You may be feeling overwhelmed right now. Helping your kids navigate through the changes that accompany the COVID-19 pandemic is a fulltime job. Juggling that with your everyday responsibilities can leave you feeling stressed and exhausted.
Keeping your children active is a way to help them cope with the pandemic. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says that playing outdoors is great for physical and mental health. The CDC also suggests indoor activity breaks (like stretching and dancing) to help your children stay healthy. Read on for 10 ways to keep your kids busy, happy, and healthy.
1. Take an Online PE Class
The CDC recommends that children get at 60 minutes of activity or more a day. With school closures, that goal can be hard to meet. YouTube has a ton of videos with everything from yoga to old school calisthenics. Videos can be streamed to your computer, tablet, or smart television. Your children is sure to find an activity that they like.
2. Throw a Dance Party
Another way to get moving is a dance party. Let your children build a playlist and bust a move! You can challenge your children to build a playlist around a theme, like 80’s, ska, or ladies of rock. Encourage your children to make up their own dances or groove as the music moves them.
3. Build a Fort
Help your children gather all of the blankets, sheets, pillows, and cushions in the house. Then get to building! See who can build the largest, coziest, or wildest fort. Once the fort is built, enjoy some downtime with a book or a movie and a snack.
4. Do Some Arts and Crafts
One tried and true way to keep kids entertained is with arts and crafts. Break out that giant box of colored paper, stickers, and paints. Encourage your kids to get creative. They can make cards for their friends and family members who are far away. Another fun project is painting rocks. First, send your kids outside to find a rock. Then, they can use paints to decorate their rock. They can paint faces, animals, vegetables, patterns, or anything else they can think of!
5. Cook Together
Eating healthy is especially important during times of stress. Although cooking can be a dreaded chore, there are many easy meals to make at home right now.
There are age-appropriate ways to have your children help. Two- and three-year-olds can set the table, squeeze lemons, and pick leaves of fresh herbs. Four- and five-year-olds can stir ingredients, unload the dishwasher, and grease pans. Six- and seven-years-old can dice and mince, peel potatoes, and use a microplane zester. Eight- and nine-year-olds can use a stand mixer, pound chicken, and put away leftovers. 10- and 12-year-olds can work independently in the kitchen.
6. Connect Socially
The CDC emphasizes how important it is to help your children stay connected while socially distancing. You can help them talk to family and friends on the phone or on video chats. Kids write letters and write in the cards they created during arts and crafts time.
7. Draw with Sidewalk Chalk
What’s more quintessentially summer than sidewalk chalk? Bust out your old chalk and draw on your driveway! Help your kids draw, make up games, or practice writing their names. Draw a hopscotch design on the sidewalk. Teach your kids how to play hopscotch, either a traditional version or with a design or rules all their own.
8. Go On a Scavenger Hunt
Set up a scavenger hunt. Give your kids a list of items to look for around your house or outside. To go the extra mile, hide pieces of paper with clues on them. Give your kid the first clue, then let them figure out the rest. Maybe the scavenger hunt ends in a fun surprise for the whole family!
Another version of this is a nature scavenger hunt. During a hike, have kids find things that match certain descriptions. For example, have them find two things that are yellow.
9. Go On a Bear Hunt
Lots of neighborhoods have set up Bear Hunts to keep the kids entertained. Many of your neighbors have put a teddy bear in a front window. Go on a family hike to see how many bears you can find (and don’t forget to put a bear in your window, too)!
10. Create an Obstacle Course
Harness your kids’ inner Gladiators and create an obstacle course. Using materials around your home, set up a series of physical obstacles for your kids to overcome. Obstacle courses can include running, jumping, and crawling. They test speed and agility. Time your kids. Pit them against each other to see who has the fastest time!