Hobbies and play articles
Grow a love of gardening with these tools for kids
Gardening isn't just for the grandparents; it's a hugely popular pastime for people of all ages! Gardening (and being outdoors) has so many benefits in terms of physical and emotional development, and learning about the world around us. You can use the tools below to get started and encourage a love of growing. Who knows? Maybe this will be a new family hobby!
24 fun toys for summer outdoor learning
It's well established that outdoor play is important for young learners and provides opportunities to develop physical, social, fine and gross motor skills. Our editor, Kate Morgan, has put together her top picks of outdoor toys. So get the kids outside, having fun and learning this summer. Let the games begin!
Performing arts: 7 ways it can boost your child's development
Acting, dancing and singing classes aren’t just for future stars of stage and screen. Enrolling your child in an extra-curricular performing arts class could be an amazing boost to their development and life skills. Here are seven surprising ways the performing arts could benefit your child.
6 low-cost ideas for a happy Halloween
Halloween is an exciting time for children but many parents worry about the cost of costumes, decorations, treats and parties. With the cost-of-living crisis putting the pressure on, how can we make it a memorable holiday for our kids with minimum damage to our bank accounts? We’ve come up with some ideas that might help…
Simple scientific makes for kids
Transform and recycle household objects into a Rubber-Band Racer and a Balancing Bird toy with an extract from scientific makes book Mr Shaha's Marvellous Machines. All you need to help you develop skills in key STEM areas are a few household items, some time to create and lots of imagination.
What children can learn from magic tricks
Abracadabra! Here's how learning magic tricks can help your child develop skills that will last a lifetime.
12 ways to make walking fun for kids
Take the whinging out of walking with these great ideas for helping your child enjoy getting out and about.
Best online drawing tutorials for children
Does your child love to draw, doodle, paint and sketch? Help them learn new techniques and perfect their own versions of their favourite characters with a host of free draw-along videos from children's book illustrators and animation artists.
Why jigsaw puzzles are great for kids
Jigsaws can help your child develop many physical and mental skills, so why not get one out this weekend?
Best nursery rhymes and fairy tales apps for kids
For many children, nursery rhymes and fairy tales are the first step on the road to independent reading. We’ve rounded up 10 of our favourite traditional song and story apps for pre-school, Reception and beyond.
9 ways to keep your child busy on zero budget
Feeling the pinch? These brilliant ideas will banish boredom without testing your bank balance.
How to buy toys safely online
Every year, more and more of us buy toys online rather than in person. When you can't examine packaging or speak to retail staff, it's vital to know how to spot dangerous toys, so follow the Child Accident Prevention Trust's advice to help you make a safe choice for your child.
The best summer challenges for kids
Help your child keep those brain cells active throughout the holidays with these brilliant activities, from reading to computer coding.
5 ways to bring stories to life for your child
Develop your child's creativity – and yours! – by telling and sharing stories. Performance storyteller John Kirk offers a few expert tips to help you make an ordinary retelling of a traditional tale memorable and magical.
Best cookery books for kids
Help your child master kitchen skills that’ll set them up for life with these brilliant cookbooks for every age. From cookery basics to elaborate bakes, they’ll enjoy getting stuck into a whole range of family-friendly recipes.
Why play matters to primary school children
In school and out, play is an important part of every child’s life. We asked child psychotherapists and play experts to explain how imaginative and structured play helps your child learn, develop and grow and offer tips to help support playful learning at home.
Best literacy resources
Whether your child is just learning to read and print letters or looking for ways to put their creative writing skills to the test, we've rounded up some fantastic resources to help them practise phonics, grammar, story-writing and comic-creating at home. Plus there are loads of different ways to connect with authors and listen to stories.
Communicating online: how to keep your child safe
Worried about whether apps like Zoom and Houseparty are safe for your primary school child? Here’s our advice, with help from internet security experts ESET.
19 life skills you can teach your child at home
Learning isn't just about mastering spellings and times tables. A lot takes place outside the classroom, and spending some time teaching practical life skills at home will help set your child up for the future.
