With schools being closed across the nation this week many parents are wondering what do to with their kids. Having your kids stuck at home unexpectedly can really catch you unprepared. Here are some things you can do to not only keep them entertained but sneak in a bit of learning too.
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At first, your kids are going to be so excited to get to stay home but after a few days, they are going to start to get bored.
Having a solid plan ready to go is the best option. Really it’s a win-win for everyone.
These ideas will keep your kids from being bored and keep their minds sharp for when they return to school.
I say give your kids a couple of days of freedom to enjoy whatever they want but warn them ahead of time that you’ve got some fun activities planned.
The best ideas are ones that keep your minds off of the fact that you’re stuck in the house.
Having varied types of activities will help.
First – Let’s Calm the Fear
Before we get into the activities, it might be a good idea to sit down with your kids about how they’re feeling and give them some tools to help them deal with any anxiety they might be experiencing.
Pandemic is a scary word.
Teach your kids the facts of the outbreak and ways they can keep themselves safe.
The CDC website has all the information you need to become informed and help ease any anxiety your kids might be feeling right now.
Take a look at this infographic and share it with your kids.
You can read more here: CDC Website
Dealing with Anxiety
Kids are more susceptible to anxiety during times such as these and most of our children have never experienced this type of situation before.
As parents, it is our responsibility to limit access to the news and media coverage of the outbreak for our children’s sake.
Here are a few steps you can take to help your kids if they start to show signs of anxiety.
- Limit the amount of time you have on the news
- Try to keep your fears and concerns to just yourself or another adult(partner, spouse, etc.)
- Remind your kids that they are safe in their home and that they can follow the above-mentioned steps to keep themselves from getting sick
- Keep them busy, both their bodies and their minds to help distract them from the fear they may be experiencing
- Practice self-care as a family – you can read more about ways to practice self-care here.
Now that the unpleasantries are out of the way – let’s have some fun.
Here is our list of 10 Ways to Keep Them Happy and Learning:
Head over to YouTube and get your paint on!
YouTube offers beginner tutorials for just about any topic you want to paint.
You don’t need anything too fancy either. Just grab some printer paper, a paintbrush and any paint you have around the house(there are even watercolor tutorials) and get creative.
Journaling is a great way to get those feelings out.
Have everyone start a daily journal during this time at home and maybe even encourage them to continue writing in it long after too.
If they are having difficulty figuring out what to write about give them some journal prompts.
Here are a few to get you started:
- My favorite thing about today was…
- 5 things I can do to relax my mind and body when I’m feeling anxious
- 3 Things I want to do this week
- A new skill I want to learn
- 5 years from now I will be…
- If you could communicate with your cat/dog what would you talk about – describe your conversation
- Make a list of 20 of your favorite things
- What makes you happy?
- What makes you feel sad and how do you make yourself feel better when you’re feeling down?
- What is your favorite season and why?
Start a Book Club
Have everyone read the same book.
The get together after each chapter to discuss it.
Make some treats and drinks to share while you chat. Discussing books together helps you connect and gives you an insight into different perspectives. Often times this leads to a better understanding of the story.
I know it isn’t likely you will have more than one copy of a book in your home, but you can still do this activity without even leaving your house.
If you want to have your kids complete a novel study, I have a 5 page Novel Study Packet you can grab for free over in our member’s library.
We offer all sorts of freebies in there.
To become a member, you just need to sign up for our email newsletters that keep you informed about new content and freebies.
You can sign up for that over in the sidebar or at the bottom of this post.
Download the Libby App, connect it to your local library, enter your library card number and you’re all set.
It’s just like going to the library to borrow books only you can do it from home and read the book either in the Libby App or in the Kinde App.
Often times, Libby will have more than one copy of a book available and you can even download audio versions if you prefer.
Head over to Amazon and grab a couple of copies of a book you already own or a new one. With two-day shipping, you will have your brand new books in hand lickety-split.
Or if you don’t want to wait, Amazon offers Kindle versions of thousands of books too.
Learn Life Skills
With all the busyness that goes on in our lives, it can be hard to find time to teach our kids the important skills they need to know to become successful adults.
Why not use this forced free-time to teach them something useful like how to sew, or cook, or bake? Teach them how to check the oil in the car or change a tire. Show them how to do the laundry or iron a shirt.
These are all skills they should know. We learned them at some point, right?
Let’s do our kids a favor and share some of that knowledge.
Play Board Games
Board games are fun, no doubt!
But board games can also be great learning tools too!
Games are fun and interactive ways to learn or maintain some important skills.
- Math – counting, adding, subtracting, multiplying, banking, taxes, budgeting
- Economics – supply and demand, trade
- History – trivia
One of our favorite teaching games is Monopoly. In fact, we wrote an entire article about it which you can read here.
Here are a few board games ideas for kids ages 6 and up:
If you have older kids, these are some awesome games they will love to play:
Take an Online Class
When it comes to online classes, the options are endless.
I would begin by first asking your kids what they are interested in learning more about.
Give them a few ideas to get them thinking – here are some.
- Playing an Instrument
- Pet Training
- First Aid
- Creative Writing
Here are two trusted sources where you can find a class on just about any subject:
We love writing poetry around here. So much so in fact, that I have quite a few lessons I have created on the subject.
Usually, these lessons are listed separately, but to simplify things in these trying times, I have created a bundle.
This collection includes all the following poetry lessons for one low price:
- Tanka Poems
- Concrete Poems
- ABC Poems
- Cinquain Poems
Each lesson includes everything you need to create each of the listed poems. Lessons can be completed in about an hour.
If you want to give poetry a try, you can grab your copy of our Poetry Lesson Bundle right here.
Making stuff will definitely help keep your minds off things and everyone will have a great time in the process!
Here are some of our favorite crafty ideas:
- Make Bath Bombs – Let your kids try different recipes and measurements to see which bath bombs they like the best. They can add colors and scents in so many different combinations, they’ll be entertained for hours. Check out our board on bath bombs for some great ideas!
- Make Slime – Grab a slime kit at the store or gather up some ingredients to make your own slime. Here’s a list of simple slime recipes from Elmer’s Glue that are tried and true.
- Make Bead Candy – This just means making bead bracelets, necklaces or earrings. Bead jewelry is all the fad right now and you can grab a kit from Amazon right here.
Baking is all about chemistry.
And it takes some math skills to get those measurements right.
Why not experiment with creating a recipe from scratch?
Look up the science of baking for a better understanding of the different ingredients used in baking. Use this information to determine which ingredients will be used in your new recipes.
Your kids will be having so much fun baking they won’t even realize they are converting fractions, weights, and measurements, plus learning about chemical reactions.
Being stuck at home doesn’t have to mean having to feel trapped in your home.
Consider this time a gift instead and use it to bond with your kids.
Be sure to talk with your kids and support them in this trying time. They need your reassurance and guidance now more than ever.
Spend time together learning and having fun.
Make a plan for which activities you want to do and gather your supplies. Spread the activities out over the next couple of weeks so you have something to look forward to each new day.
Now the only thing left to figure out is – Which activity will you do first?
How is your family coping with recent events?
Do you need a little extra care too? Don’t forget to take time out for your own self-care so you can be strong and ready to help your family.
You can read more about self-care here.
Leave a comment below and share with us your thoughts and how you plan to spend the next few weeks.
Until Next Time…
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