Being quarantined or ordered to stay-at-home is changing routines for all of us, including our children. Many parents are wondering what their kids are going to do all day and how they’re going to keep their kids (and themselves) from losing their minds while locked up at home. The 11 tips and ideas below for keeping kids busy while staying at home can help.
Make a Schedule
Just like adults who are trying to be productive while working at home, kids will do better if they remain in their old routine as much as possible. In order to help with this in the midst of all the chaos, it will be beneficial to create a schedule. Have them eat breakfast, lunch, snacks, and dinner at the same time they normally would. Try to have them do “school work” or educational things for at least a portion of the day when they would normally be at school. Plan out the rest of the day with movies, crafts, and other activities. Keep reading for activity ideas!
Give Them Recess
Kids are used to having recess and getting outside and playing. Keeping them cooped up in the house all day will force them to burn off the energy they normally do at recess, in other ways… some of which may drive you nuts. Set aside a time in their schedule to go outside for at least as long as they are used to doing at school. Experts encourage open areas or backyard playgrounds as opposed to a park where equipment is not well-cleaned. Riding bicycles in the driveway, drawing with chalk (and leaving encouraging messages to on-duty first responders), playing catch, and jumping rope are all good options for recess activities.
Enact a Digital Quarantine
Kids may be more likely to complete any school work or educational activities when you want them to if you impose a “digital quarantine” until everything is completed. Even if they don’t have any school work to do that day, experts say it may be beneficial for children to have time away from screens each day. This gives kids time to grow their imagination with other open-ended toys, read, or interact with others – especially if they have siblings.
DIY and Crafts
Crafts are the perfect way to allow kids to express their creativity. Get ideas from Pinterest or Facebook for easy, kid-friendly crafts or just let your kids do their own thing and make whatever their imagination desires. A few craft ideas include slime, up-cycling household items, and Spring themed crafts.
Go on a “Journey”
Trips and vacations are being cancelled and postponed and your kids are just as disappointed as you are. Go on a “journey” by having a “day at the beach” at home by filling up a kiddie pool (if it is warm enough where you are), wearing bathing suits, and lounging on towels. You could also have an indoor picnic, an indoor camping trip, or even create an indoor winter wonderland with paper snowflakes and the “Frozen” movies.
Cleaning is definitely not the most fun at-home activity but it has to get done sometime. Get your kids to chip in with the daily household chores, or even deep cleaning their rooms by finding toys and clothes to donate. If they are too young to truly help, at least let them feel like they are joining in by giving them supplies to do what you’re doing. This works great with cleaning glass, sweeping, vacuuming, etc.
Board and Card Games
Use the stay-at-home orders as a way to bond as a family by playing games together. Try pulling out games from when you were a child to mix it up with your kids. You could even make a “game night” out of it to add another layer of excitement.
Digitally Visit Museums and Historical Sites
Many museums, state parks, and other historical sites have added digital tours to their websites. Digitally visit places like Alaska, the Lourve, the Guggenheim, and Washington State Park.
Be a Chef
Cooking can be a fun and tasty way to pass the time and eat up some of your kids’ energy. Use Pinterest or Facebook to find kid-friendly recipes that are easy and will please their palate. Choose something like cookies, cupcakes, or pizza, and have twice the fun by allowing them to decorate their creation however their heart desires.
Go for a Walk
Going for a walk is not only good for them, but it is a way for you to get in some daily exercise and fresh air, too. Make it a family thing and go together. Walks are especially great for places under “stay-at-home orders” since physical exercise outside (as long as you follow social distancing guidelines) is still allowed.
Video Chat Family
We all miss seeing friends and family who do not live in our household. Take advantage of the wonderful technology we have at our fingertips and video chat with family. It’s a great way to check in on elderly family members who you can’t visit in person and friends who are quarantined alone.
Remember, this will all be over soon! Everyone, including our kids will come out of it more thankful for their “normal” lives. Stay-at-home orders create a great opportunity to make the most of the time with your kids and loved ones.