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COVID-19 - Activities For The Family


How do I keep my family entertained during if we have to isolate?

There have been a lot of changes to family life during the coronavirus outbreak. We are being asked to stay home more. Your child may have to take time out of school or nursery because of self-isolation rules and some sports and after school activities have stopped now.

Keeping children, young people and the whole family busy and interested might feel like a big job.

There is a lot of change, stress and worry for everyone and just being together is valuable. Finding ways to distract yourself and the children with new activities will help keep everyone’s spirits up.

There are lots of ideas that will pass the time and give you a chance to have fun together whilst your children learn new skills with you.

Take a look at the ideas we have come up with below. Maybe you could join our online forum and let other Norfolk Families know your own ideas too. *Click Here* to sign up.

  • Get creative

    • Pick an artist and get your child to do pictures in their style. Have a look at the following artists for some ideas; Piet Mondrian, Vincent van Gogh, Andy Warhol, Georgia O'Keefe, Margaret Preston, Lee Krasner, Frida Kahlo or Pablo Picasso.
    • If your child wants to spread cheer for people walking past your house, display artwork in the window, like an art gallery.
    • Write a positive poem about your family.
    • Write letters, do drawings or make postcards to send to people who are isolated. Pop a letter through a neighbour’s door, so they feel connected.
    • Make cards for friends and family. You could send thinking of you cards, birthday cards or Easter cards.
    • Make a video blog or newspaper article of something that interests you. Your child can make film trailers with App’s like iMovie.
    • Go on a nature walk - make up a story about all the things you see.
    • Make a den – use a tent, a big box or a sheet over a table. Most things are fun in a den!

    Family cooking

    • Bake together. Ask children to weigh the ingredients, stir and wash up after. You could try pizza, scones or flapjack. 


    • Have a daily game of bingo - print a bingo cards/screenshot one onto a device, you could download a free bingo caller app.
    • Blow up a balloon and play tennis with it.
    • Play guess the object. Take it in turns - blindfold one person, put a household item in their hand and let them guess what it is.

    Fun with books

    • Enjoy reading together.
    • Get your child to create a reading log of the books they read. What did they like about it and why? Even if they don't finish the book they can still write why they didn’t like it. 
    • Typing into Google/Twinkl “book review” and choose one to suit your child’s ability (see free code for Twinkl below).
    • Try out the free Audiobooks from Audible they are separated into age categories. *Click Here* to find out more.

    Grow your own

    • Get some sunflower seeds and plant your own. If you haven't got any seeds, you could ask someone to post you some.
    • Grow your own salad leaves, start a tomato plant, you can buy the seeds or trying using ones from a fresh tomato.
    • If you haven't got any pots, use old yoghurt pots and poke/drill holes in the bottom.

    Take a look at this great video which a family has shared with us to show what they are doing to keep busy during lock down.

    This is a really unusual time; you could make a ‘Time Capsule’ to tell people in the future what it was like to be a family during the coronavirus outbreak. *Click Here* to find out more.

    If your child is constantly asking for snacks you could set up a ‘Snack Shop’. Set aside the yogurts, fruits, crackers or other snacks you’d give them during the day. Give your children small change or homemade vouchers to buy snacks from your ‘shop’. Make a price list and they have to budget their money. Don’t forget about the Sugar Tax! Younger children will enjoy playing shops when they want to ‘buy’ their snack. Hopefully the ‘snack shop’ will limit the amount of times children tell you they’re hungry!

    Twinkl are giving free access to their education resources using this code - PARENTSTWINKLHELPS.


  • There are lots of play ideas on our Talk and Play pages but here are a few to get you started:

    • Norfolk Libraries are live streaming stories and their bounce and rhyme time sessions on their Facebook page. *Click Here* to find out more.

    • Try kid’s yoga. This can help your child be active and learn to relax their body. You can find online videos for this.
    • Collect empty food and cereal boxes to make a play shop.


    • Make a necklace using hooped cereal or pasta. You could unthread some old trainers, wash the laces and use those as the string - the plastic ends will help your child to poke through.

    This video has been sent in to us by a parent. Her daughter is enjoying a walk outside with her teddy during lockdown;

  • Get creative

    • Make animal masks using paper plates or card from old boxes. *Click Here* for some templates and ideas to get you started. You could then find out some facts about your chosen animal.
    • Finger painting.
    • Collect leaves, twigs and other outdoors materials to make a picture or collage.
    • Make Puppets and a puppet show. You could use old odd socks and stick homemade eyes on.

    Fun with food


    • Get your child to help you make sandwiches for lunch. It can take longer to start with but with practise they will get faster.
    • Get plain biscuits and let the children decorate them with a mix of icing sugar and water. They could add patterns with sprinkles and tweezers!
  • Learn new skills 


    • Learn how to tie knots *here*You could unthread some old trainers, wash the laces and use those as the string.
    • Try origami. This is where you fold paper into different shapes. Have a look *here* for some ideas or watch YouTube videos to learn how.
    • Learn card tricks and games *here*.
    • Learn about basic first aid. Use the St John’s Ambulance information and videos *here*.
    • Learn to ‘code’. There are free website’s like Scratch that will let you practise.
    • Help your child get into good habits of caring for their mental health. *Click Here* to find out about ‘Five ways to Wellbeing’. Look together to see how you could achieve all 5 of them.

