How to Thrive When Working From Home with the Kids

It’s a dream for many parents to work from home, the idea of saving money on fuel, avoiding that stressful commute, not having to deal with constant distractions in the office or listen to Bob eat with his mouth open, sounds like heaven. The opportunity to exchange all that for a cosy office and more time with your kids. What a dream, right?

As much as we are equipped to work from home these days, we are never really prepared for when the kids are home. Because, since when do we eat to a schedule, or play handball outside to burn off that high calorie lunch? Lunch break, what’s that? So, the thought sounds nice, but the reality is working from home in a household full of children can be very, very challenging.

Not to worry, we know how to fix this and can make working from home with your kids a breeze! You see here at Springfree HQ, we have reached out to our parents, gathered their suggestions and mapped out how you can remain productive with your work whilst keeping your kids entertained and educated throughout the day.

Our 'How to Thrive When Working From Home with the Kids' Hub Page provides parents with the tools and resources to help keep your kids busy while you work and keep hold of your sanity.

Fun Activities

Paper Plate Fish

What you will need:
  • Paper plates
  • Scissors
  • Glue stick
  • Coloured paper or crepe paper
  • Permanent marker
  • Colouring pencils
Directions
  • Cut different shapes out of the coloured paper or crepe paper (eyes, scales, tails, fins, flippers).
  • Glue pieces to paper plate to resemble a fish.
  • Use marker to mark eyes, add scales, and colouring pencils to fill the gaps.
  • Make a few and there you have it, a school of fish.

DIY Hallway Laser Maze

What you will need:
  • Crepe paper (also called streamers). You can usually find it in the party section of a cheap store
  • Masking tape so you can tape up the maze without damaging your walls
  • James Bond Music
Directions
  • Tape the crepe paper on the wall in a zig-zag pattern, back and forth, high and low, moving down the hallway. The idea is to create a “maze” that your kids can then work their way through, like the laser mazes you often see on spy movies.
  • Try to make the maze hard enough that kids can’t just crawl under the entire thing, but easy enough that your child won’t be frustrated and give up. Encourage your kids to treat it like a real laser maze: i.e. tell them not to touch any of the crepe paper to get through it safely.

Printable Big Mouth Colouring Pages

What you will need:
Directions
  • Print your free Big Mouth colouring in pages on an A4 piece of plain paper.
  • Start colouring it in the way you like.
  • Use the three lines on the edge of the paper as a fold guide.
  • Fold and your Big Mouth is ready to talk (narrator required).

Educational

 

Play Paint Sample Card Hunt

What you will need:
  • Brightly coloured paint sample cards from your local hardware store
  • Coloured toys (we're sure you have plenty in that toy box at home)
Directions
  • Hand out a coloured paint sample card to each of the kids.
  • Ask your kids to find items that match each colour as closely as possible.
  • To make it a challenge, add a timer where they will need to source as many coloured items aiming to match all the coloured tiles within that time.

What Does an Elephant Brush His Teeth With?

What you will need:
  • A 2ltr soda bottle, cleaned
  • Hydrogen peroxide solution at least 6% or greater (parental supervision is required for this, please store away from children’s reach) you can purchase some from your local chemist – Gold Cross 400ml 6% is around $13.99
  • Dishwashing soap (liquid)
  • Warm water
  • One yeast packet
  • Food colouring
  • A deep roasting pan
Directions
  • Place the soda bottle upright in the middle of the deep roasting pan.
  • Fill the bottle with a half cup of hydrogen peroxide, a few drops of the food colouring, and a few drops of the dishwashing soap.
  • In another bowl, mix together two tablespoons of the warm water and the yeast, allowing the yeast to dissolve.
  • Allow your child to SLOWLY pour the yeast mixture into the soda bottle mixture and watch the elephant toothpaste come to life.

Games

 

Figure Skating

What you will need:
  • Cleared timber polished floors or polished tiles
  • Dryer sheets or wool mittens to fit on small feet
  • Rope or string to rope off the skating rink
Directions
  • Clear an area on your floor (or even rope off an actual rink).
  • Use dryer sheets or wool like mittens on your feet, grab your beanie and mittens and pretend you’re gliding across the ice.

10 Pin Bowling

What you will need:
  • Large plastic cups
  • Tennis or Hand Ball
  • Painters marker tape
Directions
  • Gather 10 large plastic drinking cups and pile up to make a pyramid.
  • Grab your handball or tennis ball.
  • Mark the bowling lanes with coloured painters tape (make a lane for each child if you have the space).
  • Away you go.

