Stay at home activities
On this page...
- Anxiety, relaxation and mindfulness resources for kids
- Guidance for parents and carers
- Explaining coronavirus to children and young people
- Primary resources
- Secondary resources
- Useful links for EAL learners
- Home based activities
- Other activities
- Card games
- Facebook pages
- Breathe, think, do with Sesame: for kids of all ages. It can help when children are struggling with a particular problem. It also has parent’s section, so you can guide them through the process.
- Settle Your Glitter: is an effective emotional-regulation tool for kids. It allows them to note down their feelings and emotions and focus on their breathing. This is best for kids who struggle with hyperactivity or impulsivity.
- Mandala Memory: is a card-flipping game which is appropriate for kids of all ages. The challenge is correctly match cards and helps develop focus and attention.
- Super Stretch Yoga: offers a kid-friendly guide to 12 different yoga poses. Each pose is introduced by a short animation and a live video of kids attempting to replicate the pose.
- Breathing bubbles: is an emotional-regulation tool that helps kids release the tension and worries and focus on happy thoughts. This is most apt for kids who are going through a stressful situation or for kids who do not know how to label their emotions.
- DreamyKid: includes kid-friendly guided visualisations, affirmations and meditations.
- Scape: makes ambient music by combining shapes, colours, textures, and backgrounds into a visual palette. It allows you to experience tranquil and meditative listening moments.
- Ameka Love- Journey to Crystal Mountain: storybook about a little girl on an adventure with dragons and features meditation.
- 5 Minute Escapes: a simple app with visuals and relaxing music.
- Stop, Breathe, and Think: it is one of the most interactive meditation apps. Kids can earn stickers just by using the apps more frequently.
- Smiling Mind: for kids who often experience anxiety or stress. Easy to follow mindfulness meditation activities. Helps improve focus
Minimising stress is absolutely vital in a time like this. This situation is best distance learning, not home schooling.
- Learning comes in all shapes and forms eg lego, board games, reading, cooking, crafting
- There is not an expectation that children spend the whole day engaged with school work.
- Let them sleep, it’s good for their immune system,
- Talk to the children about what they want to work on - let them be part of the planning
- The ideal is that children do:
- a bit of reading every day (independent, audiobook, together with you)
- some free writing now and then eg a diary, a comic
- practical hands on maths eg cooking, cleaning, outside or some maths games – physical or digital
- some fine motor work – lego, cutting, playdough, tidying up
- physical exercise every day (in the garden if possible)
- some art/music
- older children could research a project and present their findings to the family
- younger children should be encouraged to be involved with imaginative play
- Elsa support - Coronavirus Story for children
- NPR - A Comic Exploring The New Coronavirus
- BBC - Coronavirus: Why it might not be as scary as it sounds
- Brain POP - Coronavirus
- Littl puddins - Coronavirus social story
- Public Health England - School zone
- Supporting and reassuring children around the world - short work book for parents of those under 7 and it’s in many different languages #COVIBOOK
- Edinburgh Zoo Live
Allows children to watch pandas, tigers, penguins and koalas
- BBC Bitesize
A range of learning activities and online quizzes for all subjects – they also have a secondary page
- Bedtime math
Lots of maths activities for home learning.
- The Science Museum
Lots of at home learning including a great ‘kitchen science’ guide.
- White Rose maths
Online maths for years R to 8.
- Teach your monster to read
Online books, reading, videos, activities and illustration classes.
- 12 world-class museums you can visit online
- English and Maths activities for Year R-6
- Blue Peter Badges
If you have a stamp and a nearby post box
- The Artful Parent
Good, free art activities
- Red Ted Art
Easy arts and crafts for little ones
- The Imagination Tree
Creative art and craft activities for the very youngest
- Toy Theatre
Educational online games
- DK Find Out
Activities and quizzes
This is more for printouts, and usually at a fee, but they are offering a month of free access to parents in the event of school closures.
- Paw Print Badges
Free challenge packs and other downloads. Many activities can be completed indoors. Badges cost but are optional.
All kinds of makings
- Prodigy Maths
Is in US grades, but good for UK Primary age.
- Cbeebies Radio
Listening activities for the younger ones.
- Nature Detectives
A lot of these can be done in a garden, or if you can get to a remote forest location!
- Oxford Owl for Home
Lots of free resources for Primary age
- Crash Course Kids
As above for a younger audience.
