Kids have no school for a month (coronavirus/COVID-19). Who's got ideas?
March 13, 2020 10:34 AM   Subscribe

Board games? Great learning apps? Ways to burn off energy? Ways to not go stir crazy? Ways to get out of the house safely? Safe to have people come over (friends, piano teachers)? Help please!
posted by malhouse to Education (26 answers total) 26 users marked this as a favorite
It would be helpful to know your kids’ age/grade!
posted by saltypup at 10:37 AM on March 13

Do your kids like arts and crafts? A project that they can work on every day either using an existing skill or learning a new one could be a nice way to pass the time and have something they can be proud of when it's finished.
posted by acidnova at 10:38 AM on March 13

I just suggested to a colleague that she let her three sons under 10 paint a room however they like, then repaint back to normal afterward, and she really really dug it.
posted by wellred at 10:38 AM on March 13 [9 favorites]

Kindergarten and preschool!
posted by malhouse at 10:38 AM on March 13

Lots of paper and crayons! Make a tent with sheets and have a"camp out! Read books! Make cookies! If it's warm enough, play outside, fresh air is a good thing. Kid videos for rainy days. Go for walks. Call grandparents and let kids talk, or Skype.
posted by LaBellaStella at 10:52 AM on March 13

I'd hesitate having folks over. Kind of defeats the purpose of isolating to prevent the spread of the virus.
posted by LaBellaStella at 10:53 AM on March 13 [13 favorites]

> Safe to have people come over (friends, piano teachers)?

How I'm thinking about it: we all have a social budget every day. The budget is counted as, how many people did we swap germs with today, and how many people did those people swap germs with yesterday, and how many people did those people swap germs with the day before? All of us need our social budget to go down a lot to avoid collectively overloading the system.

When your family spends time within six feet of other people, or touches the same surfaces they touched, that spends your budget. You spend it less if they play with the same friends every day. You spend it less if you get piano lessons from the neighbor next door and they're not seeing other students. You spend it less if, when you do see other people, you play outside at a greater distance and wash hands and clean surfaces afterward and such.

I don't think there's a "safe" or "not safe" line, among people who are otherwise healthy -- it's more about all doing what we can to "spend" a lot less for a while.
posted by john hadron collider at 10:54 AM on March 13 [12 favorites]

Saw these posted which seem like a fun starting point:
- Giant List of Ideas to do with kids
- Museums Galleries with Virtual Tours
posted by moogs at 11:00 AM on March 13 [3 favorites]

There are a some people offering stuff on twitter as well to try and combat bored kids. E.g. Will Sliney (a Irish Marvel artist) is doing a daily art challenge for the kids in Ireland. In this case, the kids get a challenge, and they get to see what all the other kids (and possibly equally bored adults) have produced. Other people are offering videos on their pet topics.

You might be able to find something like this - or organise your own for people in your area.
posted by scorbet at 11:15 AM on March 13 [3 favorites]

Pulls up rocking chair.

Put on a show! When I was a child in the 60s, we were into performing for each other and our parents. We acted out movies (Mary Poppins was a favorite) and had little talent shows. We sang, played instruments, recited poems, and because my mom was pretty irreverent, did killer imitations of relatives, teachers, and Mom’s friends, which cracked her up no end.
posted by FencingGal at 11:24 AM on March 13 [3 favorites]

I know the schoolroom teachers at Children’s Hospital, Oakland used to pick a theme for the day and plan activities around that. If it were pumpkin day, for instance, they might measure pumpkins, plant pumpkin seeds, learn which Native Americans grew pumpkins, draw pictures of pumpkins, and make pumpkin muffins. Picking a theme might give you some structure to narrow down activities for little ones.

Also, freeze-dance parties to burn off some energy!
posted by corey flood at 11:27 AM on March 13 [2 favorites]

I was going to make a similar post! I started digging around parenting sites/blogs for "rainy day activities" and started making a list of in-home things to do:

* Obstacle course
* Salt-flour (if you can find flour!) ornament making and painting
* Make and work through a movie/book list, one a day
* Baking
* Coloring/painting/Play-Doh/etc.
* Quiet activities like listening to a short audiobook or story podcast (check your local library for online resources!)
* Conversely, making your own musical instruments and having a "parade"
* Learn new skills - tumbling, gymnastics, jump rope, knot tying, etc.
* Board/card games - basics like Go Fish, War, etc. We really like the board game Outfoxed. Simple ones like Candyland, Chutes and Ladders, Sorry, Memory, etc. work too.
* "Schoolyard" games like Simon Says, Red Light Green Light, Freeze Dance, Hide and Seek, etc.
* Blocks/Legos
* Make a fort and then read/watch a show
* "Camp in" one night. set up a tent in the living room and tell stories by flashlight, sleep in sleeping bags, etc.
* Puzzles
* Scavenger hunt

That should last a day or two. :)
posted by hankscorpio83 at 11:37 AM on March 13 [3 favorites]

Yeah, our kindergartener only-child extrovert has a 10-minute attention span for any activity and refuses to play alone. This is going to be miserable. Working from home is a joke with a kid (or kids) around.
posted by mkuhnell at 11:45 AM on March 13 [4 favorites]

We stocked up on activity kits and coloring books. And I think we'll do lots of crafts.
posted by mkuhnell at 11:47 AM on March 13

We have an indoor bouncy house/bouncy castle on the way, which will hopefully keep our little un active if we are stuck indoors completely.

This utterly delightful kids yoga channel really helped us in the winter, when it was too cold to go outside. We will be doing one every morning again, now we are all stuck at home.

