In the wake of our nation’s health situation, the majority of local schools and daycare have been shutdown in hopes of preventing the spread of Covid-19.
For any stay-at-home parent, finding unique and intriguing ways to keep our children entertained isn’t anything new. But the added challenge now is how to keep them educated, as well.
It’s worth mentioning that while many of us have the privilege of already being stay-at-home parents – or the option of working from home – there are many who weren’t granted the same opportunity. In the short time our country has been dealing with the Covid-19 situation, thousands have lost their jobs in the absence of school and childcare.
And so it’s for everyone struggling in one way or another that we share this list in the hopes that it may reduce your stress and bring joy to your home in the coming weeks.
- Practice With Print-Outs
Let’s start with education, after all the older children in the household would be in school most of the day!
Many school districts have rallied together in order to create comprehensive work-packets for students to complete during this time. Teachers, aids, and support workers have spent countless hours organizing, printing, stapling and distributing these resources so put them to good use!
If your school didn’t provide work packets, there are dozens of resources and apps available online with the option to print physical copies or do the work online. Many schools will also provide additional work upon request.
- Classes From Home
A great resource that goes hand-in-hand with the print-outs.
Many local teachers have been diligently recording lessons in order to keep their students on track. Not only are these videos being made available to students but many of them are posting them for everyone to utilize on YouTube. A simple Google search will pick up dozens of results, simply input your child’s grade.
Encourage your child to pause the videos and take notes while they’re writing. This helps with listening and understand skills while also providing them with writing and spelling practice.
- Reading Time
Whether you own a miniature library or have a bunch of books downloaded on a tablet, reading is one of the best activities you can encourage your children to do every day; and a great opportunity to spend some quality time together!
Snuggle up on the couch or your favorite cozy spot (time to take out the hammock!) and read your child’s favorite stories to them. Better yet, if you have children adept at reading, have them share a story with you or their younger siblings. It’s a wonderful way to practice literacy and comprehension skills among everyone in the family.
- Get Creative
Grab out those random boxes of art supplies and let their imaginations run wild!
Maybe today they’ll favor Play-Doh, tomorrow it could be water colors and on Friday it might be the silly dragon they saw on Pinterest! Art is a fantastic way for children to express their creativity, and also a good way for younger children to practice dexterity and writing with scissors, markers and crayons.
Try asking your child to draw something and having you guess it, like a homemade Pictionary! It’s sure to bring lots of smiles, and plenty of giggles to your home.
- Play Games
Speaking of games, why not break out the board/card games!
A few favorites in my own household with children ranging from 4-9 are Cooties, Trouble, and Uno. Not only are games a lot of fun but they’re also a wonderful means of teaching children strategy, sportsmanship and critical thinking all at once!
Losing gracefully, however? That’s another issue altogether!
- Cook Together
This is a great way to spend quality time with your children while making them feel accomplished at the same time!
Even though the scarcity of certain ingredients may prevent your family from preparing a favorite meal, do your best with those you have on hand. If possible, let them try something delicious they saw online!
Each day let them choose a different meal to prepare, whether it’s French Toast for breakfast, grilled cheese with tomato and bacon for lunch or Penne Vodka for dinner. There’s so many options to choose from!
For kids that are a bit older and more experienced in the kitchen, why not make a game out of it? Allow your child to take your order as though they run a café. A cup of coffee and an egg and cheese bagel delivered right to you area sounds pretty good, after all!
- Clean Together
Since everyone is going to be stuck together in the home all day, this is a great opportunity to teach your kids how to be more responsible and independent; and to get your home Spring cleaned!
The smaller the child the smaller the task so consider allowing the younger members simple chores such as feeding the pets, making their beds, dusting, cleaning up toys, etc. Older children can do dishes, vacuum, and wash the floors.
They’ll feel so accomplished and grown up by helping out!
- Go Play Outside
It may be suggested that we keep a six foot distance from those around us, but our backyards are our own personal safe havens!
Perfect timing too because the weather is fairly warm and the ground isn’t too muddy or yucky either (at the moment anyway). So get all those outdoor toys out and have a blast!
If your kids ever begin to use that “B” word (you know, BORED), just hand them a rake and remind them of all the yard work they could do instead!
- Watch Movies Together
Now that my children are all a bit older, I’ve been loving the opportunity to share my favorite movies as a child with them.
Not only do they find the movies themselves entertaining, but it provides a really sweet opportunity for me to share my childhood memories with them.
So grab some big fluffy blankets and snuggle up with your little pumpkins. And if they would rather watch Frozen 2 for the 75th time…well that’s great, too!
- Have a Dance Party
If your little ones have some steam to burn off, turning up the music is an awesome way to get them really wound up and then really tired out!
In my home we put on silly clothes, hats, sunglasses and all sorts of crazy accessories and rock around the living room! Thanks to modern technology, each of the kids take turns asking Alexa to play their favorite songs and the antics are hilarious.
From Jingle Bells to the Monster Mash you’ll undoubtedly be entertained by the tunes your children ask to hear.
Just hope they don’t discover the “tell me a joke” or “Simon says” functionality of your Echo device…