We’ve rounded lots of fun and free things to do during half term that you can do at anytime, when you find yourself needing that bit of extra help to keep you and the kids inspired and entertained.
From free Marvel Comics, Spaghetti Towers with RI ExpeRimental, Chris Hemsworth reading Roald Dahl to Zoo school, LEGO challenges and Daniel Radcliffe reading Harry Potter, there’s something for everyone.
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The Kids Should See This – smart videos for curious minds
With over 4,500+ kid-friendly videos, and 10 – 15 new videos added each week, The Kids Should See This champions smart STEAM, history, and culture-focused content by museums, organisations, and creators who celebrate curiosity, collaboration, creativity, critical thinking, problem-solving, kindness, and other essential themes for all ages.
For all your Marvel fans out there, Comixology are giving you the chance to read your favourite Marvel comics for free! Click here
The team at London and Whipsnade Zoos are bringing the zoo to you!
Whether you’re a teacher needing ready-made learning resources or a parent looking for fantastic animal-themed activities and worksheets to keep your cubs busy, you’ll find fun and engaging curriculum-linked activities for all ages. And they’re all available to use and download completely free.
All the online learning resources you need for home-schooling your little ones about the environment, brought to you by the zookeepers and vets at ZSL London Zoo.
Plus games and activities
Not to be missed! Oscar-winning New Zealand filmmaker Taika Waititi has lined up some of his Hollywood friends by videolink from their living rooms for a coronavirus lockdown charity reading of Roald Dahl’s classic “James and the Giant Peach”.
Waititi, director of “Jojo Rabbit” and “Thor: Ragnarok”, reads the British author’s 1961 children’s novel while his friends chime in, voicing characters and having fun.
Gordon Ramsay, Eddie Redmayne, Olivia Wilde, Ruth Wilson and Archie Yates are among the cast. Plus Chris Hemsworth and brother Liam, in what is billed as their first performance together!
Whilst the museum is closed, The Postal Museum is opening Mail Rail for everyone to experience from home. Their virtual tour captures the sights and sounds of Mail Rail, for a unique experience deep beneath the streets of London.
You are invited to make a donation. Check out more here.
The Week Junior team have also compiled some fun experiments and exciting activities you can do at home, to help keep children exploring, learning and creating.
These include creating your version of the Week Junior cover, making cardboard animals how to make delicious cheesy clouds or create your own self-portrait collage! They’d love to see your creations – email them to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Check out Story readings, creative activities and downloadable resources for Paper Dolls, Gorilla and The Bear Everywhere. See all here
Inspired by the RA’s world class exhibitions, leading artists and architects and Collection, here you can find a range of creative activities for you and your family.
Learn How to make a stop frame animation, How to photograph, paint or collage a portrait, or How to collage colourful magnets and so much more with the RA’s step by step guides!
Completely free for all children and families, the extraordinary collection of short stories, poems, essays and pictures has contributions from more than 110 children’s writers and illustrators, including Lauren Child, Anthony Horowitz, Greg James and Chris Smith, Michael Morpurgo, Liz Pichon, Axel Scheffler, Francesca Simon and Jacqueline Wilson.
The collection, published by Bloomsbury, is dedicated to the doctors, nurses, carers, porters, cleaners and everyone currently working in hospitals.
The Book of Hopes is currently available to read online only. Read it here
Settle down for 20 minutes of storytime magic with some of the Penguin authors or follow a fantastic draw along from our amazing illustrators. From picturebook stories and draw alongs to Sam Copeland’s serialisation of his hilarious Charlie Changes into a Chicken tale. Check out their YouTube channel every day for the latest installment in the Puffin Storytime series.
Enjoy a family Create and Make workshop at home. Colour, cut and build to create your own design project.
This week is: Make your own DIY Banjo! Get musical with this amazing home-made instrument. It has a step by step video and list of things you’ll need – all found in the house!
There’s lots of other activities to get stuck into with downloadable worksheets to Custom Build the Vehicle of your dreams, Design a Town or Build a Box house or design your own exhibition.
