Have you ever had to entertain your kids during an unexpected extended period of time? Here in Ontario, schools will be closed indefinitely due to the COVID-19 outbreak. To make matters worse not only are the schools closed, but all of the city-run facilities (i.e., daycares, camps, libraries, pools, museums, etc.) are also closed as well. In addition, most restaurants, theatres and anything else fun you could do with your kids are also closed. You are basically stuck inside – ALL DAY, EVERY DAY! And for a lot of us, that means working at home with your kids.
Some of you might be thinking, “Yay, I can’t wait to spend all this time with my kids”. However, I am thinking “What in the world does one do to entertain their only child for three whole weeks!?!”
So, I started researching how I would entertain my almost six-year-old, in hopes of limiting the number of times I will hear “mommy, I’m bored” or “mommy can you play with me”. I have come up with a list of seven ideas that I will try over the next few weeks:
1. Create a daily schedule
Children need structure, whether they are in daycare or school, there is a usually a schedule that they follow—kids thrive off of routine. I found this really great schedule on Instagram courtesy of @jessicamchalephotgraher. I will make small tweaks to fit our life. But, I think it’s a great way to structure your day with your child or children.
2. Outside play
Thankfully it’s not the middle of January when we had snow and -20 days. It’s almost spring, and a perfect time to get outside. The parks are not closed (yet), so let your children enjoy the park, as long as there aren’t too many kids playing (no more than 5 would be ideal).
If you don’t have a park nearby, you can do things outside at home. Bubbles are great and can keep kids entertained for a while (dollar store always has a good supply), sidewalk chalk is another good idea, you can play hopscotch, tic tac toe or get them to draw photos of your family or friends.
3. Bake together
I am not a real baker, but I can make some mean Pillsbury cookie or Betty Crocker cupcakes. However, there are so many great EASY foolproof recipes on Pinterest that you and your child(ren) can do together, I have saved a few good ones for you here. You can get them involved with measuring ingredients, stirring the mix, decorating, etc. This may require a small trip to the grocery store to get supplies but it’s worth it for your sanity! LOL
4. Play games
We have so many games at our house. But, we don’t usually have much time to play them, so they will definitely get some good use now. You can also grab a deck of cards and play “go fish” which is a very simple card game that most kids can understand. You can also play things like “I Spy” or hide and go seek which don’t require any supplies.
5. Design a treasure hunt
This one is a little more labour intensive on your part. But, can keep your kids entertained for hours. The idea is that you can send them on a treasure hunt around your home. You will have to come up with clues and write them out on a worksheet and hide a variety of items around the house. If your child can’t read yet, you can read the clues to them OR make your clues more visual so that they may understand without your assistance.
6. Build a fort
Fort building is something that my daughter loves to do. They are so many cool ideas on Pinterest that will be helpful but get creative, add multiple rooms, I have saved a few ideas for you here. Once the fort is built, it will usually keep them occupied for hours.
7. Online learning
Even though this is listed last, it’s probably the most important. Since kids are out of school, as parents we should do out part to ensure they are still learning. There are a ton of online resources that offer free learning activities for children. Here are a few that I found:
San Diego Zoo: https://zoo.sandiegozoo.org/live-cams
YouTube Series – Lunch Doodles: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RmzjCPQv3y8
NASA kids club: www.nasa.gov
Amazing space: amazing-space.stsci.edu
National Geographic kids: kids.nationalgeographic.com
Smithsonian for kids: www.si.edu
Hopefully, these tips help you to keep your kids entertained for some of the extended break. And please comment below with any tips that you have that I can add to the list. Because trust me I need all the help I can get!