Toy shops 'busier than usual' as parents prepare for lockdown

26 March 2020 - 07:30 By Naledi Shange
Some Johannesburg parents were rushing to toy stores on Wednesday to find board games and toys to keep them busy during the 21-day coronavirus lockdown.
Some Johannesburg parents were rushing to toy stores on Wednesday to find board games and toys to keep them busy during the 21-day coronavirus lockdown.

Play mats, clay mud and Lego blocks.

These were just some of the items that parents were rushing to buy in some toy stores in northern Johannesburg on Wednesday ahead of the coronavirus lockdown, which starts at midnight on Thursday.

“We have been busy since Tuesday, with people buying mostly things meant for children’s entertainment,” said a worker at a Crazy Store in the northwest of Johannesburg.

It was the same thing at the Toy Kingdom shop in Cresta Shopping Centre, which was running a “three for the price of two” special.

Some people were checking the board games in the store, while others were eyeing the Lego.

An employee told TimesLIVE that they had seen a spike in customer activity in the last two days. “It has been extremely busy,” he said.

Meanwhile, people on social media have been putting new twists on traditional games to keep their children busy.

One parent shared how they had started rewarding their children with Monopoly money for tasks they performed around the house.

The parent offered 50 Monopoly Dollars for cleaning the kitchen, taking out the rubbish or cleaning the bedroom; and 100 each for washing dishes, vacuuming or mopping the floor. Reading for half an hour and exercising for at least 15 minutes earned a child 150 “dollars”.

As easy as it was to earn the “cash”, it was just as easy to lose it. The parent said 100 would be deducted for throwing a tantrum, half-completing a chore or arguing.

The Monopoly currency could be used to buy from what she had labelled  the “lockdown tuckshop” and fortunately, unlike the Monopoly money, these were real goods that could be purchased.

The tuckshop had a variety of things for sale, including chocolates, sweets, biscuits and chips.

The money also earned the children some screen time. It would cost the child 250 Monopoly Dollars to have an hour in front of a television or a computer.

Meanwhile, the education department in Gauteng has called on parents to ensure that children are not left behind in their schooling.

The department listed several portals where parents could access educational material:

“The department has also reached partnership agreements with the DStv, Vodacom and Telkom to broadcast various school lessons during the lockdown period through This is a great feat given the audience coverage of these companies,” said department spokesperson Steve Mabona.

“The DStv partnership includes Mindset on channel 318, which will carry all grades except grade 4 to 9, which will pop up on channel 317. This channel will launching on April 1.”

The department said it already had a plan in place for how to catch up once the 21-day lockdown, which starts on Thursday night, comes to an end.

“Given the uncertainty with regards to time which will be lost due to the Covid-19 virus, the Gauteng department of education is intending to commence engagements with the education sector stakeholders about the possibility of scrapping the June or winter school recess for the sake of our children’s future,” said Mabona.

“Once agreed and adopted, this positive gesture will go a long way in taking our education forward.”

How else are you keeping your children busy during this lockdown? Let us know on