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Creative ideas for surviving lockdown with kids

Melanie Wegener

It’s one thing to be negotiating your way through a global pandemic, with lockdowns and masks and restrictions. It’s another thing entirely when you are facing this with young children.

Coping with an extended period of time in lockdown is ridiculously hard. Kids don’t get why they can’t go in the car for a drive, why they can’t see their grandparents or have play dates. They don’t understand why the playground is closed and all of their usual activities cancelled.

Their little bodies need to move, climb, crawl and run. They need to be active and outside, they want to socialise with others.

As parents, we need a break. We need time with other adults. We need to get away from the stress of the house but how on earth do you do that in lockdown?

Last year at the height of the pandemic for us, I struggled big time during lockdown. Severe morning sickness with my third pregnancy, two active boys, tricky behaviour and no support. It was insane.

I’d scroll social media and see friends without children binge on tv series. They took up new hobbies in gardening, craft, painting, learning an instrument, cooking, sourdough. Their houses were KonMari’d and organised. They had time to clean all the things.

Others with kids who were older revelled in having precious time to do craft, board games, cooking and puzzles. They loved not playing taxi driver for sport and birthday parties. Despite the challenges of home schooling, many seemed to enjoy the chance to slow down and spend quality time together.

For those safe at home with young children however, this was a different story. Tantrums and meltdowns with no end in sight. The constant mess without a break. No grandparent help. No kindy or playgroup or mother’s groups. No exploring new places. Damn it was hard. Is hard.

If you’re home right now with little children, I get it. It’s bloody hard. I hope things change for you soon.

Until then, here are some ideas to keep you and the kids sane.

Ideas for your children:

  • organise a treasure hunt
  • have a board game afternoon
  • sit and watch the rubbish trucks
  • watch an old tv show
  • learn a dance routine and record it
  • play soccer in the hallway
  • do dress ups
  • send letters to friends and family
  • paint rocks to hide on your next walk
  • do a different craft activity each day
  • sign up for 30 days of Reading Eggs free
  • have a picnic in your yard or lounge room
  • make a cubby with blankets or sheets
  • write a list of movies to watch
  • create a lockdown scrapbook
  • make a time capsule and bury it
  • do a big room clean out
  • ask them what toys they’d like to sell or donate
  • have a silly fashion parade
  • learn a skill on YouTube
  • move around the furniture in their bedroom
  • bake a cake
  • play restaurants
  • have a pjs day
  • plant some herbs or veggies
  • read a chapter book together
  • create a family art gallery
  • make up a board game
  • draw with chalk
  • have races to complete puzzle
  • write and illustrate a picture book
  • create an obstacle course

Ideas for you:

  • Eat all the chocolate.
  • Don’t worry about the screen time.
  • Try to do something for yourself each day – bubble bath or hot shower, run, YouTube workout or yoga, a block of chocolate in bed with Netflix. Whatever it takes to get you through the other side.

If you’re not in a good place or you feel like you can’t cope, please go get help. Not coping takes precedence over Covid.

I’ll say that again.


Yes, Covid is bad and we need to do the right things to get through this. However, your mental health is super important and you need to look after your own needs.

If you’re not ok, reach out to a close friend or family member, or call Lifeline on 13 11 14. Don’t wait for things to get really bad before you ask for help.

Sending love.

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