For years, we’ve been warned that we’re spending too much time sitting and staring at screens, and the recent wave of school closures, social distancing policies and lockdowns is making both practically unavoidable. We’re here to help, with seven activities to get you and the kids off the couch and making the most of your time at home.
#1: Treasure Map
Have your children take turns hiding a treasure around the house and then creating a map to help find it. Or, make the map yourself and challenge your child(ren) to find it. The treasure can be anything that gets the kids excited: a toy, a snack, etc. Help them make the map colorful and full of fun pictures, with directions that take them all over the house and backyard.
#2: Baking and Cooking
Nowhere to go means no rush to grab dinner on the way to practice or rehearsal. Now’s a great chance to cook and bake as a team. First, try our New-Orleans-Style Beignets recipe. The kids can pitch in kneading and rolling the dough, then get a taste of the Big Easy’s best. Or, bring out your kids’ inner Wonka with our Easy Honey Suckers recipe.
#3: Create a Book
With school out, your kids will need some inspiration to get writing. Give them a topic – maybe a ghost story or funny anecdote – and give them time to work on their creations. If writing isn’t their thing, have them make a comic book: they draw, you add the words. Then, make storytime extra fun afterwards by gathering the whole family around. Once they’re proud of their creation, get it “published” through SnapFish or Shutterfly.
#4: Laser Maze
Now that they’ve written a book, it’s time for the kiddos to star in a heist movie. With yarn and tape, create a “laser” maze in a hallway and time your kids to see how fast they can twist and limbo their way through. It’s easy to set up and clean up.
#5: Bean Ball Pit
There’s one pantry staple you’re probably overloaded with right now: beans. For some relaxing, tactile fun, fill your kids’ play table, kiddie pool or other enclosed area with a bag of uncooked pinto beans. They’ll love the chance to play with their food; just make sure to put a sheet down for easier cleanup.
#6: Rain in a Jar
We love this rain in a jar science experiment from A Dab of Glue Will Do. With just a few simple ingredients, it shows kids how water in clouds turns into rain with a colorful, memorable demonstration.
#7: Plant a Pollinator Garden
Follow up precipitation with a lesson in pollination. It’s easier than ever to plant a backyard pollinator garden, which provides food for many species of wild bees. Check out our backyard gardening blog for some helpful tips and the Xerces Society for pollinator friendly plants specific to your region. Plus, you can order the seeds online. This is a great opportunity to teach your kids about the importance of protecting pollinators and how pollination works. See our friends at PACE for more info on how to help conserve pollinators.