Need some ideas for fun? 18 Things to do at home while school is shut down!

As a high school teacher, I don’t feel prepared to home school my toddler and pre-k child for the next three weeks (or more). I do know I want to keep them engaged, thinking, happy and active. Plus, I want to keep myself sane while we are practicing social distancing too.

Here are some ideas I have come up with so far (and helpful links too)!

  1. Baking & cooking – numbers, directions, literacy, counting are all great educational components of this task. Plus we get to eat together afterwards too. Try out some of our St. Patrick’s Day themed desserts for a little extra fun
  2. Writing letters. I’ve seen a great idea about sending letters, pictures & postcards to local nursing homes while they cannot accept visitors. We will write letters to friends and family too – old school pen pal style!
  3. Make slime. Not my number one choice, but I know it will be a hit with my kids. Check out our slime recipes. 
  4. Scavenger hunts – literacy and problem solving. These can be as in depth or simple as you want. Here are some suggestions to get your creativity flowing
  5. Build pillow forts or pull out a tent for creative play. This simple change creates the appearance of changing your scenery without actually going anywhere.
  6. Hit a local trail or take a walk in the neighborhood. The CDC suggests avoiding playgrounds or places with surface equipment but hiking (while practicing social distancing from other groups of hikers) is encouraged! Visitor centers at local parks are also closed.
  7. Do a virtual tour of a museum. How cool is this? Space Center in Houston? The British Museum? Sign me up!
  8. Build an obstacle course and mix it up with physical challenges – climbing over something for example – with more fine motor challenges – picking up marbles with tongs and moving them from one place to another
  9. Collect rocks and bring them in to paint them. Play hide and go seek with the rocks next time you go outside.
  10. Artists are doing webcasts online for art projects that kids can follow along with. Jarrett Krosoczka, an award winning author and illustrator from Worcester, will be doing daily how to draw webcasts from his Facebook page. Art on the Rocks out of Fitchburg will also be sharing live art projects from their Facebook page this week.
  11.  Water play will be popular with my young toddler but I know my five year old will get into it too.
  12. Wipe the dust off that chore chart you started with your kids (just me?) and recommit to ensuring chores are done everyday and not just occasionally.
  13. Is your dance studio closed? How about video dance lessons live on Facebook starting Monday March 16 at 6 pm
  14. Break out the board games. We played an epic game of Memory last night. We have the time now, so why not?
  15. Just because we are stuck inside doesn’t mean we can’t chat. Call or FaceTime a relative. Check in on a grandparent or friend your kids haven’t had a chance to chat with in awhile. Practice good conversational skills – greetings, how to ask questions, etc.
  16. Order seedlings and seed starter pods to start your garden. We love doing herbs, lettuce, tomatoes and a host of other foods.
  17. Create an outdoor maze. I love love love this idea. Kids sketch out a “maze” and then recreate it with sticks or other things they find in the yard.
  18. The Cincinatti Zoo, despite being closed, will have a live cast on its Facebook page at 3 pm everyday this week to share one of their awesome animals.  Monday, March 16, we will get to check out their first Home Safari with Fiona the hippo. I am definitely going to set this up for my kids to watch.

Check our list for other online video resources to help shape some learning experiences around. Get creative, have fun and be kind to yourself. Shifts in what is normal will be difficult to adjust to for all, but routine and fun activities will make this time fly by.

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