Kids' lockdown essentials: from games to gear
Having kids home 24/7 for the past several weeks likely means you've exhausted every option in the toy cupboard. These items will add some excitement to the next several weeks...
For parents, getting a set of wheels, or new gadget for a child, can make a big difference in the excitement of day-to-day life (or at least buy an afternoon of managing to work from home). We - along with the experts - are also big believers that play is essential in any distance learning/home schooling they're doing, both as a learning tool and to let kids be kids.
So we're all about crafting, coding, building and experimenting right now, as well as family-bonding games and activities we can play together.
Here are some lockdown essentials for kids of all ages you can snap up online now.
Culture Whisper is your curated guide to the best of
1. The lockdown time capsule essential
Creating a lockdown memento of some sort - a scrapbook of photos, journal notes, crafts, video recordings - isn't just something the kids can look back on and tell their kids about, it's likely this week's homework assignment, albeit a fun one.
Make all their dreams come true with a Fujifilm Instax Mini LiPlay, which captures sound as well as images, lets kids play around with colour filters and symbols and prints photies instantly.
Fujifilm Instax Mini LiPlay Hybrid Instant Camera, £149 at John Lewis
2. The toddler play space you'd never agree to in different circumstances
Yes, the balls will end up everywhere, but this foam ball pit is every toddler's dream come true. And surely you can't put a price on their happiness/getting through those conf calls uninterrupted? Plus, it looks gorgeous.
Freeport Park Ernest Ball Pit, £72.99 at Wayfair
3. The building toy you'd never have time to finish otherwise
Calling all master builders: this is the moment to attempt a 2500+ piece Lego construction set. Bonus: this cool pirate design can be built two different ways, which should help while away the months. Lego's #Let's Build Together initiative is full of challenges and fun play ideas kids can embrace at home, with their existing Lego, as well.
Lego Ideas, Pirates of Barracuda Bay, £179.99 at Lego
4. The item to appease your teen
Was there ever a better footwear choice for quarantine? These will look amazing starring in your teen's TikTok vids. And might even put a smile on their face... for a minute.
Fluff Yeah Logo Slide, £100 at Ugg
5. The family game that won't take up the last inch of cupboard space
Board games are brilliant fun for the family, but we all recognise the moment we introduced a new game and were met with utter disinterest (or a lack of understanding because they're 2 and can't feasibly play Cluedo yet). That's why Dobble's a great choice: it suits a range of ages, has multiple different ways to play to suit varying tastes and won't get boring, even for adults playing it repeatedly. Plus, it takes up hardly any space (and is a great portable game, for when we're back out again).
Dobble, £11 at Argos
6. The coolest set of wheels
We've never maximised our time outdoors or enjoyed nature quite so much, so why not teach them a new skill to make those park walks even dreamier? And yes, these skates come in adult sizes, in case you'd like to join your little one. Who says parents don't have time to #upskill?
Rio Roller Quad Skates, Candi, £60 at John Lewis
7. The outdoor play toy for every toddler
When your home suddenly needs to become a nursery, there a few toys that can make all the difference. If you have the outside space, a water play toy is one of them - and this design works well for siblings since there are multiple levels and creatures for them to interact with. They'll also love using the watering can to do some of their own gardening.
Little Tikes Magic Flower Water Table, £70 at Argos
8. The gaming gadget
Give them their birthday gift early with this handheld Nintendo Switch console - of course, you'll need to set them up by practicing on your own a few times (and finally finding out what all of the fuss with Animal Crossing is about).
Nintendo Switch Lite, £199.99, at John Lewis
9. The coding kit
Make all of their (OK, your) STEM dreams come true with a coding set from Kano. In addition to the Harry Potter wand, they've launched a Frozen 2 set little ones will be obsessing over, starring Olaf. Warning: they may beg you for a Disney+ subscription...
Kano The Disney Frozen Coding Kit, £79.99, at Very
10. The first set of wheels
A balance bike is essential for the 2-5 set - and they can go straight from this bike to proper pedaling, without needing stabilisers. We love the retro look and front basket, so they can bring a pal along on all of their adventures.
Banwood First Go! Balance Bike in Red, £138.95 at Cuckooland
11. The sing-a-long set
Whether there's a birthday kid in your midst and you need some party inspo or you're looking for a family activity for the weekend, a karaoke kit is just plain fun. Add in neon-coloured mikes and it's even better.
Lucky Voice Karaoke Machine (Blue Mic), £55.99 at Lucky Voice
12. A den
Kids - of all ages - love a good den. Make your own with extra sheets and pegs, or give in and get one you'll love flaunting on your Insta, like this ecological wood and cotton twill choice from Nobodinoz.
Nobodinoz Stella Phoenix Cotton Teepee Midnight blue, £115 at Smallable
13. A drama kit for the whole family
We're all missing London's dynamic theatre scene, although we're loving the virtual options we can watch at home. For a live-action version, starring the kids, try National Theatre's Play in a Box, which will have them reading, writing, directing, crafting sets, digging out costumes and giggling for days as they prepare their production.
National Theatre: Play in a Box, £10.65 at WH Smith
14. The crafty-educational toy
If your child just wants to draw and colour, we say let them go for it - and steer them in the direction of the amazing Mo Willems and Rob Biddulph online drawing tutorials. Selfie Craft Co's colour-in world map is craft, educational fun - and can be personalised as a special gift or keepsake.
Personalised Colour Your Own World Map Fabric Wall Art, £28 at Not On The High Street
15. The audio book essential
Immersing kids in books is easy these days - and a fab audio player will help. This screen-free toy from Lunii lets little ones listen to their own stories, changing up the characters and settings for a new experience each time.
Lunii My Fabulous Storyteller, £64.95 at Cuckooland
16. The messy craft
Remember when you vowed never to let slime into the house? We do, too. These days, we're loving it - especially this tie dye and glitter set which the kids will love spending a morning with.
So Slime Tie & Dye kit, £10 at Argos
17. The fancy dress essential
We don't know about your kids, but our little ones have spent much of the past few weeks dressed as princesses, pirates, dinosaurs and everyone's favourite superheroes, doctors. And why not? Add a bit of sparkle to their fancy dress box with a cape that fits all ages.
Embroidered Fairy Cape - Ratatam x Smallable Exclusive Multicoloured, £35 at Smallable
18. The sanity-saving storage toy
Having toys scattered all over the house is unnerving at the best of times - and a complete disaster when everyone is home 24 hours a day. Play & Go's storage bag toys are essentials - and absolutely genius, with a printed playmat design on one side. The other side has the ability to make a day of play disappear in one swift motion.
Play & Go Bag/Play Mat - Race Track/Thunderbolt, £32 at Smallable
19. The beauty buy your tween/teen is begging for
There's no excuse not to let the kids have a bit of fun with some wash-out hair colour while they're stuck at home. Bleach London is the leader in gorgeous crazy shades, that smell, look and feel amazing. You can even go all Legally Blonde and learn the ingredients and processes - that's what we call a fun homeschool chemistry class.
Bleach Rose Super Cool Hair Colour, £6.50 at Bleach