Parenting is challenging, but raising little ones during a pandemic is an entirely different ballgame. COVID-19 has upended family life as we know it, and parents all over the country are struggling to juggle work, household chores, and childcare all at the same time.
To further complicate matters, kids get easily bored and restless — especially if they’re not allowed to get together with friends. Here are some kid-friendly activities that will keep them active and engaged.
Encourage indoor play.
You can’t allow your kids to stay in front of the TV or their mobile phones forever. To reduce screen time and keep them entertained, get out some old puzzles and board games. Now might also be a great time to teach them classic games such as chess, dominoes, and Monopoly.
Turn your backyard into an oasis.
Your kids might be missing public hangouts, but you could always turn your backyard into a playground. You can set up camp, pitch a tent, and bring out the cozy pillows and blankets. Use your grill to barbecue, have a bonfire, make smores, and let your kids sleep under the stars in a safe place.
If your children prefer the water, consider throwing a family pool party with just a hose and a small kiddie pool. Bring out snacks and drinks to keep them fueled and hydrated throughout the day.
Improve their reading habits.
Create a cozy nook perfect for reading, such as a window seat or a corner sofa. Pick a comfy spot where there’s enough light and space to store books and snacks.
Or, get little bookworms involved while reading them a bedtime story. You can ask questions about the characters, plot, and setting. Make it even more interesting by using different voices during the narration.
If there are limited books in the house, you can use mobile devices to provide a digital reading experience for your children. You can also let them try audiobooks and interactive reading apps to make reading more engaging.
Nurture your children’s creative spirit and self-expression through arts and crafts. You won’t even have to go out of the house and shop for art supplies — there are plenty of crafts that can be made out of existing items in the household.
Papier-mâché bowls, pinwheels, cereal box houses, friendship bracelets, slimes, and rock paintings are just some of the crafts you can use to keep your little ones occupied. Plus, doing projects will help them focus, improve motor skills, and boost their confidence.
Have a themed family night.
During these unprecedented times, we tend to lose track of the days. Fortunately, you can implement regular weeknight activities that don’t require you to get out of the house.
By having a theme once or twice a week, you’ll give your children something to look forward to. You can have a movie night and watch an old favorite movie, or a dance party where everybody (including the parents) gets to bust their moves. Plan themed meal nights, such as Tuesday taco nights, and get the kids to help you assemble the tacos for dinner.
Improve their prepping and cooking skills.
Start your children young in the kitchen and you’ll empower them with an essential life skill so they can become more self-sufficient. Use your judgment to determine which tasks your kids will be able to do. You can start them with something simple, such as washing vegetables, stirring ingredients, kneading dough, whisking batter, or mashing a banana.
Before you start, teach them all about kitchen safety: the importance of washing hands, wearing an apron, handling knives, and keeping the cooking station clean and sanitary. Once they’re ready to take on more, you can buy them kids’ cooking kits that can improve their kitchen skills and encourage them to learn something new.
Of course, cooking with children invariably ends up in a considerable kitchen mess. The prep, cooking, and cleanup will require lots of patience. For this reason, it’s a good idea to do the cooking during laid-back weekends, and not on busy weekday evenings.
With these activities, you’ll help the kids feel connected and keep the entire family close-knit while minimizing stressors during these uncertain times.