Activities to keep your kids entertained during half-term in lockdown

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SOCK archery and a virtual escape room are among the home-based activities being laid on for children and families for the half-term week during the national lockdown.

Hampshire County Council has made the services available online while the usual holiday facilities are unable to open their doors to the public.

These include outdoor centres, but over the coming week families with children aged five and over can download the Hampshire Outdoor Centre Home Activity Pack at https://bit.ly/2Z5epjB

Among the 10 challenges is sock archery, which involves throwing the rolled up footwear at a home-made target, as well as orienteering and making a sailing boat.

Hampshire Libraries’ The Wrong Door virtual escape room game challenges families and friends to discover clues and solve puzzles to break free. Suitable for two to six players aged 12 and over, the game takes about two hours to complete and can be found at https://bit.ly/3tQjcDk

A winter reading challenge is also being set for children to read or listen to any four books by Saturday 27th February. For more information and to sign up visit https://bit.ly/3qcYknF

A green alternative to cling film is being showcased by Hampshire Countryside Service with a video featuring ranger and beekeeper Jean showing how to make reusable and compostable beeswax wraps.

Cllr Roz Chadd, HCC’s cabinet member for education and skills, said: “Under the current national restrictions we’re all having to spend much more time indoors, and we know parents and carers will be looking ahead to the half-term holiday next week and thinking about how to keep the family entertained.

“That’s why we’re sharing a host of creative ideas for some ‘homespun’ fun, from transforming the sitting room into a cinema or den, to playing a good old-fashioned board game and baking treats for an indoor picnic.

“Hampshire County Council also has plenty of challenging and exciting activities on offer, which are guaranteed to while away the hours and help families relax and enjoy a well-earned break from remote learning.”

Cabinet member for recreation, heritage, countryside and rural affairs, Cllr Edward Heron, urged families going out for exercise during half-term to remember social distancing. They should also look after the environment by taking all litter home.

The connect4communities charity, developed by HCC with partners to support vulnerable families during the pandemic this winter, has funded a wide range of local voluntary, community and charity organisations to provide half-term activity sessions.

For more information about the free sessions for vulnerable children, which include a meal, as well as other local welfare support, visit www.connect4communities.org

Kids and adults can get their creative juices flowing by trying out music, drama and writing workshops offered online by Ringwood theatre Forest Forge, which is celebrating its 40th year. From the 15th-19th February, it has a daily offering of creative learning and activities, including Babigloo Music for Babies, Minis Drama Club for ages 4-7, and separate writers workshops for those aged 7-11 and 12-18.

Adults can sign up for a free talk from multi-arts creative Michele O’Brien and Colin Phillimore, and an improvisation workshop with Pete Courtenay. Budding scribes can also take part in the theatre’s online theatre course See It, Be It, Write which is available to buy and finish at their own pace. Visit forestforgetheatre.co.uk

Meanwhile, BCP Tourism has updated its ‘Buuut I’m Bored‘ Challenge online which has lots of fun activities to beat lockdown boredom.

The council also released a list of stay-at-home activity suggestions from attractions in its area, including:

  • Live webcams at The Harbour Heights Hotel observing Sandbanks Bay, and Studland can be perused via a camera positioned at The Haven Hotel (click here)
  • Rick Stein’s restaurant gives a stunning perspective on Poole Harbour (click here)
  • Virtual Swanage contains multiple live camera feeds around the harbour town, The Isle of Purbeck, and Corfe Castle (click here)
  • Birds of Poole Harbour have a Live Osprey Nest (click here)
  • The camera at Hengistbury Head lets us into the world of breeding herons (click here)
  • Salisbury Cathedral offers an interactive Virtual Art Tour of their Spirit and Endeavour Exhibition which includes works by Henry Moore, Antony Gormley, Grayson Perry, Conrad Shawcross and Shirazeh Houshiary (click here)
  • The Russell-Cotes Art Gallery & Museum is running a series of quizzes about its history, collections, and founders and some of the art can be viewed online, where you can also see listings for upcoming talks and fun half term entertainment (click here)
  • The Poole Museum website offers the Museum from Home which contains several interactive resources including digital tours, exhibits and kids’ activities (click here)
  • The popular Tank Museum also has its own YouTube channel “A Source of Entertainment Not Just For Tank Fanatics!” (click here)
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