How To Go Out While Staying In With Kids: At Home Cinema, Supper Club And More

India Garrett
Dec 12, 2023 By India Garrett
Originally Published on Apr 15, 2020
Watching a film in a DIY at-home cinema.
Age: 0-99
Read time: 6.5 Min

There are plenty of normal things we all used to do that just aren't options now we're in lockdown.  

Whether you and the kids miss going to the park, going out for meals or to the cinema, we're definitely limited for what we can get up to at the moment. Don't worry though, we've come up with some ideas of how to really feel like you're going out, whilst staying in, with a few simple role-playing ideas.

Lockdown dinner

Go Out For Dinner

Perfect For: All Ages

You'll Need: A restaurant sign, menus, a waiter, set table and of course, dinner

You can't go out to a restaurant, so why not bring the restaurant to you. Come up with a restaurant name and make a big sign for the kitchen or front door, large paper or an old cardboard box work well, set up the dining table as though it's a restaurant and write out a menu. You could give the kids a few choices or just a set menu with some of their favourite foods. Go all out with role play and ask the kids what time they'd like to make their booking for and make sure they know the dress code! When the time comes for dinner, make sure any waiters have aprons on and the chef is ready for customers. If you're lucky, you might be able to convince them to swap the roles next time so you can enjoy a nice meal out too.

Head To The Play Park

Perfect For: Ages 5-10

You'll Need: Obstacles - cones, ropes, balls, hula hoops, or get creative! Books and backpacks have more uses than you think

We're sure your kids miss being able to let off steam in the play park so if you've got some outdoor space, why not make the most of it and set up a mini obstacle course to recreate your children's favourite play area. You can set up shuttle runs using cones (or books) as markers, incorporate hula hoops, skipping ropes and a couple of ball games. If you don't have any garden toys then get creative and include things like putting on a backpack and doing a lap of the garden or doing a roly-poly. If your children are competitive then this is a great way to set them a fun challenge, time each of them and see who comes out on top!

Fancy A Film?

Perfect For: All ages, depending on the film you choose

You'll Need: A film, tickets, popcorn and pick & mix

This is one of the easiest and most effective ideas, add a bit more fun to your movie night by creating a cinema at home for the whole family. Give the kids a few options about what's on, create some tickets and set up your TV room as a cinema. Dim lighting and blankets really help add to the cosiness. You can even set up a snack counter, put some sweets in bowls and let the kids create their own pick and mix, get a few different flavours of popcorn and let them choose their favourites. Show them to their seats and press play! This is also a great option for the adults to do too if you're looking for ways to relax and add a bit more excitement to your evenings, being cinema staff is an easy role play for kids to do too.

you and the kids miss going to the park in lockdown

Get Disco Dancing

Perfect For: The whole family

You'll Need: Your best dance moves, a speaker or CD player, a disco light

It might not be one of your normal outings, but having a boogie is always a great idea. Push the furniture back and clear some space in a room, turn off the lights and set up a disco light if you have one. If not, some fairy lights or a few torches dotted around the room will work well too, use your imagination! Put on some of your favourite music and get dancing! If you want to go all out you could put a security guard on the door and get the kids to use their passports as ID.

A Garden Festival

Perfect For: All ages

You'll Need: Bunting, tents, glitter, torches, fairy lights, tickets, a laptop and your finest festival gear

If you were planning on heading to a festival as a family this summer, chances are it's been cancelled. But fear not! We've got a few ideas on how you can bring the festival fun to you at home. If you have any tents, set them up in the garden and get ready for an overnight camp out. If not, you can do it as a one-off evening event. Decorate your garden for a festival, get out the bunting and fairy lights and then decorate yourselves! If you can get hold of them, go all out with glitter and glowsticks and find your finest festival outfits. This is another one you can create tickets for to give out to the rest of the family. There are plenty of festival sets on YouTube and a few on iPlayer so set up your laptop in the garden, use your imagination and dance the night away.

Visit The Theatre

Perfect For: All ages, depending on the show you choose

You'll Need: A computer or TV that connects to the internet, tickets, programmes, ice cream

The West End might be closed but as always, the show must go on! Lots of performances, including ones from The National Theatre and Andrew Lloyd Webber, are being put online during lockdown so that we can still enjoy the magic of theatre from our own homes. Have a look at our top picks of what's on and choose what you're going to see. We've got a few ideas of how to make it a bit more fun, create little tickets and programmes for the kids to have once they arrive at your theatre, you could even put someone on door duty to show them to their seats. Make sure you have some ice cream for the interval!

Gallery inside

Go To An Art Gallery

Perfect For: Kids aged 7-14

You'll Need: Labels and voice note audio

This is one of our favourite play ideas. Art galleries and museums might be closed for the foreseeable future but that doesn't mean you can't soak up some culture. Take your kids to an art gallery by giving them a tour of any paintings and photos in your home! If you don't have many then let them be the artists and paint a few creations of their own before you get started. Set up little notecards and labels by each picture with a few fun facts about what it is and the artist, if you don't know then feel free to get creative, use your imagination and make it up! You could even go a bit further and set up an audio tour by recording clips of you explaining each picture as voice notes on your phone. See if you can find any interviews with artists online to include too. If you don't think your own art collection will capture your kid's attention, have a look at online exhibits like the Tate's tour of their Andy Warhol Exhibition.

Let us know if you and your family come up with any other pretend games that mean you can go out while staying in. You could get really creative with role play ideas for kids and even have your own Village Fair, Bake Off or Olympics. If the weather's warm enough why not get the paddling pool out for a trip to the beach?

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Written by India Garrett

Bachelor's degree specializing in Broadcast Journalism

India Garrett picture

India GarrettBachelor's degree specializing in Broadcast Journalism

A broadcast journalism graduate, India is a lover of adventure, laughter, and cuisine. Growing up as the eldest among her five siblings, India's family always made sure to keep themselves entertained during weekends and holidays. Her favorite childhood memories involve running around in open spaces, summer camping trips, and special visits to the theater. India loves spending time with her two young cousins, taking them to indoor sensory play areas, and teaching them how to bake, even though things can sometimes get messy!

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