With children – and many parents – at home as a safety precaution to prevent the spread of the Coronavirus, finding fun things families can do together is top of mind these days. Many parents are struggling to balance working from home, caring for their families, and organizing family activities at home.
We’ve compiled some ideas for keeping your children entertained – and educated – until schools reopen for onsite classes. First though, we wanted to pass along some helpful advice for helping your entire family cope during these unprecedented times.
Establishing a routine can be key.
Josh Golin, Executive Director of the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood, says the first priority for parents is to help their children feel safe. It’s important that our kids “don’t absorb all the anxiety that we’re feeling,” Golin said. Golin says it’s equally important for parents to take pressure off themselves to provide a “traditional academic” experience for young children. He adds that the first few days at home are important because parents can set up a routine that isn’t centered around screens.
Golin said the first few days at home are important because parents can set up a routine not centered around screens.
However parents choose to structure their time, research shows kids thrive on routines. Regardless of how parents fill their child’s time at home, experts say they should aim to maintain a predictable schedule each day.
Ideas for fun family activities at home
Wading through the endless ideas online for providing activities and experiences for your children during this time can be overwhelming. We’ve compiled a list of fun things to do at home with family inside to help your kids stay active and engaged.
- Many museums offer virtual tours.
- The National Association for the Education of Young Children has several online resources to help parents come up with fun and educational activities.
- Build a fort with blankets or cardboard boxes.
- Make time for active play. Bring out the blocks, balls, jump ropes and buckets and let the creativity go.
- Make mazes or puzzles for each other to solve.
- Download an app and learn how to edit videos.
- Call your elderly neighbors and see what you can do to help. Make happy notes and leave them on their door.
Play Monopoly or other board games.
- Create a treasure hunt for them (leaving clues around the house or yard).
- Have a fancy dinner at home. Put on your fanciest dress-up clothes, evening dress and jewelry.
- Do a science experiment.
- Order seeds and plants for your garden.
- Pitch a tent inside and have a family campout.
- Take out all the beach chairs, umbrellas and boogie boards and make a beach day in your living room.
- Make fun decorations for Easter and decorate the house with them.
- Do shadow puppets in the dark.
- Learn to juggle.
- Experiment all day on devising the ultimate chocolate chip cookie. Tasting mandatory.
- Make a comic book.
- Have a reading or movie marathon.
- Take turns saying tongue twisters.
- Send messages to your friends and relatives with your favorite memories with them.
- Build paper airplanes and have a flying contest.
- Make cardboard race cars. Let your kids zoom through the living room in their very own race car.
- Make a cardboard dollhouse.
- Make a time capsule. Have your kids decide what items to put in it and where to bury it.
- Do some indoor bowling. If you don’t want to purchase an indoor bowling set, just line up six to 10 water bottles at the end of your hallway or living room. Use a line of duct tape as the starting line, grab a medium-sized indoor ball and start bowling!
- Make an indoor obstacle course for the entire family to have fun. Take elements from board games and whatever items you have around the house and come up with a way to keep score. Just make sure no one gets hurt in the process!
- Make an indoor treasure hunt for the kids! Come up with some clues, hide items and let the kids go wild. Maybe throw in some historical facts about Texas.
- Set up an indoor photo booth. Grab some construction paper, glue, glitter and get to making crafts you can use for a fun photo booth kind of day with the kids.
- Have a family karaoke night! There are lots of karaoke tracks on YouTube.
- Let your kids host a family talent show.
- Make your own dance video!
Some tips around screen time for kids
One advantage of all the available technology is that your children can have Skype or Facetime chats with their friends, cousins, and grandparents. This can go a long way toward helping everyone stay connected and feel less isolated as we all stay home.
Vincent Costanza, chief academic officer for Teaching Strategies, which focuses on early education curriculum, assessment and professional development, says parents often hear mixed messages about technology. But there are times when technology can enhance relationships.
“Setting up experiences where technology is used to connect with others are certainly appropriate and should be leveraged at this time,” Costanza said.
When it comes to tablets and apps, have clear expectations for what your child will take away from that screen time. Research shows that children under the age of 3 are less likely to learn from screens, so while giving your child a tablet may feel like you’re giving them an educational activity, it’s more entertainment than anything else in the early years.
A few resources you might want to check out for educational content are the Kennedy Center’s daily lunch doodle with children’s book author Mo Willems and the PBS Kids Play and Learn Science app, which provides ideas for hands-on, non-screen science projects. NAEYC has advice online for parents on how to choose technology for young children, and Common Sense Media is also a good resource for parents to determine which websites, movies and books are age-appropriate.
How Deerbrooke is responding to COVID-19
The health and safety of our guests and staff is our primary concern. Please be assured that all of our builders are taking every precaution to ensure that their model homes are safe, including frequent cleaning and sanitizing throughout the day.
If you’d like to take a virtual tour of our community or our model homes, please contact us and we’ll do our best to accommodate you. If you’re interested in an in-person tour, please contact us ahead of time so we can make sure you’re the only visitor in our model home.
To help reduce the possibility of spreading COVID-19, we ask that only you and one other guest attend your appointment.
And of course, if you’re feeling sick – or have been in contact with someone who is – we respectfully ask that you wait until you’re healthy to visit our community. Please know that we take your health and safety extremely seriously.
Stay Safe. Stay Healthy.
Hopefully these suggestions for family activities at home can help you make the most of your time spent inside.