In these uncertain times, parents have the added stress of keeping their children busy and connected with friends and family, all while social distancing and staying home to slow the spread of coronavirus. We did some crowdsourcing to get some great ideas for younger and older kids. (Parents: in exploring these ideas, please determine what is age-appropriate for your children.)
For Younger Children
Make a painter’s tape maze on the carpet, for use with toy cars and trucks.
Fill plastic bins with seasonal/themed sensory items to explore.
Download templates for a nature scavenger hunt (or make your own) and get outside!
Make homemade crafting dough or slime.
“Draw” pictures on the walls with flashlights and see if others can guess what they are.
Using a whiteboard or pad of paper, let your child teach you; this is a great way for them to practice their own skills and retain knowledge.
Plant seeds in cups and set in a sunny spot to get an early start on the summer vegetable garden.
Practice writing skills by becoming pen pals with friends.
Assign older kids the task of cooking dinner one night each week.
Take this opportunity to check in with older kids on how they’re doing in general, making sure to listen fully. Being stuck at home can be especially difficult for teenagers.
Create a journal during this extended period at home for a keepsake that will prove to be very special later.
Use YouTube to learn skills: origami, music lessons, dance tutorials, and much more.
For All Ages
Build puzzles together.
Color in coloring books or on downloaded coloring sheets.
Use FaceTime and other apps to virtually connect with friends for socializing or studying.
Build a fort and use it for play or as a reading nook.
Play board games.
Mail hand-drawn pictures and letters to residents of local nursing homes.
Watch the Lunch Doodles video series every weekday at 1 p.m. Eastern, in which Mo Willems, Artist-in-Residence at The Kennedy Center, gives quick drawing lessons.
A quick search of the internet will reveal lots of virtual experiences that families can enjoy from the comfort of home. Zoo and aquarium web cams, museum tours, concerts, and much more are at our fingertips now more than ever. Keeping everyone engaged can make this time at home much more enjoyable as we all do our part to help flatten the curve.
Dr. Emily is an assistant professor of pediatrics in the Urgent Care and Primary Care Clinics at Nationwide Children’s Hospital. She has a strong interest in child advocacy, and serves as the medical director for CAP4Kids Columbus.
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