April 2, 2020
At home

How to keep the kids entertained in isolation

With long days at home stretching ahead, and few opportunities to get out and about, every parent will welcome these ingenious ideas to keep the little ones busy.

Arty ideas

Have you got a budding artist sitting at home? Take your arts and craft sessions to a new level with The Art Gallery of South Australia’s host of Start at Home activities to inspire young artistic minds. Children can create found pigment paintings, based on works by Noŋgirrŋa Marawili, a senior artist of the coastal Yirrkala community. Yolngu artists interpret the tradition of using art materials in an inventive way, reclaiming printer cartridges. Try it at home by getting the kids to round up any broken bits of chalk and creating pigment. There are tips on the AGSA website for creating pigment with a range of objects, including beetroot and coffee.

On the ‘gram

Author, columnist and former MasterChef contestant Adam Liaw has a mouthwatering Instagram feed, which has recently included a few projects to try out with the kids. There are impressive paper mache creations, an easy and aesthetically-pleasing wooden soccer goal for the back yard and a cardboard box transformed into a treasure chest. You’ll be waiting by the feed for your next hit of inspiration.

While you’re on Instagram, pop over to Joe Wicks for fun ways for kids and parents to be active together, as well as delicious and easy recipes. Joe has decided to take over as a PE teacher for all on his YouTube channel, with a new lesson posted each week.

Play seaside

Nature Play SA and the City of Holdfast have partnered to create Down by the Sea, a hard copy booklet and online resource taking children on adventures across six of the council area’s natural spaces. Visit urban woodlands, creek lines, cliff faces, sand dunes, beaches and rocky shorelines. The booklet has highlighted Kaurna language and provides insight into the history, culture, local plants and wildlife in the area.

Photograph Jason Tyndall

Free screening

Windmill Theatre Co and Umbrella Entertainment will screen film Girl Asleep for free this weekend, from 6pm Friday, April 3, until midnight on Sunday. The film, based on Windmill’s theatre show, navigates the trials, tribulations and challenges of adolescence and will be shown on the Umbrella Entertainment site. Producer Jo Dyer of Soft Tread says, “Girl Asleep is a timeless teenage epic that speaks to the universal experience of adolescence and finding your place in the world. In a time of isolation, a story that connects us all is incredibly important.” Join the viewing party and use the hashtag #GirlAsleepViewingParty to share your snaps watching the film.


Raise your voice

Most parents will know Raising Children Network has a plethora of resources, from medical advice to entertainment ideas. Through the page, you can download the free Baby Karaoke app and keep the little ones busy with classics such as Five Little Ducks, Old MacDonald and The Wheels on the Bus.

The site’s Activity Guides are organised in age groups and offer some great suggestions, including how to build a cubby house and putting together a treasure hunt in your own yard or home.


Read out loud

If you’ve already read every book on your child’s shelf five times over this week, or you’re just sick of hearing your own voice, many local libraries are creating online story and song times. Story Time with Mitcham Library Service is a good one to check out and The Barossa Council Public Library has been posting Rattle and Rhyme songs, storytime and other children’s activities on their Facebook page. To find storytimes from libraries around the state, go to the SA Public Libraries Online Story Time YouTube page.


Swapping cards

Use your time in self-isolation to teach the kids about Australian animals, and the need for their conservation. Card game ANiMOZ was created by South Australian Joel Howland and allows children to play as the ranger, collecting species to build a healthy ecosystem. There are 54 animals in the starter pack and the rangers need to build them a healthy ecosystem and protect their sanctuary.


Green thumbs

Nature is one of the greatest resources to utilise and explore and there are some great pointers about how to do this on Pinterest. It’s the craftiest corner of the internet, so search out some ideas for your house-bound green thumbs. Tissue paper flowers are an easy task – stick the flower to a pop stick and plant in egg carton soil. Adelaide mum Tara Watson has given it a go with daughter Piper, and also recommends going on outdoor adventures to collect fallen leaves to paint and turn into garden creatures.


Through the lens

Travel the world – and beyond – with live cameras that can help you get out and about. The kids are sure to love a visit to the San Diego Zoo and San Diego Safari Park to see a range of animals, including penguins, polar bears, elephants and burrowing owls. For the water-based critters, Monterey Bay Aquarium offers virtual visitors a host of live cams, including the jelly cam, shark cam and Monterey Bay cam, where viewers can look for otters, birds and sailboats on Monterey Bay in California.

Tour the Louvre’s Petite Galerie and discover artworks from Delacroix, Rembrandt and Tintoretto. Also part of the virtual tours are Egyptian antiquities and the remains of the Louvre’s moat.

Search more of your favourite zoos, galleries and museums around the world – you’ll find virtual tours at the British Museum in London, the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam and the Guggenheim in New York City.


We asked Imprints bookseller Jo Case for her top children’s book recommendations to keep everyone from toddlers to teens engrossed.

Claris: Bonjour Riviera
Megan Hess
Hardie Grant Egmont, $24.95
Ages 3+

The gorgeous Claris series, created by fashion illustrator Megan Hess, follows the adventures of a mouse who moves to Paris to follow her dreams. Tiny fans of Eloise and Olivia will love this vicarious seaside adventure… and parents can enjoy armchair travel to the French Riviera while entertaining their little ones.


The Weed
Quentin Blake
Tate Gallery, HB, $24.99
Ages 5+

A new book by Quentin Blake, the iconic Roald Dahl illustrator, is always an event. This inspiring fable about the power of nature, encouraging children and adults alike to care for the environment and each other, and have faith in the unknown, is a feel-good read that looks gorgeous, and is perhaps a perfect read-together book in challenging times.


Timmy the Ticked-Off Pony and the Poo of Excitement
Magda Szubanski & Dean Rankine
Scholastic $16.99 April
Ages 7-10

Much-loved funny lady (and very, very good writer) Magda Szubanksi’s new kids’ series, Timmy the Ticked-Off Pony, kicks off this month. Primary schoolers who find toilet humour hilarious (so … all of them?) and enjoy silly stories will be thoroughly distracted by this one.


E-Boy: E-boy 1
Anh Do
Allen & Unwin, $14.99
Ages 10-14

Comedian and mega-selling kids’ author Ahn Do also kicks off a new series this month, for readers slightly older than his usual audience. Ordinary, sports-loving Australian teenager Ethan wakes from surgery to remove a brain tumour with amazing new powers … he’s always been good at computers, but now his skills are next-level. He’s part human, part robot … and all hero!


Taking Down Evelyn Tait
Poppy Nwosu
Wakefield Press
Ages 14+

Adelaide author Poppy Nwosu writes whip-smart, pop-culture drenched novels with heart and humour. In Taking Down Evelyn Tait, troublemaking Lottie decides to beat her good-girl enemy Evelyn Tait at her own game … all the while dealing with a fractious stepfamily, an unexpected love triangle, and discovering who she really is.


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