20 WAYS WE KEPT THE KIDS ENGAGED AND HAPPY INDOORS DURING THE EXTENDED HOLIDAYS

After working at full-time jobs for 10 years, I must say that being a stay-at-home-mom who works from home is a lot tiring than that. Especially during this lockdown or extended holidays as my kids, aged 7 and 3, call it. When we took them for a drive to feel the fresh air, two months into the lockdown, I realized that they did not miss the outside world one bit. I was surprised.

kids engaged and happy
Toddler at work…

Then a few parents asked me how I was managing the house, handling the kids as well as posting on Instagram, editing the videos for the same and volunteering around our apartment complex. They wanted to know what to do with their kids. I didn’t know how to respond at first because I was just doing whatever I could.  I told them how we were spending our time indoors. But a lot of my activities involved my presence. My husband and my father in law help quite a bit with the house chores, so I am able to spend quality time with the kids and complete my work too.

Check out these Healthy Snack Ideas for Toddlers

kids engaged and happy
Learning to Cook and Bake

I admit that I made up for all the sleep I lost while my kids were breastfeeding babies. During the school holidays, we had no time-table. We would sleep around 4am and wake up around 1pm. Yes, I would let them snooze as much as they liked with no restrictions on wake up times. We would do several activities and leave the rest for the next day. When the online classes began, we were back on schedule. Then Karnataka banned online classes and we went back to weird timings. Now, we have to snooze early so that we can attend the online classes every alternate day. But they do sleep till late as I do not wake them up just because they have to whenever they have classes.

kids engaged and happy
Stitched various outfits for dolls

Of course, my daughter did miss some of her friends but WhatsApp and Zoom were there to see them unlike 30 years ago when we went through a lockdown because of the Gulf War. So, I figured this list was important about how we kept the kids engaged and happy during the long holiday.

