By Kathryn Wright, M.D., F.A.A.P.
Now’s the time to get creative and spend time with your loved ones. You can interact with kids in a creative way and still keep them protected from this terrible pandemic. Revisit (or reimagine) fun things you and your family can enjoy together.
10 Activities for Kids While Social Distancing
Remember: When exploring any of these options, continue to follow social distancing guidelines, and, of course, stay home if anyone is feeling ill.
Maintain a structured schedule.
OK, this may not sound like much fun, but your kids are used to structure at school, so try to maintain some structure each day. Keep the mornings as close as you can to when they were going to school each day. Get them up at the regular times, have breakfast, and get dressed. (Don’t let them sleep to noon and watch hours of kids’ TV shows before starting their day.)
Use online educational resources.
Some schools are providing resources for parents, but others aren’t. Luckily, there are great resources online, including lesson plans and other online classes. Many are geared to specific age groups starting at pre-K.
Learn about new places.
Use this time to learn about the Grand Canyon, Carlsbad Caverns, Lake Tahoe, and our national parks. Virtually touring a national park online is a fun way to pass time – and then plan to visit a destination in person when it’s safe to travel again.
Take a virtual museum tour.
Several museums offer online tours, including the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C. , the Museum of Fine Arts Houston, and the Children’s Museum Houston.
Teach kids life skills.
Consider teaching you own etiquette class, demonstrating proper manners to and etiquette for social functions or dining in a restaurant.
Break out the board games.
Break out Monopoly and Scrabble or other family board games. (consider Candyland or Chutes and Ladders for younger ones.)
Learn more about your family’s history.
Ancestory.com starts with a free trial. Now may be the perfect time to sign up. Your kids will be amazed to see grandparents’ and great grandparents’ names listed on the old censuses. And who knows what else you might discover?
While social distancing means avoiding large crowds, it doesn’t mean you can’t get outside. Head to a local trail for a walk or let the kids run around the block. There are also loads of online exercise videos to try.
Organize a scavenger hunt.
Plan a scavenger hunt in your own home or around the neighborhood.
Build a kid-friendly bucket list.
Social distancing won’t last forever. Use this time to let kids have fun planning the places they’ll go, things they’ll do, and friends they’ll play with again.
And don’t forget about you.
While it’s important to make sure your kids are getting the structure, stimulus, and support, don’t forget to take care of yourself. Make sure that you, older teenagers, and other grownups have personal time to themselves. Being in close quarters with family for an undetermined amount of time can be trying. We’re going to get through this – together!
Dr. Kathryn Wright is a board-certified pediatrician at Kelsey-Seybold’s Kingwood Clinic. Child obesity, newborn care, and ADHD are among her top clinical interests. Being around kids makes every day at work fun for her.