Stuck at Home? Try These Activities to Keep Your Children Busy — and Learning

Being a parent is exceedingly difficult right now. In the midst of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, people are concerned about keeping their families and communities healthy. On top of that, parents are either working from home with little ones underfoot or still going to work and having to find care and activities for their children.

First, take a deep breath. You are doing great, and we’re going to get through this.

Second, know that we’re here for you. What you need as a parent is some help entertaining and educating your children. But with so much information on the internet, it can be hard to know where to go.

We’ve compiled resources, livestreams, videos and other online activities to check out during quarantine. They will help you pass the time and give your child something wholesome and healthy to do.

Online with Og

From our classrooms to your living room: Og® the Bookworm represents caring and literacy, and is the perfect Primrose Friend to bring the Primrose experience to your home through Online with Og. Over the next few weeks, we will provide specially designed interactive activities for children and parents as we navigate at-home learning together.

Reading

Children’s books read by the author: Children’s author Julia Cook is “bookending” the school week by reading one of her books and sharing a social development lesson every Monday and Friday at 10 a.m. EST on her Facebook page.

Story time with a familiar voice: Josh Gad, who voices the character Olaf from “Frozen,” reads books nightly live on his Twitter feed. So far, #GadBookClub has covered “The Giving Tree,” “The Day the Crayons Quit” and other favorites.

Daily learning journeys: Children’s book publisher Scholastic has daily learning experiences based on a story or video for four age groups, including preschool and kindergarten. They’re good for children to do on their own or with a parent.

Movement

Dance parties: A favorite of teachers for indoor recess, the free GoNoodle app encourages children to get moving with guided dances to songs like “Banana Banana Meatball” and “A Moose-Ta-Cha.”

Indoor scavenger hunts: The Spruce blog’s “Indoor Treasure Hunt for Children” provides 30 clues for ordinary household items, such as dishwashers, bed pillows and lamps.

Exercises for little ones: Exercise is a great way to get the energy out when children are spending a lot of time inside. Try these simple — and tiring! — activities for infants, toddlers, pre-kindergartners and kindergartners.

Household chores help: Share the load when it comes to chores — and develop a sense of value in the process. Small children can help fold the laundry, feed pets and put away toys.

Crafts, Cooking and Creativity

Doodles with Mo Willems: The creator of “Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus!” and the Elephant & Piggie series is going live at 1 p.m. EST each day (via the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts) to doodle, share what’s on his mind and talk about his characters. Previous episodes are available on YouTube.

Museum-worthy crafts: Chicago Children’s Museum Recipes for Play at Home provide the blueprint for fun creations and activities for children of all ages, using items you might have at home already (e.g., Cardboard Robots and Sensory Surprise boxes).

Tasty and fun snacks: Stocked up on food and ingredients? Choose from a variety of nutritionist-created “snacktivities,” such as Watermelon Smoothies and Healthy S’mores (a great backyard activity).

Animals, Nature and Science

Animals at the zoo: The Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden’s Home Safari Facebook Lives (weekdays at 3 p.m. EST) feature an animal each day, like Fiona the hippo, and a related activity that children can do at home. Similarly, the San Diego Zoo has live cams and videos of animals, and the video library is searchable by type of animal and length of video.

STEM crafts from NASA: NASA has a page featuring 25 crafts, puzzles, experiments and games that teach children in kindergarten through fourth grade science, technology, engineering and math in an entertaining way.

Nature memory games: Children can keep exercising their brains with memory games from National Geographic Kids featuring bugs, birds, cats and arctic animals. Choose from easy, medium and hard.

Friends at the aquarium: Thanks to live cams, children can get up close (virtually) with residents of the famous Monterey Bay Aquarium, such as jellyfish, penguins, sea otters and sharks.

Brain Workouts

Basic chess lessons: Children discover the game of chess at ChessKid.com, where they get the basics by watching videos and practicing moves and then try their skills against a robot or friends who are online.

Problem-solving games: Children develop the executive functioning abilities of their brains with simple activities such as working on puzzles and building with blocks.

Finally, remember that you and your children are both doing your best to get through this trying time. Hang in there — you’ve got this!

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