The best child-friendly podcasts to pass the time
If you’re looking for new ways to keep your kids entertained and educated at home (without eyes on screens!) then look no further. Podcasts are this generation’s radio, except even better because you can be much more specific about what you want to listen to and when.
Become a board game family on a budget
Board game designer Ellie Dix, author of The Board Game Family: Reclaim your children from the screen, has tips to help you establish family game time on a budget.
How to structure your day during homeschooling
Teacher Jennifer Smith shares her advice on how to help your child learn and structure your day when your child is temporarily out of school and learning from home.
The safety rules every child must know
Help your child stay safe at home and out and about by teaching them these important water safety, fire safety, road safety, home safety, animal safety and stranger danger basics.
Best science board games for children
Have fun with chemistry, physics and biology with these family science games, designed to make STEM learning interactive and competitive, and introduce concepts like quantum physics, space exploration, evolution and ecology to KS1 and KS2 learners (and parent players, too!).
13 ways playing board games benefits your child
Switch off the computer and get out a family board game – fun and learning guaranteed!
11 DIY Forest School activities
Help your child embrace the great outdoors and create your own DIY "Forest School" at home with these back-to-nature learning ideas.
Best geography games for children
There's no need to pack – travel the length and breadth of our world with these brilliant geography board games and card games, great for explorers and geographers of all ages.
Best coding apps for kids
With computer coding on the National Curriculum from KS2 up, help your child get a headstart with these programming apps.
Learning about nature through books
Being in nature has many benefits for children. We asked writer and illustrator Nicola Davies for her tips on using books to kickstart an interest in the natural world.
4 screen-free boredom-busting activities
Why don't you put down that phone, turn off that tablet, switch off the television and do something less boring instead? Make a marshmallow catapult, create your own fingerprint kit, prepare a tornado in a bottle and amaze your friends with rainbow bubbles – just four of the electronics-free ideas in 100 Screen-free Ways to Beat Boredom!
12 things your child can do with a smartphone
Whether they’ve got their very own phone for the first time or just love to commandeer yours, there are learning experiences aplenty at your child’s fingertips. We’ve rounded up 12 screentime activities you don’t need to feel guilty about.
How to raise an environmentally conscious child
Teaching our kids to take responsibility for the world around them is a duty for every parent, according to TV presenter and author Nick Baker. We spoke to him about how to do our bit – and help the next generation do theirs.
6 fab recipes for homemade slime
Get hands-on with slippery, slimy science with these recipes for making slime safely at home.
3 easy animation activities for kids
Making your own animations needn’t be a daunting prospect – creating simple but effective animations with even the most basic artistic skills has never been easier! Children (and parents!) can have great fun making up characters and seeing them come to life, and the brilliant results might just surprise you! Trevor Young, author of animated eBook Galdo's Gift, has tips to get you started.
The best subscription boxes for children
What child wouldn't love receiving a new box of goodies through the letterbox every month? We tried out some of the best-selling subscription boxes and unpacked some fun, educational offerings.
Why boredom is good for your child
Does your child struggle to entertain themselves? We explain how they could benefit from being bored.
6 ways to introduce your child to classical music
Open up a world of amazing music for your child by introducing them to classical music composers and performances. With loads of resources available for free online, there's no better time to dive in and start listening.
How to future-proof your child's learning
Is your primary-school child getting the education they'll need to thrive in the 21st century? Jill Hodges, CEO and Founder of Fire Tech technology classes and camps for kids, describes the five skills young people will need, at work and in life, to make the most of our technological society's opportunities.
9 screen time activities you don’t need to feel guilty about
Not all screen time is bad for your child. We’ve rounded up nine great activities that’ll help them make the most of their laptop, tablet or phone.
Best puzzle rooms and escape rooms for families
Puzzle rooms or escape games offer immersive, heart-racingly exciting family fun. Whether your role is to complete a quest, get out of a locked room or retrieve a lost object there will be code-breaking, puzzle-solving and probably a bit of spycraft to keep you busy. From Edinburgh to Cornwall, inside and in the great outdoors, we tested out some of the best puzzle room options for UK families.