Fun Activities to Do with Kids during the Virus Shutdown of 2020

The coronavirus has completely interrupted the normalcy of our lives. While eLearning started last week and occupies a significant amount of time, families still have lots of unstructured time to fill throughout the day. It can be difficult to think of things to do, especially when you can’t even leave your house. We have compiled a list of fun activities that you may not have known about or thought of. Some of these can be done online, but others are interactive and meant for families to do together. Let us know if you think of more! Show us your activities by tweeting to us @schoolpsychws. Use #wspsychs and #wsfcslearnon. We would love to add your ideas to this list!

Cultural Enrichment:

  • Google has compiled an extensive list of museums offering online galleries. Examples include the MET, MoMA, and Musee d’Orsay in Paris, just to name a few. You can find this list at Google Arts and Culture
  • Check out Star Trek’s Patrick Stewart reading Shakespeare online each day: Comicbook

Art:

  • Author and illustrator Jarrett J. Krosocka (aka JJK) is offering daily lessons which give young people practical tools to tell stories using pictures and words. He does this every weekday at 2 p.m. EST. Visit Draw Every Day with JJK
  • Baking Soda Art- You will need: a container or tray, baking soda, vinegar, food coloring, and medicine dropper or straws. Lay down a layer of baking soda in the container. Pour vinegar into different cups and add different colors to each cup. Have your child create art by decorating the baking soda with the colorful vinegars (using medicine droppers or straws- for straws, have your child stick the end of the straw into vinegar then plug the other end with a finger). Great activity for fine motor skills and it is fun!
  • Face Hunt- Find 5 objects around the house and make a face using those objects. Make a different face using the same objects. Find new objects and make new faces. The adult can add social-emotional learning to this activity by naming an emotion and having the student make a face with a matching emotion.
  • Natural Faces- You will need: a piece of paper with a large face drawn on it (leave the clothes and hair blank). Go for a nature walk and collect items that can be used to create details on the picture (example: leaves for hair, flowers for clothes, rocks for earring, etc.). When you have finished collecting, attach these things to the picture. You may choose to secure them using glue OR rearrange them to make different images.
  • Art for Kids Hub has lots of great art lessons for kids. They even have weekly challenges to stretch your child’s creativity.

Physical Activity:

  • Joe Wicks, aka The Body Coach, is offering daily P.E. classes on his YouTube Channel. Visit The Body Coach   The Body Coach
  • GoNoodle is a great resource for families. Their website has lots of movement and mindfulness videos developed just for kids. To learn more about their offerings, visit GoNoodle
  • How about Bingo? This would be a fun family activity:

  • Here are some ideas that might be fun for kids who are missing out on spring sports:

Science:

  • Mystery Science is providing some of their most popular K-5 science lessons for free, no account or log in needed. For example, there are lessons about weather, animals, engineering, and very timely ones about germs. Visit Mystery Science
  • The San Diego Zoo has an informative and interactive website just for kids. They have all kinds of activities from art to reading to games. Visit San Diego Zoo
  • Take a virtual field trip to Yellowstone National Park! Visit Yellowstone National Park
  • Want to learn more about nature? Here are the best nature webcams from We Are Teachers
  • Missing out on this year’s science project? Mommy Poppins has a list of 63 science experiments you can do at home using household items.
  • These activities can be both science and art. Go for a walk and create “natural jewelry”. You can make a bracelet using tape (turn sticky part outwards). Then go for an adventure and find flowers, grass, leaves to stick to your tape bracelet. While you are on your nature walk, collect sticks of different shapes and sizes. Create a “Woody Windchime” using the sticks and yarn. Hang it up!

History/Social Studies:

  • Want to visit The Great Wall of China? Take this virtual tour at Great Wall of China
  • Want to visit Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas? You can do that from home with this virtual tour that tells you the history of it and introduces you to some “amazing Boeing employees who are preparing to write the next chapter of space history with the launch of the Starliner/CST-100 spacecraft and the deployment of the Space Launch System (SLS).”  Visit Johnson Space Station-Boeing
  • We are in the midst of a historical event like we have never experienced before. Explore ways to help your student document this moment in history. One idea might be keeping a daily journal. If done online, your child could even attach visual reminders, such as pictures of empty parking lots or temporary closure signs. You could even consider compiling everything into a scrapbook to be printed. It would be an interesting keepsake to look back at with their own children one day.

Music:

  • Another great resource from NPR: “NPR Music is compiling a list of live audio and video streams from around the world, categorized by date and genre, with links out to streaming platforms such as Facebook, Instagram and YouTube. Some will require registration or a subscription, but most will be free, often with digital tip jars and opportunities to directly support artists by buying music and merchandise.” Visit NPR Music
  • The Metropolitan Opera Each opera will be streaming live operas each day that are available on the  Met’s website at 7:30 p.m. EST and will remain available to stream until 3:30 p.m. EST the next day.
  • This website has great resources for kids missing their music teachers! Visit Classics for Kids

Brain Breaks:

  • In an earlier link for physical activity, we shared about Joe Wicks, The Body Coach, and his daily P.E. classes. He also offers “5 Minute Move” videos for kids. These are a perfect way to get up and give brains a break during long online school days. Visit 5 Minute Move for Kids
  • Lemon Lime Adventures Lemon Lime Adventures has compiled a great list of activities for sensory breaks and why they are so important for children. To see these ideas, visit Sensory Break Ideas
  • The folks at Minds in Bloom have a list of 20 brain break activities. A few of them might be difficult to do without a class, but most can be adapted for family use. Visit Minds in Bloom

Social Emotional Learning (SEL):

  • This school psychologist does weekly (sometimes daily) SEL lessons using music. Check out his YouTube channel: SEL Lessons
  • Check out this google doc for a daily SEL challenge. Great for kids, and even adults! Visit Daily SEL Challenge
  • You are probably familiar with Class Dojo as a way to communicate with your child’s teacher; however, did you know they also offer lots of great videos on SEL topics? Visit Big Ideas Class Dojo
  • The folks over at Everfi are providing families in the Piedmont-Triad region with free SEL resources to use at home. It also has some great career exploration activities geared at STEM, math, science, financial wellness, and much more. If your student doesn’t already have an account, you’ll have to go through a simple process to create one. Visit Everfi

Family Activities:
Being stuck at home can be difficult. I have a friend who has coined it “Forced Family Fun.” In all seriousness, families can take this opportunity to spend quality time together doing things other than school. Here are a few ideas to consider:

  • Family Scavenger Hunt
  • With “Shelter in Place” potentially coming for us, consider getting creative with your family. I found this idea on a friend’s Facebook page. How about making a family chain? One link for each day of the quarantine to record your thoughts and activities. Hopefully the chain won’t get too long, but it will be fun to look back one day and think about your days in isolation.

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