As parents, we have a big job to do right now, and it isn’t exactly one that comes with a paycheck. We have to keep our kids entertained, at least so much that they don’t spend the entire day whining on the floor.
Sometimes, it happens no matter what we do, though — on a personal note, I just handed my kids each an entire can of Pringles to make the fighting stop.
But we can’t just shove snacks in their hands all day long or let them keep watching TV hour after hour, though don’t feel guilty for that, either — it’s happening everywhere. We have to get creative now more than ever, because it looks like we’re going to be lying low and staying home for a while longer.
Luckily, we live in a pretty good time to get a little help with creative ventures. The internet is a huge help, and there’s a lot we can do from home with the help of our digital connectivity in times when we feel cut off from others in the flesh.
If your kids are on the brink of losing their little minds, here are some things you can help them do to stay entertained during the great quarantine of 2020.
There are so many ways to do yoga from home, even for kids. My kids are big fans of Cosmic Kids Yoga on YouTube. There are all kinds of fun videos, and they all have different themes. The poses and directions are easy to follow. Plus, there is a lot of imaginative play happening at the same time.
Have a Skype Hangout
My kids are pretty much desperate to see their friends at this point. My older daughter, who is 10, keeps asking when she will be allowed to have friends over. Luckily, with the help of phones and the internet, they can still connect. Our kids can use FaceTime or other video chat apps or even have group hangouts using Skype. It’s not the same as hanging out in real life, but it’s a great way to feel a bit social right now.
Make a Science Project
I’m not a scientist, but in 2020, I don’t need to be to help my kids put together an experiment. All we have to do is check out YouTube to find tons of at-home experiments, like making a lava lamp or frozen slime. These projects are pretty fun but, of course, require cleanup. So does letting them loose to trash the house all day, though. So as far as I’m concerned, right now SCIENCE RULES.
Have Them Follow Along With a Class
This morning, my son “took a karate class” while my daughter “took a ballet class” online. Aka, they followed along with instructional videos. All of their extracurriculars have been canceled, and so they are itching to do the things they normally do. Yes, the instructors will be different, as will their virtual classmates, but hey, it’s a pretty solid option!
Have a Family Book Club
Reading can never be canceled! If your kids are of ages where they are able to read, have a family book club. It could literally be a very easy reading book for beginners, and everyone in the family can play along, discussing their big takeaways. For more advanced readers, parents can revisit old classics they once loved, too.
Let Them Explore a New Technology
I just allowed my daughter to get TikTok, and I’ve gotta say, I do not regret this decision. Her account is on my phone so I can monitor the comments and activity. But she’s making some hilarious content. Today, it’s provided about an hour of fun for her and her little brother. Bonus points that it’s a creative endeavor. More bonus points that it’s something they are enjoying together without fighting!
Crank Up the Tunes
My kids are just plain happier when there is music on. We usually crank it up in the evenings and dance around the house while we’re making dinner or doing whatever. But these days, without a solid schedule, we’re listening to music most of the time. It probably helps us to move our bodies a little bit more. Also, since we have an Alexa, my kids love to ask her to play all of their favorite songs or talk like a pirate.
Take Hikes and Nature Walks
Getting outside is a total necessity right now. Of course, you have to be careful about running into people and make sure to keep your distance. It can be uncomfortable and even kind of scary. Still, taking solace in nature is so helpful, especially because it gets you out of your home, which is where you’re spending pretty much all your time right now. Visit some trails, some parks, or just walk around wherever you live and explore the surroundings.
Let Them Be Bored
The truth is, you can’t entertain your kids all the time. Especially if you’re trying to manage to work from home. Letting them be bored sometimes lends itself to all kinds of imaginative play. So when all else fails, do nothing and watch the magic happen.
P.S. Expect some messes. This formula is far from perfect.
Introduce Them to 'Lunch Doodles'
Lunch Doodles is a clever new series of online drawing classes. They’re being taught by Mo Willems, the author of popular kids books like Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus. In each episode, he shows you and your kids how to draw some of the characters in his books. Any kid who likes to draw will love these lessons. Parents will probably love the quiet time, too.