Seven sanity suggestions when kids are home all day

So, the kids are home all day. When the coronavirus lockdown first started, I thought I'd treat it all like one big airport delay, but with the bonus of having a much bigger supply of toys and snacks available. But we soon found the novelty of the existing toys wore off unless a parent played too, and Mr H and I are both trying to work full time from home. And so, to assuage the guilt at seeing our 3- and 5-year-olds languish in front of screens for far too much of any given day, we ordered a few new things for the kids to do that might, if nothing else, serve as interesting interludes while they wait for the ipad or my old mobile phone to charge.

Anyway, here's what we bought and found works well. Good luck!

Disclaimer: the links below will take you to Amazon, and I may receive a small commission from them for any purchases made. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

I'm generally quite a fan of the Melissa & Doug brand, and this easel (paid link) seemed a better height than most so we got this quite early on with a view that "homeschooling" might be vaguely more interesting if the kids were practising their writing or sums on a stand-up board. Sometimes Mr H leaves a few sums for Master H to complete which has been quite successful, and it has also been used for family games of "guess-the-picture" (easier than explaining the branded board game and no requirement for Miss H to be able to read a word on a card).

2. Dress-up costumes

Not just for Halloween! Our two would often see their costumes hanging up and ask to put them on, so we decided to expand the range. Master H can now transform into Mighty Chase from Paw Patrol (paid link), and Miss H rocks an excellent Owlette from PJ Masks (paid link):


We also recently bought an Anna from Frozen costume (paid link) for Miss H which looks fab.

3. Dinosaur clock (paid link)

Need I say more? It's got dinosaurs, clear numbers, 5-min markers with dots in between, and the seconds hand is silent so it won't disturb that blissful moment when your little darlings fall asleep at the end of the day. The only watch-out (no pun intended!) is that it needs a special type of battery: carbon-zinc (paid link) as opposed to alkaline so don't forget to check if you have some of those. 

Our son is already far more interested in telling the time now this is up on his wall so another win for the homeschooling effort!

4. New Crocs shoes (paid link)

I guess it's not surprising that, since lockdown began over two months ago those little feet have grown. We were given some hand-me-down Crocs that the kids have loved wearing for many months now, but the little marks on their feet are evidence that the shoes have had their day, so we decided the time had come to order nice new pairs. These are super easy for kids to put on when they want to run out into the garden, and they're also great for the beach. 

5. Flip-cover calculators (paid link)

Now, I was actually ordering what I didn't realise was the world's biggest desk calculator (paid link) for my husband (seriously - it's like half a laptop) and I decided he might lose it to the kids so I ordered these colourful ones for them too. The covers are quite cute as they're like the flip phones some of their favourite TV characters use but of course Miss H snapped hers off on the second day so be warned; they are not ultra robust. Still, she doesn't seem to mind and they enjoy using them to play shops or simply to test the calculators to see if the machines know their sums, ha ha!


6. Inflatable pool (paid link)

Okay, so straight up this one does of course involve parent supervision, but when the mid-afternoon rolls in and I know I can make some calls to colleagues whilst watching the kids splash around this pool is a brilliant way to help ensure some of that energy is well and truly burned off. I researched a few different options and this one seemed to be the best in terms of value for money. We have since bought some extras for it (started with a cover (paid link) and a little net (paid link) and then it extended to a filter pump (paid link), chlorine tablets (paid link) and dispenser (paid link) so we don't feel compelled to change the water daily!) but it's been well worth the money as we head into the summer.


7. Novelty household gadget

Finally, not strictly speaking a kids' entertainment item, but this little gadget is my favourite new kitchen accessory and, given we're all eating at home all the time now, it actually does add a bit of excitement to everyone's day! I can't believe it's taken this long to get this into my life, but it's genius: I introduce you to my new glass-fronted toaster (paid link)!

   glass-fronted toaster

So there we have it. Seven suggestions for a lockdown spring (or summer holidays). Good luck my friends - we will get through it!


Most read posts

What to pack in a baby's hand luggage

Top 10 toddler 'tainment on a plane

Travelling with two toddlers: single or double stroller?

Moving to California: how to apply for your California driver licence

All play and no work

Christmas away from home

Oh, Canada

A Californian Christmas

Trains and boats and planes - and wagons

Farewell, Los Angeles