When Jamie kindly gifted us a copy of his new book “Kids in Quarantine: 178 Ways to Stop Your Children From Driving You Crazy During a Global Pandemic (which has come at the best possible time with us being seriously low on ideas) we asked if he’d be interested in writing a post for the readers at The Stevenson Life. Luckily for us he agreed!


If you’re reading this article then there’s a very good chance that you’re getting a bit fed up with quarantine, specifically, kids in quarantine; you’ve completely exhausted all of your child-friendly activities, and could do with a bit of inspiration.

Well you’re in luck, because a new book, Kids in Quarantine: 178 Ways to Stop Your Children From Driving You Crazy During a Global Pandemic by Jamie Wilco, is here to help you out, with a huge list of suggestions for how to make your household more happy and healthy during these strange times.

There are twelve chapters in the book, divided into three sections: ‘Having Fun’, Learning and Fitness’ and ‘Let’s Get Serious’.  Below is a sample of some of the ‘Being Creative’ chapter


Enter competitions.  You’ll have much better odds with contests that require some kind of creative entry, such as drawing a picture of writing a story – most people can’t be bothered to put a few minutes’ effort in, giving you a huge advantage if you can.

How: Money Saving Expert has an excellent guide on how to enter competitions in the most effective way possible.

Take part in the ’30 Day Lego Challenge’.  This is a list of construction tasks, one for each day – everything from creating your dream bedroom to designing a new flag.

How:  You can see a copy of the 30 Day Lego Challenge on Freehomeschooldeals.com.

Play ‘the Monster Game’.  Fold a piece of paper into three sections.  One person draws the head, one person draws the torso (without seeing the head), the third person draws the legs (without seeing the head or torso).

How: See The Game Gal‘s guide for more info.

Learn how to take better photos, and then set up a photo shoot.  Candid, spontaneous photos are great, but taking a few minutes to set up a family shot will give you much more professional results.  It’s not important whether you use a ‘proper’ camera or a smartphone, it’s more about what you do with it. 

How:  Digital Photography School has a useful short guide to improving your photography (lighting is everything!).  This Petapixel article shows you how to make a really memorable and fun movie-inspired photoshoot without spending any money.

Turn your photos into masterpieces, using Google‘s Art Transfer.  The feature, found on the Art & Culture app, allows you to transform your family photos into the artistic style of the likes of Van Gogh, Da Vinci and Monet.

How: See the The Verge‘s article, and download the Art & Culture app on your phone.

Draw portraits of each other.  Have everyone take turns to draw each other, and then reveal the results at the end.  Alternatively, make an attempt at self-portraits.  Whether your creations are amazing or hilariously bad, they’ll make a unique addition to your wall.

How: You can use any material; paint, pencils – even drawing on to Post-it Notes with regular pens. 

Recreate something from Pinterest or Etsy.  Search through these sites and find a nice little project you can work on.  Even if your results look nothing like the originals, you’ll have fun and maybe learn some new skills.

How: This really depends on your tastes – the best thing is to go to Pinterest, Etsy or similar site and see what catches your eye.

Learn the art of origami.  This is one of the few hobbies where you don’t need anything to start (except for a scrap of paper of course).  Many origami designs can be recreated with napkins too, which will give you a nice little party trick the next time you’re out at a restaurant.

How:  Youtube is the place to go – try Craft TV‘s tutorial on how to make a simple dog.  For themed origami, search for ‘origami’ and then your children’s favourite shows or videos game, and see what comes up.  ‘Pokemon origami’  is particularly good.

Learn how to make balloon animals.  If you can make a poodle or a sword out of nothing, young children will think you’re some kind of wizard.

How: The Spruce Crafts has a guide to making some of the more basic designs.

Buy some chalkboard paper to stick on your wall.  Being in quarantine can mean a lot of sitting around – encourage your children to stay on their feet by putting chalkboard paper on the wall.

How: It’s available from most good arts and craft stores.

Make sock puppets.  Who needs Sesame Street or The Muppets when you can throw together some socks, buttons and a bit of thread and make your own totally unique set of characters.

How: Check out Handmade Charlotte‘s ideas. 