Keep the Balloon Moving

What you will need:
  • A couple of balloons
  • Adequate space with no tripping hazards
  • Music
Directions
  • Blow up a balloon for each child.
  • Clear an area for the kids to use (keep in mind they will be looking up and won't be paying attention to what’s on the ground).
  • Pop on some fun music.
  • The aim of the game is: Try and keep the balloon from touching the ground by bouncing it on your hands, head, arms or legs.

Fun Activities

Marble Painting

What you will need:
  • Large photo frame (Kmart sells many sizes)
  • Plain or coloured paper to fit the photo frame
  • Marbles
  • Water base nontoxic paint
  • Small bowls to hold the paint
  • A bowl of water to clean or store marbles not being used
  • Old sheet
  • Large cleared area
Directions
  • Remove the glass from the photo frame (keep the glass for later, you will need this).
  • Insert paper into the photo frame and secure it by adding the backing back onto the frame as is if you were putting in a photo.
  • Outside or in a space where the kids can make a mess without damaging anything valuable, lay down a large used sheet.
  • Have your selection of coloured paints (nontoxic and water base is recommended) at easy reach and in a small bowl where the kids can place their marbles inside.
  • Lay out the photo frames in front of them.
  • Place the marble in the paint then transfer to the photo frame on the paper.
  • Pick up the frame and tilt to all sides where the marble will leave a track of paint.
  • Get the kids to place the their used marbles in the water to clean them or keep them there if not being used (it will save you a mess you won’t need to clean later).
  • Let the kids get creative and encourage them to fill the whole piece of paper with colour.
  • Once finished, place the frame somewhere out of reach in a dry cool place and let it dry.
  • Once dry, get your child to sign it with their name and add the glass back into the frame over the top of the dried artwork.
  • Voila, there you have it, your very own framed piece of artwork created by your little artist.

Ice Tower Excavation

What you will need:
  • A long tall container (one container per child)
  • Colourful toys from the toy box (small enough to fit in the container and be covered by water)
  • Freezer
  • Water
  • Salt
  • Eye droppers
  • Squeeze bottle
Directions
  • Fill the container with clear water.
  • Place a toy in each container.
  • Place in the freezer until the water turns to a block of ice.
  • Ease the ice tower out of the container and place on concrete outside or on a towel.
  • Give the kids the salt, eye droppers with a bowl of water and the squeeze bottle with warm water as tools to melt the ice.

Ball and Cup Game

What you will need:
  • A plastic bottle
  • Ping pong ball
  • String
  • Tape
  • Screw eye hook
  • Knife
Directions
  • Pick a large plastic bottle (1ltr empty coke bottle works best).
  • Keep the narrow opening closed with a lid and cut the bottom to create a wide opening.
  • Poke a small opening in the ping pong ball to insert the screw eye hook.
  • Tie one end of the string to the hook and the other end to the bottle. You can take the cap off the bottle, put the string in and put the lid back to tie the string to the bottle.
  • Your ball and cup game is all ready to go.

Educational

 

Make Your Own Jellyfish

What you will need:
  • 1-2 ltr clear bottle
  • Clear plastic bag
  • Dyed water (blue is nice)
  • Scissors
  • White string
Directions
  • Fill the bottle halfway with the dyed water.
  • Lay out your plastic grocery bag.
  • Start cutting it into small strips (you may need to do some trial runs with this).
  • Tie the strips together to form a jellyfish-like shape.Make a little air pocket bulb in part of the remaining plastic and tie the strips together with the air bulb (make sure the air bulb is small enough to fit through the opening of the bottle)
  • Push the plastic “jellyfish” into the dyed water. Gently add more dyed water on top of it, leaving at least two or three inches of air at the top of the bottle.
  • Tightly secure the top to the bottle, and then allow your children to play with the “jellyfish in a bottle”.

What Will Dissolve

What you will need:
  • Clear bowl filled with water
  • Other bowls filled with:
    • salt
    • sugar
    • baking soda
    • rice
    • tea
    • coffee
    • spices
Directions
  • Get you child to put one ingredient into the bowl of water to see if it dissolves.
  • Continue with the experiment, removing the old water and re-filling the bowl each time.
  • Get them to record each one and at the end tally up the results. This could be another way to introduce your kids to pie charts, tables and graphs.

