latest regulations for this, you may not be able)
  • Listen as David Walliams narrates some of his stories from “The Worlds Worst Children” Series (free during COVID-19)
  • Little Scribe have free educational activities for literacy
  • Story Factory offer free online workshops facilitated by Story Factory Storytellers
  • Make a kite and fly it
  • Play frisbee
  • Have a family game of Bocce or Quoits
  • Let off some energy with Totem tennis
  • Bounce on a trampoline
  • If you have a badminton set hiding in the shed, pull it out and have a game
  • Use posca pens or fabric paints to design and paint on fabric - a t-shirt, hat or drawstring bag
  • Try origami
  • Encourage Nature play, if you need a little inspiration check these kits from Poppy and Daisy Designs.
  • Some areas, local sports clubs are offering virtual sports camps
  • This list of 130 screen free things to do by Daniella Minns is full of different ideas too

Two boys in a tent they have made with brooms, sheets and poles.


Encourage teens to unplug from devices

  • Pull out some costume jewellery, take it apart and re-style it
  • Learn how to make things from polymer clay
  • Master the art of beautifully iced cupcakes
  • Make pasta, and clean up afterwards
  • Have a family karaoke party
  • Mindfulness colouring or activity book
  • Colourscape App can turn photos from your photo stream into colouring pages
  • Join a virtual book club
  • Life skills like cooking if not already mastered, now is a great time to share the load
  • Try renovating a piece of furniture
  • If  you live close by a mountain bike trail, hit the tracks
  • Learn how to do a basic service on your mountain bike
  • Do a crossword or sudoku puzzle
  • Home manicure and paint nails
  • Take the time out for a home spa with face masks, exfoliators and letting your skin breathe without makeup
  • Learn calligraphy
  • Make a beaded wreath, switch up the flowers for some Christmas baubles and get into the season early - its only 3 months to Christmas
  • Macrame is trending! From starting out with key rings and wall hangings to making indoor teepees, outdoor porch swings, the inspiration is out there! Mary Maker Studio is an Australian stockist of fibre, cords, ribbons and tools and accessories.
  • Sew a garment or reversible bag –  Here are some purse and bag projects to try
  • Learn a language – try Duolingo
  • Curate a Spotify playlist if you haven't tried it already
  • Start a book club (virtually, of course)
  • It's never too late to learn a musical instrument, and many teachers are offering virtual or video-call lessons.
  • Creative photography portraits or still life
  • Create something with a 3D printer
  • A 1000 piece puzzle
  • Learn how to make candles, or soap - kits are available from crafting suppliers.
  • Go for a walk and check out street art in your area
  • Download an audiobook and go for a walk, listen as you get your step count up
  • Try Yoga or Pilates.

Creative photography. A girl in a black leather jacket, floral top and jeans poses for the camera. Her hair and makeup is done. She has visible disability.

The Whole Family

  • Encourage outdoor time in your backyard, skipping, shooting basketball hoops, playing tennis against a wall
  • Have a cupcake decorating competition
  • A picnic in your yard. The blanket, the thermos, and picnic food. You could also try this indoors if the weather is wet!
  • Camp in your backyard – pitch the tent, build a campfire, cook damper and toast marshmallows, spend some time stargazing
  • Keep a gratitude diary, or take photos to record your gratitude moments
  • IF you are using isolation to repaint a room. Older children (that understand not to do this every day) can draw artwork on the wall before you paint
  • Plant a garden. If you only have a windowsill, herbs like mint, chives, thyme and rosemary are easy to grow and take up little space.
  • Wash the car - have fun getting wet
  • Is it too early to start Christmas baking? Or hand-making Christmas Gifts?
  • A treasure trove of online games and puzzles can be accessed at Crazy games.

A woman sitting outdoors, resting a journal on her legs, writing. Gratitude journal.



Want more like this? Read our blog Tips to get you through a Stay-cation or Isolation for extra ideas and links to pass the time.

IDEAS does information so you can do life.