15 Apr Stay at Home Activities
Families all over the world are adjusting to life in isolation during the COVID Pandemic. With many parents now working from home there is a big shift in thinking about how we are spending our time and supporting our little ones to continue learning and growing.
There has been a plethora of activities being shared on social media with so many creative, inspiring and fun ways to engage with our kids. We’ve put together a summary of some of the activities we have been sharing with our families and using at home with our own little ones.
Scroll down the page to download the FREE Stay at Home Activities printout to pop on your fridge so you have a quick go to for those “I’m bored” moments.
Stay at home activities to do with your kids
The internet is brimming with scavenger hunt printables which are great for rainy days, backyard fun or neighbourhood walks. When looking for scavenger hunts try to look for ones that extend on your child’s goals such as colours, describing words or categories. Check out these ones on TPT and Pinterest.
Here is one we have been loving at home that’s great for the backyard or a neighbourhood walk.
Getting out of the house is a MUST to prevent cabin fever! Even if it’s just around the block. There are lots of creative ways to keep your kids motivated during the walk and learning along the way. Here are a few of my favourites:
- Teddy spotting; this is a lovely community gesture that is lifting the spirits of children all over the world. Are there teddy’s in your neighbours windows?
- Nature collections; Can you spot something interesting? Think, mushrooms, moss, bark, different shaped leaves, flowers, gum nuts, seed pods. Finding and talking about these natural wonders can build your child’s vocabulary and understanding of concepts such as living and non-living.
- Creature searching; Can you spot any animals? birds? insects? Take along some binoculars or magnifying glass. When you find something chat about what it’s called, what it eats, how it grows, where it lives….
- Garden gnome counting; Can you see any garden gnomes or statues? See how many you can count during your walk.
- Letterbox numbers; Learn how to identify numbers, count in twos, sequence.
- Directions; Can your child remember the way? Can they follow directions to turn left or right? Do they understand concepts such as around the corner?
- Road safety rules; Practise and talk about crossing the road, checking both ways, what to do at traffic lights, how to find their way home.
- Bring a tool; Bring binoculars, magnifying glass, a compass or an old camera to keep it interesting
Send Snail Mail
Social distancing and isolation can be tough. Stay connected with loved ones and send a bit of joy to your family and friends with good old fashioned snail mail. This is a great opportunity to share some of your child’s art and craft or help them with some writing tasks.
Help your child learn to write their name or the names of their family and friends. Older children can learn narrative skills and practise sentence formation while connecting with family in a meaningful way. You might find your child is far more motivated to participate in literacy tasks when they have a real purpose and meaning. Some other fun ideas; mail a hug, send an artwork, dry and press some flowers to send.
There are so many online videos and live streams on social media and websites that are super educational and engaging for kids. You can use these as an activity to start conversations with your kids, encourage questioning and curiosity.
Some of our favourite online video tours and live streams are:
- Zoos and Aquariums
- Australian Reptile Park
- Art classes such as Maitland Art Gallery
- Disneyland virtual tour
Spending a lot of time at home can be quite sedentary. Kids are so active and have heaps of energy to burn. It can be especially effective to have kids burn off some energy in the morning or before sitting to do schoolwork or therapy tasks.
You could try:
- An indoor or outdoor obstacle course
- Having a dance off in your lounge room
- Yoga; Cosmic Yoga is one of our favs
- Work Out together
There are tons of FREE online printable’s that you can access to print games such as bingo, card games, educational board games and activity sheets.
Twinkle which has thousands of downloadable activities, search by age, grade or goal
Teachers Pay Teachers is another great resource
Pinterest is another favourite
I know craft can be messy and requires a bit more planning and organisation to have the materials ready but there are so many benefits. Craft activities promote creativity, problem solving and naturally integrate so many language concepts. We all have extra recyclables laying around the house so put these to good use, think toilet paper rolls, empty milk cartons, egg cartons, cardboard boxes, bubble wrap… I find the most practical way to find craft ideas is google the items I have to use such as “egg carton craft.” If you don’t have the time to organise a craft activity just leave out a bunch of materials and see what your child creates with their imagination.
We all need some time out from our kids right?! Whether you are working from home all day and have a meeting/ task that requires your 100% focus OR you just need a minute to yourself try Quiet Time. This is great for kids who are too old for rest time. Set up your child in their room with some quiet independent activities. Be sure to use a timer as this will increase the likelihood your child will remain engaged in their independent tasks without calling out or leaving their room. We use a time timer (app or physical clock) for 30-40mins. Use a visual timer such as a sand timer for young kids rather than a countdown timer.
Some ideas for quiet time activities:
- Podcasts; we love ABC Kids Listen, Imagine This, Cool Facts About Animals, Earth Rangers, Aaron’s World, Sesame Street
- Book reading
- Colouring in
Old fashioned Fun
What are some of your childhood memories of playing games?
How about teaching your child some of these classics:
- Break out the sidewalk chalk – hopscotch, drawing, write some driveway messages or create some art.
- Noughts and Crosses
- Dots and Boxes
Download our Activity Ideas Handout for your Fridge so it’s ready next time you hear “I’m bored”
Tips to Stay Sane
Staying at home with kids can be a challenge.
Here are some of our tips to help your day go smoothly.
Have a Routine
Even if you’re home all day you can setup a routines to help bring some structure and predictability to your day. Even just a morning walk is a nice routine.
Try not to put too much pressure on yourself. Kids learn best when we follow their interests and build on their natural curiosity. Are they asking you some curly questions? Spend some time to delve into the answers by googling, watching you tube demos and doing some hands on learning. For example my son recently asked “what is inside a tyre?” which was a great topic to explore together. This one questions resulted in looking up you tube videos, conducting experiments with his bike tyres and learning about air and pressure.
Make a Plan for the Day
Even if you are spending the day at home you can make a plan for some of the activities you will do together. Kids love to be involved in the planning process and will be more cooperative with getting their chores done in order to move onto their chosen activities. Showing kids when they can have play time with their parent can make a big difference to reducing attention seeking behaviours. We use the Calm Home Visual Schedule to help plan our day which includes chores, play, routines and places. Purchase your ready made visual schedules here.
This is a game changer if you are working from home and need some uninterrupted time for a zoom meeting. You can also use timers for quiet time or screen time limits. For more tips on using timers check out our blog 5 Tips for Timers
Connect with Others
Social Distancing doesn’t mean you need to cut off from others. Connecting with family and friends has never been more important. Get creative and use the amazing technology we have at our fingertips such as online facebook groups, zoom catch ups, Facetime/Video calls.
Want more activity ideas?
Our team of experience speech pathologists are just a call away. We are working via Telehealth and supporting families with customised take home activity programs. Get in touch CONTACT US