Keep Kids Busy

27 March 2020
Watch Animania, plus more fun ideas!

Animania is back! Between the school holidays and the national lockdown, kids are going to be spending a lot of time at home. If you’re working from home, running a household, looking after kids, and generally trying to keep calm and not panic, we feel you! That’s why we’ve brought Animania back with tons of entertainment to keep kids glued to their seat and out of your hair.

Of course, we understand kids can’t spend all 21 days consuming screen time, so we’ve got several other suggestions too. Before you feel bowled over by our many ideas, why not make a schedule? Slot in your day-to-day must-dos (meals, showers, brushing teeth, washing hands, sleep) and slot in any of the suggestions below. Keeping a routine will create structure in your children’s lives and keep them (and you) from feeling overwhelmed.

Watch Movies
M-Net Movies Smile, All Stars and Zone are all bringing you a number of exciting and entertaining movies for kids of all ages. Whether you’ve got toddlers, tweens, or teens, Animania’s got something for everyone. With movies across all three of these channels, DStv Premium, Compact, and Access subscribers will be able to offer their kids an entertaining selection of titles. Check out the festival dates below:

M-Net Movies Smile (DStv Premium) – from 28 March to 30 May (every Saturday from 12:00 - 17:00)
M-Net Movies All Stars (DStv Compact) – from 4 April to 30 May (every Saturday from 13:00 - 17:00)
M-Net Movies Zone (DStv Access) – from 4 April to 30 May (every Saturday from 13:00 - 17:00)

Remember to check out titles on DStv Catch Up as well.

If your child is a bookworm, they’ll relish all this extra reading time. And read together! Whether you read to them or vice versa, it’s a great way to bond. Audiobooks are another option – if your children have never really been into reading before, maybe this format will change their minds. If they’re really bookish, get them to reorganise their bookshelves – alphabetically, then by genre, then by colour. There’s so many ways they can do it. If they’re Harry Potter fans, why not read the book then watch the movie? There are many other titles you can do this with during Animania, including Cinderella, The Jungle Book, Peter Rabbit, Christopher Robin, The Grinch, and A Wrinkle in Time.

Now that we’ll be spending a lot of time indoors, we’re going to feel peckish. Rather spend that time baking, not eating – although you’ll still have to eat the results! Baking biscuits or cupcakes is a great way to spend time in the kitchen with little ones. While you manage the trickier aspects of the recipes, kids can get creative with the decorating. If you don’t have sufficient supplies, remember: the shops are open during lockdown, so DO NOT panic and DO NOT stockpile. Plus, we have tons of other suggestions to keep kids busy.

Make Them Your PA
Kids love feeling grown-up. Remember how you used to play “doctor-doctor” or “teacher-teacher”? So why not make them adult their way through this lockdown with a job? Depending on their age they can make you a cup of coffee, throw away rubbish, bring you a pen…or a pillow, cause mommy’s back is soooo sore from sitting on her bum all day. Give them a title to make them feel important.

Arts and Crafts
Of course, you don’t want them working all day long. Nine to five is a crazy concept, no matter your age! Bring out their creative sides with arts and crafts. And you don’t need to go shopping for these! Use what you have! Upcycle old bottles, egg containers, ice-cream tubs…there’s so much you can do with just a little bit of imagination. Pinterest is FULL of ideas. We’ve also got our awesome Animania zanies that kids can make.

Make the dough:

Then make a zanie:

It doesn’t all have to be arty or crafty. Kids can stay busy and engage their minds in different ways with quizzes, puzzles, and crosswords. Find a use for all those lonely single socks by turning them into hand puppets – and then putting on a show. Colouring in is also a great way to pass the time and is said to have therapeutic effects (for children and adults!).

Start a Project
We spoke above about introducing structure and routine to keep your children (and you!) from feeling overwhelmed. And there’s nothing like starting a project to help them stick to a schedule. Projects also provide a goal, motivating them to work towards finishing it – and they’ve certainly got the time for it. Let them come up with the idea themselves or have a think together. Encourage them to write a story, film a movie, put on a play, or reorganise (see: clean) their room.

Play Outside
If you have a garden or a balcony or any kind of outside area you may still access during this time, make sure they spend time there too, getting sunshine and fresh air. Listen to the birds, smell the roses, spot shapes in the clouds.

There’s going to be a lot of sitting around and stationary work being done, so find ways to keep them active and moving. Start the day with an aerobics session, even if it’s just jumping jacks or running in place or touching your toes. Take turns being the teacher. Let them plan a class and teach it the next morning. Dance, do yoga, reconstruct a scene from their favourite musical or movie – you can find plenty of online tutorials, dance-alongs, and apps that help you do these. And, of course, inspiration from Animania for movie scenes to act out.

Use their Imagination
Like we said before, kids will play “doctor-doctor” “teacher-teacher” or whatever else may come to mind. Let them indulge in these games – you can even play along – and listen to what they have to say. Imaginary games and friends can provide interesting insight into what a child is thinking or feeling.

Check on Family and Friends
Social distancing is about keeping a physical distance from others, not an emotional one. Make time to phone or video call family and friends – especially the elderly. Check in on them about how everyone’s feeling – physically and mentally – and share your thoughts and emotions as well. But don’t make it all doom and gloom. Ensure your little ones also talk about how they’re keeping busy: what movies they’re watching, books they’re reading, and all the other fun and games you’ve planned to keep them entertained. Encourage children to write letters to granny or grandpa or auntie or their teacher that they can deliver once everyone can go out again.

Keep Them Informed
Speak to them about what is happening. Be realistic and practical, but stay calm and positive. If you admit defeat, they may feed off your negative energy. And, of course, remind them to keep their hands off their faces, wash their hands thoroughly, sneeze into their elbow, and practice kind words and positive thoughts.

Remember to join us for Animania for fun and entertainment on M-Net Movies Smile, All Stars, and Zone.
Stay safe!