If you haven’t read Part 1 of Play with a purpose, we recommend you start there before jumping back over here.
It outlines the different types of activities we’ll be sharing, which aim to serve your children’s particular needs and also offers an example schedule to help your give your day some structure.
We’ve already covered a list of outdoor and indoor activities that can help your children burn energy and maintain good physical health and fitness.
Next we’re tackling activities that require mental energy and concentration but are less physically taxing (Little Learners) and low energy activities for creating calm when everyone is on the brink of exhaustion or bedtime (Wind-down Time).
- Play in the sand (at home, the beach, or at a sand-covered playground such as Castelnau St in Caringbah, Ascot Pl in Miranda, Bonna Point Reserve in Kurnell or Lakewood City Reserve in Bonnet Bay)
- Play sink or float, using a bucket and any objects from the backyard.
- Wash toys and garden tools.
- Paint with water (on fences etc)
- Nature painting (taking the paints outside and letting them paint flowers, rocks, leaves, tree trunks etc)
- Scavenger Hunts and bug hunting. Here are some free printable scavenger hunts.
- Gardening (encouraging your child to help water plants, remove weeds, pick up sticks etc)
- Play with a water table. You can make your own water table cheaply and easily.
- Have the kids help you wash the car
- Go to the library
- Find some age-appropriate printable worksheets/activities*. There are more printables on the internet than the world will ever need, Google whatever TV show or hobby your child most likes and “Free printables” and you’re bound to find something that interests them, or start with an educational printable website like This Reading Mama or Fun Learning for Kids.
- Make a meal or snacks with your kids. Here are some great kid-friendly recipes to start you off.
- Create arts and crafts. Here you’ll find easy, no-mess craft ideas for preschoolers and some more advanced craft ideas for primary school kids. Or if you really don’t have the energy or patience for crafts, enrol your child at the Creativity Club.
- Play an age-appropriate board game. Smart Kids offers the best range of educational board games if you get sick of Connect 4 and Guess Who.
- Play a video game (If your child is old enough to be allowed to play games on any electronic device, we recommend sandwiching this activity between energy burning and winding down.) ABC Kids offers some great games for young children.
- Explore imaginative/dramatic games like doctors, trains, hairdressers etc. For more dramatic play ideas check out this website or watch a few episodes of Bluey and you’ll be set!
- Get out the wooden blocks/Duplo/Lego.
- Do a science experiment. Begin with one of these easy experiments.
- Lie on the grass and cloud watch, or ask your kids to be silent for a few minutes and see what they can hear.
- Draw with chalk
- Do some yoga outdoors
- Read with your kids outside
- Pick flowers
- Colour in or write a story- preferably with a calming playlist on in the background.
- Do some water painting or use ‘paint with water’ books (other paints are too stressful for everyone for wind-down time!)
- Get out a puzzle.
- Play “Day Spas” and take turns giving and getting massages.
- Involve your kids in washing the dishes.
- Video call family members.
- Read to your kids or have them do independent reading.
- Do some yoga. Cosmic Kids Yoga on Youtube is especially good.
- Meditate- Spotify has some wonderful kids meditations including interest-based guided meditations on popular kids movies and games.
- Watch TV or a movie
Bookmark or print this page so that next time you’re low on energy, or inspiration, you can quickly consult this list for ideas that will help your children burn energy, learn through play or wind down, without burning you out!
If there are any ideas you’d love to see added to this list, please leave a comment or email [email protected] to let us know.