10 fun ways to spend all day with your kids

Photography:Barefoot Wandering Photography

By Katie Rose

(without spending all your money or too much time on screens!)  

Whether you are in lockdown or school holidays (which does offer much more freedom!), here are some cheap and easy options for spending all day with your children without tearing your hair out by dinner time.  

  • Make gifts – get prepared for birthday parties or Christmas by making some cards or gifts in advance. I keep an old shoe box full of craft supplies for projects like this and my kids enjoy opening it up and getting creative. Gift ideas could include home-made beauty products (coffee scrub is a good one), a papier-mache item or a work of art.  
  • Have a bath and take your time about it. With little children, if you are cooped up indoors all day, jumping in the bath all together can be a very relaxing way to spend an hour or so. Pop some waterproof toys in and you might even get some time to relax while they play. For older kids, a middle of the day bath can offer some alone time if the house is busy and encourages the idea of self-care and relaxation rituals.   
  • Go to the library (or explore your home library). The library is a great place to go if you have children spanning a bigger age range. If you can’t go to your local library, have a look through your bookshelf at home. You might be surprised at what treasure is sitting there unnoticed!  
  • Find things in your home to repurpose – perhaps you have some clothing that has holes in it you could fix or an item that could be redesigned to fit better or ‘upcycled’. My older kids love sorting through their baby clothes and reminiscing. If you have broken household items, you can fix them, get someone else to fix them or chuck them out! 
  • Declutter and tidy – this can be a tricky one with very young children who tend towards making more mess than tidying it up. But with slightly older children, you can create a ‘declutter challenge’ or set a timer for a tidying competition. Decluttering also gives a good opportunity to have conversations with children about how much stuff we collect and reflect on privilege.  
  • Have a nap – because sleep tidies the brain! If a nap is not possible, a ‘quiet time’ is a good alternative. It’s easy to all jump on a screen but there may be some creative ways you can encourage quiet time without a screen. A good old-fashioned book is one way or a guided relaxation audio for an older child.   
  • Walk in a new place – explore your neighbourhood and local area by walking. During the pandemic lockdown here in Sydney, I did a lot of local walks with my kiddos and we discovered walking along the river and exploring some nearby national parks. The app ‘Wild Walks’ is great for ideas.  
  • Change the energy – too hyped up? Bring it down with some deep breathing or play ‘sleeping dogs’. Stuck on the sofa in a slump? Get your energy moving with some dancing or lounge room exercise.
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