Updated: Apr 25
Most of us will have been locked up in the house for the last couple weeks and probably just about starting to run out of ideas about how to keep our selves occupied and make the most of the time we have.
First things first, before we get stuck into the list, I have a little bit of advice (you know because you asked me for it). For the first few weeks of COVID-19 hitting the headlines I was obsessed, i tuned into every news conference, scrolled every article on my phone and it pretty much dominated my life. It was all well and good staying informed and up to date with everything but it didn’t do my mental well being any good, since then I have limited the COVID-19 chat, read only essential updates and made a pact to fill my time with something bigger and better.
So, if you are feeling the emotional strain of this pandemic, please switch off the TV get stuck into something productive, get cracking on one of these activities and get closer to your friends, neighbours and family. Hand on heart, since giving up Corona virus overload i have almost managed to enjoy life the last weeks or so. I feel a little guilty actually enjoying thing’s at this time but I shouldn’t and you shouldn’t either!
Any how, lets get stuck into the first 50 of our 150 ideas for making the most of isolation.
Over the next few weeks i will be sharing a collection of more ideas for isolation, sharing small businesses and giving you some fun, useful and sustainable ways to make the most of COVID-19 social distancing. I would love to know your thoughts and see your attempts so get sharing on your socials and tag us or send us your pictures! 1) MAKE A BIRD FEEDER
A quick google of DIY bird feeders throws up some brilliant ideas for making use of what you have at home, you will find anything from lolly sticks to milk bottles, get crafty and have some fun.
2) PLANT A HERB GARDEN You don’t have to be particularly green fingered to start a herb garden and lots are pretty robust, you can start off a decent herb garden using jars, tin cans and even newspaper. The bonus is you have herbs on hand whenever you need them!
3) BUILD A BUG HOTEL
We cant make new friends with the humans due to social distancing but who said anything about the bugs in our back yard? Both the kids and grown up's will love this one, easiest with pallets but making a start with what you can find is good enough. Lots of leaves, twigs, pebbles and cardboard and you will have some creepy crawly guests in no time. For some bug hotel inspiration get yourself on Pinterest. psssst- we have an account there too so give us a follow.
4) SEED BOMBS
Encouraging wildlife to grow and the bees to visit is great for the environment and awesome fun too. You can find out how to make your own seed bombs by visiting the wildlife trust online.
5) BAKING You might fancy yourself as the next winner of The Great British Bake Off or you might not. I’m somewhere In between. Baking is great fun for kids and adults alike, and the bonus is you get a treat at the end. Try your hand at biscuit’s, cakes, flapjacks or even check out our recipe for using up ripe bananas for some delicious banana bread. If you fancy trying your hand at sticky toffee pudding, i am perfectly happy to do you a favour and do the taste test.
6) UNRECYCLABLE CRAFTS
Do you hate all the bits of packing you can’t recycle? Instead of throwing them into landfill, find ways to make them pretty. Make a space and pile up all the clean non-recyclable materials and get to work creating.
7) NATURE GLITTER
In general glitter sucks but the kids LOVE it. Take a little walk around your garden, or while you are on your daily health walk and lookout for pretty petals and leaves. Dry your collection out and try your hand at making some of nature’s glitter. Use a hole punch to punch out some discs., Grab some salt and food colouring of your choosing, mix it together and then bake in a low oven for around 10 minutes to dry it out. Voila!
8) CRAYON MOLDING
How many crayons can one household have? A LOT, most of them broken in half too. Instead of hoarding the broken ends or chucking them in a box and forgetting about them, you could chop them into smaller bits and pop them in a silicone mold, put them in the oven and make some new wonderful shapes.
9) STONE PAINTING
Most towns will have a dedicated rock painting page. The idea is paint the rocks with nice pictures or motivational messages then hide them around your local town for others to find and post on social media. If you don’t fancy the idea of hiding them right now then you can pretty up your own garden or hide them at a later date.
10) SALT DOUGH
Salt dough is super easy to make but lots of fun too. Why not create some memories by adding your hand prints. Check out the recipe here
11) BUILD A DEN
Remember back in the day dragging the furniture around and building dens with blankets and pillows? Well it is just as much fun as it used to be!
12) SOCK PUPPETS
Where do all the socks actually go? Two go in and only one comes out, what the?! If you solve the mystery of the disappearing socks then let me know but in the meantime those odd socks are great for making puppets with.
