Activities and Learning Tools While Practicing Social Distancing
As the Novel Coronavirus pandemic continues to spread and make international headlines, many individuals and families have found themselves confined to their homes. Schools have closed, public places and entertainment venues have shut down, and restaurants have closed their dining rooms. The following provides some fun and educational activities to keep children and adults entertained:
Fun Activities for Kids at Home
1. Make a cardboard fort.
Put those Amazon boxes to good use! Make tunnels, mazes, and hideouts with children for hours of fun!
2. Set up a treasure hunt.
Treasure hunts are pretty easy and depending on how many items there are, could last a while. Hide anywhere from 10 to 20 items around the house or outside to keep kids occupied for a few hours.
3. Have an indoor picnic.
Grab a sheet, whatever food you have, and enjoy a living room picnic (without the ants). You can even play that memory game at the same time: “I’m going to a picnic and I’m bringing…” Each person takes turns remembering (in order) what everyone is bringing and then adds one thing each turn.
4. Make a sensory bin.
Fill it with anything and everything, give the kids some shovels, and they’ll be excavating for hours.
5. FaceTime or Skype family members.
FaceTime and Skype are meaningful ways to connect with family and friends while practicing “social distancing.” Use it to check in on family members and to socialize, even if over the phone.
6. Break out the board games, cards, and puzzles!
Rummy, War, Go Fish, Solitaire, Uno, Old Maid, Scrabble, Monopoly, Candy Land, Chutes and Ladders… Any game you can think of! You could even teach children how to play chess!
Educational Activities for Kids Home from School
1. Live Streaming and Virtual Field Trips:
The Cincinnati Zoo will be live-streaming animals on their Facebook page daily at 6:00pm PST.
There’s a beluga whale webcam set up at the Georgia Aquarium, so you can see what your whale friends are up to at anytime.
Virtually visit the Mud Volcano, Mammoth Hot Springs, and so much more with a digital field trip to Yellowstone.
Explore the surface of Mars with this digital 360° camera.
Visit the Boston Children’s Museum without even leaving your living room.
Listen to Josh Gad (the voice of Olaf from Frozen and Frozen II) broadcast readings of different kids’ stories on Twitter.
Sequoia National Park is a national park in California. With Google Maps, you can scroll over the different terrains, and click on places of interest.
Storytime From Space is unlike any other kind of storytime; NASA astronauts read stories to kids while they float around in space!
Monterrey Bay Aquarium has a sea otter cam that allows you to watch what the sea otters are doing at any given time of day!
Learn more about the wildlife of Africa by checking out this African wildlife cam situated by a busy watering hole.
You can do a science experiment along with Billy Nye the Science Guy!
You don’t need to leave your home to explore some of the most historic monuments out there—the Great Wall of China included.
Tour the British Museum online.
The Smithsonian Science Education Center has more resources, too, including a virtual glider that makes you feel like you’re flying around the world, exploring.
Acadia National Park is a national park located in Maine. With Google Maps, you can scroll over the different terrains, and click on places of interest.
Arches National Park is a national park located in Utah. With Google Maps, you can scroll over the different terrains, and click on places of interest.
Disney’s Imagineering in a Box lets you go behind the scenes with Disney Imagineers and complete project-based exercises to design a theme park of your very own!
Storytime with a Sheriff with Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office: Deputies read children’s books to encourage kinds to read at home. #StorytumeWithASheriff on YouTube.
2. Online Learning:
Osmo is an online learning resource that interacts with the real objects you have in front of you. Osmo interacts with the physical items in front of you for engaging play.
BrainPop is an educational resource that provides lesson plans for all kinds of subjects—even health, arts and music, and engineering and technology.
NearPod has homeschooling lesson plans for grades K-12: ELA, social studies, math, science, and more.
Scholastic, an educational resource, has enough learning programming for 15 full days of homeschooling.
STEM activities are great for learning and educating kids about science and math.
Mystery Science has lesson plans for kids in kindergarten through fifth grade. Their lesson plans cover everything from: How does hand sanitizer kill germs? to What causes things to glow-in-the-dark?
Listen to audio recordings of other languages (like Spanish, for example) on slow. Repeat to practice pronunciation.
Music to Your Home provides online, guided music lessons.
3. Educational Activities:
Making play dough is fun, but making play dough with Kool-Aid smells really, really juicy.
Bake together! Cookies, cakes, brownies. Anything! Baking is a great lesson in measuring, ingredients, and of course, making delicious goodies.
Make elephant toothpaste: Making elephant toothpaste is a great science experiment. Using the laws of both chemistry and biology, this recipe will cause an enormous foaming reaction. Check Scientific American for a how-to.
Make homemade Play-Doh. Check out this recipe from I Heart Naptime. All you need are quart-sized bags, all-purpose flour, salt, cream of tartar, water, veggie or coconut oil, and food coloring.
Try origami! Learn how to make dozens of origamis: dinosaurs, swans, frogs, and more!
Make your own hand soap! There’s never been a more relevant time make to your own hand soap.
Here is a list of children’s authors reading their books aloud.
4. Get Moving!:
Here are some strength and toning videos on YouTube to watch to keep up with an exercise routine while staying home.
YMCA has online health and fitness videos.
Try doing yoga from your living room!
Full Count lessons and activities.
The Best Exercises and Workout Ideas to Stay Active: a comprehensive list of activities to do indoors, outdoors, with kids, and more!
Yoga for moms: click here