- Five-minute mum
Includes five minute home based activities to do with children and often links it to the curriculum based on experience working in schools
- 140 Fun Things to do Indoors
- PE with Joe Wicks
- Maths with Carol Vorderman
- English with David Walliams
- Cooking with Jamie Oliver
- Music with Myleene Klass
- Dance with Darcey Bussel
- History with Dan Snow(free for 30-days)
- Home Economics with Theo Michaels (Mon/Wed/Fri)
- Science with Professor Brian Cox, Robin Ince and Guests
- Geography with Steve Backshall
- Oak National Academy is supporting teachers and students by providing free online daily lessons and resources during this challenging time.
- Khan Academy
Especially good for maths and computing for all ages but other subjects at Secondary level.
Please note: this uses the US grade system but it's mostly common material
- The Science Museum
Lots of at home learning including a great ‘kitchen science’ guide.
- BBC Learning
This site is old and no longer updated and yet there's so much still available, from language learning to BBC Bitesize for revision.
No TV licence required except for content on BBC iPlayer.
- Future Learn
Free to access 100s of courses, only pay to upgrade if you need a certificate in your name (own account from age 14+ but younger learners can use a parent account).
For those revising at GCSE or A level.
Tons of free revision content, paid access to higher level material.
- Open Learn
Free taster courses aimed at those considering Open University but everyone can access it.
Adult level, but some e.g. nature and environment courses could well be of interest to young people.
Learn computer programming skills - fun and free.
Creative computer programming
- Ted Ed
All sorts of engaging educational videos
- National Geographic Kids
Activities and quizzes for younger kids.
Learn languages for free.
- Mystery Science
Free science lessons
- The Kids Should See This
Wide range of cool educational videos
- Crash Course
YouTube videos on many subjects.
- Crest Awards
Science awards you can complete from home.
- iDEA Awards
Digital enterprise award scheme you can complete online.
- British Council
Resources for English language learning
- Big History Project
Aimed at Secondary age, multi disciplinary activities.
- Geography Games
Geography gaming! All secondary schools will have their own platforms, apps and software packages.
- 50 free revision resources
For years 11+, GCSEs and A-Levels.
- From 20 April BBC Bitesize will publish daily online lessons to help pupils expand their learning and to aid parents to engage children of all ages with learning at home
- Oak National Academy is supporting teachers and students by providing free online daily lessons and resources during this challenging time.
- Indoor Treasure Hunt
This takes some planning but will provide hours of fun for the children and time for you to have a cuppa. Place little clues around the house all leading to the grand treasure at the end of the challenge. Each clue/riddle must be completed in order to find the next one. Not only is this fun for all ages, but it teaches children to work together as a team to find the Treasure.
- Peg It
Place coloured dots on clothes pegs and hide them around the house. Assign a number to each colour then challenge the kids to collect as many as possible within a set amount of time. The person with the most points at the end of the time wins
- Pitching Pennies
At last a use for all the pennies sitting around the house. Place a large sturdy plastic cup on a chair or table and give the children the same number of pennies each. Get them to stand by the cup then take a set number of steps away from the cup in accordance with their age.
The aim of the game is to try to toss the pennies into the cup without knocking it over. The person who scores the most wins.
- Homemade Microwave Puffy Paint
DIY paint that puffs up in the microwave? Perfect creative activity with the kids on a rainy day. It’s quick, easy and Super fun.
Start with 1 cup of flour, mix in 3 teaspoons of baking powder, 1 teaspoon of salt and enough water to make it the consistency of pancake batter. Divide mixture into 4 parts and put into snack sized Ziploc baggies along with some food colouring. (even better if you have 4 different colours) squish it all around to mix up the colours (part of the fun). Rubber band the baggies as if you were icing a cake and snip off teeniest bit of the tip. Paint away on your paper.
When done, pop the painting into the microwave for 30-45 seconds and watch the paint puff up and grow. Paint as many pictures as you like, this is a great kitchen science art project. Have a little art show at the end
- Mini Olympics
Can be played inside or outside, just make sure to kid proof the area. Set up an obstacle course with any household objects (pillows, boxes, balls) create an egg and spoon race, compete to get the balls in the bucket. A chance to get creative and active and use up some of that extra energy.
Ideal for kids into arts and crafts, takes some patience, paper and scissors. There are loads of tutorials on youTube, make it a family event and have a good laugh it if just doesn’t turn out quite right.
- Spaghetti Towers
Give the kids dry spaghetti and masking tape. The mission? To build towers. The strongest and tallest wins.
