This week, around 30 million children in the United States are out of school to help eliminate the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19). Instead of participating in school activities, kids are home completing e-learning assignments and trying to stay busy. You are probably wondering, “How do I entertain my child at home?”
To keep you and your children entertained during this pandemic, it’s important to find activities to keep everyone happy and healthy. Maintaining some normalcy and staying active amid sports, vacation and event cancellations, will make the time go faster.
Your well-being is important to us at OrthoIndy and that includes your physical and mental well-being. Here are some easy ways to fight the monotony of staying home during the COVID-19 outbreak by adding activity and exercise into your daily routine.
What are some fun activities to do with kids?
Weather in Indiana is unpredictable, but here are a few options on days when the sun is shining and the temperature climbs to 50 degrees or higher.
Don’t park yourselves at home
Some playgrounds have closed to the public, but many public parks are still open! Grab a football, volleyball or baseball and take your kids to a nearby park as a reward or “recess” after a long morning of e-learning.
The trails are a great place to go for an afternoon bike ride, run or walk with your family. Not only is this a great form of exercise, but fresh air is good for your physical and mental health because you’re receiving fresh oxygen.
Some benefits of fresh air include:
- Good for your digestive system
- Improves blood circulation
- Increases your energy and keeps your mind sharp
- Fresh oxygen cleans your lungs
- Makes you happier by increased serotonin levels
Pro tip: Pack a picnic and enjoy a snack at a nearby park before returning home. Utilize social distancing by staying six feet from other community members while using the trail.
Exercise with your pets
Usually, daily life is busy. But with a little bit more time on your hands, remember how much your pet loves to exercise. Make it a daily habit while you have some extra free time. Your pet wants to enjoy the fresh air just as much as you do!
Pro tip: Make it a family affair or have this be your alone time a few minutes a day.
What activities can kids do at home?
For those days when it’s snowing (even in March and April!), raining or just gloomy and cold outside, here are some activities to keep your children active when they can’t go outside.
Do chores and provide a reward
Almost every child loves a competition if they’re excited about the prize at the end. Challenge your children to competitions involving household chores and allow the prize to be something they would really work for, such as making their favorite dessert, an extra 30 minutes of TV time or letting them stay up later.
Make it a weeklong challenge with a homemade scoreboard and tally up the points at the end of each week to keep your house clean and your kids busy and active.
Household chore ideas:
- Timed laundry folding
- Dishwasher wars. One child can unload while one child loads the dishwasher. Whoever has the fastest time, wins.
- Bed making competition
- Taking the dog for a walk
- Taking out the trash
- Vacuuming wars. Whoever’s room looks the cleanest, gets the most points.
Keep their minds moving
Having time dedicated to your children being off technology and playing with their toys encourages their creativity and gives their eyes a break from the computer, phone or television.
Encourage 30 minutes to an hour of “playtime” for your children. This can be done together or separately and can include several rainy-day activities.
- Do a craft of their choice
- Make a snack together
- Read books
- Give them space to play with action figures, Barbies or their favorite toy to exercise their imagination
- Take all the blankets and pillows in your home and have your child make their best fort if you don’t mind the mess
This is a great time to exercise the minds of your children who haven’t hit school yet as well. Take the time in these few weeks to help your child fall in love with reading. With your little ones, pick a book and read it out loud to them. This can benefit them in more ways than one.
- Grow their imagination
- Improve vocabulary and language skills
- Develop communication skills
- Stimulate curiosity
This time is crucial for a child to unplug and slow down. This may not keep their bodies active, but they are exercising their brains in a different way.
Keep growing where you’re planted
Your garden may not be ready for flowers until May but taking care of flowers with your child can be a fun indoor activity that brightens up your house as well. If you have the resources, buy a potted plant or flower for each of your kids (or have them use the ones you have) and teach them how to take care of it.
Pro tip: Make it a competition and reward the child with the healthiest plant at the end of the week. This will encourage and teach your children to take care of and be responsible for their own plant.
Learning STEMs from fun
NASA is offering a list of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) activities for children stuck at home. This includes building your own spacecraft, puzzles about space, launching a foam rocket and more. These activities can be fun for the whole family and you may learn something too! These activities can be found on NASA’s website.
Slowing down your schedule and social distancing for long periods of time can be hard. Keeping you and your children’s bodies and minds healthy today is a major key to staying productive and positive while remaining at home.
Schedule an appointment
Your well-being is important to us. Click the button below or call us to schedule an appointment with one of our orthopedic specialists. If your injury or condition is recent, you can walk right into one of our OrthoIndy Urgent Care locations for immediate care. For rehabilitation and physical therapy, no referral is needed to see one of our physical therapists.