How to keep kids entertained over the weekend in lockdown

With at least another weekend in COVID-19 alert level 4 on the cards for the whole country - and a few more than that likely for Auckland - many parents will be beginning to run out of steam when it comes to keeping the kids busy. 

With playgrounds and playdates off-limits for the time being, it's all down to at-home entertainment, which is a minefield when homes are already acting as schools and offices. 

If you're desperate for some inspiration - especially with the weather looking grim for most of the country in the coming days - I've got you covered. 

After browsing websites and turning to the parents in the Newshub newsroom, I've put a list of activities together that should at the very least see you through the weekend. 

Create a mini Olympics

2021 has seen our interest captured by the Olympics and Paralympics, which show off exactly what some of the world's most impressive athletes can achieve. Your family might not be able to run quite the same distances or leap quite as high, but you can create your own, scaled-back version of the Olympics in your own home. Parent Map has some great ideas for creating your own events, including constructing a shotput with tinfoil and a discus with a frisbee. If you live on a quiet cul de sac you could take advantage of the peaceful nature of level 4 by marking an area to race down the footpath. 

Enjoy the museum at home

Auckland Museum has launched Auckland Museum at Home, an online hub filled with stories, activities, videos and puzzles for the whole family to enjoy for free, with new content being continually added through lockdown. Kids can try a Te Reo Māori memory game, take part in a backyard scientist activity, learn how to trap light moths and even colour in sea monsters at home.

Get into the kitchen

Any parent who has attempted an "easy kid's recipe" with their own children will know it can quickly end up in a mess of tears, flour, tantrums and broken eggshells. One Newshub parent recommends making honeycomb: This recipe only requires five ingredients and is unbelievably easy - and fun - to make. Just keep the honeycomb at the top of the pantry so the container can't be reached by little hands, otherwise you'll have one hell of a sugar high on your hands. 

Just try and stick to portion control if possible.
Just try and stick to portion control if possible. Photo credit: Getty Images.

Build it up 

Have lots of Lego but only have the skills to build a basic house? You're in luck. If your kids have been enamoured by the creations on Lego Masters, put them to work using the new iOS app Brickit, an AR app that scans your Lego and tells you what to build. The process is very straightforward: Simply lay out your bricks, point your camera at the heap, and let Brickit do all the work for you. It will scan each individual piece, identify it, and then figure out which of Lego's many sets you can build from what you have on hand. It will even tell you which bricks are missing.

And if all else fails, do what one Newshub reporter says they did for their young cousin: Tell them you wrote their name on a blade of grass outside and not to come back inside into they've found it. 

Whether you actually write the name on the grass is up to you, but either way, you're guaranteed some quiet time with your book and a cuppa.