As coronavirus (COVID-19) sweeps through the nation (and may even still be in the process of sweeping if you're reading this a year late), parents are off work and faced with the unenviable task of spending time with their families. In order to provide assistance in this trying time I have compiled a helpful list of fun and educational activities for parents to do with their sprogs.

1. Go to the pub

It is essential that you the parent, keep your spirits up during the COVID-19 pandemic by any available means.

With all the pubs closed it may seem difficult—nigh-on impossible—to recapture the one safe bet you had at maintaining something close to the level of happiness that you once had. But fear not, the beer gardens are still open and often undefended.

Get yourself some strong cider or fortified wine (I recommend K cider but you can use anything really) and set up shop in the sunshine of your favourite secluded beer garden. Let your children run free, have them collect bits of broken glass and fag ends and reward them with a sip from your beverage of choice, this will serve to slow them down as well as teach them that meaningless jobs (for example in the service sector) are more tolerable if inebriated.

Don’t fret that you’re not following the correct social distancing guidelines, simply get there early (8am) and growl at anyone who encroaches on your little piece of heaven.

Empty - easy pickings

2. Build a 1-bedroom studio sandcastle for them to self-isolate in

Ingredients: 2 tonnes of coarse sand (or dirt) – A bucket in the shape of a 10ft by 20ft room (several shoe boxes mashed together will do)

  1. Build the accommodation, this can be quite fun to do and may instil in your child the attitude necessary to become a cowboy builder in later life.
  2. Once their lodgings are of a standard not quite fit for human habitation, have them move in - then demand 3 months' rent up front and a security deposit.
  3. If they can’t pay, have them write out a letter to their landlord (you) detailing that the occupant (them) is currently out of work and cannot pay. Have these communications go back and forth for a few days.
  4. Ask them to provide bank statements, proof of their situation, tell them that it’s a difficult time for you too and then stop replying. This should cause ample distress and leave your child immobile and mentally exhausted, leaving you with a bit of peace of quiet.

3. Develop their telephone skills

With your child(s) now living in their studio sandcastle and unable to sleep, have them simulate ringing the Department for Work & Pensions in hope of claiming Universal Credit to cover their housing costs.

Simply give them the house phone and tell them to call your mobile. Pick up the phone after 1–2 hours then put them on hold for a further 3–4 hours.

This will increase their mental fortitude and groove out those neurological pathways needed to survive in the bureaucratic nightmare that is late stage capitalism.

4. Food shopping

As food shortages and panic buying are so ubiquitous today it is sometimes difficult to get the goods you want.

Take your children (having multiple offspring works better) to your local supermarket and have them loaf about near the blind spots, keeping an eye out for the products you want that other shoppers have got.

It is important that your children target the old or infirm for this activity and remember little hands work best for this. Once a target has been spotted, saddle up beside them (careful not to get too close as you may spook them, especially if they are “at-risk”).

Now in position, use distractions such as screaming, coughing or crying to get your target's attention, leaving your children free to help themselves. Your children will build crucial life skills like confidence and cunning. These skills are transferable, perhaps opening a door to a career in the City of London as a petty thief or investment banker.

5. Playing ‘shops’

With your stolen goods, recreate the magic of the supermarket at home. Your children will play the part of the cashier and you the customer.

Replicate the dangerous work environment by not giving them any PPE (personal protective equipment) and cough and sneeze over them, reminding them that the customer is always right and to maintain a stoic coolness that their faceless corporate bosses require of them.

Doctors lacking PPE ‘bullied’ into treating Covid-19 patients
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Make sure to tell them that their job is unskilled, that anybody can do it, and furthermore that they should be grateful to have such a tedious, boring, low-ebb mental frequency position.

Play this game for 8–12 hours, (if you get bored, affect a funny voice) and if they ask for time off tell them that they are a key worker as well as unskilled and that actually, their health and wellbeing will be better for them having satiated the Economy-God.

6. BONUS: Read The Communist Manifesto

Entertaining children is hard work. If your children are showing signs of distress or psychic bewilderment after these activities, that’s fine. Make a couple of cups of hot chocolate, snuggle up in bed with them and read to them softly, dripping phrases into their ears such as ‘the history of all hitherto existing society is the history of class struggles’, ‘the proletarians have nothing to lose but their chains’, or ‘workers of the world, unite!’ over and over again.