Cards Against Humanity is now family friendly! They have completely rewritten their classic game so that grown ups and kids can play together. CAH have been working on this new version with child development experts and psychologists. It was due for release in the States this Autumn (so this is the US version) but they thought as lots of families need something to do right now, they’d create a free downloadable version ( you’ll need a printer to play this version for free). To find out more and have a peek at the questions click here
The Tate’s Kids Games and Quizzes
Play a range of games for different ages from Spot the Difference, Guess the missing Object, Tate paint and Street Art – Street Artists use rollers, spray paint and stickers to make their art!
Here’s your chance to make your own!
If you live with LEGO fans, issue them a 30-Day LEGO Challenge and let their imaginations run wild!
Sometimes, it only takes a little bit of a prompt to get the creative juices flowing. The prompts included in this printable LEGO calendar do just that! For each day, a specific LEGO building idea is presented from Building a Space Rocket for Nasa to building a treehouse.
There are a multitude of ways to use it: every morning say, have a race to complete it, take a photo of every creation and create a collage.
The world-famous museum has opened up a YouTube channel for Studio Ghibli fanatics to take virtual tours of the magical world.
On a normal day, you’d face stiff competition and queues for tickets to see the museum. But these videos enable anyone to get a peek. From the colourful artwork to the bright buildings, to a gorgeous nighttime view.
Then you can watch all the films again on Netflix. As for the first time in history, all twenty-one of Studio Ghibli’s major films will be available for streaming online, as they’ll be on Netflix over the course of the next few months.
The Wizarding World Team – Celebrities Read Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone
The Wizarding World team have asked some much loved celebrities have lent their voices to the story they love by recording videos of themselves reading the timeless first Harry Potter book, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone/Sorcerer’s Stone. Stars include Daniel Radcliffe, Stephen Fry, David Beckham, Dakota Fanning and Eddie Redmayne, with more surprises and special appearances from across the Wizarding World and beyond to come.
See Daniel Radcliffe’s Chapter one here.
CBeebies Radio takes you to a world of sound and music, where you can share imaginative adventures and listen to stories with your favourite CBeebies friends and characters.
Punkbox Free Downloads, turning trash into treasure
Punkbox know how tough it is to keep the kids entertained in these challenging times. So, those lovers of turning trash into treasure have created a whole range of fun FREE eco-friendly download activities on their website. Check it out, and turn those discarded toilet roll tubes into pirate telescopes, magical wands, and even superheroes!
You just need to subscribe to get inspiration and downloads here
Recently launched Nest Friends has been designed to teach kids in a fun way about the variety of birds there are across the UK and help them keep track of how many they may see in the garden, while on a walk, or looking out of a window.
Every British bird has been turned into a bright bold character which simplifies their markings to help kids spot them easily.
There are plenty of free resources available to download on the website, including a bird ‘spotter sheet’, colouring-in activities and craft ideas.
V & A Dundee enjoying the museum at home
Get inspired at home with this range of challenges, design prompts and projects inspired by the museum, their exhibitions and programmes including comic book and garden designs, video game characters and your designs for the future – what will it look like?
Change4Life Disney inspired indoor activities
Get the kids moving with Change4life Disney inspired indoor games and activities. From The Lion King to Frozen, Toy Story to Cars, there’s an activity based on everyone’s favourite Disney film, click here to find yours.
There’s lots of other helpful info on the site too plus a Smart Recipe app free to download here
If you are in need of some science based inspiration to support you while you homeschool or to simply have some science based fun, the Royal Institute is on hand offering a series of short films making it fun, easy and cheap to do science experiments at home with the kids. From homemade lava lamps to spaghetti towers, from giant bubbles to colour changing cabbage juice, find them here
To go along with the stunning 1.8-billion-pixel image, a new video offers a sweeping view of the Red Planet. NASA’s Curiosity rover has captured its highest-resolution panorama yet of the Martian surface. Composed of more than 1,000 images taken during the 2019 Thanksgiving holiday and carefully assembled over the ensuing months, the composite contains 1.8 billion pixels of Martian landscape.
Watch the video of Mars footage here