As we all wait patiently (or impatiently, as the case may be), for the end of lockdown restrictions and the return of longer, sunnier days with less torrential rain and howling winds, it can be hard to know what activities you can do as a family to keep everyone happy, healthy and entertained. Even if your children are old enough to understand why it is so important that we all stay home as much as possible, it is inevitable that cabin fever begins to creep in as we crave heading out into the outside world after a full year of the pandemic.
It is important to remember that brighter days are around the corner. Theme parks will welcome us back, cinemas will open their doors again, and we will be able to go on holiday once more. In the meantime, you must look beyond the sofa to find fun and engaging ways to pass the time. Here are a few fun, creative and brain-teasing ways to help you and your loved ones make sure that you’re still making memories in the early months of 2021!
Get Everyone Into The Kitchen To Get Cooking
Now, we’re not suggesting that you need to become Bean Dad and challenge your kids to open a tin opener if they want to eat, but it is important that children learn that cooking isn’t just a chore. Making a delicious meal can be challenging, it can be therapeutic, and even if the results aren’t exactly what you had in mind (let’s be honest, we have all had a disastrous first attempt at a roast dinner), you know that you have taken a step towards learning an important skill.
With the weather so miserable right now, why not try learning how to cook some adventurous winter warmers with your family? If everyone is partial to getting a takeaway curry on the weekend, think about investing in a cookbook that teaches you how to make those dishes at home, or explore a little further afield with Thai or Indonesian cuisine. For those of us with younger kids, baking biscuits has always been a great way to introduce them to the joys of cooking, and you can balance out the sugar doses by teaching them how to make a fruit salad or a vegetable soup.
Get Them Involved In Personalised Puzzles
Do you have a budding amateur sleuth in the family? If your children are particularly keen on puzzles, mysteries and detective stories, then it is time that you found a way to make them the heroes of their own tale! There are a wide range of role playing and mystery games available for people of all ages, but if you want to really get their imaginations going, nothing beats a mail order mystery box. For anyone with children between 7 and 12, Mysterious Mail offers a fantastic Egyptology-based mystery that is spread out over four separate postings. It can be played by one or more people, as they receive a series of artefacts and documents to discover the location of a missing tomb and find the secrets and hidden treasures within.
If you’re looking for a gift for a teenager, or puzzles for adults that you can play with your partner, Mysterious Mail also offers a darker whodunit as you hunt a killer through a series of mail order packages including crime scene descriptions and unsettling online evidence.
Turn Your Garden Into A Wildlife Attraction
Right now, we can sometimes feel like the world begins and ends with our four walls, but the truth is that just because we’re on lockdown, doesn’t mean that the great British wildlife is! While we wait for zoos and other wildlife attractions to reopen, this is a fantastic time to teach your children about the incredible birds, insects, hedgehogs and other creatures who stop by our back gardens to feed, rest and make a nest.
Think about making your garden more appealing for birds with the addition of a bird bath or a feeder (just think about where you place it in case the neighbourhood cats are about!), and planting a bush that sprouts berries will make sure that you have plenty of feathered friends to keep you all company through the spring. You can provide a refuge for hedgehogs with a hutch at the bottom of your garden, and if you want to make space for lots of different types of creatures to enjoy during cold weather, build a “wild pile” with bits of twigs and leaves where they can hide away from the chill and stay warm. Of course, bird spotting isn’t just an activity for kids, and there are plenty of resources and apps available to help you keep track of and learn about the different regional species that will be coming by.
Think About Giving Something Back For Charity
We have all had an extremely tough time during the Coronavirus pandemic and we should remember that no one has escaped completely unscathed. However, there are some vulnerable groups that have been hit particularly hard over the past twelve months in the UK and beyond, and things are going to be difficult for some time yet.
If you are thinking about a rewarding, enriching activity that you can do as a family, head online to see how you can help a charitable organisation this spring. It can be as simple as showing your children how to put together a food box for a local food bank, or making a plan for how you can raise money for your local hospital. If you want to make it into more of a learning experience, think about introducing them to the issues that people around the world face by taking them through some international charitable campaigns. It is never too early to start taking them through the importance of helping those less fortunate, and you can turn it into a fun group activity by making objects to sell to raise money or getting involved with a fitness challenge as a team.