Staying Close To Home: Entertaining Our Children

Home is…where the majority of us are at right now. As more and more families face the reality of shelter at home orders or are practicing social distancing, we find ourselves without the usual options for our families, such as gathering for play dates or going to other activities outside of the home to entertain and enrich our children’s lives.

While we figure out a new, temporary, normal that may also include working from home and/or distance learning for our children, we’re also searching for ideas that can fill the days with fun activities and memories.

We asked a number of parents what they are doing with their little ones, and they were only too happy to share their ideas. How about you? Send your thoughts and experiences – perhaps for a future blog post – to Amy at [email protected].

Virtual museum tours, virtual story times (some libraries and children’s authors are doing them), webcams of zoos. – Selena B.

Girl playing with Perler beadsPerler beads! They are great for quiet craft time but also for counting, addition, subtraction, letter recognition, and pre-reading & early reading skills! Magnetic number and letter tiles are a favorite at our house too. – AJ C.

Child playing outdoors, painting supplies and artPainting. Nature walks in the yard. Gardening. – Jennifer R.

Child conducting a science experimentWe have had so much fun looking up simple science experiments. It’s wonderful that so many of the things we need for them are already around the house. For example, we did one with crackers and lemon juice that demonstrated how stomach acid helps us digest food. – Beck M.

I set out art supplies and paper: watercolors, washable paints, markers, colored pencils, fancy scissors, crayons, chalk on dark construction paper, dry erase markers and boards. We also use playdough, sensory bins, bubble baths, Epsom salt baths, shaving cream or bath paint. We use this recipe for sidewalk chalk paint: 3 Tbsp cornstarch, 3 Tbsp water, several drops food coloring. Mix well and paint on your sidewalk. I mix mine in little plastic cups like yogurt cups; a muffin tin would work well, too. – Heidi W.

We have been drawing, coloring, baking, learning new games, helping dad fix things around the house, spending time outside, and calling grandma on FaceTime. – Heather M.

Online dance classes for the little ones that are currently taking classes and need the outlet (or for those who want to try). – Laura N.

Kids walking outdoors, Child playing in a play house in the yard and paintLots of walks, playing in the yard (even on really cold days), building mazes with magnet blocks, coloring, and dancing to music. Our local gym is also offering online activities/movements. – Shannon C.

For those whose weather is not yet good for outside play (and since we have no basement), I used to back the cars out of the garage and pull the doors back down. The slightly cooler air gave the kids a good change while they played on their ride-on toys. – Debbi H.

Child video chatting with friendsZoom play dates. – Erin E.

Food made into a face for fun platingActivities that many ages can do together: have a dance party in your living room, paint outside, make fun food such as decorating rice cakes into faces, make origami, play cooperative board games, design your own cards, decorate a large cardboard box into a building, etc.  – Debbie G.

We watch sign language learning. The older (5) helps the younger (2) with fingers and such. Learning by teaching helps my extrovert son.  – Melissa B.

I am trying to think of it as an opportunity to teach things that are (normally) hard to fit in. My children are getting bigger, but this means (teaching) cooking and household management. It is an opportunity to notice what we value by its loss but also what we enjoy about home (or having) less of a schedule. Humans are creative. – Maura M.

We’re about to create a “gym” in our garage! We even used to hold tap dance classes there! – Jeanette P.

Please send your story ideas to Amy at [email protected].

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