- Cut Out Shops
Draw and cut out pretend money (or use monopoly money if you have it), cut out pictures of food, toys and clothes from magazines. Get your child to play a shopping game where they buy and sell goods. Not only is this creative but it also teaches kids how to count and share.
- Hide and Treat
Hide small treats such as toys or sweets around the house. You could encourage your kids with clues and shout ‘getting warmer’ when anyone gets close to ramp up the excitement.
- Junk Modelling
Empty the recycling box and get creative with tape and scissors. Make space rockets, robots, cars and anything you can think of.
Build a fort using pillows, blankets, boxes, get creative and dress up. Tell stories and put on some fun music. Make your own home videos to watch later.
- Kids Yoga
Kids yoga is all the rage and it’s great to get those muscles moving. Go on YouTube to find family friendly yoga for all ages, find some space and do the class together. Keep it fun and fitness based.
- Board Games
Always have a stash of jigsaw puzzles, board games and Sudoku on hand for the lazy summer rainy days Britain is famous for. Sometimes keeping it simple is the best way.
- Home Movie Day
Make some popcorn, put on the pyjamas and put on the movies. Netflix has tons of choices along with prime video, sky, Disney and more.
- Sock Chase
Hide socks all over the house. Not pairs but single socks. Give each child a single sock each and put on the egg timer, or the timer on your phone which pings every 2 minutes. They must return the pair of socks before the bell sounds. Great use of extra energy.
- Craft: Streamer Rainbows
Good rainy-day activity. Cut paper plates in half and attach strips of coloured tissue paper to the back side. You can use construction paper, crepe paper or whatever you have on hand.
Glue cotton balls to the front side to create a cloud – this is much more fun if they shred the cotton balls first before gluing them. Easy peasy bright and cheery which can be hung up in their rooms.
- Pom Pom Rainbow Challenge
This is a great activity to practice colour recognition, matching and fine motor skills. Buy a mixed bag of coloured pompoms from the hobby /craft store if you don’t have them handy. Draw a rainbow outline on large craft paper (also available form craft/hobby store).
You can either colour the rainbow yourself if you have really little ones or have kids colour this in first. Include a pot of gold, clouds and a sun to make it extra creative. Put some glue on a plastic plate so everyone can share and match the coloured pomp oms to the colours in the rainbow. Hang it up to dry when finished.
- What Am I Eating?
Good for 8-11 yr olds. Blindfold one person and raid the cupboards to find items for them to taste. Things like honey, soy sauce, mustard, frozen pea, marshmallow etc. all work well.
The blindfolded person must try and guess what they have been given to taste. Make sure you check for food allergies before playing this game. And it is probably best to supervise the food choices!
- Sock Wars
For this game you will need 10-20 socks rolled up into balls: Divide the room into two equal halves and place the socks on the line in the middle (you could use masking tape to mark). Divide all the kids into two equal teams.
The object of the game is to get as many socks onto the other team’s side of the room before time is up. Team members must stay on their side of the room and toss the socks over to the other sides. A team member cannot hold onto a sock for more than 10 seconds before having to throw it. You could also add in beach balls of varying sizes with the socks, for variety.
Give your child their own space in the garden, and teach them how to grow plants, vegetables and flowers. Let them see how things grow and then become food for your table or beautiful flowers to decorate. Seeing the results of their work gives great fulfilment, and they may be more inclined to eat the vegetables/salads they have grown themselves.
Older kids can also help keep the garden mowed and weeded, which are great exercise and perfect for earning some extra pocket money. You can find child gardening sets on amazon.
- Food Word Scramble
Takes a little pre-work for you but this will keep the kids occupied for enough time to allow you a cup of tea. Take fifteen food words and write them down (this is your list) then re-write them in order with all the letters scrambled. The first person to unscramble all the letters wins!
- Plan and go for a walk/run. Use a pedometer/timer and set yourself a personal best for steps/distance to beat for next time
- Make a list of exercises and challenge someone else to see how many of each you can do in 5-minute bursts
- Bike ride
- Table tennis tournament
- Boxing skills/Punch bag
- Dance Routine/Choreography
- Football skills/match in your back garden or at the Park
- Basketball/Netball in your back garden or at the Park
- Circuit training (make your own! Decide how long and how many reps)
- Joe Wicks has workouts for kids too
- Promote doing the Daily mile at home which would typically be done at school, either a 1 mile jog or brisk walk with your children.
- Scavenger hunts: Paint rocks and place them around the town.
