We know it’s a tough time for everyone at the moment, and it’s hard to keep everyone entertained whilst at home. Here are some ideas to help keep you busy and having fun over the next few weeks!
With the school’s closed, getting involved with some science experiments can be a great way of keeping kids engaged. Even if you don’t have children to look after, these are a lot of fun to try!
Mentos and Diet Coke
Everyone knows this home science classic! It’s great fun and fantastic way of teaching kids about reactions. For extra points, you can even build a set of a volcano around a bottle of coke in the middle!
Make Your Own Slime
Using nothing more than PVA glue, bicarbonate of soda, food colouring and contact lens solution you can make some really fun slime to play with. This is another fantastic way of teaching kids about reactions, as they can observe how adding the contact lens solution can completely change the texture of the glue. We’ll send you over to national treasures Holly and Phil who’ll show you how this one is done.
Create a Water Cycle
Be careful with this one, it will need some adult supervision as it requires hot water and a match. But it’s a really cool way of showing the water cycle, how clouds form and how rainfalls. Check this video out below on how to do it!
Card games are a great way of staying entertained at home. Everyone has a deck of cards and there’s a near endless list of different games you can play. Whether there’s 2 or 6 of you at home a deck of cards can keep you entertained for hours.
Now everyone knows the classic games like “Go Fish!” and cheat, so here’s a couple of unusual games that you might not have heard of before to keep you entertained:
Spit is a fun and fast-paced game for two people. It’s an exciting mix of Solitaire, Snap and Speed and definitely gets the heart racing. We would try and explain the rules, but we feel the folks from Bicycle (who actually make playing cards) will do a much better job! You can check that out here:
Golf is a card game that’s more luck than skill but you need to make quick decisions and pay attention to what your opponent is trying to do. Each person gets dealt 6 cards which they place face down in two rows in front of them. At the start of their go, they can turn over two of the cards and are given the option of swapping one of their cards with either the upturned one in the middle or one you can’t see from the deck in the middle.
The goal is to have your cards add up to a smaller total than your opponent. Aces score 1 and normal cards score their number, Jack and Queen score 10 points, Kings 0 and Jokers score -2 points. If any of your columns have 2 of the same card then the numbers cancel each other out and you score 0. If you’re a little lost, here’s a video to explain.
Appropriate for these times, we enjoy Pandemic because everyone works together as a team! This means that you win and lose together, so there should be fewer family arguments over the outcome. There’s quite a bit of set-up involved, but once you get going Pandemic is easy to play and great fun. The story is that there’s been a global outbreak of a disease and you need to work together to eradicate the infection and develop a cure. You travel all over the world creating disease centres and trying to fight back the virus. It’s challenging and requires you to think a few steps ahead to win!
EXIT! The Game
These are Escape Rooms you can play in the home! If you’ve still got that escape room itch, then these are a great way of experiencing the same thrill and intensity, whilst staying safe at home. They have a variety of stories and whilst sadly, we haven’t been able to play them all, we’re sure they all live up to the same high standard. One of the most intriguing tales we’re yet to try is their take on Murder on the Orient Express. “Dead Man on the Orient Express” looks to include everything great about escape rooms. You have to race against the clock to piece together the clues and solve the murder. It’s certainly once that we’ll be picking up during lockdown.
These fiendishly difficult books only require a pencil and a smartphone. Work your way through some very cryptic puzzles that utilise the book and often need you to go back to solve the puzzle you’re working on. There’s also a second book in the series called revelations, which is even trickier and has had us pulling our hair out! Both books are highly engaging and you can easily while away the hours playing them.You can pick them up here.
Easter Egg Hunt/Scavenger hunt
With Easter just around the corner, you could make an easter egg hunt! Hide the eggs around your house and leave little notes guiding your children to the eggs. You could also combine this with the activity below and make an easter egg escape room, where the kids have to solve the challenges, find keys etc. before they find the easter eggs.
If you’re lucky enough to have a garden make sure you make full use of the spaces available to you, but try not to leave your chocolate in the sun (something we’ve sadly learnt from experience).
Make your Own Escape Room
This isn’t as hard as it seems and can be great fun! Making an escape room is a great way to get creative and you can even throw in some school topics to keep it educational.
The beauty of creating an escape room at home is that you can use what’s around you. You can buy some padlocks and use those, but you don’t have to! You could change the password to one of the computers, you could be the guardian of a door and require the right password to let people in. If you’ve got an old store cupboard you can even lock that with a puzzle inside and hide the key. There are loads of opportunities around the house to lock things up and hide away puzzles!
Some fun puzzle ideas include:
- Using Music,
- Hiding something in the washing machine or dishwasher (remember to empty it before you use it again!),
- Jewellery Boxes are a great place to hide things,
- Blacklight/UV torch. Most escape rooms we’ve played have involved “invisible ink” and a UV torch,
- If you got a safe or filing cabinet it’s easy enough to change the combination and hide something inside.
Let us know the stories and themes you come up with for your escape rooms!
Our friends at Pirate Escape have also made some great escape rooms you can play at home too. You can check those out on their website.
Create a Secret Code
Did you ever pass notes across the classroom at school? What about if you had your own language or code that no one else could decipher? A fun thing to keep the kids occupied is coming up with a secret language or code.
Again there are some classics here that everyone has already played like Charades, but here’s a couple of different ones that maybe not everyone will have done in the past.
6 Degrees of Kevin Bacon
This is a fun game for all you movie buffs out there. Based on an interview where Kevin Bacon said that he’d either worked with everyone in Hollywood or worked with someone they’d worked with. The goal is to take an actor or actress and using as few films as possible, connect them with Kevin Bacon. You can check out an example on our Facebook page here, the winner is the person who can connect the stars using the fewest films.
7’s is simple, you go around in a circle counting up the numbers (1,2,3) – the only catch is you can’t say any number that has a 7 in or is a multiple of 7. E.g. 7, 17, 35. Where it gets tricky is you can say anything in the number’s place, which leads to some pranks. Another catch is if there are back to back 7’s e.g. 56 then 57, the order reverses. So make sure you stay on your toes particularly in the 70s.
We hope you’re all staying safe and hopefully we’ve given you some inspiration for some fun activities around the house. Let us know if you give any of these activities a try! Best wishes to you all and we look forward to seeing you on the other side of this.