Lock-down or Quarantine, How do parents keep children occupied?
UNITED STATES - Every parent, especially those with children in school, have ways to keep their children occupied during "snow days," but with an unprecedented viral outbreak like Coronavirus (COVID-19) keeping many families at home either with school closures, mandated lock downs and quarantines, and self quarantine, parents may not have as many ways to keep children occupied "until further notice."
"Patience is a virtue" but for children and parents alike during this unusual environment, at what point does patience start to dissolve and transform into stir-crazy? Here are some ways our staff who also have children keep them occupied during long stretches at home.
Virtual Tours of Museums and Exhibits - Google Arts & Culture has partnered with over 2500 worldwide museums and exhibitors to offer free virtual tours of museums and exhibits where any person can visit the collection and make selections to have children and parents tour these facilities at no charge. This uses technology in the home, but also provides an educational opportunity for children and possibly adults as well. CLICK HERE TO FIND GOOLE'S COLLECTION
Family Karaoke Time - YouTube has a mass amount of karaoke posts from its world of channels and users, many of which are free to watch and sing along. From Top 40's, crooners and classics, rock and hip-hop, there is a myriad of options to find songs which are popular in your household. However, almost any song to have been written for a Disney movie can also be found, which our kids enjoy immensely. It helps get through the daily routine with a break to sing a round of "A Whole New World." CLICK HERE FOR ONE OF MANY CHANNELS FEATURING DISNEY KARAOKE ON YOUTUBE.COM
Walks Around the Neighborhood - While the CDC has recommended keeping away from gatherings at children's playgrounds, simply getting outside is one great way of getting sunlight on children and having them stay somewhat active during outbreak precautions. Taking children in a brisk walk around the neighborhood, waving at neighbors and cars and maybe including a round of "I Spy" can make use of an hour each day. Plus, the exercise is good to keep the families' blood moving and promote healthy sleep at night having booked the exercise during the day. The CDC's recommendation for keep a 6-foot distance from people with the same idea is still strongly suggested for any outdoor activity.
Online Learning Games - Many online learning platforms, not already provided by respective school districts, are now starting to offer longer trial periods in an attempt to help children at home from COVID-19 closures. Rocketmath and Prodigy are just two our children enjoy. Rocketmath is presently offering 60-day free trail to help during the outbreak. Prodigy, although very effective as a homework tool and with our kids' home learning efforts, according to its website, it presently does not offer a free trail period. However, the company could follow suit to do so with the outbreak soon.
Skype or Video Conference Calling with Friends and Family - Part of the inconvenience of being under a lock down or quarantine is not being able to see additional friends and loved ones. If a child has friends or extended family, it helps to use Skype or a smilier online conferencing platforms to help keep connected with loved ones in the same situation as your family. It may be a good idea to find a platform which works for everyone and get friends and family registered for it as well, so children can reach out to grandma and grandpa if they feel their world is a getting a little small.
Role Play Time - Many of our kids are aspiring performing artists. Many children don't realize when they are "playing" the part of a princess or a superhero, they are actually "acting." So encouraging young ones to create a costume, invent a character and act out scenarios created by parents is one way of spending time keeping kids creatively involved with a physical activity which also requires their voices. There are also plenty of websites available which suggest and map out a variety of "acting" games for children, like kidsactivities.net. CLICK HERE FOR A LIST OF ACTING GAMES FOR KIDS FROM KIDSACTIVITIES.NET.
Teach Children to Cook - Being under lock down or quarantine means many meals are to be prepared at home, this could be one way to turn inconvenience into opportunity to teach children how to cook. Many of our kids are always getting under Mommy or Daddy's elbows, trying to see how they are putting dinner together. Now may be the perfect time to teach them culinary basics and terminology. Many kids love to crack eggs, stir pots and put food in a frying pan to hear it sizzle, so why not show them kitchen safety and tips for seasoning their favorite meals. EatRight.org, among other sights, have instructions on helping children learn to cook. CLICK HERE FOR MORE INFO.
Free Online Children's Books - Amazon and many other shopping platforms which offer e-books usually have a catalogue of free downloads. These are not exclusive to adults, but children's books and young adult reader can also be found for free in many of these places. Some of these platforms only allow a certain amount of free downloads per month, but it is still an option for getting NEW reading materials in the home after lockdown and quarantined families have read through their home libraries several times over. Many of these platforms are perfectly supported for children who have the use of tablet devices at home.
We hope you find these ideas helpful, and we welcome any of YOUR ideas for keeping children occupied at home during the outbreak as well. Please stay safe, stay informed and stay in touch!