"I'm bored." It is a term used by children that could soon become commonplace among families.
We are less than two weeks away from the annual Easter school holidays.
For some, the school break has already begun as parents make a choice to remove their children from the classroom sooner because of concern about the current global coronavirus pandemic.
Meanwhile, many of the activities usually offered to young people to stave off boredom - sport and other group holiday programs - have also been cancelled, or simply not organised for the Easter break. That means there will soon be a lot of young people at home potentially complaining about nothing to do.
While a family movie and electronic games may become an easy 'go to' for both children and parents there are many other options that could be more productive, engaging and healthy.
All you need to do is flash back a few years, to a time when Netflix, electronic games and even multiple television channels didn't exist. There were plenty of fun things to do that kept youngster mentally and physically active.
We have pulled together a few suggestions to help keep the kids entertained without the need to gather in large groups. And who knows, maybe the parents will have a little fun as well.
Skipping (jump rope) - This is a great form of exercise and fun that can be enjoyed by one or more people while getting some fresh air and Vitamin D. All you need is a little space in the front or back yard or a nearby park or reserve.
Regardless of whether you opt for a smaller rope for individuals or a longer rope for skipping fun with siblings, this is an easy and inexpensive activity.
If siblings want to try this a longer rope is a good idea and if you don't have enough people to turn both ends of the rope while another jumps then why not tie one end to a post or something similar.
If you have youngsters that don't know how to use a skipping rope then there is no better time that right now to learn.
Hula hoop - The first thing people tend to think of when using a hula hoop is that you spin it around your waist. But there is so much more you can do. try twirling it around your arms or legs, and you can even skip through it.
Add a little competition to the fun by challenging a sibling, or even a parent, to see who can twirl the longest without stopping.
Chances are you will all be exhausted after this workout but you will have had plenty of fun along the way.
Elastics - Now here is a blast from the past that could keep the young, and young at heart, occupied for hours. All you need is some elastic... and technically three people, at least, to play. (However, with a some creative adjustments this is an activity that could easily be enjoyed by one person. For example you could wrap the elastic around two chairs.)
The idea of the game is to have a two people (preferably) facing each other with the elastic stretched between them. A third jumps the outstretched elastic while chanting rhymes.
The child jumping will continue through stages where the elastic is moved higher (ankles, knees, hips, waist) and the steps become more challenging. The next child is then given the chance to jump through the stages. Example: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7lEmfq_NDlU
Hop scotch - Use chalk to draw a hopscotch pattern on the ground. This should include eight numbered sections.
Each player has a shooter such as a stone, bottlecap or button.
The first player stands behind the starting line to toss their shooter in square one. They then hop over square one to square two and then continue hopping to square eight, turn around, and hop back again. They must pause in square two to pick up the shooter, then hop in to square one, and out. Then they throw the shooter to the second square and repeat the hopping process. Then they move to square three and so on.
All hopping is done on one foot unless the hopscotch design is such that two squares are side-by-side. In that instance two feet can be placed down with one in each square. A player must always hop over any square where a shooter has been placed.
Getting out: A player is out if the marker fails to land in the proper square, the hopper steps on a line, the hopper loses balance when bending over to pick up the marker and puts a second hand or foot down, the hopper goes into a square where a marker is, or if a player puts two feet down in a single box. Example: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fZzswQaICfM
Handball - While you've got the chalk out for hopscotch, why not set up an area to play handball as well? The only other things you will need is at least one opponent and a handball. There are balls specifically made for this game but a tennis ball will also work.
A typical handball court is a square divided into quarters but in these challenging times you might only have two people to play the game so let's be flexible with the set up and the rules.
You can consider this game a bit like tennis with the aim of putting your opponent's agility and flexibility to the test with a strategic pass that is hard to return. Unlike a game of tennis your serve requires that the ball bounces once only in your square first. The return to serve must also bounce in the players square before it bounces in an opponents square. The game continues until someone misses a return or hits the ball out. These rules are slightly modified for a situation with limited players but if you happen to have more opponents available you can check the details with an internet search of school handball.