It's 'Snot' Funny

What you will need:
  • Boiling water
  • A cup
  • Plain, unflavoured gelatine
  • Corn syrup
  • Green food colouring
Directions
  • Fill the cup half-full of the boiling water (parent supervision is recommended) and three drops of food colouring.
  • Add three teaspoons of gelatine to the water.
  • Allow the gelatine to soften, then stir it with a fork.
  • Add a quarter of a cup of the corn syrup to the gelatine mixture.
  • Stir the new mixture with the fork again.
  • Check out the strands of “snot” that have formed.
  • As the mixture continues to cool down, add small amounts of water to it. Then, gross out everyone. What’s not to love.

Games

 

DIY Car Racing Track

What you will need:
  • Chalk or Masking Tape
  • Toy cars
  • Bitchumen or concrete area
Directions
  • With your chalk or masking tape, mark out your racing tracks, write your child’s name at the beginning of their track and draw a checkered finish line (straight line).
  • Get your kids to choose their tracks.
  • Place car on their tracks and ready, set, GO! Push them towards the finish line.

Sock Toss

What you will need:
  • A pair of socks wrapped together to resemble a ball (three pairs per child if you can locate all pairs)
  • A washing basket
  • Masking tape
Directions
  • Roll pairs of socks into a ball and hand three balls of socks to each child.
  • Place empty washing basket in middle of the floor.
  • Place a ring of masking tape 500mm out from the basket.
  • Place another ring of masking tape 500mm out from the first ring.
  • Do the same again two or three times (birds eye, the rings will look like a bullseye with the basket in the centre of the rings).
  • Each ring will resemble a level.
  • Start from the inner ring and toss a sock ball one at a time, when each child gets all three socks in, they move to the next level.
  • Add more rings if you have the space and the kids want the extra challenge.

Build a Fort

What you will need:
  • Blankets
  • Chairs
  • Table
  • Cardboard Boxes
  • Pillows
  • Music
Directions
  • Find a space that can be used for a long period of time.
  • Get your kids to be creative and hand over the all the items they will need to build their fort.
  • Turn on some fun music and let your little architects get creative.

Fun Activities

News Reporters

What you will need:
  • Phone with a camera, tablet, iPad, video camera or laptop
  • TV screen with access to YouTube (google world map or a city and press pause)
  • Table and chair
  • Office attire (for the kids to play dress up)
  • Piece of paper and a pencil
  • Internet for the kids to do their research
  • Spare phone with news music/soundtrack
Directions
  • Use the TV as a news screen backdrop (map of Australia, world, city, etc.).
  • Set up the iPad, phone or computer and prop it up as a camera ready to record.
  • Give the kids a topic to report on and send them away to research for 30 minutes (tip, reporting on something factually funny is a great way to keep them focused).
  • Once their speech is ready, it’s time for wardrobe, hair and makeup and to practice their reporting voice.
  • Lights, camera, action, next get that camera ready and hit the record button (tip: use news soundtrack on a spare phone or device as their introduction and closing of the show).
  • Once finished, replay and watch your little TV stars shine.

Write a Poem

What you will need:
  • Pen
  • Note pad or book
  • Topic
  • Examples/internet
Directions
  • Research a few poems to find examples.
  • Learn the definition of a poem.
  • Find a topic to write about.
  • Start writing (encourage a few topics to write about; love, humour, fact, current issue).
  • Share poems after dinner with the family.

Teach Your Child How to Make Dinner or a Cake From a Recipe

What you will need:
  • Your favourite recipe
  • All the ingredients
  • Baking or cooking items/utensils
  • Parent supervision
Directions for the kids
  • Put on your favourite apron.
  • Lay out the recipe.
  • Prepare all the ingredients.
  • Prepare all the utensils.
  • Follow recipe instructions.
  • Enjoy eating with the family.

Educational

 

Oobleck Fun

What you will need:
  • 2 cups of corn starch
  • One cup of water
  • Large rectangle container
  • Food colouring
Directions
  • In the large container mix in the corn-starch and water.
  • Mix until combined.
  • Add food colouring.
  • Get your kids to poke it, gently lay their hand flat on the surface and lightly jiggle and watch it how it changes consistency.
  • Tip: Try different movements to see different reactions.

Growing Crystal Geodes

What you will need:
  • Alum Powder – 1kg
  • Eggshells or Plastic Eggs
  • Glue
  • Paintbrush
  • A box or something to sit your eggs in to dry
  • A medium pot
  • A spoon or whisk
  • A measuring cup
  • Food Colouring
  • 2 cups water
Directions
  • The day before you grow the crystals, you will need to prepare your eggs. You have to do it the day before to allow the glue to dry (the glue needs to be 100% dry and hardened before you put it in the alum solution.
  • First, paint the eggshells with a thin layer of glue (Tip: if you want the crystals to grow around edge, make sure to paint the glue around the outside of the rim of the eggshell).
  • The thinner the coat the better.
  • While the glue is still wet, sprinkle the egg with alum powder (if the glue is on the rim, tip it upside down and dip it in the alum powder).
  • Prop the eggs up in the box to dry overnight.
  • The day of: Time to make the alum solution.
  • Mix the food colouring in 2 cups of water (the stronger the colour the better) in a pot and bring to boil.
  • Take off stove and mix in ¾ cup of alum powder.
  • Stir until dissolved.
  • If some of the alum powder remains at the bottom of the pot, heat a little more to dissolve the remaining amount (tip: you want the water to be holding as much alum powder as it can possibly hold).
  • Note: There’s a fine line between saturated and crystals sitting around in the bottom of the bowl. If there are crystals in the bottom of the bowl, they will draw the alum away from your geodes, and the crystals in your geode won’t get as big.
  • Drop your egg shells into the solution and leave it alone until the next day.
  • Check them carefully, if you want your crystals to grow bigger, very gently (!!!) place them back into the solution and wait until the next day.
  • Note: you can keep reheating and re-saturating the alum solution.
  • Note: Alum is an edible pickling spice, so it is completely safe, but don’t go eating a bunch of it or anything, safe and healthy are two different things.
  • When you are finished with the solution, simply empty it down the sink and wash the pot/bowl.

Make Fireflies with a Glowstick

What you will need:
  • Pack of glow sticks
  • Mason jar with lid for each child
  • Diamond glitter
Directions
  • Carefully cut off the top of each glow stick and empty the contents into the mason jars (contents of glow sticks are toxic, please do not get the contents near mouth, nose or eyes and wash hands thoroughly after handling opened ended glow sticks. Dispose all used glow sticks in the bin, please keep out of reach of young children).
  • Add diamond glitter to give that extra sparkle.
  • Screw the lid on the jars and shake well.
  • The contents of the glow sticks and glitter will stick to the sides of the jar and give the illusion of colourful fireflies.

Games

 

Cotton Bud Challenge

What you will need:
  • Toothbrush (1 per participant)
  • Cotton Buds
  • Empty toilet paper rolls (1 per participant)
  • One full toilet roll
Directions
  • On a long table, place the empty toilet rolls in a line (with a 10 – 20cm gap between each one).
  • On another table close by, place the full toilet roll on the table (whole end facing up) and place the tub of cotton buds next to it.
  • Player 1, places a cotton bud long ways on top of the toilet roll (this is so they can pick up the cotton bud with their toothbrush).
  • Player 1 places the end of the toothbrush in their mouth (not the brush end, they will need this end to pick up the cotton bud).
  • Without using any hands, player 1 bends down to pick up the cotton bud with their toothbrush.
  • Player 1 needs to carefully walk over to place the cotton bud down onto the first empty toilet roll (the cotton bud needs to stay on top of the toilet roll and not fall off).
  • Once the tower has been completed, that player tags in their next team mate. The first team to complete all their towers wins.

Stack Attack

What you will need:
  • A table per player
  • A stack of 28 large plastic disposable cups
Directions
  • Each group will be given a stack of 28 cups.
  • One person from each group will need to stack the cups up into a pyramid and take it down as quick as possible without knocking them down or over.
  • If cups are knocked down or over, the player will need start again.
  • Once the tower has been completed the next player on that team can begin, keep going until the first team has all their players complete the task.

Movin' On Up

What you will need:
  • 2 x 10 pack of plain large plastic cups (1 x pack of a single colour – you will need two packs of two different coloured cups, red and green)
  • 2 groups of players
Directions
  • 1 pack of 10 cups per group.
  • Each group swaps one of their cups so there is one different coloured cup per stack per group.
  • Players have to take one cup from the top of the stack and put it at the bottom of the stack and repeat until they reach the odd coloured cup.
  • Tip, the odd coloured cup needs to start from the bottom of the stack.
  • The rule is: you can only move one cup at a time, starting from the top of the stack and moving it to the bottom of the stack.
  • Once that player makes it to the odd coloured cup, their next team mate can begin. Once all players on the team have completed a challenge each, that team wins.

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