By Brittany Carlson
We are now two months into social distancing due to the Covid-19 pandemic. If you’re self-isolating with young children, you’re probably looking for new ways to keep them entertained.
Here are a few ideas for activities to do with your kids, inside and out, that might help keep boredom at bay.
*Visit local natural areas or state parks. While these parks still enforce social distancing, many still offer a variety of activities, such as trail hiking, fishing (with a license), kayaking and disc golf. To keep your kids engaged, challenge them to a scavenger hunt on the trails, or pack a picnic.
*Go strawberry picking. Some farms allow patrons to pick their own berries as long as families maintain social distance. We visited one near our home and enjoyed fresh strawberry ice cream by a pond behind the strawberry fields. It felt so good to get out and enjoy doing something as a family.
*Find a drive-through safari park near you. These drive-through zoos that allow visitors to purchase buckets of animal feed and actually feed animals from their vehicles. Here is a list of the top 10 safari parks in the United States: https://studenttravelplanningguide.com/the-top-ten-safari-parks-in-the-u-s/. (Check that the parks are still operating before you visit).
*Hunt for bugs. I just bought my boys a bug tent and net from the Target dollar spot and they have loved finding creepy crawlers and putting them in the tent, then looking at them close-up through a magnifying glass. You could even make a challenge by making a bug Bingo sheet.
*Visit a drive-in movie theater. Many theaters that opened recently have new measures to ensure public safety and enforce social distancing, like contactless ticket and food ordering. Check online to see if there is one open near you (but be advised, the movies don’t start until after dark).
*Order a do-it-yourself craft or baking set from a local business. Many craft stores offer shipping or delivery of customized craft sets. Similarly, some bakeries are offering do-it-yourself cupcake decorating kits while they are temporarily closed to the public. Cassie, a friend of mine and mom of three, said she enjoys activities like this because she can support local business and do something fun with her kids.
*If you have a child that enjoys art or drawing, check out the “Art for Kids Hub” Youtube channel. We’ve got a lot of mileage out of this one. My 5-year-old loves learning to draw cartoon characters with me by following the step-by-step instructions.
*Make a stained-glass masterpiece. Using masking tape, make a design of geometric shapes either on the street/driveway or on your windows. For the street artwork, kids can use chalk to fill in the shapes, and for the windows, they can use washable paint. When you peel the tape off, it looks like a stained-glass window. I tried the driveway version of this with my boys after seeing some friends try it on Facebook.
*Make a paper airplane obstacle course. Cut targets in cardboard boxes for the planes to fly through, each worth a different amount of points. (This idea and others can be found in a 2016 Good Housekeeping article: “Take Your Kids to Flight School with this Fun Paper Plane Game”).
Melissa, a friend of mine, said her husband recently made planes with her two girls and flew them outside to great enthusiasm. “They ended up ‘being’ the airplanes and running around like an airplane with their arms out forever,” she said.
*Make your own stomp rocket out of an empty soda bottle. (A stomp rocket shoots into the air when someone stomps on an air-filled container attached to the launchpad). For step-by-step instructions, visit https://www.instructables.com/id/DIY-Stomp-Rockets/.
The days during social distancing can seem so long, yet I know I’ll look back (and I hope my kids will too) and miss the extra time we have together right now. My goal is to use this time to not only entertain my kids and preserve my own sanity but make special memories for my whole family.
Whichever activities you choose to do together in these unprecedented days, I hope it reaps rewards of laughter, growth, and stronger family bonds. We can get through this, together.
For more activity ideas during social distancing, check out these Facebook groups: “Family Isolation/Lockdown Activities & Support Group (Worldwide),” “Isolation Activities for Kids,” or “Bored Toddler”.
Brittany Carlson is a lifelong lover of words and all things chocolate. She is an Army wife and has two sons, Adam (4) and James (2). She has written for several Army community newspapers, including the Stuttgart Citizen (Germany), Fort Leonard Wood Guidon (Missouri), and Fort Belvoir Eagle (Virginia). Brittany holds a Master of Arts in Journalism from the University of Missouri-Columbia.
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