13) WE ARE GOING ON A RAINBOW HUNT Rainbows have become the positive symbol for hope, happiness and safety in all of this so take your daily health walk and see how many you can spot on your travels, there are some really cool attempts and when you get home you can make your own,
14) RANDOM ACT OF KINDNESS
We have always loved random acts of kindness and do our best to make it part of our daily life here at the Bottle Top. It might just be paying it forward for someone in the supermarket or dropping a little note through a neighbours door but now more than ever we need to be kind to each other. Think of your fellow humans and earn yourself some good karma by doing a RAOK for them, it could be the one thing that makes them smile today or even this week!
Colouring isn’t just for kids but grown ups too and it is proven to be great for our mental health - something which is being tested for most of us at this time. Here are some great free printables;
For Kids: https://kellyskidsdesigns.wordpress.com/
For Adults/older kids: https://www.facebook.com/OwlandBrolly/
16) READING NOOK
Create a little corner of hugge with your favourite blankets, cushions and comfy things. It’s great for adults but kids too. Have a little table for snacks and drinks and snuggle up with a book.
17) WORK OUTS
Gyms are shut and parks are closed so where do we go to keep fit? To the living room, that is where! We all know Joe Wickes the body coach is doing live PE sessions for the family with fancy dress Fridays which is super fun. We can also support small business, i recommend you check out Laura Bland who is one of the most inspirational women I know. You will find her workouts in her Facebook group or check her out online here: https://laurab-fitnessmentor.com/
18) FLASH CARDS
Half the country has been thrown into home schooling overnight, some us will love it and some of us will hate it. Its an adjustment for sure regardless how you feel about it. One way I have managed to teach the kids without “teaching them” is by getting creative. Cut up some card and make some flash cards, get the kids to write out letters and numbers and make learning fun and creative.
19) COLOUR HUNT
This is great for toddlers learning about colours but the whole family can get involved too. Decorate boxes with colours and set the kids a challenge to find as many items of each colour in 2 minutes. You could make a little trophy for the winner too.
20) HIDE AND SEEK
I have lots memories of squeezing into the wash basket and airing cupboard, not something i think i could manage these days after too many carbs! Get old school and have a family game of hide and seek.
21) SHADOW DRAWING
Make the most the sunshine and line up some toys. Trace around the shadows, you can even get some human to create some body shadows.
22) LEAF PAINTING
Collect some items from nature and trace around the outlines to make some lovely nature themed drawings, you could even do some research and find out the names of all the leaves and plants you have collected. You can download an app that tells you what you have found.
23) THREAD BEADS
Great for motor skills!
24) CAMPING IN THE GARDEN If like us you cant wait to go on a camping trip then why not create your own in the back yard? Get out the tent and sleeping bags, roast some marshmallows and gaze at the stars. The kids will love it and so will the grown ups too!
25) MUD KITCHEN
You don’t need to spend £100’s on the perfect artisan mud kitchen but grab some old pots and pan and set up a little mud kitchen in the garden. Add a little water to the mud and make some mud pictures.
26) FAMILY QUIZ
Familiarise yourself with zoom and get the family together with drinks and nibbles for a virtual quiz. Google has lots of quiz questions already set up and if you don’t fancy being the quiz master you could take a subject each and write the questions. If you really want to get competitive you could make it a regular gig and all agree to throw something in the pot for the winner!
27) ALEXA GAMES
Alexa is full of family friendly games from the kids from animal games to adult pop quizzes.
28) STEM VOLCANO
Your kitchen cupboard is full of ingredients like cornflour and bicarb that make some fun STEM activities. You can try your hand at slime making or even volcano eruptions.
Check out a fun recipe here: http://www.sciencefun.org/kidszone/experiments/how-to-make-a-volcano/
29) PLAY SHOP
Do you want to teach the kids about the value of money or get them to brush up on their math skills? Set up a shop or snack shack, price your goods and issue the kids with home made money. If they run out they either have to wait until tomorrow or earn some extra by doing jobs around the house. Here is an example of our menu but you can get creative.
30) PIZZA PARTY
Pizza dough couldn’t be easier and making funny faces with the toppings is something any one of any age can appreciate to make dinner times a little bit more interesting. You can find a good recipe here: https://www.sainsburysmagazine.co.uk/recipes/bread/quick-pizza-dough Top Tip (from one of out instagram followers) eat your pizza standing up in the kitchen for extra "party vibes".
31) FRIENDSHIP BRACELETS
I don’t know about you but I lost lots of hours as a tween making friendship bracelets of all shapes and sizes and have even made a few as an adult too! They are great fun and make a lovely little gift for those we are missing.
32) T SHIRT BAG
Got an old t shirt that isn’t quite good enough to donate? Try your hand at making yourself a t shirt bag. Its simple, lots of fun and makes use of something instead of chucking it into landfill. Watch this space for a video how to soon from us soon!