Once found that person takes a photo and posts it on Facebook and then can move to different location.
Lots of towns/villages have their own individual pages but there’s also a nation-wide public Facebook group: love on the rocks - making smiles which has over 96,000 members.
- Cosmic Kids Yoga
- The Body Coach Kids Workouts to do at home
Problem solving activities
- Play some games at coolmathgames.com
- Board games (especially chess, monopoly, cluedo)
- Card and dice games
- Maths Bingo
- Boggle/Scrabble – make the letters big and stick them to the wall with blu tack for extra fun
- Puzzle games (Sudoku, Rubix cube, riddles)
- Budget and plan a meal then make it happen
- Set a goal you’d like to achieve and the try to come up with list of steps you need to achieve it. (e.g. Make a song. Lyrics, music, music video etc)
- What if...make up an imaginary problem someone could have and have a discussion/plan how to solve it
- Orienteering and route mapping
- Collage with old newspapers/magazines
- Tie Dying
- Plaster of Paris
- Papier Mache
- Making Stress Balls
- ‘All about me’ posters
- Build something in the workshop/garage
- Do some DIY around the home
- Fimo/sculpey clay - make key rings, magnets, ornaments, presents for people, jewellery
- Oven clay - bowls, modelling
- Making cards with - beads, feathers, decorative items, stickers
- Painting canvas/canvas boards to keep for yourself or as presents, or to help decorate the home
- Making candles – scented, shaped, colours - mood candles to reflect your mood
- Zentangle art, print outs to colour or design your own
- Choose a style of art (e.g. African art) and see what you can achieve/learn
- Sculpture using items from nature or rubbish collected/recycled
- Banksy art – have a go at graffiti (select an outside wall, use a large board/roll of paper to attach to wall and have a go at graffiti)
- Create musical instruments from recycling items
- Photo challenges: to make walks more exciting create a list of items for people to photograph around the town eg collect photos of a bird, a flower, something with a tail etc.
- Neighbourhood Window Walk: in the US communities are coming together by getting children to draw/paint either a heart, rainbow or place teddies (based on the bear hunt story book) and place in windows of their houses.
Children are then encouraged to walk around their neighbourhood searching for artwork, taking photos and keeping a tally and posting their discoveries on social media/Facebook group.
Encourages families to get outside whilst still maintaining social distancing.
- Noel Fielding is running an art club competition on Twitter and Facebook for children to enter search #artclub @noel_fielding
‘The World’ activities
- Read today’s newspaper, discuss a topic of interest, circle or cut out something you find interesting and draw the story behind it.
- Watch the news/news channel, think about why we have the news/discuss a few of the topics that come up.
- Have a discussion/debate about the interesting current event.
- Choose a country on the map - try and find out as much as you can about this place. Imagine how your life might be different living here.
- Watch a documentary about a group of people/place you’ve never heard or always wanted to go.
- Watch a nature documentary.
- Look at today’s date from a year, far, far in the past, what happened on this day? what was life like this year/at this time?
- Choose a historical figure (Joan of Arc, Henry VIII, Mary Seacole). What were they like? What makes their lives interesting/memorable? Create a poster, play, hot-seat with this historical person in mind.
- Dublin zoo are live streaming their animal enclosures for a bit of fun and escape to promote positive wellbeing whilst people are stuck indoors
- Do a crossword
- Do a word search
- Listen to a song and discuss the lyrics and their meanings
- Listen to a song and draw the situation or what it makes you think of
- Get between 5-10 random letters and see how many words you can make from them in 5 or 10 minutes using a timer
- Read some poetry or even have a little poetry reading where you read out song lyrics/poems
- Write a song or poem based on something important to you/how you are feeling or something good that happened to you recently
- Read a book/newspaper/magazine on a topic that interests you
- Write a story (doesn’t have to be real or realistic)
- Tell someone a story out-loud (use ideas from books, films and TV to get started)
- To help kids who are learning from home, educational software company Rosetta Stone is offering schoolchildren free access to its popular language courses for three months.
- Audible has released a collection of audiobooks for free
- Old Maid
Number of players: 3 or more players
Cards needed: Standard 52-card deck, remove the Queen of Clubs.
Goal: Not to end up with the Old Maid
How to play: Dealer deals out all the cards to all the players. The players look at their cards and discard any pairs they have e.g. a pair of sevens or a pair of kings.
