My family is supposed to be on our way to a warm tropical getaway and taking a break this week. But, like many of you, our plans have changed quickly over the last few days. Now that school has been officially cancelled because of COVID-19; attractions are closed, events cancelled and we’re stuck at home…the kids will start to get restless. We’re just waiting to hear the words “I’m bored”. We know it’s coming. So, how do we fend it off?
We’ve rounded up a few ideas to help you keep your kids busy at home during the Coronavirus school break. If you have ideas or suggestions, we’d sincerely love to hear them. Please drop your ideas in the Comment section below!
Conduct a few science experiments.
Science experiments are so much fun! The Science Center of Iowa has some great Public Learning Resources on their website. Use their Student or Educator Guides to do some stargazing, predict the weather or do a little kitchen chemistry.
Start a family book club.
Even though, almost all Central Iowa libraries are closed, you can still check out books electronically. Your library card grants you access to thousands of e-books, audiobooks, magazines and newspapers from a variety of sources – Bridges, Hoopla, RBdigital, Zinio, Gale Virtual Library, Flipster, Comics Plus and others.
Prevent Spring Break slide.
Have you heard of the summer slide? Now that school will be out for a month, you may want to set aside some time to work on skills your kids have been working on at school. Scholastic has created a “Learn at Home” website for students at most grade levels, from prekindergarten to Grades 6 or higher. Each level features five days’ worth of content for three hours a day, with 15 additional days on the way.
Break out the board games, cards, and puzzles.
Teach your kids the games you loved when you were a kid. Pull out Candy Land or Chutes and Ladders for your younger kids and grab Monopoly or UNO for the older kids. Of course, you can also play games on-line, but there’s something fun and nostalgic about going old school.
Stay connected to your ‘village’.
Now that we’re all social distancing, it may feel a little isolating, especially for older kids, tweens and teens. Keep in contact and connect with extended family and friends digitally. “Play” board games via Skype or FaceTime, set up your book club to “meet” in a chatroom, host playdates via Facebook Live or have dinner on a call with out of town relatives.
Cook or bake something with your kids.
So many recipes, so little time. Now would be a great time to try something new. Need a little inspiration? Check out Kitchen Collage’s on-line Recipe Box, Fareway Grocery Store’s on-line recipes or Iowa Girl Eats is always cooking up something tasty!
Work up a sweat.
Get off the couch and just move. (That includes you, Mom and Dad!) Turn on your favorite jam and have a dance party. Get your blood pumping by exercising. Yoga, anyone? Make a game out of it. Need suggestions? Go Go Yoga for Kids has some great resources or take the Hy-Vee Kids Fit 5-Week Challenge.
I know, I know. It may not be the first thing on the kids’ mind but try to make it fun. After being home for a few weeks, it’s inevitable the house is going to get messy. Set the timer and see what you can pick up or clean in 15 minutes. You’ll be surprised at what you can accomplish, and it may even be fun. Who knew?
Arts and crafts are always a “go to” at home activity. I’ve been seeing some great suggestions on social media about creating artwork and then hanging it in your windows for others to see, as they’re out for a walk or drive. Don’t forget, Easter, Mother’s Day and Father’s Day are coming up soon too. This is a great opportunity to get ahead of the curve and make gifts or cards for the occasion.
Go on a scavenger hunt.
Host theme days.
Think of some theme days you would like to host as a family. You could have a movie marathon day, a puzzle day, a day making, a day reading, a day baking and so on, the possibilities are endless. If you’re feeling really brave, you could even have a yes day!
Create a screen time chore chart.
All of these activities and not once have we mentioned the most loved activity, screen time! However, if your children are anything like mine, once they have a device in their hand or the TV is on, you’ve lost them! Instead, make them work for it by introducing a chore chart. Children will complete a number of pre-agreed chores in order to earn precious screen time, it works well even for the youngest of children all the way up to teens.
I hope we have given you some great ideas to get you started and have got your creative juices flowing to think of other exciting ways to occupy yourselves during this time.
Stay safe everyone, try to keep away from big gatherings, use your hand sanitizers when out and about and wash your hands as frequently as possible.