    Get creative


    • Draw a self portrait. *Click Here* for some ideas to get you started.
    • If you have some shoe or delivery boxes, your child could make a ‘small world’. They can turn the inside of the box into a house, a theme park, a zoo. If you Google “shoebox diorama” you’ll see lots of ideas.
    • Ask your child to write a journal. They could keep a diary or use it to write their worries in. In years to come they will probably like to read and remember what it was like during the coronavirus outbreak.
    • Make thank you gifts for all the helpers out there at the moment. It is good to remember that in hard times there are lots of people working hard to keep us safe and well. Reminding children of good things and good people can help reduce anxiety.
    • Get political! Write to your MP. They can decide on a subject they care about and want to change. *Click Here* to find out more.

    Fun games

    • Play 20 questions. One person thinks of an animal, person or object, then you ask 20 yes or no questions to try and find out what it is.
    • Throw a tennis ball to each other and as you do, go through the alphabet with a theme; try animals or names. Throw the tennis ball and say Alligator, Baboon, Cat etc. You could have a time limit for thinking of the words to make it more exciting.
    • Roll and Write. Get your child to roll a dice and based on the number rolled, this decides what happens next in their story. The scouts have instructions on how to play *here*.

    Encourage your child to get involved with doing good deeds. It can be something small like phoning someone who lives alone or helping you in the garden. Help your child see how this helps the person and helps them feel good about themselves too. You could try this ‘weekly wins chart’ *here*.

  • Older children and teens may be really struggling with not being able to be with their friends. Here are some ideas that might distract them at the same time as learning some new skills.

    • Learn how to make their own website – look online at sites like Wix to try this for free.

    This is a good time to think about what life skills your young person will need as they get older;

    • Get them cooking – set up a rota of who makes which meal. Help them less and less as they get more independent.
    • Teach them how to do their own washing.
    • Learn how to read a map *here*.
    • Learn about managing money – understanding budgeting, interest rates, credit scores and more *here*.
    • Learn how to change a tyre *here*.

    You don’t have to be an expert on any of these things; you can learn together.

  • Although using a screen all day, every day, is not good for our health and wellbeing. It can sometimes help you get a few minutes to yourself and right now that is especially important. So don’t feel you have to avoid it all together;

    • Try apps like ‘hit the button’, CBeebies, and Spelling Frame.
    • It’s OK to watch Netflix or iPlayer – just make sure it is suitable for your child’s age.  Spend time watching programmes together. There are good educational programmes like Blue Planet and history programmes.
    • It is a stressful time for everyone and you might need to just relax with the family, choose a film and have a ‘cinema’ time together.

    You could use the screen time to do physical activity, get creative or find out something new! Below are a few ideas to get you started.

    Norfolk Library Service - Online activities for children and families 

    P.E with Joe (The Body Coach TV) 

    Cosmic Kids Yoga

    Save the children - Weekly Learning Activities

    Draw with Rob

    Live webcam - Edinburgh Zoo

    Live webcam - C J Wildlife birds



    • If your cupboards are looking a bit bare, have a look at recipes from Jack Munroe *here*. On her Twitter page you can submit images of items you have in your cupboard and she will recommend a meal you could make using them.
    • Get enough sleep and eat well. Try not to pack your day with things that’ll stress you out.
    • Include children in household tasks - give them jobs to do around the house.
    • Join in with craft activities with your children, it may be a nice mindful activity for you too.
    • Try and have some me-time. Either when your children go to bed or you could try and get up before them. Use the time to do something for yourself; read a book, watch a tv programme, do some yoga, have a relaxing bath, walk round the garden. You’re important too!
    • Interact with other parents online at Just One Norfolk *here*.
    • Create a routine (but be flexible), everyone will probably be happier if they know what the day will look like.

    Remember - be good to yourself, this is a difficult time. If you want to talk to someone about your child’s health or wellbeing, you can call us on 0300 300 0123.

  • FREE and FUN family learning sessions for all the family

    Try some of the exciting online 'Come and Try' tasters and online courses which have replaced face to face courses in libraries, schools and Early Childhood Family Centres. Click the flyer below to find out more.



Who Can Help?

You can contact the Healthy Child Programme by calling Just One Number on 0300 300 0123 or texting Parentline on 07520631590. Our opening hours are 8am-6pm Monday-Friday (excluding bank holidays) and 9am-1pm on Saturdays.

If you are 11-19 you can text ChatHealth on 07480635060 for confidential advice from one of our team.

You can speak to other Norfolk parents and carers by clicking our online community forum below. 

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