Confined entertainment: fun activities to do with the kids at home


As the Aucklanders face another weekend of lockdown, we’ve brought you ideas for family play, art creations, and messy play to keep the kids entertained.

Photo: 123RF

These activities are free and fun for the whole family, from teens to toddlers. Some require general household items, others are assisted by an internet connection, but for the most part it just takes a little imagination.


  • Make an obstacle course in which the whole family must participate
  • Make a yoga video online, exercise or take kapa haka class together
  • The exercise instructor takes turns being followed by other family members
  • Use string, rope, scarf or stick and do limbo
  • Organize a dance party (in the dark)
  • Boil eggs and make an egg and spoon race
  • See how many times you can throw a ball without dropping it
  • Create a dance routine for your family to learn
  • Roll from one side of the house to the other (ideal for young children)
  • Write a list of active activities (such as 10 star jumps, 10 sit-ups, etc.) and time yourself to do them. Try to beat your record every day


  • Give new life to a cardboard box by transforming it into something completely different
  • Bring some sheets and chairs, and build an unforgettable hut
  • Cook something, then devour it together
  • Turn cardboard boxes into simple jigsaw puzzles – and have kids cut out their own pieces
  • Make ninja stars
  • Who knew that boxes had so many uses? Make it a puppet theater
  • You will need puppets for this theater …why not make it with socks?
  • Make marble mazes cardboard, straws, glue and paper
  • Use of household items, make elastic cars. Make it more than one and race it.
  • Make a car ramp and race cars (or balls or marbles or hard-boiled eggs) in … you guessed it – cardboard!
  • Put on your lab coat and make a volcano, using vinegar, baking soda, water, food coloring, dish soap, plastic bottle and cardboard
  • Make paper planes and fly them
  • Make garlands

To explore

  • Write a list of 10 things and go for a walk to see how many you can find
  • Also as you walk, count how many cars you spot, or how many things of a certain color
  • Play i spy
  • Go hunting for insects in your garden or neighborhood. Take pictures of the scary critters you see and then draw them
  • Observe the birds, whether you are at home or on a walk, and contribute to a citizen project of the world by share your discoveries
  • Draw a map of your garden, hide something in it, and give your family the map and clues to try and find where the object is.
  • Explore your garden or home using a magnifying glass or old glasses


  • Each has a sheet of paper folded in three. Everyone pulls their heads and shoulders up to the fold line. Then swap the papers and lower the torso and arms to the next fold line. Wwap again and draw the legs. Unfold to reveal what you created together
  • Draw a picture, then challenge others to see if they can copy it by following your instructions. Take turns then compare photos
  • Draw each other!
  • Watch a online art tutorial and follow the step by step instructions to recreate the image
  • Make abstract art together by sticking pens and pencils on a mug and moving them around the page
  • Make origami, and if you have enough paper or card, you can even try 3D origami
  • Make a family of caterpillars by turning over old egg cartons, cutting off the tops and flaps, cutting them end to end to make two long bodies then painting and decorating
  • Collect leaves and use them to make art
No legend

Try to find times in your day to have fun having a pillow fight or playing musical cushions
Photo: 123RF


  • Hide and seek
  • Take out board games and cards
  • Screw the paper into balls and use straws (or a card or rolled up paper) and have a run by blowing the balls on a table or on the floor
  • Play copy cat and drive everyone crazy
  • Take inspiration from this listing and play charades
  • To play What time is it Mr. Wolf?
  • Pick a long word and see how many more words you can make from its letters
  • Play cushions or musical chairs
  • Hide something and let others find it – this is a good program for parents to set up the night before to start the day with excitement and fun
  • Go on a treasure hunt
  • Have pillow fights
  • Using different colored stakes for each child, hide them in a room when they are not looking, then invite them to find them (make it harder for older children)
  • Find the tallest top of the house and bring two people inside. The person behind puts his arms in the sleeves and makes up the person in front
  • Have everyone write five things they like and five things they dislike on small pieces of paper. Shake the papers and take turns picking one and guessing who wrote the answer

Messy game

  • If you have chalk, write messages and draw pictures in your driveway so your neighbors can see them as they pass by.
  • Gloop, slime, and finger paint with items found in most kitchen cabinets. To manage here for recipes for everyone.
  • Make rainbow rice and find different containers that children can use to play with
  • Water games: get containers, cups and jars of different sizes and let the kids do the rest
  • Make rainbow moss using only dish soap, water, food coloring and a blender
No legend


  • Dress up and have superhero adventures, or dress up in each other’s clothes and pretend to be a different member of your household
  • Experiment with makeup and hairstyles (and massage mom while you’re at it)
  • Put on a show and play it virtually for family and friends
  • Write a story and draw the illustrations, then read it to your family or loved ones through the messaging apps
  • Take the time to make lists, eg your favorite places, everyone you know, fruits and vegetables. Write a list of things you want to do as a family after confinement is over
  • Take turns making up a story – someone says a few sentences, then the next person picks up where they left off, and so on


  • Take out any musical instruments (or any household items that make noise) and start a family group
  • Have a family movie night
  • Have a picnic with teddy bears – let the kids choose a different spot each time
  • Have a sing-a-long
  • Look through old photos
  • Sit down as a family and start a memory book, write down some of your favorites from the past and document that unusual time you find yourself in now

Go here for our complete guide to online resources for kids.


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