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Our guide to keeping the kids entertained (and your sanity)

guides Apr 23, 2020

With all the kids' favourite places – parks, the pool, other people's houses – out of bounds, parents are scrambling for ways to juggle work, life, education and fun without losing their minds. If you're struggling to keep your offspring out of your hair, check out our ideas below.

Active

Cosmic Kids Yoga
If you haven't heard of Cosmic Kids Yoga yet, get onto it stat. It claims to help your kids become stronger, calmer and wiser and while we can't guarantee that, the colourful backgrounds and fun characters ensure they'll stay engaged during this active screen time.

P.E. with Joe
There's a different video every weekday, as well as short tabata-style workouts less than 10 minutes long for the little ones with shorter attention spans.

Obstacle course
Get your kids to design an obstacle course with furniture and items on hand and time them as they race through it. It could occupy them for hours or literally minutes – you won't know till you try it.

Creative

Jams for Juniors Online
Throughout April, the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra will take your kids (big and little) on a journey through the music of Tchaikovsky, Beethoven, Dvořák and Bizet. It's a hands-on music lesson with online resources and the videos will be available permanently.

Ken Done
Calling all artists and art students! Download these worksheets and have a go at becoming Australia's next iconic painter while learning about the artist who helped us see our landmarks in a whole new way.

Online art tutorials
The options are endless, but here are our top picks. Art for Kids Hub covers popular characters like Mario and Bluey, preschool art and even folding surprise drawings. Rob Biddulph, best-selling and multi award-winning children's author and illustrator, uploads his tutorials to #DrawWithRob. Draw Kids Draw has videos for Minecraft, Spongebob and Emojis among others. Cartooning 4 Kids covers – you guessed it – cartoon characters and offers YouTube videos as well as printables. Muffalo Potato's unique selling point is that he draws using only numbers and letters.

Chop Chop Family
You'll find a list of kid-friendly recipes and instructions, that are healthy and tasty, to channel your child's inner Masterchef.

Quiet

Free Audible books
Audible is offering free stories to stream while schools remain closed. If screen time is a worry, you can keep them engaged while giving their eyes a rest.

Disney+
Sometimes you just need two hours to yourself to finish a project or cook dinner. Disney has been sparking children's imaginations for almost 100 years and these days it's not only about the Disney princesses – there's National Geographic, Pixar, Marvel and Star Wars. (Disclosure: As a Disney+ affiliate, TIX may earn commission from qualifying sign-ups.) Trial it for free for seven days.

ABC Kids
Ah, where would we be without it? Probably huddled under our doonas, weeping quietly as the kids throw eggs at each other and scrawl lipstick across the walls. National treasure Bluey is on there, as well as Play School and longer features such as The Snail and the Whale. For primary ages, head over to ABC Me.

Project Gutenberg
It's the definitive website for open-source eBooks, with over 60,000 titles to choose from. Download them in PDF, epub or for Kindle.

Social

This one's tricky, especially with the younger kids who tend to play alongside, rather than with, their friends and whose relationships are around enjoying an activity together rather than talking. We've tried Zoom, WhatsApp and Google Meet for preschooler playdates and while Zoom worked the best, these are probably better suited to older kids with long-established friendships.

Old-school mail is an alternative – while not immediate gratification, there's a lot of excitement when a letter or postcard arrives and the bonus is you have something physical to keep, to remind you of this, frankly, rather strange time we're living in. (Plus if you're all about the educational element, you can work on the child's writing/drawing/comprehension skills at the same time.)

The middle ground between virtual hangouts and pen and paper is leaving voice messages via WhatsApp or a messaging platform. You can sing a song for the grandparents, give an update on your day, tell a joke – the options are endless.

Educational

Dyson challenges
Here are 44 engineering and science challenges from the engineers at Dyson that are educational and, most importantly, fun. From dancing raisins to spaghetti bridges, these challenges can be created with regular household items.

School Kit at Home: Ideas to Steal
This fabulous resource from across the ditch publishes four activities a day for various ages. Let your kids create a disgusting menu for a restaurant, churn butter in a mason jar or design an IQ test for your dog.

Learn@Home with YouTube
The video publishing platform has put together playlists and channels, divided into ages and categories. You can even take virtual field trips to desert canyons and Canada's wild rivers.

Scholastic Learn at Home
Help your kids keep up their love of reading and learning with these projects from the children's publisher.

Eddie Woo
He's a Sydney high school teacher who started uploading videos of his maths classes to YouTube for one of his students and became an internet sensation around the world. Lessons and worksheets are geared towards Years 7 to 12.

Babble Dabble Do
Babble Dabble Do covers science, art, engineering and design and even has a YouTube channel for some messy fun.

BBC Bitesize
Although catering to the UK curriculum, this website provides three new lessons every weekday, printables and videos. And Sir David Attenborough has just been announced to present the geography classes.

Finding homeschooling a challenge? Get all your resources without leaving the house, from colouring-in books and paint supplies to science kits, notepads and even standing desks.

Disclosure: As an Amazon Associate, TIX earns commission from qualifying purchases.

Catherine Mah

Catherine likes to run, eat and read but not simultaneously. If you can't find her doing these things, she's most likely sleeping.