kids engaged and happy
Thrones they made for themselves
  1. Quality Time – Firstly, we sat the kids down and explained to them what was happening around the world. We also taught them the word ‘pandemic’ and why we were not allowed to get out of our homes. When we got to know that our son thought that we would turn into zombies if we went outside, we did not correct him until we had to get out for essentials a couple of weeks later.
  2. Prayer Time – I used this time to teach them to thank God for all that he has given us. We could have been in worse situations. I also told my kids how blessed we were compared to many people around the country and that they must thank God every single night before they slept. If you are reading this, you are quite blessed too!
  3. Help with Chores – Instead of putting them in front of the screen while I did some chores around the house, I would ask them to help. They have helped me with gardening, hanging clothes to dry, clearing up their toys, putting their things in place, etc. My daughter also learnt to wash the dishes and helps with that sometimes. My son would sort onions just for fun.
  4. Artwork – After breakfast, we would usually sit on the dining table (which was covered with art and craft supplies) and create different artworks. I introduced my daughter to Mandalas, Zentangles, Mixed media and more. My son would colour the pictures in his colouring book.
  5. Physical Exercise – I would regularly play Simple Simon and make them do simple exercises like jumping jacks, planks, push ups, sit ups, roll overs, etc. On some days, we would also do yoga and try 100 rounds of hula hooping. I also taught them to skip. Chasing the ball, with their heads, seems to excite my toddler!
  6. Sibling Play – This is very important to reduce sibling rivalry until they are older. I make it a point to send them into the room to play, every day, with each other while keeping my ears open. I have noticed that when they are together, they create obstacle courses which may or may not work, they do a lot of role play, they have picnics and tea parties in their tent and also manage to play hide and seek or zombie shooting within our humble abode.
  7. Board Games – I found this lockdown the best time to introduce them to my board games that were gathering dust all these years. I have two Scrabbles; one when I was 7 and one that I bought when I was around 27, so I taught my daughter on the older one. Another new travel game we got recently was Dobble. This game is for 6+ years but my 3-year-old son also wanted to be a part of it so learnt it eventually. They have also played Chess, Cluedo, Pictionary, Snakes and Ladders and Monopoly many times. I have yet to teach them how to play Boggle (known as Word Blitz online).
  8. Playing an Instrument – My daughter has learnt a bit of the keyboard and harmonium so she would practice it once a week. She also practices her Hindustani Classical vocals. If you are good at playing an instrument, this is the best time to teach your kids the basics at the least.
  9. DIY Activities – I sat with the kids and implemented quite a few DIY activities from YouTube. We made photo frames, tic tac toe boards, lampshades, masks and more. We melted all the leftover crayons at home and created new ones. We also stitched outfits for our dolls and enjoyed several activities from the Firstcry intellikit boxes. I made my son write his alphabets and numbers in the sand. He found that more exciting than writing on paper. We have stuck our magnetic alphabets and numbers on the fridge, so my son has to organize them in some way, regularly. They learn to identify alphabets like that. Oh, we also tried treasure hunts and the likes to keep them excited and busy.
  10. New Language – We got an opportunity to learn Japanese from a very enthusiastic teacher who spent around 5 years in Tokyo. My daughter enjoyed it because she was determined to order her next sushi dish in Japanese. You can call or WhatsApp +91 6360 866 252 in case you are interested in learning a new language.
  11. Cook and Bake – Of course, this was fireless cooking so they enjoyed making sandwiches and fruit candies. My daughter also took baking classes which helped all of us learn a bit about baking. We had a chocolate high that whole week as it was classes for kids and kids love chocolate. You can register here with MY PLAYDATE GROUP for various classes depending upon your kids’ ages (4 years to 14 years).
  12. Manicure and Pedicure – While we were forbidden from visiting the salons, I thought of doing a couple of sessions with the kids. We would sit with our feet in water for half an hour before I scrubbed mine and then lightly scrubbed theirs. Nail art and manicure sessions were more regular as my daughter loves painting her nails as well as my son’s.
  13. Beach Time – In Bangalore, we are already beach deprived and with the lockdown preventing us from driving to any beach close by, we had to think of alternatives. Every now and then I would create a beach atmosphere in the tub. The kids used slime as ‘sand’ and wore their swimsuits and had a blast for 2 hours at least. They always keep toys besides the bathtub even otherwise.
  14. Workbooks and Worksheets – Besides playing and having fun, I made sure they did some bit of studying too. Both my kids had homework to finish during the holidays. My daughter Cursive Writing, Spell Success and Olympiad books while my son finished his Montessori books. Even in the activity boxes, there are worksheets to keep the little ones busy. Story House Mumbai also has very interesting worksheets that helped my 3-year-old learn new things.
  15. Software Coding – When I got to know the benefits of coding for kids, I was determined to introduce my daughter to it. It helps the kids to facilitate creativity, learn problem-solving and computational skills, understand the technology around them and build their confidence. My daughter took quite an interest in it so she has continued with it. There are several places to enroll your kids – Robochamps, Camp K12, Tinyverse, Vendantu, etc.
  16. Learning Apps – There are so many learning apps for kids aged 4 to 10. Instead of spending their time playing games all the while, we make them play on these apps for half of their allowed screen time. It also teaches them to follow instructions. This one was quite good – Pschool.in.
  17. Movie Time – Sometimes we watched movies along with the kids mostly during mealtime or after that. You can check out my posts on Netflix and Amazon Prime and also watch movies like Grown Ups and other Christmas movies with them while enjoying a snack.
  18. Karaoke and Smule – Even if you have no kids, you can enjoy these for hours. Check here for more ideas on how to stay busy. Karaoke and Smule have kept us busy for 5 hours a day at times. I find it to be a stress buster too.
  19. Dance Hour – We love just turning on the music and dancing for no reason. You get to see different moves your kids do and enjoy this time together. Also, Flames School of Dance has online dance classes for kids. You can contact them on WhatsApp +91 96738 80099 in case you are interested.
  20. Video Calls – With the various video calling options these days, staying in touch has never been easier. If you have the time, the technology and the will to keep in touch, nothing can stop you from communicating with your loved ones and close friends who are miles away from you.
kids engaged and happy
Yoga and Simple Simon

In case the above does not work for you and your child is disturbed, please visit a behavioural analyst to identify your child’s issue, if any. Here is one, that I know of in Mumbai, India, who does online consultations too.

