As we finish week ten of the current restrictions, it can be a daunting task to keep thinking of new ideas to ensure everyone is entertained at home.
For a little helping hand, we have put together seven of our favourite home-based activities which are great for everyone and can be adapted for all ages and abilities.
A fun activity for all the family! This activity can be easily adapted to different ages and levels of understanding and is a great way to expand and promote vocabulary and social skills whilst having fun.
Draw up your own boards, use numbers, letters, pictures or photos of objects, people or places; the opportunities are endless!
A fun idea for using up those left-over party balloons! Best to do in the garden as can get messy! This great activity can be easily adapted to different ages and abilities.
- Fill up the balloons with water
- Draw a target on the wall or patio with chalk; the target can be a traditional target shape or mix in some creativity and learning by drawing a colourful chalk drawing (that could tell a story for older children and adults), drawing shapes and writing letters/numbers/words.
- Not to worry if you haven’t got any chalk, just stick up some paper on the wall or use hoops or buckets on the floor; get creative with whatever you have around the house!
This activity can be great for social skills (turn taking, waiting), maths (marking their score, number recognition) and English (letter recognition).
Throw the balloons at the target or shout out a letter/number that you have to hit with the balloon, or simply throw as many balloons as you can to ‘rub out’ the chalk markings.
If you’re feeling sporty, try playing bat and ‘ball’ with the water balloons (or just one full of air if you prefer). If you don’t have a racquet, you could use plastic plates, or even frying pans!
Lots of fun to be had learning through play whilst incorporating some sensory elements, just don’t forget to prep the ice the night before in your freezer!
Freeze various objects in a large bowl of water, ice cube trays or balloons. Work your way through the ice using spray bottles of warm water, paintbrushes, spoons, salt or any other tools you have around the house for your very own ice block treasure hunt.
Sort the objects as they are found by size, colour, function or categories to incorporate learning as you play.
Activities which involve blowing are known to help strengthen oral motor muscles that help us produce certain speech sounds, but these activities can also be a great sensory regulation activity.
- Create a blowing machine with an empty transparent plastic bottle, straw and tissue paper balls. Make a hole on the lid and introduce the straw. Blow through the straw to try to make the tissue paper balls move.
- Make a bubble snake by cutting off the bottom end of a bottle, stretch a sock to cover the hole, dip the sock end into bubble mixture/washing up liquid and then blow through the bottle neck end to watch a bubble snake appear from the sock!
- Get creative by blowing paint across paper using a straw.
- Collecting some recyclables to make a circuit then blow through a straw to push the different materials (ping pong balls, pom-pom balls, feathers) around the circuit.
And if all else fails, everyone loves blowing bubbles! Make your own bubble mixture with washing up liquid and experiment with things around the house to see what can make some exciting bubble shapes.
All about me
This wonderfully positive activity can be done with the whole family and can be adapted to different ages and abilities.
Draw your own profile or draw round each other if you have larger pieces of paper or old rolls of wallpaper. Draw features such as hair, eyes etc (have a mirror to hand to check out what you look like!), maybe even draw your ‘inside’ body parts if you want to! Then annotate the drawing (depending on ability) with name, birthday, favourite food, family, likes and dislikes, dreams and aspirations, friends, talents, strengths, difficulties and more!
Puzzles and board games
Dependant on age and ability, there are plenty of fantastic games out there for the whole family. Practice your colours with Twister; match the pairs with a game of Snap; practice turn taking with Snakes and Ladders or work your way through a fun puzzle book.
Theatres, museums and animal sanctuaries are offering free videos in lockdown. This is a unique chance to enjoy a visit without having to be overwhelmed by large crowds.
Some of our favourites are:
Pompeii Live – an hour and a half at the British Museum
Sanctuary from Your Sofa – the life of donkeys at various sanctuaries
We colour together – group colouring for relaxation and creativity
Stream the Northern Lights – a natural wonder from your front room and a sensory delight for all the family