No doubt about it—these are weird and worrying times. For many regions of our country, coronavirus concerns have led to (or will lead to) school closures. If you’re at home with your kids, please use this social distancing-friendly list for ideas to keep kids engaged (and away from screens for a while). Got one to add? Email firstname.lastname@example.org and our editor will add it to the list!
Download Educational Apps/Materials
Whether your school is sending home materials or you’re on your own, try your hand at a little homeschooling. We love this list of educational sites offering materials for free.
Make Your Own Sensory Bins
Sure, you can order a sensory table on Amazon (like the ones you see in preschools) but a Sterilite container works just as well. Fill it with oatmeal, rice, birdseed—then add a few tools (spoons, spatulas, cups, sifters, etc.) and you have hours of toddler fun.
Go on a Scavenger Hunt
There are countless templates online. Print one out, grab some pens, head out the door and start exploring your neighborhood. Older kids can do this one on their own!
Make “Theme Days”
Have Christmas in March, and decorate a houseplant, let them unwrap a present, wear Santa PJs, watch The Grinch and sing carols…then the next day repeat with Halloween…and 4th of July…etc., etc.
Bake a Cake…
Or muffins, bread, or anything else. Not only does baking keep kids occupied, but it helps them learn math skills and practice fine motor coordination.
Play Cards & Board Games
Cards are another great way for kids to practice math skills without them realizing it, and nothing brings families together faster than a board game.
Break out the Bubbles
Fill up the bubble machine and let your toddler pop bubbles while you put your feet up for a minute. Or have an older child blow bubbles for a younger one and, boom—two kids occupied!
Make a Bag of Food for a Shelter
Talk with older kids about how fortunate you are to be prepared for this time at home—and choose a few items from your pantry to give to those who might not have as much.
Create a Restaurant in Your Home
Depending on the ages of your kids, this activity can be as involved as you want it to be. Plan a menu, break out the good tablecloth, find and follow a recipe, set the table and bon appetit!
Get Out the Art Supplies
If it’s nice out, bring all your paint, paper, glue and glitter outside and let them create a masterpiece while getting some fresh air. If you’re indoors, we love paint with water books.
Start A Book Club
Now’s a perfect time to get into some new chapter books, or start a discussion with an older child about a book you both read at the same time. Not only is it a great way to keep them reading, it’ll get you reading too—and away from the sometimes overwhelming news cycle.
Try a Craft
Set the kids up with the materials they need to get creative, and then get out of their way! For craft ideas, check out our winter craft story.
Do a Popsicle Bath
This is a mess-free way for kids to have their treat, and works no matter what the weather is doing! Source: Sound Shore Moms
And if you need to work or get some things done and your kids have a movie day…don’t sweat it. Pop some popcorn, cue up their favorite flicks and try to join them once you’re done!
This article originally appeared on our parent site, The Local Moms Network.