Staying indoors for another month due to COVID-19 lockdown without School, Parks, Friends, malls, and museums, is freaking out every parent under the sun. It’s agreeably a very challenging situation for all the kids and their parents.
With very little to do at home and nowhere to go and vent out their enormous energy, kids of all ages are having a tough time. Their meltdowns and tantrums are reaching new heights and we parents are trying to stay sane while juggling with handling kids, household chores, and working our jobs from home.
No wonder all our parents are trying to move heaven and earth to keep our children cheerful and happily engaged in various sorts of activities(with or without screens). But in these times of adversity even most creative minds are running out of ideas. And the kids’ dependency on Tv, smartphones, and tabs for entertainment is touching dangerous levels. If you are struggling with screen time regulations for your kids this might help https://momzvoyage.com/struggling-with-kids-screen-time-regulations/
So I’ve listed out in black and white all the activities that we can take up with our little ones with least efforts and limited resources and of course with no screens involved.
Some would need just your supervision while some would need you to set things up for them. One Thing assured that once they are engaged you can easily slip away for some time and do your work (though keeping an eye from a distance always helps)
Create a Daily Schedule
Chalk out a “Daily Schedule” together. Pen down the activities to do in a daily planner. Take turns to decide what and when to do for each one of you and hand out a copy to everyone. Plan according to your working hours and breaks.
Set up a tent or fort
Set up a tent or a fort in your garden or in an open space indoors where your little ones can spend a lot of time playing. Every time they are in there you can give them new tasks or games to play.
Picnic in your garden or on the terrace
Kids love picnics, so just pack up some of their favorite stuff and give them a set up of picnics in your garden or even on the terrace of your house.
Engage them in simple craft activities that they can easily do with or without your help. Try making them use waste materials available at home which they can transform into useful things.
Cook it up
My daughter loves to watch me cook her favourite dishes in the kitchen and tries to help me in every possible manner(obviously away from the gas stove) So cooking with her is a good option and also I get to spend some quality time with her.
Help them grow their own mini garden in a small tray or pot using wheat or mustard seeds. You can make them label it, nurture it and even make a small scarecrow. Water the plants in your garden with them and let them learn some gardening tips from you. So when they get used to it you can simply ask them to water the plants and take care of their mini garden(while you can enjoy a coffee break)
My daughter is very fond of painting and so am I. So we paint together using a variety of colours including acrylics, watercolors, pencil colours, and crayons. Sometimes I draw a picture and make her paint with the colours of her choice. This keeps her busy for good 20-30 minutes.
Make puppets out of socks, paper, or with stuffed toys (with their stuffing pulled out). Encourage your child to come up with a story and put up a puppet show for their family and virtual audience(use zoom or facetime to involve their friends)
Sit down with them for reading every day at any fixed time of the day and preferably the same spot. It could be before hitting the sack or as per your convenience. Find time to read your favourite books and encourage your kids to do the same. When they will see you enjoying your reading time every day in the same spot they will also sit down with their books and start enjoying this reading time. To learn about all the benefits of reading for kids https://momzvoyage.com/storytelling-kids-parents-benefits/
Playdough or salt dough contests can be quite engaging and time-consuming. Give them a new playdough challenge every time they sit down with it. If your kids have Playdough then nothing like it but if they don’t then fret not. You can make the salt dough using flour, salt, and water.
Tidying up contests
Ask your kids to collect things lying around the house such as bits of paper/clothes/toys/books/games, etc, and put them back in their proper place. Whoever collects the maximum things gets his favourite evening snack.
Board Games or Card Games
Involve them in their favourite board games. Encourage them to make up their own card games and play with their siblings.
Exercising and Practicing Yoga
While chalking out a schedule spare at least 30 minutes for family exercise time. The kids are not going outdoors to play so even they need some sort of physical movement. Making them practice yoga can be fun too. My daughter loves to replicate all the Yoga poses I practice in her presence.
Create an ‘I am bored box’
Ask your children to pen down everything that they would like to do in their spare time during the lockdown on small pieces of paper. Put these in a box. Now, whenever they complain of getting bored, simply make them pick one slip from the box. Since they are the ones who decided everything, so would be more than willing to follow it.
Set out a list of animals, things, and buildings your kids can make and give them a lego challenge each time they sit down for some lego time.
Listen to podcasts or even audiobooks
Our all-time favourites include But Why, Story Pirates, WOW in the World, Story Time, Story Collider, Brains On! (the latest one was on coronavirus), and What If World.
Let them assist you
While you work in the kitchen or do household chores let them help you (give them a job that they can easily handle). Give them a small task and make it sound important. For example, If you’re cleaning the kitchen, ask your kids to clean up their rooms. This way you will be able to finish your work easily and the kids will learn about their responsibility to keep the house clean.
Give new tools to explore
Give your children any new tool that can keep them engrossed for a pretty long time. E.g., give your kids a flashlight, a combination lock or a magnifying glass, and let them assimilate about how it works for themselves.
Make them Dance around in front of a mirror and make them choreograph themselves their favourite numbers.
My daughter loves to make rangoli. So I give her some rangoli stencils and some colours and she turns the floor into a colourful carpet.
Origami animals and Objects
Teach them how to make origami animals and objects. You can take some inspiration from Swati Taneja’s craft classes https://www.facebook.com/Craft-by-Swati-102556428065669/
Blow bubbles in the backyard
Bubbles can uplift everybody’s spirits. So when you find them super bored, just hand them a bottle of bubble mix and watch them running around euphorically.
Kids love to stay in the water. So turn that big water tub or their pool into a bubble bath and throw in their favourite bath toys and you get a whopping 30-45 minute break. But keep them in sight while they play.
Hide a toy or a coin in the house and let them look for it. Give them little clues if you make it a little tricky. It will help them build their resilience in searching for things in the house without your help.
Let Them Teach You
Give your children a white/blackboard and let them teach you. It’s an amazing way to make them practice their skills and retain their knowledge.
Hope these hacks help you to keep your bundle of joy cheerful and yet busy. Please let me know how you are coping with all the turmoil in the comments below.