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Things to do with your child

‘I’m bored!’ If this is a cry you dread hearing, we feel your pain! Here are some fun ideas for things you can do with your child, and things they can do on their own while you get on with other things.

Things you can do together

Tip #1: Hiding in plain sight

This is a really easy game and can be lots of fun. Choose a small object, like a mug or ornament. One person then hides it while everyone else covers their eyes or goes into a different room. But the trick is they have to hide it somewhere where everyone can see it, like on a shelf or on top of a picture. It’s amazing how hard it is for the other people to find it, even when it’s staring them in the face!

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Tip #2: Super science

Make a DIY lava lamp, a rainbow cloud and – every kids’ favourite – SLIME! If your children aren’t enthusiastic about science, they’ll think again when they check out these experiments from CBeebies.

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Tip #3: What’s the time Mr Wolf?

A fun game you can play as a family is 'What's the time Mr Wolf?' Mr Wolf stands at one end of the room and everyone else at the other side. Mr Wolf turns his back while the others shout 'What's the time Mr Wolf?' Mr Wolf answers with a time (4 o'clock for example) and the players then take 4 steps towards him. They keep asking the question until he shouts 'Dinnertime' and tries to catch a player. If Mr Wolf catches them, they become Mr Wolf. Watch out!

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Tip #4: Memory games

Memory games are fun and also good exercise for the brain! Put a random selection of objects on a tray and ask your child to try and remember what they are. Then you can either take the tray away and see how many items they can list, or take one thing off the tray while they’re not looking and see if they can spot what’s missing.

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Tip #5: Bingo

Bingo is a fast-paced game that kids love to play. Make your own scorecards of 5 squares across and 5 squares down and add in some numbers. Cut out a matching set of numbers, put them in a hat or bowl (or use a random number generator on your phone) and give everyone a scorecard and a pen. Then pick a number, show it to the children and get them to colour over the matching number on their scorecard if they have it. They’ll love yelling ‘Bingo!’ when they get a full house.

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Things they can do while you get on with other stuff

Tip #1: Ideas jar

It’s easy to feel a bit down at the moment. But making a list of the things you’d like to do once this is all over is one way to lift everyone’s spirits. Ask everyone in the family to write down the things they’d like to do when life gets back to normal and put them in a jar. You can then ask the kids to sort the ideas out into ‘sunny day’ and ‘rainy day’ – or even ‘practical’ and ‘unrealistic’! Who wants to travel to the moon?

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Tip #2: Poster play

Chances are the kids have been watching more movies than they usually would. To unstick them from their screens for a bit, why not ask them to draw a poster for their favourite film? Or a made-up film of their own? If they’re feeling really creative they could even film a trailer on your phone, using their toys as actors!

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Tip #3: Keep active

Doing an exercise video with the likes of Joe Wicks or Cosmic Kids yoga is fun for everyone, but can also keep the kids occupied on their own. Check our page on ways to keep active indoors for more ideas.

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Tip #4: Family portraits

No doubt your kids will be missing seeing family and friends who live far away, so why not get them to draw a picture of them? Most kids love drawing their close friends or family. Get them to think about what everyone looks like and the clothes they usually wear. When they’re finished, help them to write down everyone’s name – or maybe you can guess who’s who? If they draw a picture a day, you’ll soon have a gallery of portraits!

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Tip #5: Virtual day trip

The kids can’t go on any school trips at the moment, but lots of places are throwing open their doors online so they can explore new places without leaving the house! Here are some things they can try:

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It’s important to play

Don’t feel guilty about letting your children play. It may just look like they are messing around, but playing is one of the most important things children do. It helps their minds develop, keeps them fit, helps them understand the world around them, and keeps them emotionally healthy.

The best thing you can do is to give them the space to play and let their imaginations run wild. Even if it means there’s a mess to tidy up afterwards!

For more great ideas, download this play pack from Play Scotland. And here are even more resources from Smart Play Network to help them play and have fun.