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A to Z of Lockdown Adventures

We're pretty lucky up in the top end of Australia right now... our lockdown is lifting and we're allowed out and about again but we're also aware there's only a case or two of COVID19 between us and another case of the lockdowns. Plenty of you awesome, adventurous parents are still locked down and starting to feel pretty desperate, stir crazy and lockdown bonkers... You could be forgiven for really hating being locked in with the kids, you could be forgiven for throwing your hands up in the air, logging into your favourite online store and buying an iPad preloaded with the entire history of paw patrol, wiggles and whatever the hell else they're watching right now, locking yourself in the bedroom and letting them self parent for a couple of weeks while all this bullshit blows over...


But theres got to be a way to keep our adventurous, inquisitive spirit alive while travel prohibited, social life stalled and childcare centre doors closed. Let's start the conversation here and I'll drop some simple ideas in and collate any other suggestions that you super-parents suggest.

Art

Put down some sheets to protect the living room and a big roll of paper and some easily clean up-able paints and let the kids go wild. If they're into it and able, give them some direction by setting challenges or google-ing a tutorial for them to follow. This will give you a little extra control over the time the activity takes.


Build

If you'd rather contain your kids around the easy to tidy tabletop or you're short of space, get out the lego, saved art boxes, Play-doh or whatever else you've got lying around and build. Setting targets or building to a plan like a farm or zoo for the animals, bridge over the gap or castle for the princess will likely kill more time than free play and be lots of fun.


Bake

Edible fun... From pancake mixing to muffins to pizza, there's huge scope to build some skills in the kitchen and try to develop some adventurous house recipes too! let them go a bit wild and experiment with some of the dough fur fun.


Board Games

You've likely got a cupboard full of board games that are a little more involved than the card collecting, bingo style and simplistic ones in the kids toy chest. By simplifying (or removing!) a few complicated rules and focusing on the skills your adventurers already have you can get some decent mileage out of your collection of strategy games...


Collect Insects

One of my adventurers in particular is shit scared of insects but they both still love to explore and find them and then keep them safely captive for a while to see what plants they'll eat


Cook

Is this cheating? It's basically the same as baking but with different ingredients... No, hell - i'm claiming it, it is different, screw you nay-sayers, it counts! Oh no, now i have to think of something different to write than I did in the baking bit...


Dance

My kids love to dance and love to follow a routine. Pick a favourite song and make up a routine for your kids to practice and perform. Or pick any song and there'll be a youtube video of some kids presenter in weird costume doing a tutorial. There's a couple of dance video game tutorials you can find on there too!


Den Building

Put those delivery boxes to good use and build a cardboard box fort... Our little adventurers can spend ages building, decorating and then defending their new territory from the dogs. If there's no spare cardboard available then its amazing what you can do with a couple of bedsheets, any item of furniture and a few cushions!


Dog Training

Unless you don't have a dog, i guess. That'd ruin it! Can you train a cat? Let's broaden it to feeding, training, stroking or otherwise antagonising the family pet. Hours can be killed and, with any luck, the pets will have a bloody great time too.


Exercise

OK, so if you are allowed out of your prison, I mean home, it's not hard to realise this is an important part of your day and a chance for adventure. Enjoy it, make the most of it and make it varied. Maybe go somewhere you can link to your home activities, to get some extra mileage out of them. Just get out and get the exercise so you'll have clear heads, sound sleep and good fun. Time it to break up the day or assist in the nap/food/education routine where you can.


Music

We happen to have a few instruments lying around in the house... for the kids if my wife asks! But if you don't it wont stop you from building some musical skillz (is it still cool to put random "z"s on the end of words? No?) Drumming in time to the beat, singing along to a favourite song or recording yourselves on your phone can be heaps of fun for you and them!


Photography

A great way to kill some time is to set some targets of photos to capture, they can involve simply household items, scenes that need to be acted out, animals in the neighbourhood or anything your adventurers are into. It's super easy to make a slideshow or album out of the results and our guys have started capturing some great shots worth keeping (like, one in fifty. Be prepared to spend some time deleting at the end of the day) Your locked down relatives will appreciate the slideshows you pass on for their amusement.


Picnic

Setting up for a garden or living room floor picnic can be a heap of fun and giving the little ones a bit of freedom can provide some pretty weird picnic settings! Give plenty of direction as to what is and what is not allowed so that the heirloom bowl that's been in the family for 3 generations does not get chucked on the lawn as a salad receptacle.


Plant Seeds

Whether you have a garden, balcony or just a window ledge to plant on there's a heap of options to help them learn about plants and their care. A wide range of edible sprouts take no room and are super simple to start with but there's massive scope for edibles or decorative plants. You could even make a terrarium! Or google which vegetable scraps or seed you can plant and watch grow!


Read & React

"Oh wow, Dadventurer Greg has saved us by suggesting we kill time by reading books", yeah not exactly revolutionary. But having a go through a favourite book before re-enacting it, searching for the characters on your next walk or in the garden, or linking it to a purpose for art or building time can really help with prolonging and adding purpose to those other activities. So stop having a go, alright!


Rest & Reward

Probably more important than we realise, planning a reward and rest will allow us all to look forward to the next activity and reflect on what we've done that day. Rewarding each other for what we've done, whether edible, screen based or other will help build good habits and rest time will ensure we have enough steam for the adventures still to come. I merged these into one because they'r boring to write about.


Routine

Damn, this one is boring too, but pretty important. I was always pretty happy that my kids were not too reliant on a routine until we spent a little time house bound. Then I learnt about routine real quick. Little elements of predictability can ensure less fighting and more team work during activity transitions, meal times and bedtimes in particular.


Treasure Hunt

This can be as simple as hiding her top 15 "My Little Ponies" round the house or garden, or having to find the puzzle pieces before completing the jigsaw but it can provide heaps of extra fun. If you've got the time, writing or drawing clues or a treasure map will add a lot to the adventure. Maybe start by labelling the number of "treasures" in each room as a simple clue/map to get into it.


Video

Start a promising youtube career (not really) by videoing book summaries, toy reviews, messages to family members or demonstrating the day's learning. You can show them how to trim clips, send to grandparents and stream their video to the big screen to add to or finish off the experience.


Wildlife Spotting

Try to avoid looking like a nosey neighbour while staring out of the window to look for a range of local birds and wildlife. If you've a garden you are allowed out into and your noisy kids won't scare away every squirrel/wallaby/tiger (delete as locally appropriate) then try that too! It might help to have a tick list or tally chart to keep track and add direction.


I've been really encouraged by the amount of content available to parents during these crazy times. The celebrities doing dance, cooking and art tutorials, the companies giving free upgrades to subscription TV and the communities looking out for each other. And it's totally ok to rely on the tech you'd normally turn your nose up at but keeping that for the end of the day or to supplement or enhance your adventures will help keep the kids involved and active longer and might help the sleep routine later on as well.


Hopefully some of this is useful to some of you guys out there but if not well, hell, you're welcome for helping kill 5 minutes of your time in reading it!


Stay sane but more importantly, stay safe! and make sure you send in any cool ideas to add to this list!

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