Honestly, it was inevitable. We knew that this was going to happen, and the question was really when not if. But, still, I was so not prepared for how soon the schools were going to be shut down and for how long – a MONTH. I had mentally budgeted patience and planning for two weeks maximum. So, when I read a month, I definitely used more than a few expletives.
And we are now looking down the barrel of a month at home with our children for some if not all of the time. What in the world do you do with them that doesn’t involve a @#*$ screen, doesn’t require you to be a cruise director, and is novel and new? Fortunately, people far more creative and resourceful than me have already started to brainstorm some amazing things because your garden variety rainy day activities just are not going to cut it.
Here are some ideas:
- Join the art challenge with Will Sliney, an artist with Marvel. It started for kids in Ireland, but Twitter is universal so have at it.
- Stage a play: have the kids write a play, the more nonsensical the better. Have them put costumes together from clothes in the house, and then stage it for the adults at the end of the day.
- Obstacle course: this can work indoors or outside. Let the kids put the obstacle course together – mine love using the pillows on the floor and jumping onto the furniture – and then time them as they go through to see who can do it the fastest.
- Reading challenge: just like the library, see who can read the most books or the most minutes during the break and award prizes like iPad time or other treats.
- Photograph scavenger hunt: how well do the kids really know the house? Put together a list of things they need to find. For the littles, make it a picture scavenger hunt. Whoever finds all of the treasure first gets a prize!
- Lego Masters: my kids love this show and we have a bin the size of a small chair full of legos. See who can make the most outrageous or ingenuous bridge, car, house, etc.
- Learning a new skill: my 7 year old has been resistant to learning how to ride a bike. I think this might be a great time to get her started. This would also be a wonderful time to potty train!
- Yoga. There are some great YouTube channels out there including Cosmic Kids Yoga.
- For older kids, learning Stop Motion Animation.
- Gardening. The weather is beautiful (thank goodness) and those garden beds need weeding. Let the kids get their hands dirty and help weed.
- Dog/cat training. Yes, cat training. It’s a thing. I would love to get my cat to use the toilet.
- Actually make them learn something. Here is a list of free educational resources.
- Think up the craziest combination of words and see if there is a YouTube song video for it. Rainbow cat scored this gem.
- Madlibs. They never go out of style.
- Discover your old (new) games. We have a game closet and cupboard with games for just this kind of occasion. Catan Junior will probably make an appearance.
- Learn how to code.
- Take a virtual tour of 12 famous museums like the Guggenheim, the British Museum, the Van Gogh Museum, and the Getty in Los Angeles.
- Put those cardboard boxes from Amazon deliveries because you don’t want to go out in public to good use. Make a box fort!
- Read to the dog or cat. They need stories too and learning readers need to practice.
- Make that Disney+ subscription pay for itself.
- Facetime with relatives. Stay out of the nursing home. Do a virtual visit instead.
- Pelican Park is OPEN! And it is big enough to practice your social distancing.
- Baking is always an appreciated activity especially if the bounty can be shared with older friends who may be truly self-quarantining.
- Recreate famous paintings. I’m thinking of trying Washington Crossing the Delaware in the master bath tub with the 7 year old as Washington. Round up the stuffed animals for Peaceable Kingdom. The Scream will be popular. See if you can get the cat and dog to recreate Michelangelo’s Creation of Adam. The possibilities are endless.
Other advice includes sticking to a schedule, including for wake up and bed time. Access Moodle and Moby Max and all of the other programs that the kids use at school to at least keep them somewhat in the zone of learning since they will go back (yes, eventually!). Above all, know your limits and if you’ve reached them, give yourself a time out. Put on your own oxygen mask before helping others. For those that need a schedule, like me, here is a great sample daily schedule.