How to keep the children busy

Get the kids out from under your feet with these peace-inducing distractions, says Nicole Garcia Merida

Take a PE lesson 

Since launching last month “PE With Joe” has amassed 32 million streams on YouTube, says Mel Evans in Metro, as families welcome the celebrity fitness trainer into their living rooms to keep them fit during the pandemic. Joe Wicks (pictured), also known as The Body Coach, is hosting free workouts aimed at children live on his YouTube channel. No equipment is necessary, just tune in for a 30-minute workout at 9am Mondays through Fridays, says Victoria Woollaston in Wired. If you have a smart TV, Chromecast or Amazon Fire, or a set-top box with the YouTube channel, you can stream the videos to your living room through your TV. Otherwise, use a smartphone or tablet. All workouts are also available on the Youtube channel later if you’re not an early bird. 

A wealth of games ideas from the Scouts 

Many websites and organisations have released advice on what to do in lockdown, but the Scouts in particular have excelled, says Liam Doyle in the Daily Express. They have created the “Great Indoors” initiative in partnership with an animation studio to create more than 100 activities to enjoy indoors. Examples include “Dear Future Me”, which encourages children to pen letters to their future selves, and “The Name Game”, a variation on “Who Am I” in which children pretend to be an animal of their choice. The activities will not only keep your children entertained, and save your ears from more “I’m bored” complaints, but are designed to teach them new skills too. Go to the website at scouts.org.uk/the-great-indoors/

Making learning fun 

For some educational screen time, there are apps to cover everything from arts and crafts to learning how to code, says Anthony Cuthbertson in The Independent. Bedtime Maths, for example, makes the subject “as fun as a bedtime story” to help children solve tricky problems. The app is free and has 1,600 exercises for children of nursery age through to primary school. The best learning tools are the ones that “teach children vital skills without them even realising it”, something Erase All Kittens manages to do perfectly. Children aged 8-13 learn how to code through an “epic” kitten-saving adventure. “To advance through levels and save the kittens, players need to change the source code of the game using professional coding languages such as HTML.” Finally, Caterpillar Creative Play takes inspiration from Eric Carle’s Very Hungry Caterpillar book. It encourages children to draw, paint,and design using an app that’s like a “child-friendly version of PhotoShop”. 

Six of the best video games 

If your child favours video over board games, you can’t go wrong with Mario Kart, says Michael Beckwith in Metro. Mario Kart 8 Deluxe is the most recent, and also possibly the best, entry in the series to date. Angry Birds is not as ubiquitous as it once was, but the original game “reminds us why it achieved mega stardom” in the first place. Flinging a bunch of disgruntled feathery creatures at enemy pigs’ fortresses to destroy them is a lot of fun. The Kirby games, all relatively easy to play and suitable for young children, are also a good option. The Lego video games are “a guaranteed” fun time, as are the Marvel, Harry Potter and Lego Star Wars games.

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