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For the next two weeks, my kids will be enjoying not one but two weeks of spring break due to the shutdown of schools over the Coronavirus. I know it’s essential to keep everyone safe and healthy. Still, I see a lot of parents are asking the same question that I had, how do we keep our kids entertained for two entire weeks, or maybe even possibly more if there is a Coronavirus quarantine?
I’ve never been in quarantine before, and flying during this coronavirus outbreak is now a no for me, but the one thing I can tell you is that keeping kids entertained during one doesn’t have to leave you pulling your hair out. Many of the things that I’m about to share with you, you probably already have in your home, if you don’t, I recommend picking up a few items. Many are available on Amazon for those who would prefer not to have to be outdoors where the chances of you contracting Coronavirus will be higher. Now is the perfect time to take advantage of your Amazon Prime subscription.
I’ve decided to break this up into age groups as no two families are alike. Some may have toddlers and elementary-aged children at home, while others might have bypassed that stage and now have a junior high school or even high school-aged children. In my household, I currently have an elementary school, high school, and college-aged child. This list is by no means all the things you can do, but instead is a guide to SOME of the things you can to keep entertained while on quarantine.
Looking to keep the little ones engaged for a few hours? Then grab some playdough or even finger paint and let them have a go at it. When playing with playdough, however, be sure that they are away from your carpet as getting playdough out of carpets isn’t as easy as you’d think. If you’d rather not finger paint, you can also consider crayons and a coloring book and just let them color away to their heart’s content.
BRING OUT THE TOYS
Simple toys such as dolls, cars, and trucks can keep little ones entertained for hours. Turn your living room into a race track, have them race against each other, and simply let your little ones have fun.
BUILD A FORT
Who doesn’t like building forts? Even my eight-year-old still enjoys doing this. Grab all the throw pillows, or maybe even the pillows from your bed, a sheet and play pretend.
Who said bubbles are only for summer and outdoors? Bubbles are not only fun but teaching your little one how to blow a bubble will save you from sitting there blowing for hours. Or if you do enjoy blowing them yourself, just the sheer joy of watching them catch the bubble will bring a smile to your own face if you’ve had a long and trying day.
While now might not be a good time to fill with rice, you can consider using water for water play. Or maybe even going on an animal recuse. When Madison was younger, we did a dinosaur fossil excavation. Simply freeze little toy animals or cars and allow it to melt using warm water and salt for a fun-filled activity.
AGE 5 – 10
Cookies make everyone happy. Consider stocking your pantry with a few cookie mix and have a cookie party. Bake your favorite cookie that you can enjoy together later while doing a few more fun ideas or even give this Watercolor Cookie a try.
Who doesn’t love a good scavenger hunt? Hide little treats around the house and have the kids go searching. The first one to figure out all the clues wins a prize. Prizes don’t need to be extravagant and could be a coloring book and crayons, which will then keep them entertained for a few more hours.
If boredom is kicking in, grab a few popsicle sticks, and start crafting. You’ll be amazed at how many creative items you can make from popsicle sticks and how easy many of them are to do like this Popsicle Stick Heart Butterfly or an American Flag. If you don’t have popsicle sticks, look for other items around your home such as empty toilet paper rolls and make a few toilet paper roll crafts. A quick search on Pinterest can help you in this area.
PLAY DRESS UP
This is the age when kids are at their most imaginative. Grab some of their old costumes and play dress up. There are lots of benefits to playing dress-up. They can be pirates looking for long lost treasure, or a princess who commands the entire household giving out orders.
AGE 10 – 15
Just because the kids aren’t in school doesn’t mean that the learning has to stop. Pick up a few books from the library, or order some online from your favorite book store. It might just be the time to brush up on your Shakespeare or even your favorite wizarding series.
COOK DINNER TOGETHER
Have the kids help to prepare dinner. Not only will they feel a sense of pride in saying “I made dinner”, but it gives everyone a chance to communicate and chat about their day and maybe come up with ideas on what to do the next day. Try making this honey barbecue shredded chicken sandwich, it’s sure to be a hit with the family.
