How to keep kids entertained at home during the coronavirus epidemic

By Angie Norris

During the coronavirus epidemic, community members all over are looking for ways for their families to stay active and keep their kids busy and entertained. In an age where practices, games and competitions take up evenings after school, and the rest of our free time is spent with friends and family, it’s hard to find a way to sit at home for days on end in quarantine. Here are some helpful ideas to keep you and your family busy and learning, while staying safe at home.

Arts and crafts

Some paper, scissors, chalk or a little finger paint can make a boring day exciting. Decorate inside your house and windows. Decorating windows is not only fun for the kids, but spreads cheer for passersby that might just need it during these times. You could use washable paint or markers, tape out your lines using a lightweight tape and paint a stained-glass effect. You could also tape pictures that the kids have colored, painted, or drawn, of encouraging words to the windows, or even decorate with teddy bears, chalk drawings on the porch, or hang Christmas lights. Using construction paper to make decorations such as flowers, butterflies, or chain link streamers, is an inexpensive way to add fun to your house. 

Get in the kitchen

Kids love to learn to cook, plus, it teaches them to be self-sufficient. Have the kids join you while cooking dinner. Making your own pizza is always a hit and just one of many meals with which they can help. You can test their math skills while measuring, have them read the directions on a box, stir ingredients, or even set the table. Let them make a cake. As hard as it may be to only help a little, the pride on their faces when they see you enjoy that lopsided cake is priceless. The mess can always be cleaned. 

Chalk art by Ashley Johnson of Beech Grove. (Submitted photo)

Indoor and outdoor activities

Another idea is to set up a family movie night. Make a blanket and pillow fort on the living room floor, have nachos, or a popcorn station. Make your own ice cream sundae complete with candies and sprinkles, or maybe root beer floats.

Gardening is a good way to get outside in the fresh air without leaving your home. Plant flowers or fresh fruits and vegetables. Have the kids keep a grow chart to track their progress; this keeps them interested. And of course let them make something yummy with what they’ve grown.

Zoom Workouts are becoming very popular to people who like to stay active but still want to keep to social distancing. You can actually work out live, online with trainers, or just friends and family. It’s very important to keep your muscles moving even when you can’t get out. Run around the house with the kids; make a race out of it. Sing, make up songs and dance to them. Have an inside or outside scavenger hunt. Place items around your house or yard to find and make lists for the kids.

Molly Norris baking and decorating a cake. (Photo by Angie Norris)

Education matters

After all their online schoolwork is done, sneak in more lessons with fun activities. Have the kids write short stories, or poems, then read them aloud to family or relatives on social media or Skype. See who can read the most books. Do puzzles. Science experiments are a fun way to learn. You can find easy at-home kits at any craft or grocery store, or you can find some safe instructions online.

Stay connected

It’s important to stay connected to our friends and loved ones that we can’t be with right now. Make an effort to call someone at least once a day. Send an encouraging text to someone you think may need it. Post videos and pictures of your family time or activities on social media for family and friends to see. Wave at a neighbor and help if needed.

These times are hard for us all. Having things to do inside to keep us busy will help keep us kind and positive. And just think of all the memories you’ll be making.