FIFA 2022 World Cup Qatar is almost upon us, and its arrival brings much excitement about the upcoming events and activities in Qatar. Despite this, many parents may feel anxious as schools are expected to stay closed for over a month. They may wonder how they can keep their kids busy and entertained while staying afloat. Fortunately, the Covid-19 pandemic has given families tools to create fun even when options seem limited. Still, if you’re feeling stuck, here are some ideas to keep everyone happy and active throughout this break.
World Cup Events
If you have been able to get tickets to a match or more, it is almost mandatory that you attend because you may never live in a host city again. Attending a game would be a moment for families to remember and cherish for a lifetime. Children won’t remember what seats they had or even what teams played, but they will recall being there and will tell friends and family about it whenever The World Cup is mentioned. And if you haven’t bought a ticket yet, you might still have a chance! The Last Minute Sale phase of ticket sales will continue until the end of the tournament, and local and international fans will still be eligible to apply until then. If you succeed, make sure to also get your Hayya Card to attend the games and take advantage of the other perks.
If you can’t make it to a game, many places will host family-friendly events during the world cup. The Mall of Qatar, for instance, will feature shows on their main stage and have live matches on its screens for fans to watch. Places like Katara and the corniche will also host events. The complete schedules for these programmes have not been announced yet but will be soon so you can fill in your calendars. The great thing about many of these venues is that they do not require ticket purchases, which makes them very affordable. The websites to purchase tickets and get your Hayya card are listed below:
Hayya Card: hayya.qatar2022.qa
Not everyone has the time, resources, or desire to attend World Cup events. Despite that, there are many activities your kids can do at home during this time. Depending on their ages and abilities, they can do them independently or with your help.
These are as simple as it gets, as many people have Lego blocks at home. You can create challenges encouraging your kids to build and compete against each other or themselves. They can make race cars, bridges that have to hold weight, houses that have to survive quakes, or the tallest and sturdiest towers. These tasks will keep kids occupied for hours while teaching them engineering skills. You can even add prizes to increase interest! Besides being fun, these activities challenge kids to think and engineer their inventions. The sky’s the limit when it comes to Lego creations, and the internet is filled with ideas that can keep your kids inspired.
Pick a book with the kids and read it together. You can also set a time limit for everyone to read the whole book or a portion of it, after which you will discuss it as a family. Share your predictions of what will happen in the storyline or discuss your favourite characters. If there is a movie adaptation of the book, you can watch it and then discuss what was different about the film and ask everyone which one they prefer.
Every child wants to be the mad scientist from the movies, and they can easily recreate this experience at home! If you look online or at your local stationery shop, there are an unlimited number of resources for at-home experiments kids can safely complete with everyday items.
For example, Emily’s Wonder Lab, a kid-friendly science experiment show on Netflix, is full of ideas that can inspire your kids. It shows basic experiments you can do at home and lists all the steps. Websites like Steven Spangler Science and WeAreTeachers are also great resources. They also show easily accessible experiments that anyone can do with tools available in any supermarket or pharmacy and list the instructions to complete them.
Some examples you can try include making lungs or race cars from balloons, elephant toothpaste, baking soda and vinegar volcanoes, and crystal lollipops from sugar syrup. As a bonus, you can get the kids to research the activities they want to do, make a list, and help you with the shopping. These are all activities in their own right!
If your kids don’t have daily chores or have a limited understanding of what it takes to run a household, this could be the time to change that. Almost all kids can get involved somehow, but what they will be able to do depends on their ages. You can find online guides for age-appropriate chores to help.
Start simple by getting them to make their beds or put their toys away. You can even involve them in tasks like sorting out their clean and dirty laundry and helping with vacuuming. These are essential life skills that kids will eventually need to learn—the earlier they start, the better. It will also take some pressure off you while they are home. Consider organising a daily task chart and have incentives for completing the work or penalties for forgetting. Hopefully, by the time school restarts, they will have picked up some new habits and started to have an active role in caring for the household.
Board and Card Games
These are oldies but goodies! You can find a selection of board and card games at supermarkets, toy shops, stationery shops, and online. You might even be able to get them second-hand for a bargain from a used goods app or website. Besides being entertaining, these games are great for teaching your children many skills. For example, Monopoly can teach them about counting, finance, compromise, and strategic thinking. Other games you can play with your kids include Sorry!, The Game of Life (or Life), and Uno. Card games like Uno have the added benefits of being relatively cheap, compact, and portable. You can play them in the house, car, or on vacation. Cribbage or Crib is another popular game that can make for endless hours of fun, but it might be more suitable for older kids.
TV and Video Games
This suggestion might not be popular as many families are understandably trying to limit kids’ screen time. But with children being at home for this long, it is expected that screens may stay on longer to keep everyone busy (and give parents a break!).
You can specifically select shows or movies with quality content that you can discuss afterwards. If you’re subscribed to a streaming service, it will be easier to filter content. When it comes to video games, you can choose those that require thought and have puzzle-solving elements. The Lego series of games is an excellent option for most ages as it’s non-violent and has a funny dialogue that everyone can enjoy. They also involve puzzles that must be solved to progress, and in many instances, players need to work together to solve them. Besides these, games like Minecraft, Zoo Tycoon, Letter Quest: Grimm’s Journey, and Animal Crossing are educational and kid-friendly, and you can play them on several platforms. If rationed properly, screens can be a useful tool to get everyone through the days ahead.
One of the best ways to spend time off is by enjoying the company of friends and family. If your kids have close friends or cousins living in Qatar, you can take advantage of this. You can also include them in any of the at-home activities above. Kids will also find their own things to do when friends are over, like bike riding, playing sports, and drawing. The options are truly endless! Never underestimate how much kids love spending time with one another, which can help take some of the pressure off you. Plus, if the other parents are around, you can share the responsibility of watching the kids with them while also enjoying the company of other adults.
A Note on Self-care
During these busy times, you may feel overwhelmed with caring for your kids and being their entertainment coordinator. This can especially be the case if you are working. So, it’s important that you take some time for yourself. Find something you can do daily or at least as often as you can to help you unwind. This looks different for everyone and might be reading a book, watching something you like, or having a delicious hot drink. It can be hard to fit this in but make it a priority, even if it means doing it when your kids are busy. You can also send your kids to their rooms for a bit while you take your break. If your children are young, sneak it in during a nap. You can’t do your best as a parent if you are running on empty. It’s just as crucial that you get your time as they get theirs. So please take it, enjoy it, and don’t feel guilty about looking after yourself. Looking after you helps you look after your children.
Above all, try to take the pressure off yourself, so this break doesn’t feel like a never-ending chore. While not every day will score a perfect 10 out of 10, it’s also unlikely that you will have a series of ones. So be realistic, try to get some rest, and focus on doing your best. This will be more than enough for your family.