With Auckland in the grips of yet another Level 3 snap lockdown, parents citywide are struggling to come up with yet more creative solutions to keep the kids both entertained and more importantly, out of their hair.
However, while schools have shifted to online learning or bubble schools, there’s still not enough for them to do to get past the tricky times when school ends, but your work doesn’t.
These are some options to keep kids going as pandemic parenting continues.
GOOGLE HANGOUTS WITH MATES
So while the older generation of kids are already probably WhatsApping, Snapchatting and TikToking with their mates, some of the younger ones may not be allowed access to apps like this.
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* The Resilience Project: ‘Covid-19 pushed us to do something we should have done a year earlier’
* Stuff and Heihei’s children-led news programme Kea Kids News gets another season
* Why Julian Dennison’s Deadpool 2 mutant is a step forward for big screen diversity
That means they could be desperately missing that interaction with their playground pals.
The best way to counter this is to set up a Google hangout with a group of them, so they can all chat about the usual rubbish they meet up at lunchtimes to talk about.
On the plus side, while it keeps them happy for a few hours, and out of the way, it can also stop them feeling alienated which, in the long-term, is a definite bonus and will ease their loss of social connection, caused by playground and after school activities being canned.
START A LEGO BUILDING PROJECT
I don’t care what you say – all ages love building LEGO.
Lockdown is now a time for those 2000 piece LEGO sets to come out of hiding and get started on. (Or ordered and picked up via contactless payment).
Sets are getting more intricate, with thousands of pieces set aside for building scenes from movies, and they’re still as popular as they always were.
And Lockdown Lego has become a social media movement with many sharing pics of their builds online.
The bonus with these projects, is that they can last for days if you do a bit at a time – and it’s also a great project to do as a family at nighttime. As ever with LEGO though, the downside is that if everyone is working from home, there’s more footfall in the house, and that of course means more LEGO bricks being stood on.
GET A BIT SCIENCY WITH NANOGIRL
Nanogirl aka Dr Michelle Dickinson is back with a second season of the show on TVNZ OnDemand that makes science both bite sized and fun.
Across 18 experiments, Kitchen Science teaches kids about cooking and science, while also educating them about healthy food choices at the same time.
Apparently designed to encourage young viewers to turn their own home into a laboratory, and to ignite their curiosity about STEM education, it’s more than likely that this series for the young ‘uns may be a double-edged sword.
You’ll keep them entertained for a bit, but the downside is suddenly you may find your perfectly arranged pantry is being raided for the baking soda and the vinegar to make some kind of explosions, and also ingredients sought to make a new fangled food.
STICK THEM DOWN IN FRONT OF DISNEY +
Thanks to the mega-conglomeration deals of Disney and 20th Century Fox, Disney + just became a serious streaming platform for all ages, with the release of an extensive catalogue of content for all ages.
For the older kids, there’s the sweary fun of Deadpool 1 and 2 (with number 2 seeing Hunt for the Wilderpeople‘s Julian Dennison coming of age), and for the younger end to the spectrum, there are new family films in the form of squirrel superhero Flora and Ulysses, as well as the Premium access launch of Disney’s newest film this week, Raya and the Last Dragon.
And if you’ve got a penchant for a bit of all ages fun, the entire Muppet catalogue is worth a perusal.
From the anarchy of all seasons of the OG The Muppet Show to the very clever revamped film and love letter to our felty friends The Muppets, there’s more than enough to keep family nights in front of the TV going while you quietly quaff some wine from that keep cup.