School Holidays during COVID. {or what to do with kids when socially distancing}

School Holidays during COVID. {or what to do with kids when socially distancing}

Found yourself thrust into a quasi homeschooling/holiday-in-your-house scenario thanks to Coronavirus? Me too.

Okay, I have to admit I have felt very downcast going through my inbox since things got serious; it’s been overflowing with announcements from venues, festivals, productions and holiday programs all advising of their closures #soveryheartbreaking. And for the short term, the trend indicates it’s going to get worse. It’s a whole lot of awful weird.

To support everyone working together to #flattenthecurve and #staythefuckhome this autumn our school holiday what’s on post has been replaced by a “things to do when socially distancing” list!

One piece of advice – it might sound a bit formal – creating a calendar for the day/week ahead, and getting everyone to contribute to the list of all the things you plan to do each day does help. Endless weeks spent at home with no routine has the potential to feel very daunting – but if you like a routine, the days/weeks won’t feel so open-ended if you have a list of ideas to work to.

Virtually social.

Just because you can’t go hang out with friends in person doesn’t mean you can’t hang out virtually (assuming the internet is working)! My kids are very comfortable with Facetime (try Zoom or HouseParty for group chats) and use it daily… thanks to friends overseas I have slowly embraced the Facetime chat. And this week I was supposed to have lunch with a group of friends – we are now going to have a glass of wine and chat via Zoom instead.

My kids love to socialise while playing online games such as Fortnite (13+), Roblox (10+) and Minecraft (8+). They also have a lot of fun learning dance routines and sharing them with friends on TikTok.things to do when socially isolating

Get creative or scientific.

Lucky for you lots of my bloggy friends publish projects and activities they do with their kids – if you follow the links below you’ll find a goldmine of ideas to suit all ages. Here are a few to get you started 😊

  • I am loving this list of awesome Boredom Busters from Picklebums – there are loads of things on here my kids would love to try out, we will be adding some of these to our to-do list.
  • Just in time for Easter, The Craft Train has a tutorial on how to make Easter Egg bathbombs!
  • Looking for something a little more challenging? My Poppet Makes has loads of beautiful crafty ideas that suit teens and adults.
  • Embrace Autumn with an Autumn Leaf Investigation (Learn With Play at Home has loads of fantastic posts that provide learning moments – if you are searching for homeschooling ideas).
  • Have you ever dissolved the shell of an egg? No? Me neither! So I really want to try this experiment shared by Go Science Kids to dissolve an egg shell. This is just one of many easy science experiments you can do simply at home.
  • Do you know those melty beads from Ikea? They’re called “perler” beads and here are 40 ideas to get you going! Thanks Picklebums.
  • Ever built a catapult? This one, thanks Laughing Kids Learn, uses icy pole sticks, so I know my 11-year-old would be very keen given it might involve eating a box of icy poles! Or how about blowing up a balloon without using your breath?

Do your kids cook? These holidays I am planning to get the kids involved in some dinners – from choosing a recipe through to assisting/making the meal. What’s your child’s favourite dish to create?

Old school games.

We have quite a few board games and these holidays I have the perfect excuse to ensure we play each of them at least once (and perhaps “spring clean” the collection). One of our favourite games is UNO Flip (it’s lots of fun).

Maybe you want to try Play Based Parenting game to help talk about emotions – print it out for free.

Go outside.

It’s not too hard to practice social distancing if you head away from the city and out to the bush. Obviously a train trip is out of the question, so if you don’t have a car then maybe dust off the bikes and scooters and head to the nearest big open space that won’t have too many people congregating! (Take note, as services begin to close down you probably don’t want to go off the beaten track – save extreme bush adventures for after the pandemic/state of emergency). Beyond the obvious like ball games (with a racquet), walks in the bush or along a beach, there are so many outdoor ideas:

Jump up and down.

YouTube is a goldmine when it comes to trying out things – including kids Zumba, soccer training – anything and everything really! Grab your scooter and do a lap of the block – for the moment we are still encouraged to go for walks and spend time outdoors.

Read a book.

An oldie but a goodie! If you’ve finished your whole bookshelf why not do a book swap with local friends (be careful to disinfect and leave your books in a safe dry spot when you swaps).

Local libraries have lots of their collections digital and online – if you’re a member already login and check out what’s there to view online.

Audible has made part of their collection free to experience as part of their support to those in isolation during COVID-19.

Experience the world without leaving home.

Beyond documentaries, there are some amazing resources you can use online to visit galleries, experience the arts and more!

  • The Melbourne Symphony Orchestra is sharing it’s March and some April season live and free – get these dates in your diary
  • While the doors to the NGV might be shut, you can still enjoy the collection from afar. The NGV Channel will take you on a guided virtual tour of the gallery as well as provide access to behind the scenes documentaries. Families can also download activity sheets for the kids and for up-to-date storytelling and insights into the NGV Collection follow the NGV’s social accounts and the hashtag #NGVEveryDay
  • The top ten online museum and gallery tours
  • While Broadway is closed, stars of the shows will be participating in a series of Livestream performances, check out Stars in the House
  • How about some favourite authors sharing storytimes: Oliver Jeffers, Mac Barnett – share some others in the comments!
  • Zoos Victoria is sharing live streams of enclosures at Melbourne Zoo, Werribee Open Range and Healesville Sanctuary – called Animals at Home
  • Here is a great collection of other online institutions and resources: ChatterPack
  • Love an escape room and Harry Potter?  Check this out!


My kids will choose episodes of their favourite TV series over a movie pretty much every time – TV watching has definitely changed since I was a kid.

Some series we’ve been watching include Brooklyn 99, Brain Games, The Flash, Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Gilmore Girls. Given we don’t watch actual TV (the aerial broke 2 years ago), the ABC’s BTN is a great way for the kids to experience the news (and in the current climate it’s great to have a kid-friendly news bulletin to turn to!).

I suspect these holidays we might be turning to screentime more than usual… depending on the wifi signal of course!

Us time.

So we won’t be having so much face to face time with our friends and extended family (distancing can turn into isolation depending on your luck). Those we live with – our bubble – are going to be the only people who can invade our personal space. So give your babies, and your fur babies, regular hugs to get you through.

What seemed like a crazy time to get a new puppy (the week before I started a new job) has in hindsight turned out to be a stroke of genius as we’ve all been isolated at home (due to potential exposure – still waiting for test results) and cuddles, games and lots of kisses has definitely been welcomed. Even the cat has joined in.

[disclaimer: I am not suggesting you need a pet to get you through Coronavirus – but if you have one, enjoy those cuddles!]things to do when socially distancing

And if you need to read something uplifting, check out The Kindness Pandemic on Facebook… it really does warm the heart ❤️