Lockdown activity ideas

These have been crazy times in lockdown. We have been putting some activity ideas on Twitter (@ChatterboxesSLT) since the start of all this… here they all are in one place! Give them a go and remember, these activities can be done at any time – not just in lockdown!

Role play a kitchen café – your child can pretend to be a server in the café. They can welcome you, thinking what it might be appropriate to say. They could also pretend to do different job roles such as a teacher, a fireman or whatever they want.

Learn new emotions. Expand your child’s emotional vocabulary by teaching them more abstract emotions such as guilty, embarrassed, devastated and jealous. Why not try matching emotion words to emojis first before labelling people’s emotions.

Press pause. When your child is reading a book or watching tv, stop in the middle. Ask your child questions like ‘what do you think the character is thinking? How are they feeling? What do you think will happen next?

Teach your child how to use conjunctions such as ‘and’, ‘but’, ‘because’ and ‘so’. Help them to understand the context it’s in such as after because we say why or but is when we say something good then bad. You can use these to talk about your child’s interests.

Imagine! Encourage your child to imagine they are in a different place – a jungle, a beach or even the moon! Then get them to say what they can see. If your child is older, ask them to use describing words or use conjunctions to link their ideas.

Play memory games such as “I went to the shops and I bought” where on every turn you say something else you bought and have to recall all of the items previously said.

Make music! Find some musical instruments or anything that you can make a noise with – a saucepan and wooden spoon is fine! Then play your child a tune, and encourage them to repeat it back to you. This will help their listening and memory skills.

Write a diary entry or spend time researching a topic/time in history.

Plan a picnic. Ask your child to help plan it. You could create a menu, make decorations, prepare food and book in video calls to family and friends. This will help problem solving and introduce new vocabulary.

Listen to an audio book. Afterwards, ask questions about the story or encourage them to retell it.

Spend time with your child engaging in imaginative play. Let your child take the lead, but actively join in and get down to your child’s level. Children learn so much through play so it’s great to spend time each day joining in with them.

Get the Lego (or other types of building blocks) out! Plan what you’re going to build, give your child instructions, encourage them to give you instructions, problem solve and to turn take, either with you or their siblings. What will you build?

Create your own nature scavenger hunt. What can you find in your garden or local green spaces?

Teach irregular verbs. Your children can compete – fastest wins. Say a verb (doing word) and ask them what it is in the past. You can use ‘yesterday’ to start them off. For example, ‘run’ becomes ‘ran’. There are lots to try: swim, buy, dig, hide, teach, catch, write, eat.

Practise your listening! For younger children, hide a noisy toy in the room and encourage them to find it. For older children, sort objects based on start or end sounds, clap out syllables in words or find rhyming words – you could even write poems!

If you’re sorting things, you could order books into alphabetical order. Checking your child clearly knows the alphabet supports them to use a dictionary more independently. Alternatively, help your child to use a dictionary to look up new words.

Play ‘Who am I?’ Give information about an object/animal and encourage your child to guess who you are. Eg. I have four legs, am big and have a trunk! (elephant). This will help your child’s semantic links. Get them to take a turn too to help their describing.

Write cards or letters to family and friends that you aren’t able to visit. This develops use of language, such as grammar and vocabulary. And maybe they will even write back!

Play Simon Says! This will help your child to follow instructions and will develop their auditory memory if you give more than one instruction at a time. Use a mixture of verbs, eg. jump, shake, etc to reinforce this vocabulary.

Using a simple line drawn picture, ask your child to give instructions to another person who hasn’t seen the picture so that they attempt to create an identical picture. This supports their ability to convey information and use a range of concepts.

Why not make smoothies? You can encourage your child to create a menu, follow instructions as to how to make them and enjoy a tasty reward at the end of it! You can also use adjectives like ‘soft’ and ‘sweet’ to describe the fruit.

Work on talking about things in the past tense. Begin by introducing and modelling ‘was’. You can talk about some of the things you’ve done while in lockdown.

Why not make a sound soup. All the ingredients should begin with a certain sound – fill a bowl with items beginning with that sound! Play ‘I spy’ to make this easier. What wonderful combinations can you make? Dinosaur and digger soup anyone?

Get competitive with category games. Who can name the most pets, clothes, sports, transport or even flavours of ice cream? Great to boost your child’s vocabulary and great fun too!

Why not make a pretend car/boat/train from books, boxes or furniture! Encourage your child to give you instructions, problem solve how to make the roof and enjoy taking turns to act out different roles like the train driver!

Why not do some baking together? This involves learning sequencing and following instructions as well as learning new vocabulary such as stir, whisk and beat. Ask your child to tell you the steps they have done and use words such as first and last.

Lots of you are doing the daily PE classes with The Body Coach. Try labelling the verbs (doing words) alongside this. Later in the day, encourage your child to be the ‘teacher’ and give you instructions using the verbs they have heard.

Get creative and draw or paint family portraits. This is a great time to develop your child’s self-awareness about their own appearance as well as developing their vocabulary using words such as straight, curly, freckles or learning colours.

Listening walk. Walk around your garden or listen out of your window to see what your child can hear. When they hear something, get them to draw what they think it is! Ask them ‘wh’ questions – who is it? What are they doing? Where are they?

Spend some time teaching your child prepositions such as under, behind, next to and in front. Try not to teach the concept at the same time as the opposite concept. You can make it fun such as hiding under the table.


Check out Our Resources page for more ideas on how to support your child’s speech and language development.