picture of a dad and daughters in a den reading

5 free family-friendly activities you can do at home

With the new year here and the February half-term quickly approaching, many people may be looking for new and interesting ways to keep their children entertained and away from a screen. The experts at Millets have compiled their top 5 kid-friendly ideas that the whole family can get involved in. 

5 free family-friendly activities:

1. Fort/ den building and camping

Building your own den or fort could help you shake the habit of being glued to the TV.

Here’s what’s involved in building your own:

  • Pick a location - Embrace your space and make the most of your house by pretending each room is a different camp zone. 
  • Pitch up the den - Place a few chairs of differing heights around the living room and make sure that their backs are facing the inside of the den. Put a roof over their heads by draping some old throw blankets, some old bedsheets or a lightweight duvet over the chairs. 
  • Put a few cushions on the floor - Use cushions, bean bags, spare pillows, mattress toppers, and anything that’s going to provide a spongy surface to sit on.
  • The lighting - Add some finishing touches to your den by stringing up lights around it or making a personalised sign for it. 

In the lead-up to spring, the nights are beginning to stay lighter for longer, so why not think about camping out together as a family in the back garden?

There are so many ways that you could put your own twist on this:

  • You could create shadow puppets on the walls of your tent using your hands.
  • Buy a fire pit and treat your kids to a toasted marshmallow surprise for dessert after dinner.
  • Play some Jenga, Dominoes, Connect 4, or other board games inside the tent.
  • Maybe you could even test out the tent bunting.

picture of a boy and dog building an indoor fort

2. Doggy den building

Building a doggy den isn’t that dissimilar to building your own fort or den. 

The only difference is that although your dog may cheekily sneak its way into your fort, you are not allowed inside your four-pawed friend’s den. The whole point of it is to create a safe space for them to relax in and you could even make a sign to show that it’s strictly their space. 

Here are some ideas for signs you could create for the doggy den for all you pet lovers out there:

  • The Doghouse
  • Buster’s Den
  • Pooch Palace
  • No Humans Allowed!

3. Scavenger hunt

Pull together a checklist of items, objects, buildings, or people that you could potentially find or see around your local area.

Items you could include are:

  • Post Office
  • Shopkeeper
  • Postman or Postwoman
  • Picnic bench of bench
  • Town Hall
  • Dog walker
  • Park swings
  • Football
  • 3 other breeds of dog

As a bonus activity, maybe you could look up the history of your local Town Hall? Or speak to dog owners about their pet, what breed of dog it is and what its name is?

Your mission awaits and there’s no time to waste! Ready, set, GO!

picture of kids doing an indoor scavenger hunts

4. Make bunting 

The magical spell to spruce up your tent, den or fort is made up of a pinch of creativity, a sparkle of colour, and a dash of different materials.

Here’s what you need to do:

  • Gather around five different patterned fabrics and/or brightly coloured pieces of scrapbook paper.
  • Start to draw the shape and size of your first flag on the paper.
  • Cut out the flag. Use this flag as your template flag and use it to cut out the rest of the triangles. 
  • Attach the flags to a string. If you use paper, you can punch three to four holes at the top of each flag and simply thread a piece of string, ribbon or twine through the holes to hang the flags. If you used fabric, you can either sew the top edge of each flag around a piece of twine or ribbon, or you can use a bead of fabric glue to attach the string, for an easier option.
  • Hang your flag banner by tying the ends of the string to nails in the wall or by draping it over the outside of your den, fort or in the eyes of your little one, their make-believe castle surrounded by a moat or guarded by a scaly fire-breathing dragon.

5. Pottering around the garden

Are your houseplants starting to get thirsty, or maybe your outdoor plants are starting to look tired and frail? Give your garden or houseplant display a new lease of luscious life by potting some brand new plants, shrubs and larger perennials and get the whole family involved. 

 

 

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