By Tracey Dowdy
Does the thought of one more game of Go Fish physically hurt? Would you rather clean the bathroom rather than sit through Frozen one more time? Never fear, there are a million things to do, you just need a little inspiration.
- For little ones, the best action is a distraction, preferably one with some movement to help burn off that restless energy, channeling aggression, and spark a little creativity. Actually, that’s a pretty good formula for all of us. Two great games for little ones are the Copycat Game and the Spider Game. The Copycat Game is basically Simon Says without the competition. Give yourself and your crew plenty of room to move around, especially if you’re going to go wild with those actions. Ask, “Who wants to play the Copy Cat Game? I bet you can’t do what I’m doing!” Start small – touch the top of your head, blink your eyes, do a somersault – whatever comes to mind. Depending on the age of your children, you can take turns being the leader. There’s no winner or loser, so no chance of hurt feelings. The Spider Game is brilliant if your children have far more energy left than you do, but you’re still on the clock. Get a small blanket or towel, and take a seat in a chair or on the floor. The “spider” holds the blanket like a bullfighter. The other player – the “fly”- runs in a pattern around the spider who then tries to catch them by throwing the blanket, their “spider silk.” If it touches the fly, they are considered caught and the game begins again. It’s easy for parents and kids to take turns for either role, and children or parents who have limited mobility can still engage in play.
- There’s never been a better time to break out your inner Beyonce than now. Treat – or torment your family with your version of “It’s Raining Men,” “Toxic,” or “Uptown Funk.” Let your little ones choose their favorites and be prepared to be entertained for hours. There are several apps to choose from, both free and subscription-based options. Check out StarMaker, The Voice, Smule, and Karaoke for Kids (iOS) or Karaoké Kids (Android) to name a few.
- Teach a cooking class. I know, I know, you’re already trying to manage to homeschooling, but teaching your kids how to cook pays off in delicious dividends. Make it fun – pretend you’re hosting your own cooking show, and have your kids act as your assistants. Check out these cooking sites for parents and kids, with recipes using ingredients you probably have in your house. If you’re short on ingredients, My Fridge Food and Supercook let you search for recipes by ingredients.
- This may sound like an obvious one, but if you can safely maintain social distance boundaries, go outside for free, unstructured playtime. Spring has sprung in many parts of the country, so this is also a great time to do some hands-on nature studies. These apps can teach your kids about everything from fish to constellations and everything in between.
- This is also a great time to teach your children compassion. Though your little ones may be driving you a little batty, there are others who are struggling with loneliness while they’re in isolation, away from human contact. Have them write letters, cards, or even an encouraging email. There are lots of free video chat platforms available, and there are no doubt plenty of family and friends who would love to see your smiling face.
Tracey Dowdy is a freelance writer based just outside Washington DC. After years working for non-profits and charities, she now freelances, edits and researches on subjects ranging from family and education to history and trends in technology. Follow Tracey on Twitter.