Yes, we love our kids. But it’s OK to admit that it is hard being home all day without school, playdates or attractions open to help keep young minds occupied. And, if you are one of the millions of Americans trying to balance working from home with kids – it’s doubly exhausting.
Luckily, the Child Life and Family Development team at Nebraska Medicine has compiled a list of activities and ideas to keep the kiddos entertained and your sanity intact.
Child life specialists are experts at developing fun, informative activities to do indoors with children, and with limited resources because they take care of our pediatric patients every day in the hospital. The team helps kids understand their disease, cope with the anxiety and fear it brings.
To get started, download this comprehensive list of virtual experiences and science experiments
Or if you’re looking for a few simpler ideas, try one of these four activities:
- Use masking tape to put patterns on the floor for children to walk or jump on. For a toddler it could be a simple line or circle. For an older child it could be a geometric shape or a letter. If they tire of walking let them use cars to trace shapes.
- Turn your empty paper towel roll into a telescope and go on a household hunt. For a toddler, look for common objects. For an older child, look for items of a certain color or shape, or for an object that starts with a specific letter.
- Make your own game of "Mommy Says." Challenge children by allowing them to pick from cards that you have previously filled out. For example: Name something you see that is red, jump in place five times or crawl like a turtle. The possibilities are endless, and this activity will help kids develop listening and receptive language skills.
- Set up an obstacle course encouraging children to jump, crawl and step over. Set up clothes baskets to throw balls into. This will challenge gross motor abilities.
Additionally, The National Child Traumatic Stress Network put together this great list of kids activities.
While kids are dealing with extraordinary circumstances it is important to remember they are still kids and to let them be so. "I feel like parents are under pressure to become teachers and it’s important that the family has fun and be actively engaged in learning," notes pediatric developmental specialist Ardi Blazek.
The above activities are simple and engaging, using supplies you likely have in the house to pass the time each day.
Good luck, you got this!