Schools are closed. The kids are at home. You are going crazy trying to keep them busy. It could be a recipe for disaster. But it doesn’t have to be. Thanks to modern technology you can now entertain and educate your kids at the same time. If you are lucky, they won’t suspect a thing!
Here are some great ways to keep your little guys busy during the COVID-19 lockdown.
First things first
The first thing I recommend you do to maintain your sanity is to develop a routine or schedule for the kids. That includes making time for chores, schoolwork, and outdoor activities. How the routine looks will depend on your family and the ages of your kids. Don’t be afraid of trial and error. It may take a few days to get a schedule that works for everyone. Prioritize the things you want your kids to focus on getting done each day, in particular, their schoolwork and some outdoor time.
Getting homeschooling right
School districts around the country are working on delivering lessons virtually but I recommend you get your kids in the habit of doing their work at home sooner rather than later. There is no doubt that this is going to be challenging. But again, technology can be your friend. Use iPad time or video games as a reward for their work. It can be a great incentive.
So, until your teachers send you the lessons, you can get your kids working with some free online sites like:
Teach Your Monster to Read – a free reading game program for younger students.
IXL – To access the full content you will need a subscription, but the site allows a few free questions each day. Subjects covered include math and English or language arts. One of the best aspects of IXL is that it has content for Jr Kindergarten up to Gr 12.
K5 Learning – For worksheets that you can print off and get your students to answer, K5 covers math, reading and language arts.
Code.org – If your students are learning to code, Code.org is a free resource you can use to help them keep up their learning.
Extra sites for kids
If you are looking for additional activities for your kids consider:
audiobooks from your local library,
Storyline Online (Celebrities read books on YouTube)
Online art gallery tours like the Musee d’Orsay, National Gallery of Art and other arts and culture topics.
Free Christian resources and printable activities are being offered by Focus on the Family, ZonderKids and Keys for Kids.
Other ideas to keep your kids busy
Along with learning and some fun free time, it will also be important to get your kids outdoors to run out that energy. Schedule in some nature walks, bike riding, roller skating, skateboarding, and backyard ball games. Fresh air will not only tucker them out, but it will also help them sleep better at night.
If the weather doesn’t cooperate, you can always check out some kids’ activity videos like Go Noodle, which encourages kids to get off the couch and get moving.
If you are looking for some movies to watch remember that you can rent and buy a wide range of films from YouTube. Cineplex is also making some new releases available in your home. If you prefer to watch something less mainstream, Canada’s National Film Board has over 4,000 free movies available for streaming.
Keep your kids connected to nature with live animal cams from various zoos including San Diego, Smithsonian, Houston Zoo, Vancouver Aquarium and Monterey Bay.
Most modern families have been running at a breakneck speed. This time of isolation allows us all to slow down, focus on what is really important and strengthen the bonds you have with your kids.
If you have any other ideas for keeping kids busy and happy through these times, send me an email and let me know.