Over the last year of the pandemic, Bobby and I have worked hard to make sure we’re creating a fun and healthy environment at home. Between homeschooling classes and on weekends, we love to have fun together as a family with touch football games, movie nights, and bike rides. But with the kids here 24/7, it’s been hard to find time for laundry, work, and everything else we usually get done when the kids are at school.
To keep the kids happy and focused, we love to create projects, games, and crafts that they can do with minimal supervision or with each other. With a little help from Diana Cutaia over at Coaching Peace Consulting, we’ve come up with an amazing list of social distancing activities to keep your littles happy and productive while they’re still at home.
Children who spend more time with their families have shown less risk of behavioral issues, such as violence and substance abuse. When they receive positive attention for positive behaviors, it increases their desire to continue those healthy patterns.
If you have older kids, let them read to the youngest during storytime! Let them all pick a book together, or choose something a little more challenging that you can read a chapter from each day.
Making sensory tables for your kids is fun and gives them a chance to experience the world around them in a new way. Fill the table with whatever you have on hand—beans, rice, shredded paper, sand, beads, leaves, etc. and let them go at it!
Make Hand Soap
With some glycerin soap, molds, and food coloring, you and your kids can get creative with making your own soap. It will let your children get hands-on and they’ll love having their own soap in their bathroom. They’ll want to wash their hands all the time!
There’s nothing you can’t do with some time and a pile of LEGOs. Let your child’s imagination run wild or give them fun challenges to try to achieve. Build a tower three feet high. Make an animal. Or create something using only yellow blocks!
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We love to dance in the Schaffer household so this one is an easy go-to. Put on your kid’s favorite Spotify playlist and let them have a dance party! Or see if they can create an entire routine to one of their favorite songs.
Sometimes you have to get creative with your social distancing activities! Have your children stand in front of each other, six feet apart or so. Then one person is the leader and everyone has to copy what they do. It’s harder than it looks!
Craft Musical Instruments
Sure, it’s probably easiest to grab some old takeout chopsticks and flip a pot upside down, but have your littles get creative! Add some beans into an old jar for a percussion instrument or use popsicle sticks to create a DIY harmonica.
This is every kid’s favorite. If you don’t already have some dough for the kids, make your own, then challenge them to create some of their favorite things. Trucks, elephants, maybe even Olaf?
Spending time with family builds confidence for all of its members. Parents can teach children to build self-esteem through specific skills such as problem solving and communication.
Depending on your child’s age this can be a hands-on or hands-off activity. Give your littlest some frosting and sprinkles so they can decorate cookies, or have older kids help you in the kitchen so they can learn to bake!
I’m a big fan of scavenger hunts, and they’re an easy social distancing activity to have in the home or backyard. You can mix it up by adding a theme, including prizes, or even have your oldest create a hunt for the others!
Make Comic Books
With some pens and a few sheets of paper, your child could create the next Spiderman! Depending on your child’s age, you can get as easy or detailed as you want, just make sure they read you the amazing tale when they’re done!
Coloring books are an easy and fun way to keep kids occupied, but have they ever created their own coloring book? Have them draw their own book, or have them sketch a few outlines and trade with their siblings so they are creating coloring books for each other!
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Build a Home Garden
Spring is here! And now is the perfect time to be thinking about building a home garden. Have your kids create a little garden in the backyard in the sunshine or start with a few seeds on the windowsill so they can watch it grow.
Puzzles are fun, educational, and some of them can be really, really, hard! Make sure you find one appropriate for your child’s age level and let them go for it. And thematic puzzles with their favorite superhero or Disney princess will help keep their interest.
Making jewelry can be a quick, easy project or you could have them create pieces from scratch. Try braiding a friendship bracelet, stringing pony beads into a necklace, or have them make their own charms from playdough!
With some popsicle sticks and crafts scraps lying around the house, you can make your kids into little artists. Have them glue sticks together in the shape of their name then decorate it with anything you have on hand. Glitter, pom poms, macaroni, flowers, fabric, etc.
Your ability to face life’s changes and challenges is greatly improved by a strong family bond. Knowing that you belong, you are cared for, and you are needed, provides a sense of meaning and purpose.
Online Educational Games
I definitely don’t want my kids spending too much time on the computer, but there are tons of fun, educational games online. And I want them to learn as much as they can at home! Try sites like Brainpop, Codespark, or Scholastic.
Candy Self Portrait
When you need a fun social distancing activity and need a little treat too! With a pile of candy and some glue, your kids can create a self-portrait that will make for a delicious masterpiece! Just keep an eye on them so more candy goes on the paper than into their mouths.
Remember how amazing forts were as a kid? Transforming the entire living room into a fort makes for a fun hideout to watch movies, craft, or just spend time together. Plus it helps the kids feel like they have their own space together without mom and dad.
Play 20 Questions
If you’ve never played this game it’s simple and fun. One person picks a person, place, or thing and everyone gets to ask 20 questions. Is it a woman? Is it blue? The fewer questions it takes to get the answer, the higher your score!
On average, kids who spend more time with their parents tend to do better in school. They learn communication skills and the importance of education.
Help With Chores
Sometimes mom needs a little help around the house. Have them do chores appropriate for their age level like making their bed, putting toys away, or folding the laundry. Create a chore chart to help everyone figure out what they’re responsible for each day.
Hide and Seek
This is a classic. You can make it an indoor/outdoor game or just keep it inside. It’s easy to play and especially fun for little ones when they find their big brother or sister.
Set up a “microphone” for the kids to talk into and let them go at it! You can record them on your phone for a more real podcast feel or they can just chat together doing pretend interviews, playing their favorite songs for their listeners, or talking about their favorite books and movies.
Have your kids make puppets from old socks and crafting supplies for their own show! Let them create their own characters with a funny story to tell. When they’re ready to put on their performance grab the popcorn and watch your children get imaginative.
Healthy relationships could increase your lifespan up to 50 percent. This is why family time has been linked to living a longer, healthier, happier life.
Sometimes it’s hard being cooped up inside, and with all this social distancing, kids need some outdoor activities. Do some fun, easy stretches with your kids, or even have them climb on top while you do some plank poses or squats. They’ll have fun and you’ll get a little extra burn!
Write a Short Story or Poem
Let your kids get imaginative! With a short story or poem, your kids will be able to express themselves creatively and design a world all their own! If they have trouble coming up with an idea, give them an exciting prompt. What would happen if you went on an adventure with your best friend? What if you suddenly had a pet dragon?
This is a classic go-to, but it’s easy to mix it up! Twister, Uno, Operation, pick your faves! If the kids are over Monopoly, have them create their own game! It can be something entirely new or a revised version of a family favorite. Harry Potter Trivial Pursuit, anyone?
There are so many games, activities, and crafts you can do at home while social distancing, but just remember to have fun together as a family!