From blankets to face scrubbies you can make an array of useful items, if you are a newbie to crochet don’t worry, check out Bella CoCo on you tube or order yourself a beginners box from https://www.facebook.com/hookityourself/
Top Tip: Where you can opt for natural or recycled yarns as these are much better for the environment, we got our latest stash from https://isleofwool.com/
34) PLAYDOUGH PARTY
Who doesn’t love a playdough party, well did you know that you can have even more fun and make your own? Check out this recipe: https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/howto/guide/playdough-recipe If going DIY isn’t your thing then you can buy organic and plastic free playdough from https://www.facebook.com/MomayasOrganics/
35) DANCE WITH DIVERSITY
If doing squats and the plank isn’t your idea of fun then you can always get your exercise another way. Join Diversity and burn some energy learning a new dance routine. They are giving away a months free membership to their dance portal now at https://20dv.co.uk/
You cant beat a bit of karaoke BUT standing up in front of a crowd of people to sing like a cat to songs you don’t really know isn’t everyone's cup of tea, When its at home we don’t really have an excuse do we? Turn up the tunes and learn the lyrics to your favourite Disney tune now. TOP TIP: You Tube is a great resource
Puzzles aren’t just for caravan holidays but are good fun for doing at home too, if you have a particularly large and complicated jigsaw then think about putting it in a frame when you are done. If you have kids you could even think about designing and making your own.
38) PEN PALS
We might be socially distancing but that doesn’t mean you have to be antisocial. There is something about a hand written note that is special. Write someone you know a letter, make it pretty and you never know it might make it into their memory jar.
39) WISH JAR
Are you longing for restaurant service or a trip to the beach? Find an empty jar or box and every time you find yourself saying “ I cant wait for…” write it down and pop it in the jar for when this is all over. Thanks to the https://www.facebook.com/thefrugalfamilyblog/ for this idea, check them out and give them a follow for more inspiration.
40) WRITE A BOOK
If you asked me when i was a kid what it is i wanted to be i always said an author, i loved the idea of people curling up and reading stories i had wrote, designing a front cover and seeing my ideas come to life. I loved the book competitions at school and always convinced myself i would win. Everyone has a story to tell and having this time provides an opportunity to get out words down on paper. Check out https://cherisheditions.com/ for author support and publishing.
41) KEEP A DIARY
We are making history right now, whether we like it or not, kids in school years from now will be taught about COVID-19 like we were taught about the war. Keep a diary and document this time.
42) THE FLOOR IS LAVA
Social media has its own version of this game but back in the day making our way around a room without touching the "lava" was one of my rainy day go to games.
43) INDOOR PICNIC
Picnics are not just for parks but back yards and living room floors too. Sit down with the family and tuck in to some jam sarnies and sausage rolls just like you would if you were sitting under the trees, its great way to fun up lunch time.
44) SHADOW SHOW
I heard a little birdie say that it is possible that during this pandemic we might experience blackouts so grab your torch, lie on your back and make some shapes. I make a mean bird and butterfly, its not quit the light shows of Prague but its still pretty cool.
45) PHOTO BOOKS
We have a photo book of our wedding and the whole family loves picking it up and looking through the memories every now and then. Organise your favourite pictures and make a memory book, looking back through the pictures will no doubt bring back lovely memories and occupy your time.
46) DRESS UP
You don’t need to have an overflowing box of dressing up clothes, it is actually more fun if you don’t! As kids we used to swap each others clothes, wear mum and dads or make costumes with old pillow cases and fabrics. You could spice up your daily health walk by taking to the streets in your homemade costumes and give the neighbours something to smile about.
47) FACE PAINT
All the kids parties have face painters so why not make your own party at home, buy yourself some good face paint and have fun brushing up on your skills. That way by the time Halloween comes around you will be a pro.
48) MAKE OVER Hunt around your house for makeup brushes, hair clips and outfits and take it in turns to do makeovers for each other. Our favourite is dressing daddy up (i'm not sure its his fave task mind)
49) MOVIE MARATHON Ever wanted to watch back to back Lord of the Rings or Star Wars? Well now is your chance, get your snacks, get your remote and get your movie marathon on.
50) TIME CAPSULE One of my favourite ideas from my nephews naming ceremony was making a time capsule, Get each member of the family to add something to the time capsule and either bury it in the garden or pop it in the loft. 5 years from now open it and see how much time has changed. When my nephew turns 18 he will have a scan photo of his cousin and a mean welsh rarebit recipe!
Watch out for the next 50 family friendly isolation activity ideas. We would love to hear your suggestions and see what you have been up to. Let us know your ideas in the comments, tag us in social media @thebottletopnotts and subscribe to your website for notifications of the next blog! Stat Safe