While we all think of ways to keep the kids amused as well as stay in contact with the outside world how about trying to combine the two? After seeing the drawings of rainbows done by Italian children during lockdown I was inspired to think of creative ways to use these spaces in our communities. So here are a few ideas that are as yet untested, but could maybe work with a few adjustments depending on the layout of your street & type of housing. If your household has binoculars these could come in useful or otherwise look at your neighbours windows when you take some daily exercise. For most of these ideas you would need to set up some sort of street communication through WhatsApp, Facebook, Next-door or similar to play together.
Each day a different household could draw a picture to represent either a film, book or song for the other side of the street to guess and put it up in their window. Take it in turns and alternate between each side of the street each day. The drawing can have the theme written at the top, but should not otherwise have any letters, numbers or symbols. At the end of the week or allowed time, the side of the street with the most pictures guessed right wins.
Each household takes turns to choose a word and draw the hangman that they out in their window. Maybe start one end of the street and alternate between sides each day. The chosen word is represented with dashes for each letter. Anyone on the street who can see the household drawing can suggest letters for the mystery word. If the letter is correct the drawing household puts it into the space it appears. If it is wrong the first part of the hangman is drawn. The others on the street must guess the word before the hangman is fully drawn because of wrong letters guessed.
This one has to be done from the confines of your house rather than when passing by outside for it to work better. A house at one end of the street (no. 1) chooses a phrase and writes large enough to read and places in a visible window. The house opposite (no. 2) has to write what they think they can read and write that on paper and place in their window. The next house opposite them (no. 3) then does the same. By the time it gets to the end of street it will hopefully be beyond recognition to the starting phrase and hilariously funny.
Take a word, scramble it up and write it out in large letters to put up in a window. The first neighbour to guess what it is wins. Take it in turns and increase the length of the words to increase the difficulty.
Take in turns to draw up a 4 x 4 grid of randomly chosen letters. You could pick these out of a bag of scrabble letters or from a real boggle game if that helps. Put up the grid in a window and make sure it is large enough for all to read it. Set a time period for people to view it from 10 minutes to an hour or more if necessary. Houses that can see the boggle grid must come up with as many words from the grid as they can. The letters must connect to form the word and not repeat and no plurals, abbreviation or slang allowed. To simplify the point scoring award a point for each letter each word contains. The household with the highest scores wins the round. Take turns and alternate the side of the street so that different houses get the chance to see the boggle grid.
Choose a daily theme and get the kids to set their imaginations free! Encourage use of different media; paints, pastels, collage etc. and the bigger the better. Place them proudly in upstairs windows for all to see. Then each household on the street could vote on a winner and a chocolate prize could be awarded.
I’m sure there are hundreds of other well known games or activities that could be adapted in a similar way so let me know if you think of any more. I hope you will all try some and get playing with your neighbours to help strengthen your community and get through these hard times.
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