10 amazing ideas for online family activities

If you’re running out of things to do with the kids while you’re hunkering down, great broadband can make all the difference. We’ve surfed the net on your behalf, discovering everything from Twitter art to a virtual Everest trek
Get the kids cooking with cook-along sessions from well-known restaurants and chefs. Photograph: Jovo Jovanovic/Stocksy United

There are few things as wonderful as quality time with your little angels, but there really is an awful lot of it about at the moment, isn’t there? Happily, we’ve come up with plenty of ideas to help you fill this time, and keep it fun too. So explore everything your broadband can deliver, and let the adventures begin …

1. Sing with the stars
Whether you like to sing in glorious harmony or are more into belting out chart favourites at the top of your voice, there’s a digital choir to suit you. The Sofa Singersbring people together via Zoom to sing classics by artists from Bob Marley to Spandau Ballet. Numbers are limited, but the sessions are live streamed on YouTube so you can join in regardless. Lifefulness Live takes the choir idea and adds in celebs – José González and Rufus Hound are two guest performers who’ve taken part. Singalongs run every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, and are organised around a lovely ethos: “To feel connected when we’re being kept apart.”

2. Hand over storytime to Michelle Obama
If you’re going to deputise storytime, you may as well hand over to someone almost as charismatic as you. Check out the former first lady reading The Gruffalo and There’s a Dragon in Your Book on the PBS Kids’ YouTube channel. Or, for more UK-centric versions, there’s Floella Benjamin’s YouTube channel where she tells a mixture of her own and classic stories. The kids’ publisher Puffin is also doing daily weekday storytimes. On Mondays and Fridays there are picture book reads and draw-alongs for the under fives, with the other days aimed at kids aged six and up.

3. Take your board games digital
Family board games such as Ticket to Ride (eight and over) and Love Letter (10 and over) can be played online via the gaming platform Steam or using phone/tablet apps. For gaming accompanied by riotous laughter, Drawful 2 is drawing-based fun for all the family, with points handed out for guessing what others are sketching. If you screen-share via Zoom you can play with family and friends locked down elsewhere.

4. Laugh with Alex Horne and Greg Davies
Channel 4’s comedy panel show Taskmaster and its madcap creative challenges have gone digital since lockdown started. Throughout the week, host Alex Horne sets tasks on Twitter for families to complete by making 20-second videos. Think “Re-enact a momentous moment from history” or “Make and demonstrate the best method of transport in your home”. The very best are compiled into a Greg Davies-helmed video that’s posted on YouTube. Be warned, the bar is high.

5. Get your kids to make something V&A-worthy
Twitter art clubs have become a thing since lockdown started. The Great British Bake Off host Noel Fielding is retweeting kids’ pictures every Saturday between 3pm and 5pm, and the the V&A museum is running design-based challenges on Wednesdays aimed at seven- to 11-year-olds. It’s called #LetsMakeWednesdays. Or you can download brilliant (and free) activity packs featuring contributions from British artists including Antony Gormley, Grayson Perry and Gillian Wearing. Head to Art is Where the Home is to get started.

6. Take a virtual zoo tour
A little animal magic is always good for the soul, so to see how everything from pandas to penguins are faring during lockdown check out live webcams at Dublin Zooand Edinburgh Zoo. Chester Zoo is really pushing the boat out with occasional live-streamed Virtual Zoo Days. If you miss one, you can catch up with all the action on its YouTube channel. Chester also has approximately 100 activities on its site for animal-loving kids to try out.Advertisement

7. Have the kids sort dinner
May as well get the kids to help out with feeding everyone while they have time on their hands at home. There’s a huge choice of kid-friendly videos from 14-year-old Aussie chef Charli on Charli’s Crafty Kitchen. Watermelon lollies and rainbow cookies seem a particular favourite. BBC Food, too, has plenty of treats for kids to make, from banana pancakes to rainbow pizza. If you’re quick off the mark, each weekday Delish is running an Instagram Live cook-along for kids. It’s available for 24 hours if you can’t join in real time. For something more adventurous, you could give your older children a hand and help recreate their favourite restaurant dishes. Wagamama and Nando’sare both running cook-along sessions showing how to make the dishes customers are missing most. Bon appetit.

8. Send your children to Hogwarts
If your children need introducing to the world of Harry Potter (surely not?), Audible has just made the first book free to listen to. For those who are already hooked, the new official Wizarding World website offers hundreds of magical Harry Potter activities – for zero pence. Think quidditch quizzes, a guide to making Ravenclaw shoelaces and Q&As with the films’ stars. There’s a slightly more cerebral take for older kids at the British Library’s Harry Potter: A History of Magic exhibition. In the words of JK Rowling: “That’s what Hermione does. When in doubt, go to the library.”

9. Dive into high culture
There are child-friendly classical music clips online from the Seattle Symphonyorchestra, while the Royal Opera House has a series of challenges to inspire creativity in kids. To put that newfound love of high culture into practice try out the daily Facebook music lessons from the Benedetti Foundation. Take a look, too, at Myleene’s Music Klass – the clue on who’s leading the fun is in the name.

10. Get away from it all
You can still take your kids on holiday: you just need broadband. The family can head to St Lucia thanks to its tourist team’s live videos on Instagram, or if you’re really adventurous types, how about joining a virtual trek up Everest. Not sure where your fancy takes you? Go globe-trotting from the comfort of your home on Skyline Webcams. Rome! Madrid! Easter Island! The world is your oyster.

Vodafone #KeepingTheUKConnected
Our digital lifelines have never felt more essential than they do now.

That’s why every day, we at Vodafone are working hard to maintain our network.

So even when we’re apart, nothing can stop us being together.

Stay up to date with the latest information on what we’re doing to keep the UK connected. Find out more

This content is sponsored by Vodafone

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