How to spend this extended weekend with your beloved locked-down toddler: online play dating, virtual playgroups, bike rides, walks, home education, semaphore and sing to the neighbours

Home time!  The Easter holidays have come early.  Families are out spending time together and the parks are buzzing with spring and disease.  Here are some things to do when your child gets bored of you under social distancing/ isolation/ solitary retreat/

Rapunzel princess in pyjamas conditions.

Family Time



Lonely little person

My child has accrued a lot of 'energy' today.  They yearn for last week when we could still hang out with other toddlers in playgroups, touching lots of infected things and then putting their hands in their mouths in a busy, enclosed space. Unfortunately, these death traps have all closed.  We can't travel to meet friends elsewhere. I've been going to playgrounds and play cafes, but I can't explain that we have to stay two metres apart and not hug people.

 What shall we do with the screaming toddler?

Schedule a conference cry of course!

Ah, Zoom is full of adults and there's no room at the internet...

This was earlier.

Online play-dating

I have a  Vegan Virtual Playgroup using video chat.  We will meet at 10.00am on Fridays while the schools are closed.  The chat room is open at all times.

I'm getting quite into the video chat idea.  I'm imagining family gathering with relatives we hardly see having dinner together, floating in cyber space.  I'll hold inexpensive children's parties with friends I never get around to seeing. 

I set the playgroup up with Jitsi, which was suggested to me as a very simple video platform.  There is no need to sign up or log in and apparently they don't spy on us.  I mane an online whiteboard with Miro so as children can do colouring together virtually.

Another friend suggested I use Discord.  This is a website and app for making mini chat rooms with type, voice and video functions.  It works alright, but takes time to get into; which hopefully means it can't crash.

I have been recommended House Party as an app which 'all the kids' are on for video chatting with 8 people on phone or laptop.  WhatsApp video calls can accommodate four video callers on a phone, and WhatsApp web offers audio calls.

Here is a list of similar sites to Discord.  Video conferencing options, where you schedule a meeting and send invitations, can be found in this list, or this one.  

Virtual playgroups

Here are some other classes people have set up.  There are so many that I've found it hard to keep up.  We go to Tots Tunes and Cantonese as we did before.

Happity plan to promote online toddler classes through ZoomHoop has more too. 

Many events have also been mentioned in our local parent's Facebook groups. 

Morning laughter yoga with Everybody Laugh Together

Music and Dance with Lucy Sparkles

Links to livestream concerts and other online things from Chatter Pack

Sing In online to replace the planned Nurse In event

Singing with Rag Dolly Annas

Eventbrite online events

Adriana yoga videos

The Strings Club music and mindfulness

Find more in this spread sheet made by Hackney XR families

We might project a dance class onto our wall.

The Social Distancing Festival

Home activities

Here are some activity ideas:

Take a deep breath

Savour and mark daily family rituals such as meal times

Sing little songs while doing housework

Or, for something more substantial:

Listen to decent children's music, or relaxing Radio 3, or anything you like to dance to.

Read vegan children's books.

Do vegan children's activities

Watch vegan children's videos

(according to your age appropriate screen time policy)

Make a rainbow and put it in the window.  Spot rainbows (and teddies) in other people's windows. 

Listen to audiobooks with the Libby or Borrow Box app.  I stocked up on real library books while I could, and now ordered reusable sustainable nature animal sticker books.

We also ordered an indoor climbing frame with slide!  A friend has painted a chalk board on the wall put up a 'bouldering' rock climbing wall.  

Pinterest has a lot of ideas for children's activities, as apparently does this Vicky Blyde, Busy Toddler and Five Minute Mum.

Walks and bike rides while the government advises-

but not playgrounds or touching things unnecessarily or being within 2 metres of other people and staying near your home

My London Children's Map shows parks, gardens, woods, nature reserves, and any other urban facets of the great outdoors.  I plan to explore more in coming weeks.  Some National Trust places are opening for free, which is useful if you can get to them for a duvet day trip.

We have fitted a bike seat to get around quicker and further without public transport. It gives us the option to zoom past people without interacting in the slightest.  This morning we took a bike ride before breakfast, which put us all in a good frame of mind for the day ahead.  Walks are also nice.  For these Baby likes to travel by backpack.  

The reduced traffic has also provided an opportunity for Baby to practice some street walking/ scooting/ balance biking in a slightly less hazardous and less polluted environment.  New reins provide a handle to hoik Baby up as they tumble down stairs, make a run for it, or just stop still.  

Home education

This is as good a time as any for children to learn the art of entertaining themselves, sometimes called 'free play'. It could be a time for children to research topics which interest them in depth, or carry out a project.  Many children are home educated on a daily basis via a combination adult structuring and self direction.  Home educating parents have been reaching out to help the parents of school children by suggesting resources:

Here are some resources:

Education companies offering free online learning subscriptions

Do a distance learning course  if you are of a screen using age

or a printable paper and pen activity

Complete vegan colouring and worksheets

Learn Chinese with my Pinterest board

or Fortune Cookie Mom's quarantine curriculum

Home educators have also set up support groups:

Your Natural Learner

Pandemic Home Education Group

Home Education UK School Closure Support Forum

Twinkl Parent's Group

Family Lock Down Tips and Ideas

Stuck inside with kids? Netmums can help

Hand washing fatigue

Sometimes, Baby makes it known that they have had enough of my incessant insistence on hand washing. Here are some techniques I have turned to:
Mindful singing- 'this is the way we wash our hands, wash our hands, wash our hands, this is the way we wash our hands and dry them with care/ on a lovely springtime morning'
Distracting singing- 'ABC'.
Getting out a stall so as Baby can stand on it and climb on and off.
Filling the sink and making some bubbles.

Potty training

I've over heard people commenting that while they're at home all day, and often in the bathroom washing their hands anyway, that they might as well potty train. Well, I have a page for that too!


I've added a page of online retailers.  Try them to see who is delivering at the moment.

Without Calpol

We keep a full bottle of Calpol at home, but as yet haven't used it.  When Baby is teething we have used You and Oil  Baby Teething from Planet Organic and ABC homeopathy.  We've given Baby various things to chew on, including breastmilk ice lollies; but they prefer their own hand.  When Baby had vaccines we used ABC, Ledum and Thuga homeopathy, and You and Oil Baby Temperature from Planet Organic.