With many of us being advised to stay at home, the question of how to keep kids entertained during isolation is bound to be on our minds. It's only natural to wonder how we will make the best of the situation and ensure our children stay educated and entertained as well as safe. The good news is, the possibilities are far more varied and exciting than you might think.
Break this fun activity up to keep kids occupied. First, choose the perfect family movie. With the wealth of streaming options available, there's bound to be a film you can all agree on. Next, let them choose their snacks. You could let them see what they can whip up from the pantry – maybe a batch of delicious brownies or raisin cookies. Popping corn at home is exciting. You could even have little ones pretend to be the ushers - helping everyone to their seats!
If there's one thing most mental health experts agree on, it's that writing during challenging experiences can be one of the best ways to process them. This is an activity that has lots of potentials: an older child might like to start a journal, keeping track of their thoughts, feelings, and daily activities; younger children might like some help with making a scrapbook including pictures or photographs of their favorite interests.
If you're lucky enough to have even a small outdoor space, this is where it comes into its own—time to dust off those forgotten footballs and haul out the bikes. Exercise has been shown to boost the immune system as well as your mood – the perfect way for children to blow off steam. Even if you don't have access to a backyard yourself, check out online dance and yoga classes aimed at kids – or make room for a mini-trampoline in your living room.
The saying "the family that plays together stays together" has lots of truth to it. The situation could turn out to be a great opportunity for families to start interacting with one another more. Board games offer a chance for different generations to laugh and reconnect. Some can even be played by toddlers, teaching them turn-taking and co-operation as well as building their cognitive and fine-motor skills.
Children are natural scientists: from the moment they start dropping their sippy cup from the high chair just to see what will happen, through to fascinations with bugs or dinosaurs —their innate curiosity drives them on. Use what you have around you to encourage discovery. Create 'rubber' from the chemical reaction between milk and vinegar, or help them build a baking soda volcano.
Let's face it, not being able to travel is ruining many vacation plans. It's especially rough when you have kids, and you long for them to be able to visit new places. But all is not lost! We live in a world of Google Earth, online encyclopedias and travel guides that can teach children everything they need to know about practically anywhere. Chat to your kids about where they'd most like to visit and help them make a fact-file about their favorite places.
Try to see this situation as an opportunity to teach kids to be resourceful with food. After all, rationing during World War 2 meant that people learned new skills like growing vegetables and often benefited from a healthier diet that was lower in fat and sugar. Tomatoes and beans are really easy and quick to grow in most places. Kids might enjoy planting the old potatoes found sprouting in the back of the pantry or saving the seeds from squash and pumpkins to sow on a sunny window ledge.
Chances are, your children are missing friends and extended family. Luckily, keeping in touch remotely has never been easier. With countless apps to choose from, children can still see and chat with grandparents and classmates. Alternatively, take this opportunity to help your children keep people posted the old-fashioned way. The process of sending letters and the anticipation of receiving replies could make this an exciting way to keep in contact.
The act of creating is therapeutic. Save recyclable materials – then challenge your children to see what weird and wonderful things they can make. Fashion a guitar from an ice cream carton and some rubber bands, or drums from old pans. Alternatively, take turns teaching each other favorite songs. Singing can lift the spirits and bring people together. You could even improvise a theater stage in your living room: use bedsheets as curtains, and old clothes as costumes. Your kids could re-enact their favorite movie – or dream up a new story to act out.
The Internet makes in-depth research possible for young and old alike. Your kids probably have strong interests that aren't necessarily covered at school: perhaps they're obsessed with superheroes or rare breeds of horses! With appropriate supervision, we can give them the freedom to follow their learning inclinations. Let them ask the questions that most intrigue them and help them arrange their answers as a collage or poster you can display around the house.
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