Teach your dog some tricks.  Don’t expect too much, but with enough patience you might be able to get a ‘sit’ or a ‘bark on command’.

How: The popular Youtube channel Zak George’s Dog Training Revolution is full of useful tips.

Try out some new hairstyles.  Many schools ban unconventional hairstyles, but if the kids aren’t at school anymore then this is a great opportunity to try out hair dye, a mohawk or some elaborate braids.  And maybe dad can join in and try and grow a moustache for a couple of weeks – mum too, if she can.

How: Country Living has a list of hairstyling techniques for kids.

Wear fancy dress for no reason.  Most people have some costumes laying around the house, and who says we have to wear normal clothes every day?  If you’re off work, then it’s not like anyone’s going to see.  You could also use this time for prepare for any future fancy dress events, such as World Book Day.

How: The website Fancy Dress Ideas has a section on costumes you can make at home.  Making up your own superhero is always an easy option – put on some leggings and a mask, grab some disinfectant spray and suddenly you’re ‘Captain Quarantine’.

Learn some magic tricks.  They’re not for everyone, but if your child takes an interest in the area then it’ll keep them occupied for a long, long time.

How: Either look up a list of kid-friendly tricks that can be learned using household objects (such as this one from Care.com) or buy a box of such as the Spectacular Magic Suitcase, Marvin’s Amazing Magic Tricks, or Learn & Climb‘s Starter Magic Collection.

Play some pranks.  What better way to add a bit of unpredictability to yet another day in quarantine than to get the whoopee cushion out.

How: Be inspired by Mom Junction‘s list of kid-friendly pranks.

Try new forms of creative writing.  A diary, a blog, limericks, haikus, stories, an acrostic (when a poem spells out a word with the first letter of each sentence), persuasive writing, comic books – the options are limitless.

How: Scholastic‘s page on types of creative writing will get you started.

Do some stone painting.  Find the right shaped stone and it’ll be the perfect canvas for painting an animal or cartoon character on to it.

How: The blog Empress of Dirth as some fun examples.

Learn how to make shadow puppets.  We’ve all tried to make creatures with the silhouettes of our hands, but have you ever actually looked up how to do it properly?  Once you’ve mastered the wolf, bird and monster it’ll really bring story time to life. 

How: Youtube is the best place to learn – for example, from the producers of Sesame Street.

Learn to draw using Youtube.  Many kids find it easier to learn from copying a video than from a book, as you get to see exactly what the artist’s technique is.

How:  Art for Kids Hub is a great place to start, for example with their tutorial on how to draw a cute ice cream.

Document your quarantine experience.  It’s not quite World War II, but we’re living through a (fingers crossed) once-in-a-lifetime event that the modern world has never experienced before.  Record video or diary updates of what it’s like, and it may be interesting for your future relatives.  

How: Make your videos look more professional by reading Makeuseof.com‘s list of tips.

Take inspiration from Tangled.  Disney‘s 2010 interpretation of Rapunzel sees the young woman locked up in a tower for 18 years.  But rather than scaring your children into thinking that this current situation is going to last that long, inspire them with the lyrics to one of the songs from Tangled; When Will My Life Begin. Here’s a sample:

Then after lunch it’s puzzles and darts and baking

Papier-mâché, a bit of ballet and chess

Pottery and ventriloquy, candle making

Then I’ll stretch, maybe sketch, take a climb

Sew a dress!

How: Watch the video for When Will My Life Begin? and see if anything that she did in the tower interests your children.


Kids in Quarantine : 178 Ways to Stop Your Children From Driving You Crazy During a Global Pandemic is available now on Amazon.  A paperback version will be available soon.  New ideas are also posted on the Kids in Quarantine Facebook page.


Have you tried any of these ideas?  Let us know how it went, or if you have any particularly good suggestions for how to get creative with your kids! Remember, Kids In Quarantine is available from Amazon, so grab your copy now! Also, if you’re planning your days once we’re allowed out, let us know what you’re planning to get up to!

Hello! I'm Mark! I write mostly about nonsense things that tend to bug me on a day to day basis. Excuse the rants, and be gentle with my opinions (but please do let me know yours, discussion is good!)

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