Updated September 2021 with lots of fun new things to do!
We know it’s hard to come up with new and exciting things to do to keep children busy – even now lockdown is over and the world is slowly returning to normal. So many of you loved our HOME-approved guide to great new creative activities for children of all ages during the lockdown to keep kids of all ages creative and having fun that we’re going to keep it going. We update this page on a regular basis so make sure you keep checking in!
See below for 21 updated resources and activities for film, dance, drama, visual art, museum collections, and more.
And if you find this article helpful, please share it with other busy parents and homeschoolers who need a bit of inspiration.
Please note: We sometimes link to third-party sites, including YouTube, so we recommend that children should be supervised.
Recommended resources and activities
We have some lovely family events taking place this Autumn at HOME – Storytime Sessions: The Discarded Oil Drum by Henry & Steel, family-friendly narrated audio stories available to listen to online, part of our Black History Month programming. From 1-31 October, join Steely the Steel Drum in a 3 part series, on his musical journey to discover the beauty of how he was made and what he was made from.
Storytime Sessions was originally commissioned for Black History Month at HOME 2021.
To accompany the series, there will also be free drop-in musical and movement storytelling workshops in libraries across Manchester during the October half-term – Click here to find out where.
And this Christmas, Le Gateau Chocolat presents Duckie, a charming reimagining of The Ugly Duckling, with a message of tolerance and self-acceptance at its core.
Have a go at making at learning how to make pottery, even without a kiln! Eastnor Pottery has released their free tutorials for children on their YouTube channel, including how to make a pottery house, wheel, and fish.
Even if you don’t have clay, the tutorials still work great with play dough too. Happy making!
Glasgow Science Centre has been releasing a load of fun videos and workshops including ‘Making your own Lava Lamp’ and ‘Design-a-saurus’.
Activities are filtered by age, levels and themes, so you can find the perfect activity. Click here to keep your little ones busy.
Join Sarah-Jane Mason, an artist based in Yorkshire, as she explores the wonders of storytelling through the magical world of light and shadow.
You can watch Sarah-Jane’s how-to videos online, taking you on an exploration of light and shadow through storytelling, designing, making, and puppeteering; all whilst having fun with lots of other families. Download the activity sheet here.
In these on-demand sessions via youtube, you’ll learn how to create an incredible shadow theatre and put on your very own collaborative performance.
Explore the wonders of the Manchester Museum from your home. Parents, carers, and teachers, Manchester Museum has got you covered!
Supporting your children’s education in lockdown and keeping them engaged is tough, so if you’re home-schooling or want fun activities for the family, check out their free online events and downloadable packs. If you’re a dinosaur fan and miss hanging out with Stan the T-Rex, we recommend downloading their ‘Dinosaur Activities for fans of Stan’! Click here to find out more
Z-arts have teamed up with the Story Drawing Club, Discover Story Centre, Read Manchester, and Stagecoach to bring families from across Manchester a wonderful creative program to inspire the next generation of story writers and illustrators. They have a host of drawing tutorials online – you can see them all and have a go yourself by clicking here.
The Lowry: Creativity for Wellbeing
The Lowry is offering a weekly timetable of free online activities for children and adults to enjoy from home.
Fed up with being indoors? Need to boost your mood and enhance your energy? Or maybe you want to connect with others?
Creativity for Wellbeing has something for everyone. These weekly workshops with professional artists are designed to help you feel invigorated and inspired.
No experience or skill is necessary and everyone is welcome, and it’s all completely free. Click here to book your free ticket or to join an online event.
The Octagon: Storymakers Online
The Octagon has added more to their series of online story maker sessions. The collection of accessible read-a-long and sing-a-long stories are voiced by actors bringing original tales such as The Gingerbread Man and The Ugly Duckling to life. New additions include The Ice Queen and Hansel & Gretel. Make sure you download the activity sheet for each story too!
Want to be a Storymaker? Take on the Storymakers Challenge to create your very own short story. Click here to help your kids sit still for more than 5 minutes!
Visit Manchester has pulled together some of the best home-education-inspired content, perfect for a digital day with the kids.
The Science Museum Group Learning Resources
While school groups can now go to visit our friends at the Science and Industry Museum again, did you know the Science Museum Group – of which they are a part – do have lots of great learning resources online, with handy instruction PDFs and videos. Most use items you can find around the house, too.
Want to bring your curriculum teaching to life?
Ignite your children/students’ curiosity around science, medicine, and faith by exploring objects from the museum collection in 3D!
And if you missed their annual making festival, Makefest, there’s a blog post with lots of Makefest challenges to try at home.
City of Trees
For green-fingered families! Head over to the City of Trees website and check out their ‘Go Wild for Families‘ page. The have lots of outdoor craft packs and activities to learn and engage with nature.
