Over the past few weeks, the standard American way of life has taken a turn towards something different. With the coronavirus pandemic continuing to spread, more and more people are opting to stay home in self-imposed quarantine. However, those with children may find this more difficult especially when it comes to keeping kids entertained and occupied. We all know how easily children get bored, and when you’re unable to take them out or rely on school activities, their boredom can skyrocket. This can lead to a lot of pent up frustration and headaches if they are left to their own devices.
To help keep kids occupied, and relive some of the stress that this pandemic has caused, here are some ideas of how you can help keep everyone safe and entertained until the quarantine period has passed.
At-Home Activity Alternatives
Just because you’re stuck at home, doesn’t mean you can’t take part in some fun and entertaining activities. There are a variety of alternatives that make staying home even more fun than going out. (More cost-effective too!) Here are some activities to keep in mind that will help keep even the most rambunctious kids entertained.
- Camping Nearly 6 in 10 households contain someone who has gone camping. If your family enjoys camping, the good news is that you can enjoy it in the comfort of your own home! Small kids — and even some older kids — will enjoy building pillow forts and ‘camping’ out. If you build it in the living room, kids can even hang out and watch movies while enjoying some popcorn in their makeshift tent.
- Fashion Show If you have kids that enjoy dressing up, use this opportunity to stage a ‘fashion show.’ This is a great way to encourage creativity and expression while keeping them entertained indoors. Outfits can get as silly as you want, and the whole family can even get involved by dressing up for the day!
- Mission Impossible Indoor scavenger hunts can also be a fun way to pass the time for kids, and it can help foster problem-solving abilities. Hide clues around the house to enable kids to hunt down and find the ‘treasure’ by solving puzzles or riddles that will lead them to the next clue. Games like this can be as simple or as elaborate as you like, so don’t be afraid to get creative!
- Indoor Picnics If it’s too cold to head out into the backyard for a picnic, consider setting one up in your own home. Kids will enjoy helping to prepare all of the sandwiches and snacks, as well as eating out on the floor. You can even set out pillows for extra comfort!
- Dance Party When in doubt, dance it out! Hang up some colorful lights, set up some speakers, and let your kids dance the day away! Just be careful with which lights you choose; approximately 22% of all electricity generated in the United States is used for lighting. You can get them more involved by having them put together their special playlists ahead of time and then allowing them to take turns ‘DJing’ the event!
Activities like this can help break up the monotony of being stuck at home. You can even have kids vote on the activities they’d like to do most, or write them on slips of paper and have kids choose an activity at random. Other simpler activities can include setting up game nights or craft making days. Even simple things like this can help keep kids focused and entertained while under quarantine.
Online and Digital Entertainment
While screentime is usually discouraged, when you’re stuck at home digital activities can help keep kids from becoming overly bored. A couple of options for digital entertainment can include:
- Family Gaming Nights: Video games such as Mario Party, Mario Kart, Super Smash Bros., Pac-Man, or any of the Lego games are perfect for both young kids and older kids. You can even start some friendly competition by starting a mini tournament to see who can be the best.
- Streaming Content: Streaming services are great for finding kid-friendly content to help keep kids occupied and entertained. Services like Netflix also have loads of educational content that can help keep kids’ brains engaged even when they’re not in school. Similarly, YouTube is another option for finding interesting content for kids. You can also access numerous tutorials for crafts and projects that you can then try out yourself. The possibilities are endless when it comes to streaming services like these.
- Keeping in Contact: Social media sites like Facebook can also be used to help keep kids in contact with their friends or family members. With over two billion users every month, this platform also offers games that kids can play with their friends, as well as video chatting options that can be used with both friends and family. While extended social media use isn’t recommended, it can be a useful tool for staying in contact while under quarantine.
- Educational Software: Because most schools have been closed, you can also use digital devices for educational purposes. Numerous learning sites feature math and reading games that can help supplement their curriculum and keep them learning even while out of school. This can also help them retain the knowledge they have learned so that when they go back they won’t be behind.
Online and on streaming platforms host numerous opportunities for both entertainment and education that kids can take advantage of during this quarantine period. Likewise, social media platforms can help them stay in touch with their friends and relatives so that they won’t be at risk of feeling left out or lonely.
DIY Crafts and Home Based Projects
During a quarantine period, you also have the option of focusing on DIY projects that can improve your home. For instance, if you have a spare room that you aren’t using, you can use this opportunity to get a jumpstart on spring cleaning. Consider how you could best make use of the room and get to work on clearing it and cleaning it up. Spare rooms like this could also make great playrooms for young kids, workspaces, or impromptu dance or gaming centers. Enlist your kids to help you come up with the best way to utilize the space, and have them help with basic organizing, cleaning, and designing.
If it is warm enough, you can have your kids help with cleaning up the yard or garden space, to start getting it ready for springtime planting. This will allow kids to get out and experience some fresh air, while also teaching them the basics of garden care.
If the weather isn’t optimal, you can always have your kids go through their closets and organize their rooms. Tell them that they should look for any clothing or toys that they no longer want or need, and create have them create a donation box that you can later drop off at a secondhand center. This is a great way to teach children organization as well as the importance of donating things as opposed to throwing them away.
Another idea is to look online for home-based crafting ideas, such as making reusable paper towels out of fabrics you no longer use. This sustainable DIY practice can allow kids to make their special towels, while also allowing you to teach them the importance of recycling and being as green as possible.
Eliminate the Fear Factor
During this time, younger children may have difficultly understanding the pandemic we are experiencing. This can lead to fear and confusion, especially since their daily routines have undergone such a quick change. To remove this fear of the unknown, employ as many of these activities as you can to help keep them occupied and entertained. While it is important that they understand as much as they can at a level that is right for them, filling their days with fun activities can help lessen their anxiety.
Hopefully, you will find these tips helpful when it comes to keeping your children occupied during this time when staying home is the new normal. Don’t hesitate to tweak or customize these activities based on what will work best for your family. Get your kids involved as much as possible and try to make the most out of your time at home. While quarantine may sound difficult, it can also offer a great opportunity to bond as a family and create new group activities that you can even continue to enjoy long after this pandemic has passed.