The dealer then offers your cards spread face down to the player to their left. That player selects a card from their hand without looking at it and adds it to their hand. If it makes a pair, they can discard the pair. They offer their hand then to the next player on the left and so on.
If you get rid of all your cards, you are safe and are out. The last person who ends up with the Old Maid or Scabby Queen is the loser.
Number of players: 3 to 7 players
Cards needed: Uses standard deck of 52 cards.
Goal:to get rid of all your cards
How to play: Deal all the cards out to all the players (some might have more). Player to left of dealer plays first and play continues clockwise. If he or she has a 7 they must play or pass.
When a 7 is played, it’s laid in the middle of the table as the foundation for other cards to play on.
Once a 7 is played, the 6 and 8 of the same suit can be played, either side of the 7. Cards are then played in sequence up to King and down to Ace. If you can’t play, you pass. The winner is the person who gets rid of his or her cards.
- Go Fish
Number of players: 2 to 4 players
Cards needed: Standard 52 card deck
Goal: To collect the most sets of 4 cards
How to play: Shuffle the cards and if 2 of you are playing, 7 cards are dealt to start with. If more than 2, deal 5 cards to each player to start with. The rest of the cards are placed face down in the middle.
The player to the left of the dealer starts and asks another player for a card that they need e.g. “John, do you have any 4s?”. If the player has any of the card requested, they must hand them over to the player. If you get a requested card you get another turn. If the player you have asked doesn’t have a card, they say, “Go Fish” and you have to pick one from the middle pile.
If you collect 4 of a kind, you can put them down on the table. The game continues until all the cards are finished, the winner is the person with the most sets of 4
- Bake a Cake in a mug
This chocolate cake in a mug is a chocoholic's dream and you can make it in less than 5 minutes - and yes, that does include mixing and cooking time! Find a scoop of ice-cream to eat with it or just wait in front of your microwave with your spoon ready
4 tbs self-raising flour
2 tbs sugar
2 tbs cocoa
3 tbs milk
3 tbs vegetable oil
1/2 tsp vanilla essence
1 tbs milk chocolate chips
In a large mug, place all the dry ingredients and mix well with a spoon. Use the spoon to grind all the cocoa against the side of the cup so there are no lumps.
Add the egg and beat it a little on top of the dry ingredients to break the yolk.
Add the oil, milk and vanilla and mix until well combined.
Stir the chocolate chips in and put into the microwave on high for 3 minutes.
Serve with a nice big scoop of ice-cream.
- Easy Jam Drops
These jam drops are delicious and a great activity for the kids as well. You can make a whole biscuit barrel-full but I doubt they will last long. Choose your favourite jam.
6 tbs butter
1/2 cups sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla essence
1 3/4 cups self-raising flour (sifted)
1 pinch salt
1/2 cup raspberry jam
Preheat oven to 180°C (160°C fan-forced). Cover 2 baking sheets with baking paper and set aside. Cream the butter and sugar together until pale.
Add egg and vanilla and beat well.
Add flour and salt and mix well.
Roll teaspoonful-sized balls of batter and place on the baking tray 2 fingers apart. Using the end of a wooden spoon make a well in the centre of each ball.
Fill each indentation with a quarter of a teaspoon of jam. Bake for 10-15 mins.
- 3 Ingredient Almond Biscuits
You can whip up these yummy, chewy almond biscuits with just three simple ingredients and in less than 10 minutes, you've got a taste sensation on your hands.
1 cup almond butter
1 cup raw sugar
Preheat oven to 200°C (180°C fan-forced).
Beat all ingredients together to form a smooth paste. Form into small balls, heaped teaspoon size, and place onto an oven tray lined with baking paper.
Press down gently with a fork. Bake for 10 minutes. Cool slightly on the tray before transferring to a rack to cool completely.
- 3 Ingredient Nutella Brownie Cupcakes
These delicious Nutella brownies are baked in cupcake portions so you can share them immediately with the family. Sprinkle them with toasted hazelnuts for that extra touch.
1 cup Nutella chocolate hazelnut spread
120 g self-raising flour
2 eggs (lightly beaten)
Preheat oven to 180°C (160°C fan-forced). Place 9 silicon cupcake liners on a tray and set aside. Place Nutella, flour and eggs into a bowl. Mix together with a metal spoon until well combined. Fill liners to three-quarters full and bake for 20-25 minutes or until the centres spring back when lightly pressed.
Also, worth highlighting the following authors are reading their stories on Instagram and if you follow them, you can watch their videos of them reading for story time: