Despite the lockdown measures having changed, many families may be feeling apprehensive about heading out to their favourite spots this half term.
Don't worry, we hear you - which is why we've found these things to do for kids of any age!
Half term can be a tricky time to keep them entertained anyway, let alone during a lockdown. With warmer weather, and school having been closed for a while already - this is by no means a normal half term.
But luckily, there are so many online platforms that are catering for this time with virtual events and activities that you can get involved with at home or in the garden. We've put together some of our favourite resources and activities and put them into an easy to use age group list. So, whether you're looking for outdoor games, science experiments or virtual concerts, we've got it covered. Scroll to the bottom to discover your ultimate half term planner, and thank us later Kidadlers...
Babies and toddlers (0-2 years)
1) During lockdown, life may not be too different for children aged 0-2, but it's still important to keep them active. So try watching Baby Milena and her mum sharing their mummy and baby yoga via YouTube. It's a great way to keep active, play together and enjoy some bonding time with your baby from as old as 10 weeks. If you enjoy this activity, why not try searching for more yoga videos on YouTube for different age groups of toddlers.
2) Then, try this video series starting with "30 Toddler Activities At Home - How To Entertain A 2-Year-Old". It is a compilation of the best activities that this mum did with her 2-year-old daughter. They include activities such as quick and easy, simple sensory, messy and hands-on Montessori at home that help to develop fine motor skills. There are also lots of other videos that you can find on YouTube to entertain young toddler and babies, including many that we've already featured on Kidadl. This blog features a list of the best YouTube videos for children aged 0-5 however there are many that are suitable for the younger bracket - so this is also a good one to try.
Preschoolers (2-5 years)
1) PBS Kids is offering your children the opportunity to get creative and explore new ideas with Michelle Obama. Her storytelling and lessons are bound to ignite their imaginations and keep them entertained. On Monday you could watch Michelle Obama doing her bit to help ease the lockdown boredom for kids, as she will be reading a range of classic children's books on YouTube and Facebook.
2) If your children love storytime, try watching award-winning Julia Donaldson, who is the author of all the best children's picture books, from The Gruffalo and Stick Man to Zog and Room on the Broom. In these amazing storytelling videos, she teams up with longtime illustrator friend Axel Scheffler, as they explore her childhood classics.
3) Try this amazing sing-along session with your family, run by Emerson Waldorf School! Although they are based in America, they use Facebook to bring their videos to kids all over the world - just be careful about timings as they won't use BST and you'll have to convert it if you wish to watch live. Otherwise, you can always use their Facebook page to catch up with their interactive Family Sing-Alongs. This activity is perfect for younger children, however, they say that all ages could give it a go and they are welcome to participate!
1) Trained dancer Sarah Du-Feu has been hosting perfect live-streamed ballet classes aimed at children aged 5-7. Virtual Ballet lessons are great if your kids are missing their normal dance classes, or if they just want to try something new. So, during the lockdown, she is teaching kids fundamental ballet moves as well as doing some imaginative play at the same time. So, if you're looking to get your children active indoors or outdoors, these sessions are the perfect opportunity to get them dancing again.
2) The Laboratory Collective has just started offering a free virtual program, taking place Monday to Thursday at 3:30 pm GMT, that lets kids play along at home and learn to become a wizard! This interactive virtual wizarding school is perfect for children who love to watch magic on TV and it'll give your kids a fun escape and a positive way to interact this half term. Check out their interactive wizarding science class here.
3) Why not try Imagination Adventure Live, where children in the class will go on a dramatic adventure online that begins with the opening of the treasure trunk. "Act, Move, Create, and Play… Where will your imagination take you today?" is the motto of this interactive class, so if your kids are missing playing at school with their friends this might help.
1) #Gardengig by Sheffield Music Hub is an idea to encourage you to hold a garden gig at 4pm on any given day (or you could it every day if you wish) to bring music and positivity to your community! Whether it be your child or you who plays, they want to spread this idea to lift spirits and make sure that students are still practising and performing. For those tweens who are musical, this is a great way to keep them playing their instruments and teaching them all of the social benefits that music can have. So, whether you've got a big garden, a driveway or just a balcony, encourage your musical tween to get out there and share their talents with neighbours. Or, just explore the hashtag on social media and enjoy watching the talents!
2) The Activity Hero has a whole range of live online classes and camps for kids provide engaging learning experiences from home during the lockdown. E-learning is a fun way to see other kids online when schools are closed and kids will have to get used to this being the norm for a little while now. You can find virtual summer camps, art, cooking, kids coding, languages, music, dance and other subjects among these popular online courses for kids.
3) Do your young teenagers love Harry Potter? If so, you have to try visiting this Harry Potter page from the British Library! They have so many things to see that Harry Potter fans will love. They've got everything from videos, to articles, to fun facts, so this is definitely the best place for fans to get their imaginations going during the lockdown.
1) The Rhythm Studio usually host their legendary Rock & Roll Boot Camp courses during their May half term, however, they are currently on pause due to lockdown. However, they have developed a fantastic line up of online holiday music camps that can be taken from the comfort of your own home - details of which are on their website. Courses include songwriting sessions and a broad range of music production workshops and are perfect for budding young musicians to keep them entertained and learning during half term!
2) The Kennedy Center was once America's busiest performing arts centre, but since lockdown, their building has been deadly quiet. Usually hosting approximately 3,000 events each year for audiences numbering more than 2 million, they've now decided to solely focus on bringing their music to YouTube, where they have been live streaming in a series called Couch Concerts. The live concerts are streamed from the homes of world-class artists, straight to your family home. They believe that "in times like these that we need artists most" so, head over to their platform to watch talented artists perform their work.
3) Encourage teens to learn about the importance of saving Kenya's lions during lockdown with this National Geographic live stream. The video was first shown Monday 18th of May but can be watched again using this link. It follows the journey of Shivani Bhalla who is a conservation biologist working to safeguard the future of Kenya's rapidly declining lion population. Join to learn how Shivani is working with local communities to help save the fewer than 2,000 lions left in Kenya. Also, use the Family Guide to prepare for the discussion and continue learning after you sign off.
Fun for all the family
1) Riverbanks Zoo in South Carolina is streaming Z-Learning live every weekday at 10 am, where you can meet and learn about animals! This is great for kids of any age, as we all love to see animals! So many of us would have normally gone to the zoo or to see some animals during our half terms, so this truly is the next best thing. Visit the zoo virtually here.
2) If you and your family loved the zoo tour at home, you should definitely try watching these livestream videos of cameras put up to film wild animals! This amazing activity allows you to see a whole range of animals just acting naturally when they don't know that humans are watching. Who needs a safari when you can livestream using these cameras? (It will have to do for now anyway...)
3) Missing the theatre? Did you know that whilst we’re all housebound, theatres from all over the world are opening up their digital archives so that you can watch theatre shows, dance performances and opera from the comfort of your own home! And probably more than you'd be able to watch in a whole year of going out in London. Choose from paid-for streaming platforms or YouTube streams, there’s a huge amount to see. By visiting TimeOut London, you'll find a list of places to stream and a guide on what to watch!
4) If you've already finished watching the amazing content available from the Royal Opera House and English National Ballet, you can now watch Matthew Bourne’s ballet company on their online streaming stage. For the first time ever four of the radical choreographer’s productions are available to watch online, including Bourne classics ‘Swan Lake’ (2019), ‘Romeo and Juliet’ (2019), ‘Cinderella’ (2017) and ‘The Car Man’ (2015). If you were keen to get out and watch a ballet with the family this summer, don't let lockdown stop you, as everything you could want is here - available for rent at £5.99 or to buy at £9.99! This is a fraction of the price of taking the little ones out.
5) To celebrate Children’s Day, a National Holiday in Japan, Japan House London have launched a Design Your Own Kokeshi competition to get the kids' creative juices flowing this half term whilst learning about some traditional Japanese culture. Kokeshi are beautifully painted wooden dolls from North-East Japan that have been around for hundreds of years and are even thought to protect children from harm! Japan House London have provided some wonderful kokeshi templates that you can print off and design yourself, then share with them on social media at @japanhouseLDN for the chance to win your very own kokeshi doll all the way from Japan! Find out more about entering their #MyKokeshi competition by June 1st here.
6) And finally, if you're looking for some science fun, try joining in with the half-term Discovery Week from the world-famous science centre - The Francis Crick Institute. From the 25th - 30th of May they’ll be providing amazing online scientific surprises that are sure to inspire you and your family with something new every day. From crazy crafting, to kitchen challenges and the chance to meet their brilliant scientists. They will also be providing lots of downloadable resources to keep you busy. In each day’s task, there will be a hidden clue for families to hunt down. And at the end of the week, using the clues to form the 'golden word' you could be in for a chance to win great prizes, including a £50 Amazon voucher. To join in, tune in every day at 11am, where the daily activities will begin on Instagram (@thefranciscrickinstitute) or their website!
To make things even easier, we've packaged all this and more and into one half term planner, making sure you've got something exciting lined up every day no matter how old your kids are. Download yours below and click on each event to be taken straight to your perfect half term activity!
Originally from Bournemouth, Annabelle spent her childhood travelling and exploring. She moved to Bahrain at the age of 13 and then to London at 19 where she attended Chelsea College of Arts, UAL. She loves all things creative - especially if they involve recycling materials, as this is what she is most passionate about. Aside from art, Annabelle also enjoys walking her dogs and cooking for friends and family.