Due to the spread of COVID-19, children’s activities have been more limited this year. It could be that they were unable to enjoy a family holiday, for example, or play in the park with their friends as much as they usually would. Most importantly, of course, UK schools have been shut since March and are only reopening in September – meaning that for almost half the year children have been cooped up at home. After so many months with little stimulation, it’s not surprising that children are struggling with boredom.
Many parents who are now working from home have also found it difficult to juggle family life with the demands of the working week. According to a study from Direct Line 27% of those surveyed report that they feel guilty for not spending enough time with their children.
So, keeping the COVID-19 restrictions in mind, let’s take a look at some activities that can bring more fun into children's lives and bring the whole family together.
Home cinema nights
Although cinemas in the UK are open at the time of writing, it’s understandable that many are still wary of visiting them due to COVID-19. Face masks are now mandatory inside the auditorium, and so cinema-going will not be the most comfortable experience.
If children are missing the thrill of the big screen, there are ways of creating some of that magic in your own living room. You could choose to invest in a dedicated home cinema system, of course, complete with surround sound and a projector screen. But if you’re unable (or unwilling) to splash out on such an expensive option, simply turning off the living room lights can instantly make your ordinary TV seem more like a cinema screen.
To complete the home cinema experience, you can have a set ‘cinema screening’ time for the children to look forward to. Popcorn and other cinema snacks are also a must, of course – and they can be bought from the supermarket for a fraction of the price you’d pay in the cinema.
Educational video games
Limiting the time children spend on video games is a common struggle for many parents, so this may sound counter-intuitive, but directing children to more educationally valuable games and experiences could be a compromise that’s worth considering.
Video games can be an engaging and interactive form of interactive entertainment, and whatever kind of technology you might have (computer, iPad or games console, or even phone) you’ll find there a range of quality options to choose from.
Virtual reality experiences
Virtual reality, or VR, has finally hit the mainstream. New devices, such as the Oculus series of headsets, have made VR more affordable than ever before – and children will love it. VR has the ability to transport them to another world in a way that no other entertainment technology can match.
Active games, such as Beat Saber, are a good way of encouraging children to keep exercising indoors, especially as the winter months approach, and there are many breathtaking educational experiences to choose from, too. Whether it’s deep sea diving, a virtual museum tour with David Attenborough, or experiencing outer space, VR can open up a world of exciting possibilities for bored children after months of lockdown.
Of course, more traditional games that do not require any technology at all are a good option too. Playing sports, either in the garden or the park, is a great way to get the whole family exercising and having fun together. You can quickly set up a game of football or cricket, for example, or even just throw a frisbee around. If the weather’s not great, then there are still plenty of indoor options to consider. Your children might be surprised at how many interesting board games are available nowadays – Monopoly isn’t the only option any more!
If your family’s not a great fan of board games, there are also a range of party games to choose from. Whether you’re playing Draw and Write, Two Truths and a Lie, or Charades, the games on this list are sure to be more entertaining than another evening spent watching the TV or looking at your phones.
There are many other options you can try out as a family, of course, but hopefully this list has given you some good ideas to start with!