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School holidays: 9 fun ways to keep kids busy during social isolation

Published Mar 17, 2020


The decision to close schools from Wednesday, March 18, until after the Easter holidays was announced on Sunday evening by President Cyril Ramaphosa.

For parents, this posed a serious dilemma. Fortunately, many offices and businesses are allowing them to work from home during this period so that they can self-isolate with their children. 

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But everybody knows, productivity and keeping kids entertained is like oil and water - they just don't mix. So, if you find yourself in this position, don't fret, there are tons of ways to keep kids occupied whilst working from home.

9 ways to keep kids busy while schools are closed:

Infographic: Londiwe Gumede

1. Games night

Picture: Pixabay.

It’s time to whip out old favourites like Monopoly, Pictionary and Scrabble for a family game night. Create  a leaderboard tallying everyone's score, by the end of the week, pick an overall winner. Prizes are optional. 

2. Chalk it up

Picture: Pinterest.

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With pavement chalk, kids can have hours of fun drawing on your driveway, tracing their siblings or playing old favourites like hopscotch and tic-tac-toe. Better yet, get creative by making up your own chalk games to try. There are hundreds of ways to have fun with this activity, just make sure you use chalk that washes off easily. 

3. Open an at-home library

Picture: Pexels

Compile a collection of all your children's favourite books and allow your them to check tone out every so often, just a like a real library. Ask them questions about the story line, characters and any lessons learnt to  keep things educational. 

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4. Gardening 

Picture: Flickr

Whether it’s inviting your child to help you water plants in the garden, or starting a miniature herb garden together, it’s the perfect activity to get some sunshine and your hands a little dirty (just remember to wash them afterwards). 

5. Stone painting

Picture: Pinterest

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Remember all those pebbles, accumulated from trips to the beach that are now collecting dust on your kitchen window sill? Get to decorating them using whatever you have lying around the house (makers, colourful tape, paint, glitter etc.)

Fun ways to use

 your painted stones:

- Garden decor - paint the pebbles to resemble garden creatures to be placed in pot plants. 

- Paperweights -  your kid can get crafty by decorating stones to be used as paperweights.

- Tic Tac Toe - Paint Xs and Os onto nine pebbles to be used for a tic tac toe game.

- Fridge magnets - Decorate the lightest pebbles and use strong glue to secure a magnet onto the back. For something more educational, paint the alphabet letters onto the pebbles, secure each pebble with a magnet, and have your child create words on the fridge. 

6. An art exhibition at home

Picture: Pexels

Spend the day drawing and painting, getting your child revved up for an at-home art exhibition. Once all the art is done, use pegs and twine (tied at two secure points at either end of a room) to display all the beautiful art. 

7. Have a picnic

Since eating out at restaurants and trips to the beach or park are discouraged, why not make mealtimes fun with an at home picnic? Pack a basket of your favourite snacks and drinks, if you have the option of taking things outdoors in your garden, pack a ball as it’s important to keep your kids active and running about - even in self isolation. 

Picnic snack ideas:

8. At home movie night

As people steer clear of public spaces, like the cinema, Netflix and chill has become everyone’s self-isolation go-to. Make things exciting for kids by creating your own at-home cinema. Set the scene by prepping your own confectionery stand, decked out with bags of popcorn, bowls of  sweets, veggies and dips. DIY your own movie tickets to be collected at the door. Lastly, grab cosy blankets and enjoy a movie together.

9. Make your own soap

If there’s one thing that the coronavirus pandemic has instilled in all of us, it's practising good hygiene habits. Making homemade soap is a fun activity for the family, but it is also a great way of introducing proper hand washing methods to children in a way that will get them excited, rather than scared. 

Follow the steps in this YouTube tutorial to learn how to make your own soap at home:


Although it’s very tempting for kids to be glued to their screens while schools are closed, being a couch potato can get boring after a while. If you’re looking to find new ways to keep your child healthy and fit, at-home yoga classes are the perfect solution. Just download a yoga app or find an online tutorial to follow along with.

Watch this YouTube yoga tutorial below:

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