While you’re stuck at home, you may as well make the most of it. Here are some great ideas for having fun at home and at the same time growing your child’s imagination.
Brighten Their World
When you’re running out of ways to entertain the kids, why not pull out some crayons and markers for some coloring fun? KAYAK has dozens of printable coloring sheets for the kids, and even some for Mom and Dad, too! Download and print your favorite pages at kayak.com/krayon or color virtually directly from the KAYAK iOS app. Whichever you prefer, coloring is a great way to reduce stress and add some color to your day!
Family Movie Night
Dinner and a movie is still an option when you think outside the box! Support a local business and order dinner to-go while streaming a fun family movie on Netflix or Vudu. You can recreate the movie theater experience with personal bags of popcorn plus tasty toppings and let the kids customize to their liking. Dim the lights and raise the volume, grab some pillows and blankets and enjoy the film!
Whether you’re expecting or raising kids, CHKD hosts online webinars throughout the month on topics such as Children and Stress, Positive Discipline, and more. Connect with other parents during a Virtual Parent Chat on May 5. Plus, learn about opportunities to tour pediatric offices if you’re in search of the right doctor for your child. Visit chkd.org for a full list of events and to register.
Send some “Love Mail”
We could all use a reason to smile these days. Send some love to residents of assisted living facilities and nursing homes! Brighten someone’s day with a letter, poem, picture, or other kind of “love mail” to email@example.com, and the Tidewater Arts Outreach will forward it to their partners. It’s a simple way to show the residents that they are remembered!
Don’t stay inside. Take the family on a walk. While playgrounds are temporarily closed, local parks remain open as long as you follow social distancing guidelines. Walk the trails and play “I Spy” with your kids to keep them entertained. Or, create an outdoor scavenger hunt and have them look for simple items like leaves, bugs, and birds. Have a race or play with a soccer ball. There’s plenty of fun waiting in nature!
Thrills and Entertainment
We’re lucky to have Busch Gardens Williamsburg right in our own backyard. Even though we can’t visit in person, Busch Gardens offers tons of fun just a click away on buschgardens.com/williamsburg. Browse educational resources, activities, and coloring pages of some of your favorite animals. Then, virtually ride some of your favorite coasters and explore various attractions.
Take a nautical adventure full of engaging STEM-related activities, science experiments, battleship trivia, sailing skills, and more. Nauticus will hold daily virtual sessions at 11 a.m. on Facebook Live for the whole family to enjoy. Plus, visit nauticus.org for behind-the-scenes tours of the Battleship Wisconsin and other exhibits.
Many art museums have set up virtual exhibitions for your family to enjoy. For example, Virginia MOCA offers virtual galleries, artist interviews, and more at virginiamoca.org. Looking for something hands-on? The Artists Gallery at Virginia Beach Art Center hosts demos and artist talks on Facebook. For creative family fun, visit chrysler.org, where the Chrysler Museum has lots of printable activities for artists of all ages. There’s plenty more art out there, too, so be sure to look up your favorite museum!
Cook Up a Hobby
Looking to brush up on your cooking skills? Join the Suffolk Center for Cultural Arts on Facebook and Instagram every Tuesday at 10 a.m. for “Virtual Art Education” to experience art training in various forms. Through May 12, you can learn how to cook simple recipes like pancakes and quesadillas to get you through the week. Perfect for beginners and children! Visit facebook.com/suffolkcenter for more info.
Learn Something New
Got some extra time on your hands these days? Learn something new! Udemy.com is offering plenty of free courses in a variety of subjects including marketing, web design, and more. Pick up a new hobby like cooking, drawing, or photography. Or, learn the art of self-care with meditation and motivation courses. There are even some courses available for kids! Visit udemy.com/courses/free to browse their selection.
Stuck at home with toddlers? Be creative, but keep it simple. Fill a bin with rice or oatmeal with some measuring cups and funnels for hours of sensory play. Freeze toy dinosaurs in ice cube trays, use a dropper to pour vinegar over each cube, and watch your kids squeal with delight at the dinosaurs they uncover. Or, you could design a fun craft based on a storybook you’ve read with your child. Scholastic.com has some great ideas for literary arts and crafts!
“Buy” Screen Time
If you’re worried about the amount of screen time your kids are consuming these days with not much else to do, put them to work! Make a list of age-appropriate chores and a reward of 30 minutes of screen time for each completed task. For example, a preschooler is capable of feeding the family pets and picking up some toys, while older kids can help with the dishes or take the trash out.
Don’t Forget Storytime
What better way to encourage literacy and critical thinking than snuggling up with your kids and a good book? Ask them questions about what they read, observations they made, and what was hiding in the pictures. Many celebrities are even streaming nightly storytime for kids, including “Frozen’s” Josh Gad, LeVar Burton, Dolly Parton, and Michelle Obama. A quick Google search will tell you how to catch these celebrities reading live on their respective platforms.
Yoga is Fun!
Do your kids have the wiggles? Release some energy with kids’ yoga videos! A recent favorite for many parents has been the Cosmic Kids Yoga channel on Youtube, which teaches “yoga, mindfulness, and relaxation designed specially for kids aged 3+.” The channel offers many themed sessions featuring some favorite kids’ movies and characters, including Frozen, Pokemon, Star Wars, and more!
Play Classic Games
Instead of playing hours of video games, try introducing a good old-fashioned board game like Monopoly or Yahtzee. It’s a great way to spend time together as a family while learning to follow the rules of the game. Toddlers as young as three years old can learn to play simple games like Candy Land or Count Your Chickens. Plus, everyone will have loads of fun competing to win…game on!
Create a Family Tree
Discover your family’s history together and put together a family tree! FamilySearch.org is a great place to start. Just create a free account and begin putting in the information you know. The database will help mine data for connected relatives, census records, marriage records, and more. The website also offers a few suggestions for creating journals and activity books for kids, so they really get to know their history and what makes them who they are!
Stephanie Allen is the publisher's assistant for Tidewater Women & Tidewater Family. She is also a success coach helping creatives learn effective strategies for putting their work in front of others while making quality connections. Follow her on Facebook & Twitter for free tips and resources!