Welcome to day 2 of our half term family-friendly ideas series – today is all about screens, if you missed day one see here for indoor activities and tomorrow we will have some outdoor fun ideas to share too…
Let’s face it, as much as it’s great to keep children away from screens, screen fun is a way of life now, rain can stop play and we all need a little down time occasionally. So maybe balance is key.
To help you through half-term when you’re looking for a little inspiration other than the usual, I have put together five screen-friendly activities to consider trying, one for each day, something slightly different. I do not have kids myself (just yet) so I picked some of my childhood favourites and others that my younger brother who is 11 and little niece who is 4 like to get up to.
Day 1 – Duvet day with an ultimate Disney classic!
I am a massive Disney nerd and having a whole day of Disney film watching is a dream come true for me (it is productive right?)! Popping on a film in the afternoon is win win for my family, especially on a rainy day or after being out on an autumn walk. Grab a pack of popcorn, a packet of chocolate treats, mix them together and pop in a bowl – just like your very own cinema! Oooo why not have some hot chocolate too! How about getting the whole family to put their favourite Disney film on paper in a hat and pick at random?
These are the 5 Disney films I would be adding to the pot:
- Lion King
- Beauty and The Beast
- Lady and the Tramp
- The Aristocats
What can I say, I love animals. You could even mix it up with a Pixar
Day 2 – Record a play
As a kid, my brothers and sometimes my cousins and I, loved putting together a play that we recorded for the whole family to watch! Back in the day we used a video camera and once finished linked it up straight to the TV. My little brother (he’s now 11) also LOVES making short films with his friends, but as generations have changed, he uses a phone and sometimes iMovie. He can edit via the phone or transfer and play around on a computer with his friends– kids are so techy nowadays!
It is so much fun, using props you find laying around in the house and old fancy dress costumes, and now there are apps with special effects too – Halloween is so close, it could be your inspiration! Maybe make a spooky Halloween blockbuster!
Then sit down with some popcorn and watch the magic, and why not send it to grandparents and friends too.
Day 3 – Slide show fun
During my little brother’s free time, he really enjoys making slide shows. He has been doing it for the past few years, he started when he was about six, for each of our birthdays with birthday messages and a selection of pictures that found on mums’ phone or hard copies he will photograph himself. It doesn’t have to be for a birthday, it can be educational too! An idea could be your kid’s favourite animal, researching the web for some fun facts and pictures that they then can display on the slide show and share with the whole family later at tea time – it makes learning fun! It could be anything they love, food, nature, football, space, games, family, Disney characters or even their own teddies etc.
Day 4 – Re-watching old favourite kids shows
Your kids will have their favourite programmes, and no doubt you have had to watch repeatedly, so why not get them to watch one of your childhood faves? You might be surprised on how much they may enjoy it. When I was a kid and was feeling a little bit under the weather, I was bored watching the same thing, so my mum introduced me to Bagpuss, one of her favourites as a child. And what a treat it was, I enjoyed it so much, my mum bought me a little Bagpuss cuddly toy to go along with all my other cuddly friends. Did anyone else have silly amounts of teddys growing up? Here below are my nieces:
Need some inspo? Here are some of my favourite childhood TV programmes: Pokemon (I was obsessed), Rosie and Jim, Art Attack & Sooty and Sweep.
Day 5 – Live-stream experience
The internet has many online live streams out there that everyone can enjoy. From story telling to drawing a picture, Zoos (who remembers watching April, the Giraffe who was pregnant?) or experience what it could be like under the sea. When my little brother was younger, he loved watching an artist daily, the artist would talk through his drawing techniques and my brother would copy…
Here are a few live streams worth a look…
Animal lovers there are lots of zoos around the world offering live streams – so you can watch your favourite animal in action from where ever you are in the world. Why not go on a sofa safari! For example Paignton Zoo has live cams in many of their enclosures all day… https://www.paigntonzoo.org.uk/explore/webcams
Further afield, Cincinnate Zoo Home Safari – Everyday at 7pm the zoo introduces one of its animals along with an activity you can do at home. You can find this live stream on their Facebook page
PE with Joe, The Body Coach – everyone in my family loved PE with Joe during lockdown. This Saturday 31st, PE with Joe is back, and it is a Halloween special, on his YouTube channel. 9am start! Don’t forget your Halloween costumes.
Beach day – One of our property owners in Mauritius, Shanti Maurice has a live webcam on their beach. Have a beach day from your own home by watching the peaceful beach or even tune in to watch the sunset, which is around 2:15pm UK time.
Art for Kids Hub – This is a favourite of my little brothers. Run by a family who enjoy art and sharing it with their followers. They share a drawing a day through their YouTube channel. All you need is some paper, colouring supplies and something to draw with.
Explore – Tropical Reef Aquarium – see what you can spot swimming around at the Tropical Reef Aquarium. The Explore website has several live cams for you all to watch including puppies, birds and sanctuaries! My partner and I watched a clip the other evening of a bear catching some salmon, it was amazing to see!
So there you have it, a few ideas to get you and your family through this half term on a screen, have fun with it!