Keeping kids entertained at home can be hard at the best of times. And in these days of social distancing and staying inside for prolonged periods, even parents with the most lenient screen time rules find themselves searching for things to do. Here are some easy ways to make the most of this unprecedented family time together and keep your kids engaged and occupied.
GET CREATIVE WITH PLAYTIME
Even if you typically take a pretty hands-off approach to managing your kids’ playtime, it’s good to have some fun suggestions when they’ve run out of ideas. It’s also nice to have some ideas for creative things you can do as a family to make this time together more enjoyable. There are plenty of fun indoor activities for kids that make use of what you already have around the house, no trip to the store needed.
- Have a Daytime Bubble Bath: Load up on the bubbles and bath toys, and have your kids sport the bathing suits you got them for spring break. A bubble bath in the middle of the day is an activity instead of a chore!
- Listen to Podcasts: Many families have e-learning on their plates now with the kids home from school, so much of our kids’ learning is happening via screens. Podcasts are great screen-free entertainment that is also funny and/or educational, and there are many high-quality ones available for all ages.
- Try a Science Experiment: With simple supplies you likely already have on hand, you can put together a number of easy science experiments for kids. Explore surface tension with milk art, have an instant chemistry lesson with a baking soda volcano, or make your own rock candy for a project that doubles as a sweet treat.
- Do a Blind Taste Test: Make a secret assortment of foods (like fruit or candy), blindfold your kids and have them try to guess what everything is. This is fun for all ages, and it can be surprisingly tricky!
LEARN SOMETHING NEW
It has been amazing to see how artists, authors and businesses around the country have generously shared their time and talent to provide unique learning opportunities for our kids. There are many chances every day to tune into virtual events for kids that are both entertaining and educational. This is the perfect time to have your kids explore what is out there and try new things in a low-pressure (and free!) way. Maybe your son or daughter will look back on this time as the first time they discovered their love for watercolor painting, hip hop dance, yoga or creative writing.
START A FAMILY TRADITION
When the weeks of staying at home stretch out in front of us with no real end in sight, it can be a challenge to keep one day from feeling exactly like the next. This is a great time to start a new family tradition. They can give us something tangible to get excited about together, and can continue way beyond these days of staying inside.
- Family Game Night: Dedicate one night every week to family game night, where each family member gets to take turns choosing a board game to play together. To make things more interesting, you can start a challenge where you play each of your board games one time over the course of your days at home. You can even keep a tally of how many games each family member wins!
- Celebrate Half Birthdays: You don’t need to go all out, but homemade party hats, an easy homemade dessert and the birthday song can make a half birthday really special.
- Weekly Family Meeting: Try holding a once-a-week family meeting where everyone can talk about what went well (and not so well) over the past week and discuss things that will be happening in the next one. This is a great way to have constructive conversations about how things are going at home, and also a chance to make plans for the fun family activities you’ll look forward to in the coming week.
I hope you are staying healthy and safe, and are taking the opportunity to connect with and enjoy your family during this time together.
Kelly Rupiper is a mom of two and lives with her family in San Diego. She is Content Director at Upparent, a website where parents share recommendations with one another for local things to do with kids, family-friendly recipes, and parenting tips and hacks.