In the age of the Coronavirus, many Americans have adjusted and adapted into a new way of life for the time being. And while parents are miraculously juggling working remotely, homeschooling, and parenting, new and exciting activities to keep kids entertained, active, and learning are running dry.
Without open schools, parks, museums, and kids clubs, it may seem next to impossible to keep your kids occupied and prevent them from going stir-crazy while staying productive and sane yourself. We gathered ideas and suggestions from experts from Florida to Seattle and everywhere in between, on ways to avoid cabin fever and turn this downtime into an educational and fun experience.
Continue education and school work at home
With school closures expanding across the nation, it’s important for your kids to practice engaged learning with free, educational resources offered online. Covering almost every subject, from history and math to art and science, online courses can help your kids stay committed to learning even from your home.
Use digital devices together to read about topics that your kids are interested in. There are dozens of free children’s books online, as well as tips, links, and recommendations so you’re able to spend time reading the best books for your kids! – BookSpring
Take advantage of online textbooks and resources for educational purposes. Together, you can learn about the galaxies through online books, visuals, and activities for learners who love space. –OpenStax
Find free, online arts education resources and educational games to engage kids with art and its history. This is a great way to keep kids busy and learning while social distancing. – Artsology
Help your kids understand social distancing and make the most of your child’s screen time by working on a cool coding project. Find free, online eBooks to help kids code their own visualization on how Social Distancing or Self Quarantining is crucial to flatten the spread of Coronavirus. – 98thPercentile
Virtual field trips are a fun activity that parents and students can enjoy at home. There are many exciting places that offer virtual tours: zoos, museums, national parks, historic buildings, even the White House! Explore and experience it all from the comfort of your home. – Forest Trail Academy
Even though vacations have come to a halt, your kids can still experience popular attractions while social distancing. Zoos, museums, and tourist sites are offering free virtual field trips, like Yellowstone National Park, the Louvre, and the Great Wall of China, your kids can explore the world right from their homes! – Boys & Girls Club of Greater Dallas
Use your backyard to your advantage
It’s hard work filling the shoes of amazing teachers, the experts at developing lessons that are fun, thought-provoking, and educational all at the same time. To keep things interesting around the house, consider using your backyard and incorporating unique activities and projects into your kid’s everyday schedule.
With Easter coming up and public egg hunts canceled, take your Easter egg hunt game up a notch at home. In lieu of candy, put clues in your Easter eggs this year and have kids go on a scavenger egg hunt. Another option is to put a “golden ticket” inside a couple of eggs and let your kids redeem it for a “big prize” at the end of the hunt. Host your Easter egg hunt outside at night and have the kids use flashlights to find the eggs or put glow sticks or tea lights inside plastic eggs for a glow-in-the-dark egg hunt. Happy Hunting! – dsm4kids
Repurpose items around the house for DIY projects
Even though most of us are now surrounded by our immediate family from morning until night, constant distractions from the news, media, and work responsibilities now always within reach, designating quality family time is more important than ever. Consider making time to work on a DIY project with the whole family. You’re able to use items around your home that you would otherwise throw away and repurpose them into something creative.
The internet is full of do-it-yourself projects fit for every age. From science and technology content to engineering and art subjects, you’ll be able to spend family time creating worthwhile DIY projects. – DIY
Spend the afternoon working on a DIY craft project. You’ll need two paper bowls, two toilet or paper towel rolls, green and white paper or cloth, red paint, paintbrush, and glue. First, paint the outside of the two bowls red and let dry. Once the paint is dry, use glue to attach a paper tube to the inside center of the bowl. Then, cut small circles of white paper and use glue to attach the cutouts to the outside of the bowl. Lastly, cut grass shapes with the green paper and use glue to attach these to the paper tube base. – Boys & Girls Cub of Oshkosh
Create DIY projects to learn more about science. You can even create projects based around a theme, like “disgusting discovery” and include activities celebrating the “yucky factor” that kids love. Make fake snot and blood, grow mold on bread, dissect a baby diaper, make an edible model of skin, and make a rubber egg. –Club SciKidz
Create a scavenger hunt/storytelling mashup. Start with each family member searching the house for five small objects, the more unusual the better. Next, collect the items in a hat or bag and have everyone take a turn drawing three items from the bag at random. Finally, all participants will fabricate a story around the objects they chose. If there are young children playing, they can be the designated “gatherers”, and the adults can create the stories around the objects. Alternatively, instead of gathering items from around the house, have participants draw pictures or paint and use these as prompts instead. – Forest Park Public Library
Make a greeting card to send to those afar. Cards are a time stood tradition for sharing sentiments and sending good wishes to those you love. You can always share regular photo card, but sending an illustrated card is a great DIY craft activity for kids, plus it’s quick and easy. To create your card – either snap a pic of your child’s illustration or scan it using a free app like Google PhotoScan. Airdrop it to your Mac and add it to your Apple Photos. Then build a card (flat or folded) using the Mimeo Photos app. Finally, add a personalized message and don’t forget to credit your tiny artist. Pro tip: If your child prefers digital media, we recommend Crayola’s Create and Play app for them to express their creativity. – Mimeo Photos
Keep the conversation open
Each child will respond differently to the “new normal”, but almost all will have a concern or two, whether it be about school closures, the COVID-19 virus itself, or their mental and physical health. Your kids need your support and guidance through this uncertain time, so staying transparent with them is important.
Wondering how your students or children are coping with quarantine life? Ask them questions or use this online activity to get a feel of how homeschooling is going for them. – Sutori
One of the most important things during this time is to check in with your kid/teen about their mental wellness. Have an emotional check-in with your child and ask for ‘a weather update’ or for them to name their ‘rose, bud, and thorn’ for the day. This can give you insights to ensure they are resilient during this uncertain time. – Boys & Girls Club of America