Wildlife watch this half-term? Three smart ways to keep the kids happy at home

Half-term is almost here. While the thought of no home schooling for a week is a welcome relief, the alternative – nothing but parks to keep the kids entertained for a whole seven days – brings its own set of challenges.

Lots of us at Hive are parents and on a recent Zoom we got talking about some of the things we’ve been doing to keep boredom at bay. And it turns out some of us have been getting pretty inventive with our smart home tech. The sort of thing that won’t fill a day – but will give the kids a few hours of fun, and you the chance to make a much-needed cup of tea! Here are three of our favourites.

Use a smart security camera for nature watch

Smart cams on the outside of your house are great for security. But if your kids like wildlife they’re also a really fun way to watch some of the animals in your garden.

Before you begin, download spotting sheets from the Wildlife Watch website. Or get the kids to create their own.

You’ll be able to see much more than if you were actually in the garden, making noise and scaring the animals and birds. Let them use the zoom to get a really close up look at what’s going on and channel their inner David Attenborough. And the great thing about smart cams, like our Hive View Outdoor, is there’s not an automatic security light with the camera to frighten animals away. Instead, ours comes with night vision, meaning you can also take a closer look at nocturnal animals like badgers and foxes.

Get your disco on with smart lights

Use colour changing light bulbs to turn your kid’s bedroom into their very own nightclub.

If you normally only have smart home lighting in other parts of the house, they’re really easy to unscrew. So you can pop them into your child’s room for a bit of fun.

Using the smart home app on your phone, let them choose the best colour for each bulb. You can even pre-set different scenes for their favourite songs. Give each one a memorable name, like “Justin Bieber”. Then change them while you boogie using your voice and smart speaker.

You could also suggest your child invites some of their friends to attend via Zoom or FaceTime. Send out invitations a few days in advance and ask everyone to suggest a song or two when they RSVP to make up the ultimate party play list.

“Alexa, entertain the kids”

Now more than ever, parents need a few moments of down time. How else will you find the time to scroll through your news app and then wish you hadn’t?

If you’re keen to keep screen time to a minimum but your kids aren’t very good at playing by themselves, then smart speakers could be a good way to go. Alexa and Google Home are both packed with activities that will keep the whole family entertained.

For little ones Alexa’s ‘Animal Workout’ is great. Say, “Alexa, open Animal Workout” and it will get them moving around like different animals.

For older children, ‘Song Pop’ from Google Home is brilliant. They can choose from different artists and genres then listen to a short intro to guess that song. It can be played alone or when they’ve got friends over for some competitive fun.

Hive’s family of smart home products are all about making daily life a little bit easier. From lights that look after your home, to heating that is only on when you need it. Find out more at Discover Hive.

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