Where I live, so many kid-friendly locations are closed because of the pandemic: museums, libraries, movie theaters, city/town recreation programs, the YMCA, and so on. I’m sure many of you, like me, are struggling to work from home while keeping your kids busy and trying to get them engaged in their school’s remote learning (if their school has been able to set that up yet, which ours hasn’t).
To help you out, we’ve rounded up many reader favorites (from this great comment thread from last week), most of which are either already in your house or available to purchase online. (Remember to practice social distancing as much as possible, all!) We’ve added a few of our own, too. If you have suggestions for other indoor and outdoor activities, educational resources, physical activities, crafts, and electronic/online activities, please share them in the comments!
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Here are a few ideas on how to keep your kids occupied during the pandemic:
- Marble Run
- Lego (including books full of ideas of what to build)
- “Dinosaur egg” excavation kits
- Puzzles, e.g., Melissa & Doug
- Playing dress-up
- Baking together
- Board games and card games
The practicality of these (and the enjoyment you get from them) will depend on what the weather is like in your area, of course!
- Walks/hikes (did your neighborhood do a no-contact shamrock hunt yesterday? it’s a great time to join a Facebook group for your building or neighborhood…)
- Bike rides
- Sidewalk chalk
- Water table
- Sand table/sandbox
- Stomp Rockets
- Velcro catch and toss set
- For the littles: “painting” an old box (with water) is lots of fun!
Screen-Free Educational Activities
- Reading (see our posts on the best books for kids who hate reading and favorite kids’ books)
- Handwriting without Tears
- Beast Academy (math)
- Multiplication flash cards
- Reading Comprehension & Fluency: Grades 2–3
- Building Foundations of Scientific Understanding: Grades K–2
- Drawing With Children
- Busy Toddler: Playing Preschool
- Make a doll bed or stuffed animal bed
- Craft kits from ALEX Toys
- Finger paint, watercolors, etc.
- Kinetic sand
- A kid-sized castle to color (buy or use a cardboard box)
- Craft supplies to use
- Pipe cleaners
- Googly eyes
- Pom poms
- Colored paper
- Repurposed items for crafts
- Shoe boxes
- Tissue boxes
- Toilet paper rolls
- Paper towel rolls
- ABCmouse (30-day free trial)
- Khan Academy
- Podcasts for kids, e.g., Wow in the World, Six Minutes
- Google Earth: educational resources / Google Earth: Voyager
- Virtual tours of museums
More Ideas to Keep Kids Occupied During the Pandemic
- These Library Apps Let You Access Movies, Books and More — For Free [The Penny Hoarder]
- “What If Coronavirus Means Your Kids Are Stuck at Home?” [The Cut]
- “13 Things to Keep Kids Entertained if Quarantined for Coronavirus”[USA Today]
- Free Activities for Kids (100+ Easy Ideas!) [Yummy Toddler Food]
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