Three family activities to help you feel calm and creative during lockdown

For parents at home with kids who are feeling overwhelmed and finding it hard to work, these activities will make you feel more inspired, calm, creative and present. And then you might have more energy for being productive with your freelance work or business…

These activities are from me and my sister, Lauren Davies, founder of Heka – originally shared in an IGTV video.

Lauren is an innovation designer. She’s really creative, knows lots about trends, branding, sustainability. And is a sensory expert. She does consultancy for really big brands as well as small businesses and freelancers. She has two kids, aged four and one.

I’m a writer and very focused on my business; running online courses for freelancers and entrepreneurs, and one-to-one business consultancy via my new platform The Robora. I have three kids – aged five, three and seven months – and I’m always trying to find ways to work while I’m with them – so one exercise I’ve included here is about doing that.

Lauren and I are similar in some ways, opposite in others so we’ve planned these activities to sit in the middle. For instance: I cook to eat, Lauren cooks for a hobby. So she kept this in mind with her cooking activity; that not all of us are chefs.

And we’re both up and down at the moment in terms of lockdown so hope this helps others who are feeling overwhelmed.

Three activities to do with or around your kids that will inspire you, and help you to feel calmer and more creative…

1. Moodboard/collage/visionboard

For those who aren’t particularly crafty but have scissors, paper and maybe some magazines – moodboards are fun and creative for kids, but you can turn it into ‘business planning’ by making yours a vision-board.

You might like to think about where you’d like your business to go in the next month/six months/year.  You don’t have to be realistic; this is about dreaming. You can also ignore your business, and do it for you and your life/wellbeing – depending on how you’re feeling.

And your children can either freestyle or maybe it would be nice to ask them how they’re feeling at the moment. Could they draw how they feel? What colours represent their current mood? Where would they love to be right now – it can all go on the board.

One suggestion is to keep some exciting materials separate and introduce them gradually. That way, if you’re in the flow and suddenly your kid gets bored, you can whip out a bowl of sequins or pom poms to distract them. And then continue with yours.

This is my way of getting in some work while being ‘present’ with my kids.

2. Cooking

I’m not much of a cook; Lauren is. It’s one of her passions. But cooking is a really nice way to use your hands – which is a good stress-reducer – and to be away from screens for a while.

So we started thinking about cooking ideas that don’t require too many ingredients. This is about the process; smelling the ingredients, crushing the herbs, making choices – let your child choose which herbs to put in. And then having something to show (and eat) at the end of it.

If time is feeling rushed or limited, there’s a meal idea – we still need to eat meals together. If you want to use cooking as a pass-the-time activity, there is a recipe for that, too…

Lauren recommends:

1. Cheese twists (or wands to make it more kid-inspired – just cut some stars and use egg to attach to the ends ) with your herb of choice.

2. Pesto – use different herbs, nuts, citrus fruits and cheese (or make it vegan without cheese). Have fun and be experimental with your combinations. Rachel Boyett AKA @littleveggieeats has great pesto inspiration on her Instagram feed – and has a new book out

3. Making homemade pizzas. You can either make the dough yourself or use pitta breads, tortilla wraps or flatbreads as your base. Choose a herb such as rosemary or oregano (fresh is lovely but dried is fine too), crush it up and add it to oil to make a fragrant infused oil that will taste delicious drizzled over the top. The scent will lift your mood. (

3. DIY bath bomb

Baths are great for relaxing. Kids tend to have them most days anyway. So this is about making an everyday activity more sensory and fun – for all of you.

Also, it’s a way to spend time in a different room in the home, as you’re probably not mostly hanging out in the bathroom right now.

Lauren came up with a DIY bath bomb recipe that is particularly good for dry skin, that smells lovely and that is simple to make…

Lauren’s homemade bath bomb recipe:

What you’ll need

– An old pair of tights or scrap of very thin fabric like muslin

– Scissors

– A hair band or piece of string

– A citrus fruit (let the kids choose which fruit to give them some input)

– A grater or zester

– A couple of tablespoons of oats

– Bowl

– Glass or mug

Directions:

1. If using tights, cut off the foot part just above the ankle (make sure there are no holes) making sure to leave a good bit to tie up.

2. Grate your zest of choice over the oats.

3. Pour (or spoon) the oat and citrus zest mix into the ‘sock’ part of tights or onto your fabric scrap (if using tights, folding the part you cut off over a glass, as pictured makes this easier)

4. Tie up your pouch making sure there is space inside for the oat mixture to move around.

5. Place under the hot running water in your bath and enjoy the essential oils being released from the citrus rinds and the water turning milky from the oats. Give the bath bomb a little squeeze every now and again to make sure you get the most out of the contents.

6. Enjoy a sensory bath with your kids, remembering to close your eyes and inhale and enjoy the aromas for a few seconds at least!

7. Empty out the bath bomb, rinse and repeat whenever the urge takes you! You could also try adding herbs or flowers for different scents.

This is:

a) A fun and simple activity to do with your kids during the day using things that most people should already have.

b) Adds a new dimension to the chaos of bath time that makes it enjoyable for you as well as your kids.

c) Allows you to connect with your sense of smell which is grounding and a way of staying present and not letting anxieties take over.

d) Really good for your skin as oats are an emollient. I don’t know about everyone else but my hands are red raw from washing them so much! 

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