7 Ways to Keep the Kids Occupied (Creatively): A Guest Blog

Article by: Natasha Rekhi, Drama Teacher and Guest Blogger

Parents are facing a new challenge as they entertain kids at home while working. Even those who normally work from home or are full-time parents are struggling to think of new ways to keep their kids occupied when all of their typical hang-out spots are closed. How can parents enrich a kid’s day, and hopefully move them away (at least a bit) from the screens?

Here are some simple steps to help your kids have fun at home, while also enhancing their creative spirits, suggested by Drama Teacher, Natasha Rekhi.

    1. CREATE THE SPACE – If you can’t dedicate a whole room, don’t worry. A corner or even a box full of goodies is enough to get your kids’ creative juices flowing. It’s not the space itself that is important – but what’s in the space. What could a creativity box look like? Try filling it with things you already have around the home: Old clothes that can be used for dress up, art supplies, or (safe) household objects. A mystery box idea also works well where you swap items each week to keep their curiosity and interest growing.  With this creative space, kids’ imaginations will be able to flourish with plenty of pretend play scenarios.
    2. ROLE PLAY – Even if you don’t think you’re very creative, taking the time to create with your kids shows them it’s a fun thing to do (and therefore is a great way to get them started!). Pick up a favourite book and read it in a funny voice. Pull out your sketchbook and doodle as your kids’ paint. Sometimes my sons and I do collaborative drawings, where they draw a little bit and I colour it in. We go back and forth and it’s a lot of fun. Show your kids how important creativity is to you.  Enthuse over your own latest painting or gardening project. Let them watch you as you talk about what you are doing and find ways to share what you love. In my case, that’s music and drama. For others, it could be writing or cooking. Appreciate some art and go to museums together, virtually!
    3. SCHEDULE BOREDOM- Yes this needs some prioritizing too! I’m not sure when we decided as a society that every single moment of our kids’ lives needed to be filled with some sort of activity. It’s so important for kids to explore and wonder on their own. Looking back at my own childhood, my most innovative play-based games were inventions of my free time.  Unscheduled time allows children to set their own goals and take actions to meet them without adult intervention. Now that’s a skill of a lifetime!
    4. SUPPORT THEIR PASSION – Expose your child to lots of different activities—ballet, drama, art and more—to see if they find something that draws their attention. If your child falls in love with an activity encourage their enthusiasm—they just might discover a passion that will change their life. Have a kid who loves Harry Potter? How about princesses? There are so many resources and craft for kids available online. You don’t have to do this all the time, but if your kid is not so interested in creative time, this is a great way to motivate them.
    5. HELP THEM PERSIST- Problem solving requires patience and persistence. Often kids will start a building activity or a piece of artwork and think they are done with it in a few seconds. Try asking them questions about the process to get them to refocus. I often ask my kids what would happen if they tried attempting the same task differently or what they plan to choose next.  Your interest encourages them to keep going and that’s what builds the muscle of creativity.
    6. ALLOW THEM TO QUESTION EVERYTHING – Creativity is not about accepting how things are, but wondering how things could be. Children love asking questions and are full of innate curiosity. Play is a great way to explore this with your child. You might pick up a toy and ask “What is it made of?” You want to help your child foster a different way of thinking and helping your child preserve this sense of inquiry is crucial to developing a creative mindset.
    7. EXPOSE THEM TO DIFFERENT VIEWPOINTS- Exposing your children to different views and cultures helps them look at the world in a unique way. This doesn’t mean travelling in real life, fortunately! Consider more traditional ways of learning: such as books about new cultures.   When I read to my children, I often ask them to step into the character’s shoes and think about the story, setting and situation from another perspective. Very soon you will start to see your child make connections and bring creativity into their everyday life. If you are interested, you can also explore all of the virtual reality travel that is available to us these days. All you need are simple cardboards VR glasses and a smartphone, and they’ll be able to see new places and things to spark their interest!
The most important part of this piece is to not make it too hard on yourself. If you are a parent already struggling to balance family and work right now, maybe dedicating an hour to their creativity is tough. Try starting small. Make a mystery box for them. Encourage them to explore it, and you will be surprised how quickly creativity will occupy and enhance their day.


Natasha Rekhi is an internationally recognised Drama teacher for children. A successful performer and educator of cross-cultural troops with experience working with expatriate children across Asia and the Middle East. Natasha currently lives and works in Amsterdam, The Netherlands. She also runs the instagram page @theatre4kids to share creative ideas for parents to engage their kids at home.

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