Other fun stuff: making comics together (kid+parent come up with the story together, parent writes the captions, kid draws the pictures), 'dance parties' with glow sticks, baking together.

I'm loving all the other suggestions people are sending in. That Will Sliney thread is wonderful!
posted by EllaEm at 11:47 AM on March 13 [1 favorite]

I got this book out of the library a few weeks back (thinking ahead!), and liked it so much I bought copies for our family and some friends.

Unplugged Play: No Batteries. No Plugs. Pure Fun.

It's got activities for 1-10 year olds, grouped by age as well as category (play with other kids, things you can get your kids to do for 10 minutes while you are cooking dinner, etc.)
posted by wyzewoman at 12:21 PM on March 13 [2 favorites]

GoNoodle is good for active breaks/indoor recess.
posted by belladonna at 12:58 PM on March 13

This google doc is circulating, has some nifty ideas.
posted by theora55 at 1:40 PM on March 13

Facetime "hangouts" with family and friends doing projects together -- make cookies together with cousins, paint with grandma, etc

Birthday parties thrown for stuffed animals -- bake a cake, decorate posters and cards for the "birthday animal"

Holiday crafts -- make St. Patrick's Day cards, window stickers, etc

Outdoors stuff whenever possible

Hands on as we grow is a great (mostly paid) resource for daily things to do with kids in the preschool/kindergarten age range

Vroom is a free app (supported by Bezos Foundation) which has fun stuff for kids up to five

Exploring Nature With Children is an awesome full-year nature curriculum for homeschooling (costs $18 and totally worth it if you're into nature stuff with your kids)

Outschool has both livestreamed and on-demand classes for kindergarteners in a number of topics

Gonoodle, mentioned above, is free and an amazing resource of kid-focused exercise and meditation videos has so many amazing classes (though it might be aimed too old for your kids) and also a children's social network where kids can post and respond to each other about their baking soda volcanoes and Rube Goldberg machines

Little Sous sells boxes that introduce your kid to a certain type of cooking (i.e. pie) with recipes, stickers, posters about the cultural history of a food, etc

Good kids' apps: Pango and Sago Minis are fun for a kid, Skybrary has Levar Burton reading to kids, stop breathe and think has good free children's meditations as does kidevolve creative mind journeys

Good luck!
posted by hungrytiger at 1:46 PM on March 13 [1 favorite]

Among other activities, teach your kids stuff. How to sweep a floor, wash a window, do dishes. Not just chores; make Stone Soup, brownies. Make bread - it's messy, it's play dough, it smells amazing when you cook, and even amateur bread is fantastic fresh from the oven or skillet. Chores and skills give kids the feeling that they are helpers, and build real self esteem.

Music, dance, art. Music helps kids find solace and happiness, dancing works off energy, art play is reliably fun and can let off steam. So much great music and dance on youtube. When you were a baby, it was cds.

Then, put the kids in the tub, while you sit on the loo and have a cup of tea. Bath fun is a great way to get a break, and then the kids smell so good. If you saved a few squirt bottles, maybe some sponges, that's a bonus.
posted by Mom at 1:51 PM on March 13 [1 favorite]

And while I'm going all Mom on you and since I am a grandmother, and even though you know this, turn off tv except for music, and let them learn to amuse themselves. They have masses of toys. Their imaginations benefit from use, and don't get used when they watch tv. I really do know how hard it is to manage little kids, and you are doing a bang-up job.
posted by Mom at 1:58 PM on March 13 [1 favorite]

We are also going to sit down this weekend and make a daily schedule. Not that it will be set in stone, but it will help keep things a little more sane and also allow the adults to have some periods of productivity. Trying to balance everything for a 3, 5, and 7 year old will probably look something like:

9-10 Physical Education - anything centered on movement
10-11 Art - crafts, coloring, sculpting, painting, etc.
11-12 Reading/quiet time - circle time for the non-readers, audiobooks, etc
12-1 Lunch/Recess
1-2 STEM/Sensory - math, science experiments, Play-Doh/kinetic sand/slime/bins
2-3 Music/Dance - instruments, singing, dancing
3-4 Physical Education Part 2
posted by hankscorpio83 at 2:26 PM on March 13 [2 favorites]

Emergency Homeschooling
posted by latkes at 7:15 PM on March 13

Color by number (print)
Word search (print)
Dot to dot (print)
Egg carton crafts
Obstacle course
Play in yard
Nature faces
Tin can stilts
Tea party
Scavenger hunt
Heat baking sheet, put on waxed paper, color with crayons - they’ll melt
Wash cars
Doll pool party/salon
Write letters
Learn sign language
Climb trees
Baking soda, splotches of food coloring, drips of vinegar, will make explosions. Then press cardstock on it to make art
Plastic cup bowling
Paper mache
Masking tape line, blow ping pong ball along with straw
Simon says
A full sink and toys
Play dough
Freeze dance
Cards games
Board games
posted by ruetheday at 5:11 AM on March 15

Ruetheday mentioned gardening, but you could also do a sciencey project by planting seeds and watching them grow. (Hopefully!) They can get to help take care of them, by watering and replanting if necessary, but also explore stuff like how the plants grow towards the light. Or what happens if they're not watered! It would probably be particularly nice to grow something that could be eaten, or has pretty flowers of some kind.
posted by scorbet at 11:25 AM on March 15

Beans are super easy to sprout. You can poke an avocado pit with three toothpicks and put it onto a glass of water, touching the water on the bottom, and it will root. Let an onion sprout and grow more. Let a potato develop eyes and plant it in a big bucket. Or draw a face on a paper cup and plant grass seed for hair that can be cut.
posted by ruetheday at 1:24 PM on March 15

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