We understand that social distancing, working from home and home schooling can feel rather isolating and that frustration and boredom are an issue. Please find listed below some suggestions to try in these challenging times:
The Parks Trust
The Parks Trust are starting to run ticketed events in the parks with limited capacity in line with Government guidance. From Woof Walks to Community Litter picks, check out their website for what's coming up to secure your place: www.theparkstrust.com/whats-on-in-your-parks
Milton Keynes Libraries: Digital Books
Your library is always open with RBdigital.RBdigital offers an easy way to access eAudiobooks, eMagazines and eBooks from Milton Keynes Libraries. You can download books and magazines to portable devices such as iPads and tablets, mobile phones and computers - all 24/7 with no waiting lists. Click here to go to RBdigital. Click here to go to Milton Keynes Libraries for further information on digital books.
For book lovers - visit https://www.fantasticfiction.com/ for a feast of literary ideas, information, recommendations and surprises. Browse by authors and see series reading order lists, pseudonyms and authors you may like. .
The National Theatre
During the lockdown, the National Theatre has come up with a novel way for the public to still enjoy the best from the stage. Every Thursday at 7pm BST on the theatre's official YouTube channel, fans will be able to stream a selection of performances for a week.The best part of it all is that it's free to watch. Go to https://www.youtube.com/user/ntdiscovertheatre to find out more. If for any reason this link doesn’t work you can use your smart tv, or go to the National Theatre website.
Andrew Llyod-Webber has streamed his musicals on-line for free: https://www.youtube.com/theshowsmustgoon
Medici.tv - classical music, opera & ballet
The New York Times called Medici.tv “The closest thing to a classical Netflix”. Free access during lockdown with your library card. Watch and listen to classical music with concerts, operas, ballets, documentaries & Master Classes. Please see for how to access this: http://www.milton-keynes.gov.uk/libraries/faqs-coronavirus.
The Globe Theatre is offering Shakespeare for everyone to enjoy - you’re now able to stream some of the iconic performances for free on their Globe Player. RomeoAndJuliet is playing until 3 May followed by A Midsummer Nights Dream and more - please see here.
Some suggestions on the best live music streams and virtual concerts to watch online: https://www.whathifi.com/features/10-best-live-streams-and-virtual-concerts-to-watch-in-self-isolation
On-line Resources to beat boredom
Go to Chatterpack.net for a list of free online boredom-busting resources.
Explore World Museums with: https://artsandculture.google.com/partner
Explore the world from your home: MKFM have published a list of national and international tourist attractions that can be visited virtually - click here for details.
Here's a beautiful distraction for everyone. The National Garden Scheme and its garden owners are working to bring the gardens to life for you with virtual garden visits, gardening tips and great stories. https://ngs.org.uk/virtual-garden-visits/
The Gardens Trust is moving as many of its educational activities as possible online. You can enjoy David Marsh's FREE live lectures on Zoom on Tuesdays at 10am or Wednesdays at 6pm. Prepare to be entertained and informed! Please see here for details.
Missing live sport during lockdown? Here are 12 great sporting documentary films to watch brought to you by The Guardian.
In the absence of any sport, here's a selection of the BBC's best sports podcasts.
ArtsforHealthMK are offering online activities and resources for adults and children here: https://artsforhealthmk.org.uk/Online-Activities-Resources.
On-line Boredom Busters for Children
Why not try 50 Indoor Activities for Kids on a Rainy Day for some fun suggestions!
Ideas of Things To Do for Children During Lockdown
From garden scavenger hunts to learning to play tennis in your garden there are some fabulous suggestions here: https://blog.kidadl.com/subcategory/lockdown
JK Rowling has launched Harry Potter at Home Hub for children in lockdown: https://www.wizardingworld.com/collections/harry-potter-at-home
Bloomsbury Books are also offering some fabulous Harry Potter activities, see: https://harrypotter.bloomsbury.com/uk/fun-stuff/magical-activities
Hotel Chocolat has free downloadable activity packs so your children can design their own chocolate slab, learn chocolate facts about how it's grown, where it comes from and even colour-in! The recipes at the back include how to make your very own Dizzy Praline Cake. Please click here for details. There are two activity packs available - one is suitable for ages 5-10 years, and the other for 11 plus.
Milton Keynes Museum has gone on-line: https://www.facebook.com/mkmuseum/
For free virtual tours to take with the children go to: https://www.goodtoknow.co.uk/family/best-virtual-tours-for-kids-536089
Take a virtual journey to one of these fantastic venues for a cultural-non-away-day! Visit the San Diego Zoo, Buckingham Palace, NASA or even the Great Wall of China here: https://www.familydaystriedandtested.com/free-virtual-tour.
LIsten to Some Stories
Storytime with Milton Keynes Libraries
Online Storytimes for under 5s are now available every Wednesday from Milton Keynes Libraries. Join them on You Tube - new stories are added every Wednesday at 11am. You can catch up with any of their storytimes on their YouTube channel,so that you can watch some of your favourite stories again and again!
Great news for all the families that booked to see Wriggle Dance perform 'Rainbowfish Goes Adrift' at MK Libraries - they have made a video of the show for everyone to see. Suitable for ages 2+ (and their grown-ups): https://youtu.be/3fjLbSO-Mi8.
Children's author and comedian David Walliams is releasing a free audio story every day for a month to help keep youngsters entertained while they are at home. Find out more here.
Children’s publisher Puffin will be airing 20-minute storytime episodes, every weekday at 3:30pm on their YouTube channel as well as on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. The sessions will include readings and draw-alongs with authors and illustrators, designed to get kids joining in at home. Ages: 7+.
You can also download a Puffin Books activity pack here
Discovering Children’s Books' by the British Library is a wonderland of activities, videos and inspiration for children (and grown ups): https://www.bl.uk/childrens-books
Published by Bloomsbury the Book of Hopes is completely free for families (and anyone who loves to read)! It's a collection of short stories, poems, essays and pictures from more than 110 children’s writers and illustrators. Go to https://literacytrust.org.uk/family-zone/9-12/book-hopes/ to read it for free.
If your children enjoy Emily Gravett books and her beautiful illustrations, you can follow up with activities from Emily on her website. https://www.emilygravett.com. You can watch the Milton Keynes Libraries storytime of her book on youtube here.
Children's illustrator Catherine Raynor is offering activities for children and step-by-step drawing guides on her website: https://www.catherinerayner.co.uk/pages/activities-for-children
More engaging activities and online ideas for children from Walker Picture Books and the Picturebook Party website:
The Parks Trust is publicising outdoor learning activities we can do in our own homes. This includes games, bug hunts, how to make a weather station, seed parcels, making bird feeders, nature identification and lots more: https://www.theparkstrust.com/get-involved/outdoor-learning/stay-at-home-activities
Milton Keynes Play Association
MKPA Craft Kits & Online Shopping
We understand more than most how important it is to nurture your children’s wellbeing, and MKPA is dedicated to helping you achieve just that. We are offering a range of creative play and craft opportunities for children in Milton Keynes (and surrounding areas) with the goal of keeping their sense of creativity alive.
Getting your hands on crafts is super easy! Just go to our website: https://www.mkpa.co.uk/mkpa-shop/, choose what craft kits you want and we’ll put together a pack of activities ready for you to collect. All our scrap materials are repurposed as well, which keeps them out of landfills! You can also choose from a range of products from our non-member shop, such as paints, clay, pom-poms and other craft materials.
Milton Keynes Play Association are still trying to encourage play in this difficult time: Stay Safe, Stay Positive, Stay Engaged. They are very present on social media, releasing regular family activities to do at home. Please click here to go to their Facebook page for more details.
Hobbycraft has launched an online version of their popular Kids’ Craft Club. Every day at 11am on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram stories a new crafting idea is posted around a theme, like space, colouring, family portraits, origami. All you have to do is head to the Ideas Hub for instructions on how to get going. Perfect for keeping mini-makers busy at home! For further details visit their Facebook page here.
Milton Keynes Council Waste and Environment Schools Educational Recycling Web Page
The MKC Waste and Environment schools educational recycling web page of resources has been re-worked, so that the resources are now suitable for children who are being home schooled at this time: https://www.milton-keynes.gov.uk/waste-recycling/other-waste-services/schools-recycling-information.
Here are some ideas:
- Print off and design a new colourful bin lorry. Then stick it in your front window to make the bin crews smile!
- Create colourful bunting from old cereal boxes to brighten up your home.
- Play Recycle Bingo!
- Use plastic milk bottles and lids to make an elephant and other creatures.
– Make a recycled Easter card from things at home.
Learn how to make these and find lots of other craft activities on their At Home Kids recycle web page: www.milton-keynes.gov.uk/kidsrecycle
Keep well, keep safe and keep recycling!
Here is a beautiful 'I love my home in Stony Stratford' colouring sheet for you to print out and colour in (and put in your windows should you feel like it!). It was designed by Leighton Buzzard web design agency Aubergine.
Local group Ragdolly Annas are running FREE live and interactive, high energy music and rhyme sessions Monday to Friday at 10:30 (excluding public holidays) on Facebook and all videos can be watched back at your leisure on YouTube! Suitable from birth up to about 8yrs. They do requests and shout outs to make the session more interactive and make you feel more involved. Please see: https://www.facebook.com/ragdollyannas/
We have also launched online parties for a small charge allowing your little one to have some fun with their friends on their special day while in lock down. Mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Cha Char Chimps
Cha Char Chimps are offering live Zoom shows at Wednesdays at 10am - there is a small fee per session. For further details please see their Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/pg/CCChimps/posts/
Cosmic Kids Yoga
Yoga, mindfulness and relaxation designed specially for children aged 3 plus. Please click here for their YouTube videos which are free to access.
'Wriggle At Home'
Let's get you wriggling! 'Wriggle At Home' are bite sized creative dance sessions by Wriggle Dance for 2-5 yrs olds and their grown-ups. Check out the 'Wriggle at Home' playlist here.