By Alexandra Fung,'03
After weeks at home even the most creative and playful of parents might be searching for new ways to keep the kids engaged and occupied. Here are ten easy ideas for ways to enjoy this extended time together at home as a family, including indoor activities for kids and some fun things to do outside, too!
Upgrade Your Family Walk
Walking around your neighborhood is still safe in most places, so get some fresh air as a family and have fun while you are at it! Share your favorite kids jokes, come up with an obstacle course challenge, take pictures, play 20 questions - these are just some things you can do on a walk with your kids that will transform a casual neighborhood stroll into a special family excursion.
Start a Book Club
One of my all time favorite family activities has been the family book club we started when the kids were about six and eight years old. It’s super easy - we all take turns picking a book to read as a family (many of our favorites have come from this list), then discuss it over a family activity once we are done. We usually read the book independently, but you can also read out loud or even listen to an audiobook together. The best part is that you’ll always have something to talk about over dinner!
You have to eat anyway, so use this time at home to teach your kids some essential life skills. Even toddlers and young children will enjoy helping to scoop, pour and stir, and you can teach older kids the importance of reading through a recipe and how to properly measure and mix ingredients. For an extra special treat, pick an easy dessert recipe for the kids to enjoy after all their hard work in the kitchen!
Have a Virtual Game Night
One of the most challenging aspects of staying home is not being able to see or spend time with our loved ones. Still, we are lucky that technology allows us to remain connected even at a distance. There are even plenty of games you can play over FaceTime that will allow kids to enjoy a virtual game night with family or friends they might be missing. Next time you call Grandma, consider a round of Pictionary or Headbanz for some added fun!
Get in Some Typing Practice
Here’s another life skill for the kids to work on while they are at home. Learning to type quickly and accurately will serve your kids for the rest of their lives, so take advantage of the many free typing games online to help them hone their skills in a fun and engaging way.
Learn Something New
It’s been really neat to see so many artists, authors and businesses offer their time and talents to entertain and educate our kids through livestream events online. These virtual events for kids include zoo visits, story times, art, dance, and cooking classes, and so much more. Most of these events are free of charge, and a great opportunity for your child to try something that might develop into a new hobby.
Family Movie Night
We’ve been enjoying family movie nights since the kids were old enough to sit through a full length film, and with more time at home we’ve been going through more movies than usual, too! This is a perfect time to check off some of those favorite family movies on your list of “must see” films before the kids grow up.
Try a Science Experiment
Most of us are having to navigate e-learning during this time, so use this big list of easy science experiments for kids for some hands-on, engaging science lessons. Explore chemical reactions by making an easy lava lamp, encourage creativity and problem-solving with a classic egg drop, make a tornado in a soda bottle, and more!
Exercise is so important for good health, keeping our bodies strong and our spirits high. Over the last few weeks my older kids have become my new running partners, and it has been such an unexpected gift, offering us a new way to bond together while staying active. Even if you aren’t able to get outside, there are plenty of exercise videos for kids that will help keep wiggly little bodies moving when they are indoors - not to mention the many great workout apps to keep parents healthy and strong, too.
Practice the Art of Conversation
Help your kids develop their communication skills through engaging conversation! It takes practice to learn to listen thoughtfully to others, to ask appropriate questions and respond clearly, so take time to intentionally focus on passing on this important life skill. Would you rather questions are a fun and easy way to get the conversation flowing with kids (“would you rather fly, or be invisible?”), and you might even learn something new about one another in the process!
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