Life on the inside: Traditional activities to entertain families during lockdown

Strict lockdown rules imposed during the coronavirus outbreak have led to families across the country spending more time together than usual.

Finding ways to be distracted and entertained will be important for everyone to get along in the weeks ahead.

Instead of being glued to your smartphones all evening, here are a few of the more traditional ways families can have fun together:

A Scrabble board
Could Scrabble be on the menu? (Jonathan Brady/PA)

1. Charades

An all-time classic. Flex those miming skills by getting family members to guess what you are acting out.

Maybe you are pretending to be the Prime Minister? Or the Health Secretary?

It does not need to be coronavirus-themed of course, but charades is an easy, active and often comical way to while away those lockdown hours.

2. Use a pencil and paper

A child writing
Your imagination can run free with just a pencil and a piece of paper (Dominic Lipinski/PA)

Simply picking up a pencil and paper opens up a world of options to keep yourself entertained.

Hangman, noughts and crosses and Pictionary are quick and easy games that require this most basic of equipment.

You could also try out consequences, where you take it in turns to contribute sentences to a story, or categories, which involves thinking up things beginning with a certain letter under a variety of subjects.

3. Card games

There are hundreds, if not thousands, of variants of card games out there.

Whist, rummy, hearts, bridge, president, cribbage – there are plenty of options to choose from.

And if you are unfortunately having to spend time alone at home, then there is always patience.

4. Monopoly

Monopoly World Championships UK Finals
Monopoly – careful not to let things become too heated (Yui Mok/PA)

A board game that perhaps should come with a health warning.

Snapping up properties, making money and getting out of jail can be great fun, but may also lead to a little family tension at times.

If Monopoly does prove too much, you can pick another classic game instead, such as snakes and ladders, ludo, chess or backgammon.

5. Baking and cooking

Life under lockdown provides a great opportunity to hone those cooking skills in the kitchen and collectively whip up a tasty meal.

For children, weighing ingredients and following a recipe can also help develop their numeracy skills.

We all deserve a treat or two in the current uncertain times, so now could be the time to find your inner Bake Off skills.

Eggs in a bowl
Can you reach a Bake Off level of cake-making? (Dave Thompson/PA)

6. Reading

Getting lost in a good book need not be a solitary experience.

Reading a bedtime story to children or sharing a tale with the wider family can be a calming way to spend time together.

Perhaps you can even make up your own adventure?

7. Have a singalong

Music has the power to be uplifting, and singing or playing together may help raise spirits under lockdown.

Hopefully someone at home can knock out some tunes on the guitar or piano for everyone to sing along to.

Failing that, you can go for an a cappella recital or find one of several karaoke videos on YouTube.

Elton John Red Piano Tour – London
Now could be a good time to channel your inner Elton John (PA)

8. I spy

Granted, you may run out of things to spot after a while, but I spy is another classic game for everyone to take part in.

It is as simple as saying the first letter of the object you are thinking of and getting those around you to guess what it is.

Hopefully you have enough to spot out of your windows to make it a bit more interesting.

9. Put on a play

Up the drama in your home by taking on the challenge of staging your own play.

Devising a plot, making costumes and creating a stage to perform on will keep you busy for hours.

Let’s hope the family critics are kind to your show.

10. Jigsaws

A 3D jigsaw globe
Lose yourself in a challenging puzzle (Zak Hussein/PA)

The higher the number of pieces in a jigsaw the better to fill those lockdown hours.

A favourite pastime of many, getting lost in a jigsaw is absorbing and mentally challenging.

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