Pooja Kapoor Kathuria
Behavior therapist/ Special educator
pookathuria@gmail.com * +91 9833066614

You see, along with us, our kids are also locked inside. Having them at home all the time does not have to be difficult if you set your priorities straight. We had made a lot of plans to learn bike riding, swimming and skating during the summer holidays. But with the entry of Corona, all the plans turned into smoke. Still, we tried to make the most of our time together indoors and we have seemed to have succeeded until now. Today we got to know that positive cases in Bangalore have risen like crazy and a relock is scheduled for Karnataka yet again. Let’s see what’s in store for all of us. Praying we get through this soon!

kids engaged and happy
Pin it on Pinterest!

I’m sure many of you have found different ways to keep your kids indoors as well as content. Do let me know if it is anything other than the ones listed above. Also, let me know how this list has helped you with the kids.

kids engaged and happy
Go figure… Anyway, no ones coming to visit…

Cindy D'Silva
Cindy D'Silva
Cindy D'Silva, a belly dancer, writer and artist, besides being a mother of two. She loves partying, bowling and eating sushi. There is more about her on the ABOUT ME page. Do check it out! :) Do like the facebook page too: https://www.facebook.com/blogaberry/

42 Comments

  1. Jyoti Jha says:

    Wow, these are some really constructively fun ways to keep the children busy indoors during the lockdown, or even other times. Have tried a few of these and would love to work on the other ideas pointed out here 😊👍

  2. swati says:

    Thank you so much Cindy for sharing these very important and amazing ideas to keep our kids engaged during these holidays due to Covid-19 . I had some 2-3 ideas but after landing here i have got so many more which i will surely try .

  3. Wow Cindy these are some really fun ways to keep the kids entertained at home. My favourite one was learning a new language, I think I will pick that up for myself too.

  4. Kavita Singh says:

    Wow, Cindy, that’s quite a handy list, especially during these times. I have saved it and going to use a few of these for sure to keep my little one engaged 🙂

  5. Vaishali says:

    I loved reading every bit. It really is a one-stop-shop guide on everything. With good external links. A very convenient and handy read. Thanks for this. PS: I loved your blog and profile. More power to you x

  6. Tina Basu says:

    You have listed wonderful ideas Cindy. I have been doing so many of these. My son has also started enjoying gardening in this lockdown. It is the best time we are having actually.

  7. This is awesome, you have shared some cool ideas, I would keep them in mind. the little one loves to colour and race, so our major time is spent in that

  8. Judy Morris says:

    My son too loves his yoga sessions and his dance hour. The best thing about teaching him dance is the fun time both of us share with each other.. makes our relationship even stronger.

  9. Snigdha says:

    These are some of the best ideas you have shared. I am engaging my son into my cooking and we are also doing DIY crafts ..

  10. Taranpreet says:

    If you ask me I have done all of these and a lot more with my kids and these are absolutely super entertaining and easy activities to keep the kids involved. I will definitely be sharing your blog with my friends who might need the same

  11. Dr Bushra says:

    It’s not easy to kids keep engage at home. Moms always run out of ideas. I really like that you engage kids in house work along with activities as well as importance of culture. Overall nurturing of kids.

  12. Varsh says:

    I must say that you’ve utilised this time doing some great activities with your kids. Coding sounds good to me and I’ll look out for it.

  13. Yeah! This is a great list to engage the kids in this period of lockdown. You included all the possible and entertaining option which they can do easily at home.

