With school cancelled and Boulder County under mandatory lockdown until April 10 (at a minimum), children and adults are beginning to go a little stir crazy. Over the next two weeks, it’s important to adhere as strictly as possible to the city ordinances regarding social distancing and lockdown. The sooner we flatten the curve, the sooner life may begin to return to normal.
In an effort to keep children entertained and engaged, there are plenty of at-home activities to do indoors and in your yard. Luckily the weather is warming and it’s easier for children to play in the backyard and get some much needed sunshine. Here are some activities to help keep kids occupied and inspired during this uncertain time.
There are plenty of ways to stay busy indoors. With just a bit of creativity and planning, children of all ages can occupy their time wisely doing any of the following.
Schedule a Zoom Playdate
Coordinate with friends a good time to hang out online for a few hours. Zoom is convenient and easily accessible for large groups. Catch up with pals to discover how they’ve been staying busy indoors. Eat lunch together or have a classic English tea time mid-afternoon for a special activity.
Host Your Own Baking or Cooking Show
Invite friends to Skype,Facetime, or do a live Instagram or Facebook show as you walk them through a recipe. Send out an ingredients list beforehand and set a time to all cook together. Trade off every few days and allow others to share their favorite recipe by guiding participants through the recipe, step by step. Enjoy a delicious meal together at the end as your reward.
Take a Virtual Class
NPR recently released a list of many classes, concerts, and shows that previously cost money but are now being offered for free. For children high-school aged and beyond, Ivy League schools have provided over 400 free classes that run the gamut from Cryptocurrency Technologies to Greek and Roman Mythology. Most can be found here. Scholastic is also offering numerous free lessons to supplement and support at-home learning. Its programs cater to children from PreK to 9th grade, and the lessons are simple, straightforward, and engaging.
Host a Virtual Book Club
Download an ebook and invite friends to do the same. Each week, meet online to discuss a set number of chapters and have participants submit discussion questions. Depending on the age group of your children, selections can be topical, discussing our public health or political climate, or fun and whimsical, providing a welcome distraction during this uncertain time.
Play Outside in the Yard
Boulder has been enjoying a spate of nice weather, making it all the more tempting to get outdoors. However, social distancing on trails and in parks isn’t the easiest thing to do when everyone is outdoors. Stay at home and play in the yard or driveway with these activities.
Earn Money via Chores
Teach your children the value of a dollar by allowing them to wash the cars. Perhaps Fido needs a bath. Have the children wash, brush, and walk the dog for a set amount. Or, enlist their help in cleaning and reorganizing the garage. Children will love the chance to earn their own money. Plus, parents can educate them on how to save, invest, or sock away the funds for college. They may also want to help the local economy, nonprofits, and food banks by donating some or all of their earnings.
Create a Scavenger Hunt
Early one morning, hide a string of clues throughout the house, yard, and garage that lead kids on an epic treasure hunt. Provide riddles that bring them from one place to the next, with the finale ending on an awesome prize. The winnings could even be ordering take out from a favorite restaurant. Have toddlers at home? Create a simple scavenger hunt like this one!
Plan Your Garden Plot
While it’s not quite warm enough to plant, perhaps you’ve long been eyeing a new garden layout that will help plants blossom and produce even more. Enlist the help of your children during the research and planning stage. Have them scout out ideas for garden bed layouts that don’t crowd vegetables or that work to conserve water. Ask them to make their own chart of Colorado’s growing season so your family will be able to plant the proper seeds at the ideal time. They can even make garden stakes out of popsicle sticks to identify vegetables and fruits when the time comes to plant.
Coming up with new events and activities each day can take on the trappings of a full time job. However, children are gifted with such extraordinary imaginations. With a bit of direction, they will love the freedom to create, explore, and learn during this time at home.