CLASSIC CARD GAME
Do you remember those classic card games that you played as a child? Now is the time to teach your own kids. Crazy Eight, Go Fish are just two that would give the family a chance to get together. Don’t have a deck of playing cards? It’s now a good time to pick one up.
DO THE LAUNDRY
If your kids don’t know how to do the laundry, now is a good time to teach them the basics. Teach them how to wash, fold properly, and put away clothing. This includes spot treatment and line drying items that shouldn’t be dried. Teach about fabrics such as cotton that will shrink in the dryers etc…
WORK ON THEIR RESUME
For those searching for summer jobs or even those who might be thinking of leaving high school or college to enter the workforce, now is a great time to work on your resume.
GET ACTIVE WITH THEM
Break out the basketball and play a few games of hoops in your driveway if you have it set up outside. Have them wear impact reducing headwear to protect from head injuries, so you won’t have to make a trip to the ER. Or do a few bike laps around the neighborhood. While it’s best to keep your distance from others, there’s nothing wrong with biking, and the exercise will do them good as well.
Spring is coming! If you haven’t started your spring cleaning, enlist the kids and have a cleaning competition. Give each a dedicated area, and whoever cleans it the fastest gets a prize, but it has to be clean. Not just moving things to another area, as my own kids are prone to doing.
FOR THE ENTIRE FAMILY
HAVE A DANCE OFF
Now the kids might have the lastest moves, but that doesn’t mean you can’t show them how to do the Cabbage Patch or the Macarena. Hold a dance-off and show the younger folks how it’s done or maybe have them show you how to bust a move.
FINISH A PUZZLE
Now might be a good idea to dust off that 1000-piece puzzle you’ve been putting off for months. After all, you now have nothing but time on your hands. Puzzles, especially the more complicated ones can keep you occupied for hours and even days.
For those who love camping, consider setting up your tent outdoors. Grab some sleeping bags, light a fire if you can, get a lantern and make a night out of it. You can even roast s’mores over the fire creating the ultimate backyard camping site.
Violent games are out, but family-friendly games are in. Start with Just Dance and get your dance groove on. Or download Hasbro Family Game Night which is fun for all. For those fans of Mario, now might just be the time to dust off your Mario Karts and start throwing bananas.
WRITE A BOOK
Have you always had an idea just brewing in the back of your mind but didn’t have the time to write it down? Now is the time. Get the entire family involved in your idea. You don’t have to become a published author, but at least you can say you wrote a book.
Now is the to catch up on the TV shows that you missed all year long, or maybe a few new ones that you’ve had your eyes on. Put your Netflix and Disney+ subscriptions to the test and have a movie or tv show marathon with the family. Let each family member choose a favorite movie to watch so that everyone can enjoy a bit of everything.
If you’d rather something a bit more educational, consider watching a documentary and having a discussion at the end.
HAVE AN INDOOR PICNIC
Be spontaneous and have an indoor picnic. Grab a few snacks from the refrigerator, spread a blanket on the floor, and have a picnic. If the weather is beautiful, you can even consider going outdoors and take in a bit of fresh air. Being quarantined doesn’t mean that you can’t go into your backyard.
For those without a video game system, classic board games are always a pleasure. While Monopoly can leave family members in tears, playing Scrabble will not only help with your vocabulary but is fun to play. Grab a few classics such as Sorry, Battleship, the Game of Life, Trivial Pursuit, and Candyland or Monopoly Jr for the younger kids.
No matter what, be sure to stay active. Get the kids up and moving around with Spring around the corner, there are lots of outside activities you can do. Take a brisk walk around the neighborhood, ride your bikes, or even exercise at home. Don’t let boredom kick in, put a few of these tips into action, and stay entertained in the event of a Coronavirus quarantine.