Keeping the Kids Entertained During a Global Pandemic!
by Lyndsay Hart
on Wednesday, March 25th, 2020 at 12:43pm.
Being stuck at home doesn’t mean that everyone needs to go bonkers! The thought of having to spend every waking hour with my beloved children has me a little overwhelmed. I know I am not alone here! Something we will all take away from this global crisis is that teachers of children for every age do not make enough money, nor do they get enough appreciation. I am working from home during this, so my children need to have some sort of structure for the hours that I am working. We have a schedule set up that is in no way set in stone, but it gives my kids some direction where they need it. I set up alarms on my middle son’s cell phone with each of the alarms named with what type of activity to do next. We all sat together and came up with things to do during each activity time. It is working for us so far.
One of the biggest things I am a proponent for is doing the morning routine that we are used to. Getting dressed, brushing teeth, making beds, etc. I also have some “snack baskets” set up for them so they are not constantly eating all our self-isolation snacks! They pick out a predetermined amount of snacks in the morning and it lasts them for the duration I am working.
I’d like to share some of the things that we use in our home to help tackle the boredom.
Keep ‘em moving:
Do you have any gymnastics fanatics in your house? We do! With our Gymnastic classes not happening for the foreseeable future, we have set up a balance beam on our library floor using painter’s tape to make the beam. We practice our balance by putting stuffed animals on our heads while trying to walk the beam. When we tire of using stuffies on our heads, we make up balance beam routines with the help of YouTube! We are no Simone Biles, but we sure can aspire to be. The all mighty google can be helpful with this as well. Just search simple balance beam routines and go from there!
Basketball is basically life in our house and with the NBA season suspended, we have some pretty upset residents living here. We are lucky enough to have a basketball net in our driveway so we can practice shooting hoops to our hearts desire but if you don’t have a net, you can always level up those dribbling, defensive and offense skills in other ways! When I used to coach, I would use the website, basketballforcoaches.com to help come up with activities to make it fun for practices. There are lots of videos on how to improve all basketball skills there. Make it fun for your basketball players by letting them help make up some plays and school you as well!
Are your kids as obsessed with Yoga as much as mine are? They are constantly asking me to put on some yoga and do it with them! Put together your own yoga routine with the kids and keep it simple. Or you can always use the ol’ faithful, YouTube to look up some routines.
A few other things that we do for fun in our house are that are very simple are, skate on the floors with paper plates, pretend the floor is lava and use things such as tea towels and pillows to jump on so we don’t burn our feet, the classic don’t let the balloon touch the floor, and using streamers in door ways as “laser beams” and trying to get through the doorways without hitting the laser beams. Here are a few links with other great ways to keep your kids moving:
Increasing their knowledge (without their knowledge):
I am not a teacher and nor could I ever be one. Teachers are a rare, special breed in this world, and I would never try to replace one. But for the foreseeable future, we are going to need to keep their minds occupied and ready to learn. Here are a few ways that I’ve been keeping my kid’s minds going:
Bird watching – We have SO many birds that visit our backyard. Luckily, both my grandparents were avid bird watchers, so they instilled that love on to me and then in turn passed it on to my kids. We have binoculars that my grandpa used and a pair from my gramma. We walk around our own neighbourhood and even stay in our kitchen window and find the birds that we see in the bird books that my grandparents used. The kids love it and they don’t even know that they are learning! It’s really a win win for all.
Starting our garden inside – Before all of this started, we went to the Dollarama and had picked up their little garden kit for $4. It came with containers to plant your seedlings and a few other things as well. The kids picked their favourite veggies and we researched when each of them should be planted indoors. They got to experience the beginnings of making their own food and learned so much about where their food comes from. We discussed how things grow and what things can be grown in Nova Scotia.
Virtual museum trips – Last week, we shared a link on our Facebook Page that you can use to have a virtual tour of so many museums across the world. You can find that post here.
I use a website that provides an abundance of material for children of all ages. It’s called Big Life Journal. I don’t adhere to all the things that they teach but I love most of their activities that they have for children. Some of the materials that they have are free for downloading. You can check out their website here. Their activities teach a variety of ways to help your child's mind develop with confidence and gratitude.
This is a link to a local website, www.kidsupfront.com/atlantic . It has so many great ideas and activities with a DIY mindset! There are experiments, workouts and even dance parties. You should really check this one out!
Buzzfeed has also come out with a great article that lists so many great things to do while stuck at home. You can find that here.
If you follow our blogs, you may have heard of Family Fun Halifax before. They are a great resource for all family events in HRM and in many other cities across the country. They have come up with a super fun boredom buster game of Bingo! Each square is an activity that your kids will have to do such as, do a puzzle, build Lego, listen to an audio book, tidy your room and lots of other things. The object is to get one line (just like in real Bingo) and get a reward when you do. Here is the link to their downloadable bingo game.
The bottom line here is, if your kids are alive and fed, you’re doing ok. There is no handbook out there for handling a global pandemic, if there was, I would have found it by now. Your house still needs to function, and you do whatever it is that makes it bearable for everyone. If that includes watching Netflix all day and eating frozen pizza for breakfast, lunch and supper, GREAT! There is no wrong way to do this. Do you. In our home, this includes screen time. A little too much screen time if you ask me, but it is working. My middle son sent me a Tik Tok (is that how you spell that?) of an adult telling “us parents” how important it is for kids to have time on their PS4’s, iPads etc. because they are going to be going through a rough time as well. I will never admit it to my son, but that video made something click for me. He needs to be able to spend time with his friends that he was with every weekday for almost 7 hours a day too. He needs that connection with friends as much as I do.
Hang in there folks. We got this and will see each other on the other side.