Let’s face it – these are unusual and challenging times we’re living in. Every day, it seems, we are getting new information, new directions, new projections and we’re all getting a little squirrely staying home. Anyone with children at home is experiencing the added pressure of attempting to follow a homeschooling schedule along with keeping them busy while trying to get your own work from home regimen nailed down.
Kids want you to be part of their entertainment and you need some new ideas to entertain and connect with them, without having the ability to be at their beck-and-call so we’ve got a few for you. Screens are inevitable and the experts are saying embrace the screen, for now. AND, we know that not all screentime is created equal, so here are some awesome ways to use a screen to your advantage.
Painting – If your child is creative and enjoys the arts, painting is a very therapeutic and focused activity that anyone can do. And undoubtedly, you already have most of the supplies on hand if you have a kid who likes art. For younger kids, there are Createful Kids where tutorials are age-appropriate and you can even watch an art history lesson. For the older kids, Bob Ross and Angela Anderson are excellent choices that still offer beginner tutorials.
Exercise – This is vital for your sanity and theirs! With limited access to the outside world, exercise can seem hard to implement at home and unspent energy causes its own problems so here are some websites to help get kids moving. Little Sports has a great group of videos designed for kids with individual exercises and playlists for bigger workouts. If you have teens who may not be as enthusiastic about exercise or YOU want to join your kids for a workout, PopSugar has HIIT, dance, yoga, pilates and more for any taste or skill level.
Video Games – WHAT?!?! I know, if you don’t play video games yourself, it seems a horrible waste of time, but your kids enjoy them and would LOVE to share these with you. If you take an hour a couple of times a week to let them show you their world, the impact of this connection will be invaluable. Oh, remember to hold your criticism or personal distaste back or you may not get a chance to do so again. For some analog fun the next couple of ideas are for the family and for solo entertainment, as well.
Board Games – From quick games with a deck of cards to marathon games such as Monopoly or Risk, board games are a fantastic way to spend some time together. Introduce the kids to your favorites – Boggle, Yahtzee or Sorry! and let them introduce you to Magic or Pokemon. These games connect the family, use the brain and can become a little obsessive, so be careful with them.
Puzzles and Books – These are solo projects that can still be used to connect with kids – sorry Parents, you’re still the BEST entertainment, so use tools that can connect you but don’t require same-time participation. Puzzles are great for displaying out on a table where everyone can linger and contribute when they want. Reading books that your kids are reading is fun. To make this a solo activity for your kids, you read a chapter and give the book to them, they read a chapter, you read a chapter, they read a chapter… I think you get it. As you have conversations about what is happening in the story or what challenges you are finding from the puzzle, you connect with your children even when not participating together.
As the stay-at-home directives continue, the monotony of our days may seem endless and frustrating. Surprisingly, scheduling your day can make you all saner. Blocks of time are best as they allow flexibility and the slower pace we’re all experiencing, but if you work with your kids, you may find that a little distraction with them will be the secret key to everyone’s happiness and productivity. Who knows, you may just decide some of these activities will stay after we’re released back into the wild.