To make it easier, you can filter your interests by DIY, Arts & Crafts, For Schools, Outdoors, Seasonal, and Spotter Sheets. They also have a blog for lockdown learning full of ideas and resources for Keystage 1, 2, and 3 onwards.
Get to know Peter Rabbit and his friends with these easy and fun activities and games to try at home. Inspired by Beatrix Potter characters, these activity packs include puzzles, things to make, and fun ideas to spark your imagination.
Our time outdoors may be limited, so when you are out, make it worthwhile! Start your nature adventure with National Trust’s ’50 things to do before you’re 11¾’. This downloadable handy guide helps children to make the most out of their limited time outdoors during the lockdown.
‘From stargazing to crawling through mud looking for animal clues, we have something for every young explorer.’
IntoFilm provides support to help young people aged 5 to 19 to experience film creatively. Check out their 50 film guides for all ages, to get kids to learn and think about film.
They also have their Review 100 competition, which encourages kids to submit a review online to be in with a chance to win a £20 amazon voucher. There is loads of amazing stuff on their website that is fun while also educational! A win-win for parents.
Join 48,000 people who are staying inspired with Firstsite’s artist-created activity packs. Featuring contributions from UK artists including Grayson Perry, Antony Gormley, Sarah Lucas, Gillian Wearing, Idris Khan, Lucy Gunning, Richard Wentworth, Cornelia Parker, Jeremy Deller, Gee Vaucher, Vanley Burke, Mark Wallinger, and more.
Get your free ‘Art is Where the Home’ Is activity packs by just completing a short online form then download! Be sure to also check out their ‘Feel Good Activity Pack‘ to help you stay connected, stay active, keep learning, be kind, and take notice of the world around you.
Can’t wait for an email? Their website is jam-packed with fun and free online activities to keep you creative, plus videos and articles to help you think differently and escape into your imagination – Jump to Art Online
Firstsite also has other crafty activities to do with bits and pieces you find at home including, drawing, collage, and finger knitting.
The Book Trust: Fun at home with authors and illustrators & Hometime
Looking for something fun as a family? The Book Trust has put together a fabulous page about all of the resources you can use to get your kids into reading, arts, and drawing. It is broken down into age ranges, so you crack on with something that works for your little ones. Tips include draw-along videos, downloadable worksheets, and draw a story masterclasses for kids.
Enjoy storytime with free online books and videos, play games, win prizes, test your knowledge in our book-themed quizzes, or even learn how to draw some of your favourite characters.
Drama Resource has all the tips and tricks to keep the drama king or queen in your life happy, even if they are missing their drama lessons. There are articles on writing for drama, tips on learning lines, and videos about devising theatre.
Learn how to ‘Paint Like Turner‘ or ‘Draw a Creature Sound‘. Our highlights include 30 min video tutorial ‘Use Your Body To Make Art‘. The website is fun and colourful and bound to engage kids of all ages.
Our friends over at Salford Quays have got lockdown learning locked down! Check out Bitesize Daily, their online lessons for children ages 5 – 14 with amazing content to keep kids busy and learning. Plus, they also include some very valuable resources and advice for parents and teachers.
This extensive offering will include online daily lessons, including daily guides for a host of subjects and daily programmes, which are 20-minute programmes to set up students and parents with a plan for each day’s study.
For young people aged 15-25:
If you are an aspiring writer, poet, and spoken word artist aged 15-25, you can join HOME’s resident artists, Young Identity for free weekly workshops online.
This is a great way to meet other creatives and express yourself creatively. Led by outstanding facilitators, versatile poets, and established spoken word performers, you will get the chance to respond to the evocative films, theatre, and art exhibitions at HOME, through a dynamic spoken word programme.
If this sounds like it’s for you, then join our free, unique writing workshops. Click here to find out more.
Future 20: The Last Place on Earth
Last Place On Earth is a 360-degree film.
Working with artist Ivan Morison, Future 20 Collective has created a virtual reality (VR) environment that invites you to imagine the last place on earth. A utopian place, not to feel alone in but where you can consider reconnecting with mother nature and planting seeds for change. It also has a really cool soundtrack that you can listen to separately. Click here to watch and find out more.
The Future 20 Collective is a group of artists aged 18-25 who undertook HOME’s 12-month training initiative in 2019-2020. The collective is made up of filmmakers, poets, spoken word artists, photographers, visual artists, musicians, theatre performers & producers, and a glass artist.
We have been overwhelmed by the love and support we’ve received since reopening – but we still need your help to keep supporting the artists and audiences on our doorstep. If you would like to make a one-off donation, we’d really appreciate it. Thank you.