Like many parents, this week I got the news that school is doing to be shut down for the next few weeks, or maybe even longer. We are expecting to be home at least until the beginning of April 2020, while others are not going back to school until the END of April. (My poor sister is in that boat)
So what CAN we do with our kids?
For those of us who are introverts, who like to stay at home, who avoid malls, trampoline parks, zoos, etc like the plague, this is pretty much business as usual.
But for those of us who are more extroverted, who spend all their time with their kids out in the world in activities (sports, at gymnastics, martial arts, movie theaters, children’s museums), having to stay home and not having all of the usual activities could be really intimidating.
Not on lockdown yet
Well, first of all, you can do plenty of activities with your kids. In most places, to my knowledge, you can still leave your home. You just have to keep in mind that the goal of the school shutdown is to avoid spreading the virus around. This means avoiding activities where you are around a lot of other people, especially in indoor enclosed spaces.
Start with going outside
This is actually a great time to focus on doing OUTDOOR activities with your kids, such as going to the local parks/playgrounds, going on a hike, going to the beach/lake/river. You can go on bike rides, scooter rides, walks.
Seriously, there is nothing that should stop you from going outside, so long as you keep your distance from other people for the most part, and wash everyone up (and clean up any toys that might end up shared with other kids).
Just avoid public fountains, sharing water, or other touching that could transmit the virus.
Draw on the sidewalks with chalk, practice shooting hoops, throw a Frisbee, build a garden bed, jump on the trampoline, assemble a mud kitchen (we might do this).
I am making plans to take the kids to the beach, maybe even go on a camping trip.
Obviously all weather dependent, but still. Going and doing any activity outside until additional travel restrictions are imposed (if that happens, probably won’t) ought to be the first you thing you think of.
What about if we can’t drive or if we have to stay inside (bad weather)?
I am sort of excited to have my kids at home, because I love doing stuff with them and I look at it as an opportunity to do some arts/crafts, cook with them, teach them some things.
Yes, it sucks for their progress in school that they might be out for weeks, but I’ve been making some plans to make up for the loss of school.
The first thing I did when I realized that the schools would close is drop a message to their teacher, to get an update on their progress in school and get a few suggestions about what to work on.
Both teachers gave me some really good ideas. For example, one of my children really needs to work on words that have ph/ch/th/sh in them. My other son needs to work on answering questions in writing with paragraphs of at least three sentences or more.
I also ran quickly over to the local library (which was mercifully still open) and stocked up on a bunch of books for all of us to work on for the next few weeks. I found a really great book tons about the Milky Way galaxy that I am excited to show the kids, and we are going to do some art projects around the theme.
When things calm down at the store, I’m going to grab a few more art supplies (some paint, string, tape and glue). I’m also going to grab extra supplies for some baking projects (so I’ll need flour and perhaps some food coloring).
Need a more specific activities list? Alright, let’s do it.
50 Ideas for activites you can do at home with your kids while the schools are closed.
There are so many things you can do with the kids if you are stuck at home. Here’s a massive list of ideas, from silly to practical.
- teach them how to cook something (appropriate to their age), such as bread, cookies, rice krispie treats, other fun treats
- make some slime
- the floor is lava
- tie dye party
- make roads all over the house with masking tape
- make up a sensory bin station
- take a bath (let them play with toys for as long as they want in there)
- act out scenes from your favorite books
- set up “camp” in the living room, tent and sleeping bags
- scavenger hunt
- pillow case race
- ABC hunt (find something in the house for every letter)
- indoor blowing (using plastic cups)
- hide and seek
- blow some bubbles
- face painting
- make some beaded jewelry
- make a potato stamp
- pillow fight
- homemade marble runs
- dress up in mom or dad clothes
- build an inside fort
- play simple silly games like Simon Says or Red Light-Green Light
- Play board games (we love Sorry)
- Play card games (we love Uno)
- Draw pictures for family members and mail them to them
- create an obstacle course
- slip and slide around the hardwood floors on skates made of dryer sheets
- do a puzzle
- try out some yoga poses
- Freeze dance
- Make a paper bag puppets
- make paper plate fish (cut the plates to make the mouths)
- make a laser maze using string and tape (like in the movies where the actors can’t touch the lasers)
- origami anything
- Pin the tail on the donkey (or any other animal you want to create)
- look up a science project/experiment online and then do it
- finger knitting
- making play doh
- balloon ping pong (using a balloon and paper plates)
- robot costumes out of extra boxes
- bucket stilts
- practice making phone calls to family members
- draw a self portrait
- indoor slide on the stairs
- jump on the beds
- toothpick structures
- make soap
- build a fairy house
- paint rocks
Still looking for ideas?
Do a google search for rainy day activities, snowy day activities, or indoor activities. There are tons of really creative moms out there making all the rest of us look bad on a daily basis.
And when everything else fails, read with your kids. Have them read to you, read to them, sit and read together. You can’t go wrong there.
Emily Anderson is a mother of three children, all under the age of 10. Located in the Pacific Northwest of the US, Emily is a mom and part-time blogger, jumping in front of the computer when the kids are sleeping. She started this blog in April of 2019 and is proud that the blog is now paying for itself. If you want to know about her journey as a blogger, check out out her personal digital journal or her post about failing her way to blogging success.