Feeling really sad, low in mood, or anxious, can have a big impact on activity levels and enjoyment. Children and young people who often feel sad, or low in mood, engage in very few activities that give them enjoyment, and a sense of achievement. Their low mood, or anxiety, can make them withdraw from other people, preferring to stay in their room, do quiet lonely activities, that are passive, like watching TV, playing video games, watching YouTube videos, or surfing the Internet.

When they are feeling down, it can be hard for them to decide or choose what to do, and they tend to want to do nothing. The list below gives ideas for fun activities, and you can make your own list by circling the things you like. Regularly planning fun activities, and completing tasks that give you a sense of achievement, are a powerful tool in lifting low mood, and sadness. I normally suggest two activities per day to do with others (parents/family/friends), and I ask that you to keep an eye on what happens to how you feel, what your mood is like when regularly you do things, and when you don’t.

 

  1. Blow bubbles
  2. Fly a kite
  3. Play a muscial instrument
  4. Build a toy car racetrack out of old boxes, tissue rolls
  5. A water gun battle
  6. A scavenger hunt
  7. Hula-hooping
  8. Learn a new skill as a family/friends, juggling, skateboarding, French braiding
  9. Get your camera and take photos of anything you want, using different filters
  10. Baking cakes or biscuits, find your favourite recipe
  11. Go to your local pond and try to catch (and release) things you find there
  12. Go on an alphabet treasure hunt, find things that begin with a letter you pick out of a bag
  13. Have fun relay races. Hopping on one foot, walking backwards, galloping
  14. Have an indoor or outdoor picnic lunch or dinner
  15. See who can build the tallest tower using blocks or Lego bricks
  16. Rifle through the dress-up bin and have a photo shoot with any mixture of outfits
  17. Set up a tent in the living room, get some snacks, turn off the lights, get a movie on a tablet/computer
  18. Have an animal sound contest, see which animal sounds different people make, blindfold people, see if they can guess who made the sound
  19. Learn how to do yo-yo tricks
  20. Have a day out at the beach
  21. Have a family/friends game night Monopoly, Scrabble and Pictionary
  22. Get some clay, have fun sculpting things
  23. Collect things from your local park to make a collage, you can paint it, or leave it natural
  24. Make a baking soda volcano, put a bit of white vinegar into a plastic cup, add a tablespoon of baking soda and watch the explosion
  25. Play/learn a card game
  26. Go out on your bicycles, find a local trail
  27. Have an opposites day and eat breakfast for dinner, wear your clothes inside out, yes means no!
  28. Play dominoes
  29. Sing along loud to your favourite songs, find the words on the internet
  30. Get on a karaoke game/machine, or use YouTube to sing along
  31. Play statue dancing, freezing when the music stops
  32. Throw a balloon into the air, see how long you can keep it up there, without it touching the floor
  33. Build a fort using cushions, blankets and old sheets
  34. Make a scrapbook of your favourite things, adding things to it regularly
  35. Play with bouncy balls
  36. Play dodge ball
  37. Get a pot, plant some seeds, you choose which ones
  38. Practice making shadow figures on a wall using your hands
  39. Disguise your voice and prank call mum or dad
  40. Dig up rocks or stones to see who lives underneath
  41. If the weather is nice, lie outside, watch the clouds, and try to pick out shapes
  42. Have a visit to the library
  43. Find a recipe for dinner, make it with help from a grown up
  44. Read a book
  45. Have a home make-up session 
  46. Do some drawing or colouring
  47. Have a play date with a friend of your choice
  48. Play dress up together (parents included)
  49. Go swimming (indoor or outdoor)
  50. Listen and dance to loud music together
  51. Plan a visit to a museum
  52. Book a free makeover at a department store
  53. Visit a pet shop
  54. Write and post a letter to someone special
  55. Go for a walk, take some snacks and drinks
  56. Have a look at your old baby photos
  57. Go ice skating
  58. Have a hugging session
  59. Talk about what makes you special, what do people like about you?
  60. See a movie
  61. Do a puzzle
  62. Play a sport together, like tennis, rounders, tag, 
  63. Make homemade pizza
  64. Play hide and seek
  65. Go for a train ride
  66. Try horseback riding
  67. Climb a tree
  68. Have a family talent show
  69. Get wet in the rain
  70. Go to the theatre
  71. Play Frisbee
  72. Talk about pocket money, saving, budgeting
  73. Visit a relative or friend
  74. Visit your neighbours
  75. Go bowling
  76. Play Simon Says
  77. Find a collection of jokes on the internet, tell them to others
  78. Play football
  79. Go to the park
  80. Go to a new park
  81. Visit a farm
  82. Walk your dog
  83. Go on your trampoline
  84. Have a pamper session
  85. Make a list of other things you want to do

To download a pdf of this list click here.

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