With more daycares, schools and businesses closing nationwide, parents and caretakers are just beginning to wrap their heads around the idea of spending weeks indoors with the kids. Facing new social distancing guidelines, restrictions and closures can leave parents feeling overwhelmed.
First things first. Deep breath in, then let it out nice and slowly. We can do this! Here's a repertoire of indoor games, at-home hobbies and rainy day activities for a list of indoor activities that will come in handy during this moment of togetherness.
Many kids spend their school days learning by doing. Science experiments, interactive math games and hands-on craft projects help them refine their fine motor skills, get creative and take pride in their accomplishments. But whether you're feeling up to pulling out those pom-poms, paper plates and popsicle sticks is another story. For parents, getting the kiddos crafting, organizing science experiments and making sure all the supplies are on hand can be too much on a good day!
Now is the perfect opportunity to take some much-needed help from small businesses that specialize in educational and fun activities for kids. From the sustainably-sourced STEAM projects by Green Kid Crafts to the colorful, story-centered art projects packed into We Craft Box, monthly subscriptions provide a stress-free solution, filled with fun project ideas and all the necessary materials to make it all happen.
Enter a World of Make-Believe
When our routines have come to a screeching halt and the trips to the market, library and restaurant have been momentarily paused, it’s time to get out the dress-up bin and recreate those daily adventures with our imaginations. Pretend play has long been a way for children to put what they are learning into practice. Mimicking what they do and see in their everyday lives teaches preschoolers and younger kids valuable lessons about communicating and interacting with one another.
So, give them a pad and paper and let them take your breakfast order at the kitchen cafe, set up a small shop using that stash of pantry goods, or help them alphabetize, categorize and even add a few "new releases" to the home library with a little help from Bookroo. Grab the reading level that fits your family best and let your little librarians know when they can expect to shelve their latest shipment of books!
Grab a Good Read
Remember, books aren’t just for schoolwork and bedtime! There are so many ways to incorporate reading into our new routines. Start a series, reread an old favorite out loud as a family, or design a special reading nook -- an ideal place for older kids to enjoy a quiet hour alone while you clear that inbox and check in with your coworkers. Everyone getting bored with the books on hand? Stock your little reader’s shelves with a gift subscription to Elephant Books, or check out an incredible collection of book boxes to meet the whole family’s reading needs!
Everyone missing that special weekly outing to story time at the local library? Check to see if the libraries in your local network are organizing web-based read-alongs, or recreate this special time right at home with KidArtLit. Designed by early educators for kids 3-8 years old, a beautifully written and illustrated hardcover story arrives each month, along with coordinating pre-prepped kids crafts with enough supplies for 2 kids. Stress-free fun that’s sent within 3 days of ordering.
Never Underestimate the Power of Household Items
Creativity becomes a valuable asset in these uncharted waters that we find ourselves. While we all know that a scavenger hunt, a card game or an indoor obstacle course can buy us an hour of sanity, we’re going to run through our usual ideas pretty quick. As most parents have already had experience with the unexpected play power of a simple paper bag or cardboard box, let's offer up a few more fun ways to use everyday items in a pinch, and hopefully inspire other DIY options.
Pull out the old family albums and create a visual family tree, set up an indoor bowling lane using recycled plastic bottles and a ball, see whose paper airplane flies the furthest or have a friendly competition to see how low they can go using a makeshift limbo bar. And, never underestimate the power of a flashlight -- in a darkened room, a tent, or just under the blankets, kids of all ages can put on a flashy dance party or become detectives and shadow puppet masters!
Screen Time With a Twist
It’s important to keep in mind that everyone in the family is adjusting to a new normal, so we may all expect to see a little uptick in screen time as we sort out new work-from-home and homeschooling situations. That said, none of us want our kids watching movies on repeat and spending hours on end playing Fortnite. Instead, let kids dive deeper into the scenes behind those screens!
Instead of watching their favorite shows, let the living room become their stage. Focusing on the production side of things, help them act out a favorite fairy tale or create an original skit. From script-writing and scene-setting, to costume designing and filming, there are so many opportunities to turn one of their favorite pastimes into a new creative outlet.
Alternatively, let them check out the flip side of apps and video games with a subscription to Bitsbox. Arriving just days after ordering, they'll get a box filled with basic coding projects that teach kids how to make everything from games to greeting cards. A valuable skill to have for the jobs of the future, evidenced by some intriguing new app ideas, kids between the ages of 6-12 begin learning with examples and quickly progress to creating their own inventions.
Inspire Future Leaders
While we're trying to ensure that kids still have fun while spending so much time indoors, there's not much sugarcoating the truth about what's going on in tens of thousands of homes around the world. Now is as good a time as ever to teach children, especially older kids, about the importance of being bold and leading with compassion and empathy.
Looking for a place to start? Wonder Crate can help kids learn about a wide range of forward-thinking role models and take a closer look at how personal passions can inspire fearless action. Order now for a box that lets kids grow their own pet croc while diving into Steve Irwin's passion for wildlife. Crikey! Or, enroll kids between the ages of 5-10 into the Superhero Academy for a monthly delivery of "Secret Missions" that bring a social-emotional learning element that aims to create a new generation of resilient and courageous superheroes.