14 Ways to Keep Kids Busy while Social Distancing
Looking for ways to keep kids busy during the unprecedented social distancing orders due to the coronavirus? Schools across the country have canceled in-class learning, and millions of parents are finding themselves unexpectedly at home with toddlers, grade-schoolers, and even teens home from college. Luckily there are many free resources to keep kids busy and happy at home.
7 Screen-Based Resources
- Visit a National Park. Explore a lava tube and fly over an active volcano, virtually of course, at Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. See caves and thousands of bats at Carlsbad Caverns National Park.
- Learn about artwork in Paris, Florence and Washington. Visit the Musee d’Orsay, the Uffizi and the National Gallery to see and read about masterpieces, and take tours of the museums.
- Watch animals on live webcams. See koalas, pandas and tigers at the San Diego Zoo, and watch whales, jellyfish and piranhas at the Georgia Aquarium.
- Explore opera and ballet online. London’s Royal Opera House has hundreds of videos, including shorts from Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Romeo and Juliet.
- Learn a few simple magic tricks, especially the easy-to-master disappearing coin. See how to do the trick in this video.
- Check out ebooks and audiobooks. The New York Public Library, like many libraries across the country, are offering free ebooks and audiobooks.
- Sign up for ongoing activity ideas. PBS’s weekday newsletter has activities and tips you can use to help kids play and learn at home.
7 Screen-Free Ideas
- Get outdoors. Our most important tip is to get outside every day, while maintaining a safe distance from others. Strolling the neighborhood, hiking in nature and walking your dog can be the most important therapy during these social distancing orders.
- Play board games. Family games boost language skills, teach teamwork, teach spelling and math, and are a great way to unplug and sooth anxiety.
- Start spring cleaning. Keep kids busy by organizing closets, mending clothes, gifting outgrown clothes to neighbors, and deciding which clothes you can donate or consign once stores are back open.
- Help your neighbors. Kids will feel good about reaching out to neighbors to see if they need supplies, dog walking or garden care. If you keep a safe distance, helping neighbors can be the best medicine for a cooped up child.
- Cook dinner. Kids of any age can take responsibility for cooking for the family. See a list of six kid-friendly ideas from Epicurious to get started.
- Make phone calls and write notes to family and friends. Keep kids busy by reaching out to others. This has the added benefit of making someone else feel good too.
- Do nothing. Sit and stare out the window, lay in bed and stare at the ceiling—daydreaming and boredom is the best way to rest your brain and boost creativity and imagination.
And, lastly, for a little humor and to put all this into perspective, see I Refuse to Run a Coronavirus Home School, letting parents know that this is definitely going to be messy, do the best you can, and that will be enough.
Photo credit: Barb Tulit Photography.