10 top things to occupy the kids this lockdown half-term

It can be challenging to keep children entertained during half term at the best of times, let alone during a lockdown.

With isolation, the cold weather, and many children not able to go out on day trips, see grandparents or visit friends – this will not be a normal half term.

Somerset County Council has put together an action-packed list of things to do with your children from home – the aim, to keep children occupied and having fun during the holiday.

Since the beginning of the first lockdown many online platforms have been developed offering virtual events and activities. They are easy to access and fun to participate in from home or in the garden. Plus, there are lots of things you can do with the ordinary things around the house to create fun activities.

Somerset County Council has put together some of their favourite resources

and activities and put them into an easy to use age group list. So, whether you’re looking for cooking experiences, science experiments or exercise routines, we’ve got it covered.

1. Have a virtual bake off.

Baking can be fun for children and adults alike. Get your friends and family involved on zoom – see who can make the best-looking cookies, chocolate cake or biscuits. You can find loads of child friendly recipes here: https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/collection/kids-baking-recipes

2. Storytime

If your children are bookworms or love to listen to stories, they can listen to some of their favourites read by Somerset Library staff. Search Somerset Libraries UK on YouTube or Facebook.

3. Sing-along

Who doesn’t love a good sing-along? Download your kid’s favourite tracks or fire up the CD Player and go Karaoke crazy. Search YouTube for the best dance routines and have a competition to see who can mimic them the closest or for younger children play musical statues, bumps or chairs.

4. Get creative

Keep that packaging, for children the possibilities are endless – use it to build a robot, castle, boat or something else that they can imagine. Learn to draw with Rob Biddulph or download the CBeebies get creative app or get involved with The Great Big Art Exhibition.

5. Fun fitness

From Joe Wicks to Disney Shake Up games there are numerous work outs online for the young and the old to help you stay fit, get motivated and have fun.

6. Wish in a jar

We won’t be in lockdown forever, start thinking about the things you and your family would like to do when restrictions are lifted – what are you missing? Get your children to write them down on pieces of paper and put them in a jar. When lockdown ends you can bring the jar out and grant those wishes.

7. Treasure hunt

Hide some treats around the house or garden for your children to find. Give them some clues to follow and watch them rush off in excitement to find the hidden treasure.

8. Time capsule

Make a time capsule about life in lockdown. Collect press cuttings, write down notes about what your family has been doing during lockdown and put them in an old biscuit tin, then bury it in the garden or put it away for future generations to discover.

9. Make a calming bottle

Three quarters fill an empty plastic bottle with water, add some washing up liquid or liquid soap and then add different colour glitters. Turn the bottle upside and watch the glitter make forever changing, swirling patterns.

10. Living room campsite

Get an old blanket and make a tent in your living room. Make a picnic and let your children eat it in their new den watching their favourite movie.

Cllr Clare Paul, Somerset County Council’s cabinet member for health and wellbeing, said: “As a mum of a young boy myself I know how daunting it is coming up with ideas to keep your children busy in half term.

“This is a great snapshot of what you could do to pass the time with your children during what will be a difficult half term. There are many other things you could do – get online, get creative, get inventive – above all else have fun and stay safe these holidays.”

There are many more ideas at the following websites:

Save the Children

Health and Wellbeing information, advice and activities: 

Children and Young Person Somerset Health

Parent and Carer Toolkit

Mental Health Toolkit

Healthy Somerset

Action for Happiness

People experiencing coronavirus symptoms – a continuous cough, fever, loss of taste and smell – should book a test and self-isolate. If you, or anyone you know needs help, a single phone number is available for anyone in Somerset who needs Coronavirus-related support from their councils.

The Somerset Coronavirus Support Helpline number, 0300 790 6275, is open seven days a week from 8am to 6pm, offering a range of support – from help accessing food or medicines, to emotional and financial support, and employment, skills and business advice.