Schools are closed and kids are at home. So how do you keep your children entertained while educating them too? Here are ten suggestions that will not only keep your children busy but also help you bond with them.
These fun activities will brighten their stay at home. When we interact with our kids and show them that we are interested in spending time with them, it builds their self-esteem and they cherish these moments of shared play.
Recently I read a poem by Dina Loomans. The first few lines of her poem read,
“If I had my child to raise over again, I’d finger paint more, and point the finger less. I’d do less correcting, and more connecting. I’d take my eyes off my watch, and watch with my eyes. I would care to know less and know to care more. I’d take more hikes and fly more kites.”
These words stayed with me. The universe has conspired to give all of us the gift of extra time with our kids. Let us enjoy each day mindfully with our children.
All of these activities are very simple, we just have to make an effort to include them in our day to day lives.
1. Indoor Scavenger Hunts
One Easter it was raining and I thought I may have to cancel our outdoor egg hunt. But my son told me we could do it indoors. So I hid the candy-filled eggs in desk drawers, inside pillow covers, under sofa cushions, under the mattress, under the bed, under the fruits in the fruit basket and many other places.
I gave each of my children a bag and said ready set go, and off they went. They found each and every egg I had hidden. I always have one extra big golden egg with multiple candies in it, which is the prized egg, and the child who finds it feels extra victorious! Every year my youngest finds it and it makes him very happy.
You can create an indoor scavenger hunt list that includes searching the house for things like a fridge magnet, something of a specific color, a soft toy, dice from a board game, an envelope, a candle, an object which starts with the first letter of your name, a toy that makes a sound, a coin and so on.
2. Growing Flowers or Vegetables Together
Gardening is good for the soul. Plant something in a pot or an outdoor garden with your child. All you need is soil and a small plant from the garden shop. Container gardening is very easy; there is no digging or creating a flower bed involved. Let your child water the plant each day and watch it grow. Children feel very happy and proud to spot the buds, and then watch the buds turn into flowers. They are happy to grow vegetables too and will excitedly help you pluck them.
3. Coloring Together
Have you ever sat down and colored with your child? Try it sometime. It’s actually very relaxing and soothing to sit together and fill color on a big sheet of images or designs. You can use crayons, markers, or paint. There are many printable coloring sheets available for free online and you can find something which matches the interest your child; superheroes, Disney princesses, dinosaurs, sharks and so on….
4. Exercising Together
Exercising can be a shared activity. My husband does yoga with the kids every morning and it is a great start to the day. When the elliptical machine at our home broke, my daughter and I started doing Zumba together from free tutorials on YouTube. As a family, you can go for walks together, jump rope, create an obstacle course in your backyard, or just simply put on some music and dance together. Exercise also helps build a strong immune system. Something we could all use right now!
5. Cooking and Baking Together
Children are the best sous chefs who can be your little helpers in the kitchen. They love whisking, mixing dough and then eating the freshly baked cookies. Let them help you bake cupcakes and then decorate with their own choice of frosting and toppings. If you make or buy pizza dough, children love to put the toppings on their own personal pizza.
Children love pretend play and it’s a great opportunity to teach them life skills. You can have a grocery store and let them be the cashier so they learn how to use money, including how to return change. They can choose their own clothing, dress up creatively, and have a fashion show. Recently, I saw the most adorable video of a friend doing the catwalk with her eight-year-old daughter who loves choosing colorful and coordinated outfits. You can have a pretend café where a waiter takes orders and brings you food. The children can make a printed menu of food served.
7. Movie Nights at Home
With the current state of affairs, most movie theaters are closed. So, what’s the next best (or even better) thing? Family movie night at home! It’s so much fun to watch a movie together as a family. You can talk and discuss the movie and laugh loudly without the fear of disturbing others. You can have popcorn, drinks, and your favorite snacks, and cuddle together in a blanket while watching the movie. And with all the streaming services out there like Netflix, Amazon Prime, Disney +, etc., the possibilities are endless!
8. Board Games
Good old fashioned board games never go out of style! There are so many classic games like Chutes and Ladders, Chinese Checkers, Monopoly, and Scrabble that are a lot of fun. And, there are a plethora of new board games out there as well. I bet that most of the time those board games are collecting dust in some corner of your house. Get them out and play! You will love the leg-pulling, the cheating, and the sheer camaraderie that is a part of playing together.
9. Make Something Creative and Crafty
Children love a good DIY project. YouTube has many free tutorials on how to make soap, candles, paper lampshades, etc. at home. You can buy ingredients online for home delivery. There are many starter kits available with instructions. You can also turn to YouTube to learn how to do needlework, croquet, knitting, origami, art from recyclable materials, different hairstyles and so on. Richland Library cardholders can also log into Creativebug for free videos, ideas, and tutorials.
10. Story Time
Children never tire of listening to stories. You can read to them from books with expression and theatrics or just narrate to them tales you were told by your own parents and grandparents. You can incorporate sing-alongs and they will be happy to participate. My older children love to listen to stories of what we did when we were kids, ghost stories, stories about the lives of their grandparents, and so on.
Some excellent resources from Richland Library on helping you with storytime include:
Children grow up so quickly. Let’s stay calm in these uncertain times and spend quality one on one moments together. And when they’re older, they will remember these times fondly. Let’s create wonderful memories.