Keeping Kids Active and Engaged at Home

Social Distancing doesn’t have to be boring—here are some tips

“I’m boooored.” Most parents have fielded this complaint from their little ones. Now that many schools are closing and activities are on hold to stop the spread of Coronavirus (COVID-19), we’re finding creative, balanced exercises to keep kids stimulated without placing too much pressure on families.

There are plenty of inexpensive (or free!) activities for kids to enjoy on their own or with the whole family. We’re going to start sharing tips to keep kids occupied whether you’re hoping to get them active or calm them down.

Here are some favorites from the Brave Care team:

1. Color fridge-worthy masterpieces.

There’s no better time than the present to give the refrigerator a makeover. The Art for Kids Hub posts free drawing lessons Monday- Friday each week. Want to have even more fun with it? Challenge other families and friends to participate and share your masterpieces with each other.

2. Practice spelling, reading, and language arts.

Word games are lots of fun, and something kids can enjoy on their own or together. Word Game Time has free word games for kids in kindergarten through 7th grade.

3. Keep ‘em moving!

Being stuck at home doesn’t have to mean couch-potatoing or having endless screen time. Keep your kiddos active (and give yourself a break from work or other home tasks) with fun fitness challenges. Squat and waddle like ducks, practice headstands (great for your core!), do 10 squats or lunges every hour, jump some rope, or throw an impromptu dance-off. Interested in a more calming movement option? Check out Cosmic Kids Yoga. Bonus: All of these require little or no equipment and minimal space.

4. Gamify chores.

Escape Room inspired cleaning, anyone? Give your kid a room to clean or a specific task to complete, and set a timer. If they don’t finish the task in time, create a silly, age-appropriate “punishment” (10 push-ups, helping with dishes, etc.). It’s fun for them, and helpful for you. Find some more chore games on Momtastic here.

5. Meditate.

Meditation has many benefits for adults and kids alike. Some known benefits will be especially useful if anyone is feeling cooped up—such as reduced stress and anxiety, and lengthened attention span. Not sure where to begin? Headspace is an incredible app that provides guided meditation for adults and kids aged 5 and under, 6-8, and 9-12.

6. Have fun with watercolors.

Learning new skills is a fun way to occupy time. Getting creative with watercolors can be very calming, while allowing kids to experiment and express themselves artistically. Artist Emma Lefebvre’s videos provide useful tips on what materials to buy and fun lessons for beginners.

7. Stay social.

Being stuck at home can feel quite isolating, especially for little ones who are used to getting out of the house, going to school, and playing with friends. There are plenty of digital tools available to keep people connected with their families and social circles. Check out Apple FaceTime, Facebook Messenger video chat, Google Hangouts video, or Skype for some quality time with loved ones. Tip: Parent and friend group texts are better (and funnier) than ever right now.

8. Get creative in the kitchen.

Kids love to help in the kitchen, but it’s not always an option for safety reasons. Have some fun with kid-friendly recipes, or let them know what you’re making and have them “design the menu” while you cook. Check out these adorable, easy-to-bake mini lasagnas from Catching Fireflies.

9. Expand their horizons.

Connecting with people whose homes, cultures, and traditions vary from our own can teach us a lot about the world and ourselves. Students of the World helps people of all ages find penpals digitally or through good old snail mail.

10. Bring the outdoors in.

Let’s be honest, camping inside can be fun for the whole family. Task the kids with collecting “supplies” such as pillows, blankets, and a list of snacks. Teach them how to make paper stars with an easy folding technique that only requires one cut. While they’re doing all of that, you can draw a map with clues and a special surprise to find. Let their imaginations run wild, set up your tent, and get cozy under their stars.

We’ll continue to search for and share activities for kids of all ages, so stay tuned. What activities are you doing with your kids at home? Let us know by tagging us or commenting on Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter!

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