  14. Thats an exhaustive list. We are doing most of that too. Beach activities i have kept for weekends only as bothe kids have online classes everyday. My son has started putting his sister to bed every night, saving my lit of time.

  15. Oh wow Cindy, this list is just mind blowing. I am pinning this right away. You have really given me so many ideas, my fav one is going to be to learn a new language

  16. Smitha N says:

    My daughter loves cooking and yes also she likes clicking pics like I do she is easy to go with kid never trouble me for anything she loves colouring at times play in her tent house she is engaged all the time.

  17. Swati Mathur says:

    Wow.. So many ideas. I do quite a few activities with my kids but thanks for sharing these wonderful ideas. Learn a new language is quite appleaing.

  18. Mihir Gadhvi says:

    that really helps Cindy, mostly seen kids playing games on mobile or watching videos on youtube all day.list of things you said will surely make kids way better we all should make sure it happens

  19. Manisha says:

    You have really suggested some great options, I am trying this with my toddler soon.

  20. Amrit Kaur says:

    My nephew enjoyed doing household chores and learning more with activities and new apps. Baking is what is he trying now.

  21. We have also done nearly everything mentioned in the list above. Frm baking to inhouse parties to paiting and free play with siblings n learning new language, we did it all. Now that the online school has started I’m trying to keep them close to studies so they dont loose interest in studies but we still continue with our fun activities too

  22. Snigdha says:

    I have tried almost all the activities from your list to keep my son busy and engaged..

  23. That’s a big list! Hats off to you for trying out so many things. Not only did you manage to keep the kids occupied, you have taught them so many things too. Great job!

  24. Judy Morris says:

    This was much needed as kids get bored of one activity quite easily so. My son currently loves Lego, board games and yoga.

  25. Tina Basu says:

    This is a wonderful list. I am also doing some of these things – including learning a new language. I and my son both are learning Kannada and French!

  26. Raksha says:

    I understand it is so difficult for kids currently to stay indoors. But yes as you mentioned it is so important to engage them with these activities and keep them busy. However I do hope that the pandemic is over soon so the kids can go outdoors and play.

  27. Wow such an awesome list of activities and in my family we are doing most of these. My girls are learning cooking nowadays and having loads of fun while making easy recipes on their own. Ya we are missing outdoor fun this summer but unfortunately we can’t do much except waiting for time to get everything normal.

  28. What a lovely n extensive list ! Indeed tough time for Parents to keep our little ones engaged, indoors n happy 🙂 great work n ideas

  29. My list is no different than yours. Keeping kids busy is an exercise in itself; and this lockdown has definitely made us more creative about it.

  30. I have tried many of these to keep my toddler engaged. Right now she is happy in her tent. Let’s see how long this works.

  31. It is really important to set kids routine during lockdown. That will help both parents and the kids in the long run. Interesting ideas.

  32. The insight is about learning… entertainment… involving everyone, isnt it?within the family as well! You have captured a great list for everyone to make sure they have a manual to refer to.

  33. Sundeep says:

    Fun learning opportunities are the best to keep them engaged. You shared some great activities above. Thanks for sharing with us

    • Pooja Kapoor Kathuria says:

      Hi
      I am a child / adult Behavior therapist and analyst .
      I really acknowledge the steps Cindy has enciphered and given a deep analysis of how to beautifully and so simply enculcate them in ones routine activities. She has been my Belly Dance trainer for a brief go and I can state that she is extremely patient and cooperative during sessions . I look forward to reading more of her informative blogs and use them on my own child . Thank you for your insights and inputs Cindy !

  34. Alpana says:

    Sometimes we have to look for simple things to keep kids engaged. Kids do not need a something fancy all the time. It can be as simple as reading a book together or joining them in their funny games.
    I have tried kareoke in last couple of months and it is a stress buster. You can check out starmaker as well.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *