Our guide to online activities during lockdown

Children doing art

Check out our guide to online activities for children to help your whole family get through Covid-19 self-isolation. 

Lockdown due to Covid-19 is a challenge for anyone, but it’s a special kind of challenge for those with children in the house.

Entertaining them, schooling them, feeding them, refereeing sibling arguments – all while you continue with your own work (from home) or other tasks.

Before you tear your hair out, check out some of our favourite sites with helpful tips, tricks, advice and ideas to get through lockdown.  Some may help with home schooling and some may help entertain and engage children for a few minutes or a few hours.

And there's a few links for parents down at the end to help you cope with the stress and anxiety the current situation inevitably brings. 

Physical activity:

  • Les Mills

Les Mills Gyms is offering free online classes broadcast on TVNZ at 9am and 3pm every day and on TVNZ On Demand.  The 3pm class is designed specifically for children and teenagers.

Check it out here: https://www.tvnz.co.nz/shows/les-mills-born-to-move

  • Joe Wicks PE

Personal training YouTube sensation, Joe Wicks, delivers a PE class for children every day featuring exercises kids can do easily in the living room.

Check it out here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rz0go1pTda8&list=PLyCLoPd4VxBvQafyve889qVcPxYEjdSTl&index=2&t=0s

  • Cosmic Kids Yoga

A YouTube channel that offers yoga classes designed especially for kids.

Take a look: https://www.youtube.com/user/CosmicKidsYoga/featured

  • Go Noodle

More than 14 million kids can’t be wrong.  That’s how many use GoNoodle videos to get fit at home through dance, movement, stretching, running and jumping.

Take a look here: https://www.gonoodle.com/


  • Audio books

o   Audible.com

While schools are closed, the website Audible is currently offering children’s books for free.  There’s a huge range of kids’ books available here, from perennial favourites like Winnie the Pooh and the Harry Potter series to the latest tween fantasy series.

Check it out here: https://www.audible.com/ep/kids-audiobooks

o   Storyline.com

This website has a vast array of story books read by actors and celebrities.  Most of the books are for younger children, but older kids will also enjoy the pictures and the passion with which the books are read.

Check it out here: Storylineonline.net  

o   Libraries

Most New Zealand libraries have an online service through which you can download e-books using your library card.  There are a wealth of new titles available and the wait for books is often much shorter than for hard-copy books.  You will often need to download another programme to borrow e-books, but it’s simple to do and the library websites have all the instructions.

Check out:

o   Auckland Libraries: https://www.aucklandlibraries.govt.nz/Pages/ebooks.aspx

o   Hamilton libraries: https://hamiltonlibraries.co.nz/ecollections/

o   Whangarei Libraries: http://www.whangarei-libraries.com/quick-access/pages/eBooks.aspx

o   Tauranga Libraries: https://library.tauranga.govt.nz/digital-library/ebooks

o   Wellington Libraries: http://www.wcl.govt.nz/downloads/index.php

o   Christchurch Libraries: https://my.christchurchcitylibraries.com/ebooks-guide/

o   Dunedin Libraries: https://www.dunedinlibraries.govt.nz/digital-library


  • Kahn Academy

For real home schooling, check out the Kahn Academy which features easy-to-understand videos and math problems for children at any school year group.  It’s methodical and delivered in simple way which will really help children “get” maths.

Take a look here: https://www.khanacademy.org/

  • Prodigy

An online game-based math programme that engages children by setting them challenges within a game that includes answering maths questions.  Children will love it and will not even feel like they are doing maths!

Find it here: https://www.prodigygame.com/

  • The Maths Factor

A UK based site which is offering free maths tuition during the Covid-19 pandemic while schools are closed around the world.  It has a range of maths topics for children to explore and features games to make the learning fun.

Check it out her: https://www.themathsfactor.com/


  • NanoGirl

Check out New Zealand’s own NanoGirl, Dr Michelle Dickinson, who is providing online science lessons for Kiwi kids.  There is a subscription fee, but for every subscription bought another is given to a needy child.  NanoGirl is enthusiastic and fun and explains science in simple, easy-to-understand way with experiments that will inspire children of all ages.

Check it out here: https://nanogirlslab.com/

  • National Geographic Kids

This is an amazing resource with lots of fascinating facts, images, videos and games for young people to explore and find out more about just about anything!

Take a look here: www.natgeokids.com

  • National Geographic YouTube

National Geographic’s YouTube channel features lots of short videos on just about any aspect of the natural world. It is the perfect place to capture the imagination of any budding scientist, explorer or adventurer.

Find it here: www.youtube.com/NationalGeographic

  • British Natural History Museum

Another great museum site with lots of resources for kids to explore and learn more about the natural world. It includes a great range of activities children can do at home.

Take a look: www.nhm.ac.uk

Art and Craft:

  • Art for Kids

This site includes lessons and activities to help children explore all kinds of artistic expression from drawing and painting to sculpture and origami. It features short, fun YouTube clips to help guide children through different activities.

Find it here: https://www.artforkidshub.com/

  • Tinkerlab

A website with lots of great ideas for activities that will support children’s creativity, includes lots of art and craft, but also science experiments.  You can find appropriate activities by topic or by age of the child.

Check it out here: www.tinkerlab.com  

  • Doodle drawing

Artist Mo Willems is hosting daily doodle drawing classes on his YouTube channel.  Children simply need a pen and paper and they can doodle along with him.

Find it here: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL14hRqd0PELGbKihHuTqx_pbvCLqGbOkF

  • Scouts

Scouts UK has pulled together a range of great indoor activities for children to do while on lockdown.  There’s a great range of easy activities which require only what you would ordinarily have in the house.

Find it here: https://www.scouts.org.uk/the-great-indoors/

  • The Louvre:

You can’t fly to Paris right now, but you can take a virtual tour of one of the world’s most famous art galleries and museums.  There are a range of other art galleries and museums which also offer virtual tours so check some others as well.

Check it out here: www.louvre.fr

Explore the world:

  • The British Museum

The British museum has a great YouTube channel for kids in which they explore the history of all sorts of artefacts held at the museum.  Children can explore everything from the history of clothes to the conservation of a crocodile mummy to the history of the Trojan War.  They are short, fun videos that capture children’s imagination.

Find it here: www.youtube.com/britishmuseum

  • Kids World Travel Guide

A site which helps children explore different countries around the world.  Contains easy facts about a range of countries, plus games and a special world news site for children.  

Have a look here: https://www.kids-world-travel-guide.com/

  • Watch live animals

A fascinating website in which children can watch live web cams of animals in the wild.  They can view anything from gorillas in the Congo to orcas in the ocean and polar bears in the Arctic.  A fascinating site to while away some time.

Check it out here: https://explore.org/livecams

Home schooling:

  • Wide Open School

This home schooling option from Common Sense Media provides a range of subject matter lessons, as well as a daily schedule for home schooling while schools are closed.  It's a fantastic resource that provides everything you need to get through a school day. 

Find it here: https://wideopenschool.org/ 

For parents: