Stratford Press editor Ilona Hanne has been busy looking for ways to break your boredom without having to leave the house or burst your lockdown bubble. From the magic of Olaf, Elsa and friends, to magic itself, there is something for all ages to try in this week's collection of boredom busters.
Imagine being locked down in a home like the one Anne Boleyn grew up in:
Step into the world of both a tragic queen and a princess bride, by touring one of England's many castles and stately homes.
Whether you are a history buff interested in the life, and many loves, of the English king Henry VIII, or a movie buff who runs around saying "My name is Inigo Montoya, you killed my father, prepare to die ...", You will enjoy roaming around Hever Castle.
The castle was the childhood home of Anne Boleyn, the doomed young woman who was Queen of England for just 1000 days. Even after she first moved to the English court, to serve as a maid of honour to Henry VIII's first wife, Catherine of Aragon, Hever Castle was still her home. She was sent back there after a failed engagement (Cardinal Walsey refused to allow the match, thus setting in course a series of events that not only led to her eventual marriage to the king, but also the Cardinal's own execution). After the death of Anne's father, the castle's ownership passed to King Henry VIII who in turn gifted it to one of his later wives, Anne of Cleves, as part of the settlement following the annulment of their marriage. The castle still has one of Henry VIII's private locks, taken with him on his visits to other houses for his security, try to spot it in the dining hall as you take a virtual tour of the castle and grounds.
Henry VIII and his many wives aren't the only connection to royalty this castle has, it has also been used as a filming location for many films and television shows, including the eternally popular 80s movie, The Princess Bride.
Whatever your reason for wanting to explore the castle, it is well worth the virtual visit. You can tour Hever Castle free of charge here: www. matterport.com/gallery/hever-castle
Stay warm in your house while you step into the world of Frozen:
If you have anyone aged 10 or under in your bubble however, they are probably more interested in the goings on in the kingdom of Arendelle, home to Queen Elsa, Princess Anna and the adorable snowman Olaf of Frozen fame.
It's been almost eight years since Anna, Elsa, Olaf and Sven the reindeer first sang their way into our lives with the release of the first movie in the Frozen franchise. Since then an entire generation of children have grown up singing Let it Go at the top of their lungs on what seems to be an endless repeat cycle. Since the movie was released it has spawned numerous toys, dolls, a sequel, a short film and numerous other spin-offs. One of the more popular of those has been the live musical version, performed on stages across the globe, and one version of it has been a popular theatre show on Disney Cruiselines.
If you can cope with hearing Do You Want To Build A Snowman again (and again, and again) then put the popcorn on and enjoy watching the hour-long version of Frozen, a Musical Spectacular recorded by Disney Cruise Lines. It brings all the magic of a large budget musical to life, and is the perfect introduction to musicals for your younger lockdown bubble buddies.
Keep your bubble buddies entertained with a magic show:
If the magic of musicals isn't for you, how about the magic of, well, magic itself. If there is one good thing about lockdown, it is the fact you have a captive audience inside your house, so why not make the most of that fact?
Thanks to a large selection of free lessons on Peter Monticup's website www.magictricks.com, you or one of your bubble buddies can master some basic magic tricks using only objects such as cards and paperclips that you are likely to already have at home.
Peter, who demonstrates many of the tricks himself, also talks about how to develop a magic routine, with some great tips and techniques that will have your alert level 3 or 4 captive audience glued to their seats - even if they could leave home, they would stay to watch these tricks!
Learn some magic here: www.magictricks.com/boredom-busters.html
Banana bread is so last lockdown - try baking something else:
If you are over banana bread, and wondering what sort of lockdown loaf you want to make best, why not try some video baking lessons from the King Arthur Baking Company. This free series of videos and recipes is designed for children, so get them started, then sit back and wait for them to take over the baking for you.
The website has a series of free video lessons helping you and your junior cooks make everything from delicious hand pies to pain au chocolat.
Check out the video lessons as well as a great range of printable recipes at www.kingarthurbaking.com
Why do it yourself when you can get a professional to do it for you?
While you are waiting for your baking to be ready, why not enjoy a book with your younger children. No need to exert yourself however, you can rope in an actor or two to read the book for you.
Thanks to Storyline Online you and your children can choose from a huge library of books, read by a range of actors and personalities including Oprah Winfrey, Wanda Sykes, Al Gore and many more.
Each story also comes with a free downloadable activity guide, so you can keep them busy while you eat all the hand pies you made earlier in this article!
Visit www.storylineonline.net/library/ to get started.