One of the biggest reason’s I love to travel with my family is the quality time we get to spend together with out all the distractions and responsibilities of life. If my family ends up being quarantined I can say that the one good thing that will come out of it is quality time together. Yes there’s house work to be done but there wouldn’t be as much hustle and bustle and we can spend more time focused on each other.
While we haven’t faced quarantine yet I am a planner and have been preparing for the what if scenarios. Of course I have a huge list of things I can do including de-cluttering every closet in the house but I know the kids will get stir crazy if I don’t have a plan. Here’s some of the ideas I have been putting together in case my family is quarantined at home.
With the insurgence of demand in internet service provides I expect there could be slowdown if not worse. Keep this in mind when preparing so you don’t rely completely on internet resources that may not be available.
Have a Routine
Whether we are home or on vacation our kids love a routine. They love knowing what to expect and are happy to do similar things each day as long is there’s enough variety. One of the summer camps they went to broke the day up into essential minute blocks. Every day they would do the same type of activity at the same time for 30 minutes. Think: math, art, music etc. Also break up your day so you don’t feel so overwhelmed. If there’s 2 adults at home give each other break time where you go hide away in your office or bedroom and just get a break from responsibilities.
Also if you school provides you resources or you happen to know your kids routine schedule at school that may work as a foundation to planning your days while in quarantine.
Having theme days can help make routines more exciting. If you are doing a gardening day you can read all about seeds, use the seeds for math that day, plant the seeds. use seeds or other plan material for an art project. Themes can also be a color. If it’s orange day have them create a picture usually only different variations of orange. Maybe the food they eat are mostly orange.
If you can, keep your morning routine. it will make it easier to go back to school. It will feel familiar for kids and it might also feel easier for you. Or if its easier to let the kids sleep in let them. Sleep is an important piece of your health.
Art seems pretty easy but changing it daily will help it seem more exciting. Mondays can be clay (or playdoh), Tuesday drawing, Wednesday painting, Thursday could be squiggle (make a random squiggle on the paper and they turn it into a drawing), coloring on Fridays. You can also change up the art supplies pick 3 items such as pipe cleaners, colored, puff balls, acorns, or Popsicle and have them create art with those items. limiting their options and changing up the combos each day makes the activity feel a bit different. You can pick up Art supplies at Dollar Tree for Cheap and amazon also sells kits with a varity of items in one kit.
We are lucky that our school district uses I-Ready so there is a computer application our kids can use to practice math. There’s lots of math apps that are fun for kids or online printable you can do. You can also use some of the art supplies to sit and practice additional subtraction multiplication and so on. Use play dough to do division.
Snack is a regular part of the kids days. It will help keep their energy and mood up.
There’s many options for science. If you can go outside, explore your back yard. I noticed tracks in the sand circle where our pop up pool usually sits and we were discussing what the tracks might be but we never looked it up. Can you find any insects or plants to discover. Can you learn about space. We happen to have loads of science kits at home but 5 and below, Walmart and amazon sell some kids STEM kits that are great for kids to learn about electricity magnetism and more. If you have a microscope kids can grab all sorts of things from inside and outside the house to look at and compare.
Head to the library and stock up on books. We are lucky our library never seems to limit what we take out and we have often had over 30 books at home at one time. Our son is now into chapter books which is great as he can spend a fair amount of time reading independently now. If you need downtime for beginning readers consider some read along books where you can play the cd while they follow along in the book. Check your local library for other items they may loan out. Our library offers Nintendo DS, Movies, American girl dolls, board games and more. You can also check your library to see what on-line resources they offer.
The nice thing about lunch at home is that kids have more time. Often kids are rushed and may not eat as much .
Recess, Outdoor Play or Exercise
If you can get your kids outside get them out. Here in the northeast USA it’s still pretty cold in the morning but afternoons warm up. I will keep them outside for as long as I can. I am setting up the swing sets the basketball hoop, and all the outdoor play items we have. My daughter really likes baseball right now so that is a top choice but don’t forget to change it up. kick ball, dodge ball, soccer. you can make an obstacle course with random items for kids to hop skip and jump over and around.
We are lucky enough to have a handful of musical instruments at home. We have a keyboard with microphone, electric drum set, ukuleles and a guitar that the kids like to play with. Currently our daughter is really into trying to play the guitar. We were also planning to order African drums but our kids have voted to get kid sized acoustic guitars instead. We are also lucky that our public library is an amazing resource and offers instruments to check out for free.
We received a song book from my mother inlaw. it has sitckers with the notes on it that you can add to the keyboard. It makes it easier for younger kids to play music and learn new songs.
I love how much my kids enjoy music but there’s times where if the weather is nice enough I would send them outside to practice.
6. Project Based Learning
Project based learning is essentially giving children a problem and some “tools” and they need to solve the problem. I have been meaning to pick up some books for ideas. But a few of the projects my son has worked on include:
- Sponge Boat- give the kids a sponge and they have to build a boat that can float. include supplies like foil, wax paper, pipe cleaner, regular paper etc. you can throw in whatever items you want. Ive also seen this activity done with only foil. then you take rocks and add it to the boat and see how many it can hold before it sinks.
- marble maze with cardboard. If you order on-line keep your boxes they can become great projects and any scrap cardboard can be used to build a marble maze.
It’s still too cold where I am but we can definitely start some seeds inside. you can also pick up books relating to gardening to help go along with the theme.
Not physically but mentally. Look through photos. Maybe make collages or scrap books of your travel- it could even be your art project that day. Start planning your next trip with their input.
Prepare your travel bags. I always say we should have our toiletries and other travel items packed and ready for our next adventure. If you are like me and you don’t have anything organized now’s your chance. Get the kids involved.
Duplo and Lego’s are great for entertaining kids for longer periods of time. We have been ordering our daughter the knock off versions from Ali or amazon and while they do not come in numbered bags, they are sorted by color instead which we are finding to work for her well. Our son has one of easier version the Lego robots and enjoys programming it.
Cooking is a great activity and you may even get some help out of it. Our kids love to cook and can do it safely because we purchased cutting gloves and kids knives from Amazon. kids can spend time cutting the veggies I need for any recipe I am making. But you can also bake or even just make pudding.
Put the kids to work. Get them to help declutter by letting go of unused things. have them help clean. Its a challenge to get my kids to pick up but give them a sponge and they will spend a good 30-60minutes wiping down walls and cabinets.
Free Play vs Technology Time
Our kids often will say they are board or don’t know what to do and on those days we are exhausted from a long day at work we sometimes settle for some ipad or computer time. But if we don’t if the kids learn to not expect it they tend to figure things out and free play well.
Another trick is to send your kids to their rooms to “clean them” I swear my kids play the best together when they are supposed to be cleaning their room. I often get get 1-2 hours with out fighting.
Check back for more ideas as I continue to update the list.