If you’re self-isolating with your kids for the foreseeable future, it’s perfectly rational to feel a little overwhelmed. Sure, there might be some school work to be done, but that’s only going to take a couple of hours each day. And then what?
Don’t worry, if you’re wondering how you’ll keep your kids engaged and entertained — without just turning them over to Netflix all day! — we’ve got some great ideas to get you started.
Educational activities for kids can be fun too, we promise!
Lockdown activities for preschoolers
Unlike older kids, preschool-aged children are going to need near-constant supervision — which can be difficult if you’re trying to work from home also.
These tips and tricks should keep them entertained while you tackle your to-do list.
Kids YouTube shows
Screen time isn’t always a bad thing.
There are plenty of educational videos on YouTube specifically designed for kids under 5. They’re captivating enough to keep your child’s attention while you’re on a video conference call, and you can set up a playlist with a bunch of videos that they’ll enjoy.
Here are some of our favorites:
- Alphablock is a great channel for kids who are learning to read.
- SciShow has excellent science content.
- PBS has loads of videos on a range of topics.
A scavenger hunt is an easy activity to set up in your house and yard. Searching for objects is a great way for your toddler to practice critical thinking, especially if you tell them a clue for each item.
For example: “I make it possible to have fresh food / Everyone agrees I’m one cool dude” is a clue for the fridge. You can find more clue ideas here.
Lockdown activities for elementary school kids
Elementary school kids can mostly be trusted on their own, but they’ll still need a little guidance. Fortunately, there are loads of great online resources to keep their hands and brains busy while in lockdown.
DIY home experiments are the best way to make learning fun, especially if you can tie it to a topic you know they’re learning at school. There are plenty of experiments you can do with household items: making ice cream without a freezer or making a projector with a magnifying glass and shoe box.
Best of all, many of them are straightforward enough that your kids can do them on their own. Here’s four of the best — technically, these are for middle schoolers but with a little adult supervision to start, your kid will totally get the hang on it.
Each day, have a look at what schoolwork your kid’s been assigned. Chances are it won’t take more than an hour or two, but why not come up with some supplementary activities they can do once they’re done?
There are so many free worksheets and activities to be found online, for every subject imaginable. Check out this 23-page bundle about Marie Curie, complete with games and a find-a-word activity.
Online math games
Cool Math 4 Kids has always been an excellent online resource that makes kids actually enjoy learning math. The games — which hardly feel like lessons at all — can be filtered by topic or age range.
Lockdown activities for middle school kids
Middle schoolers might have a bit more work than their younger siblings, but they’ll still have plenty of downtime to be filled each day. Sure, they’ll want to gravitate toward the computer or TV, but there are plenty of fun educational activities to keep their minds active.
Teach each other
If you’ve got more than one child, why not ask them to step into the role of the teacher? Each child can compile a lesson on anything they want, like an interesting thing they’ve learned at school or a favorite hobby. They can even make a presentation and come up with activities that everyone can do.
You can use this worksheet database as a jumping-off point to give them ideas about how to plan a lesson and craft a worksheet.
Why not start a book club in your household? Find a book or short story collection that you know your middle schooler will enjoy (here’s a great list of books recommended by teachers). After each chapter, discuss what’s going on. Encourage your child to think critically about the plot, characters, and writing style. At the end of the book, ask them to write a letter from the point of view of the main character or post a book review online.
Record a podcast
Pineapple Studios has made a call for all kids stuck at home to create a short podcast episode and send it to them. You don’t need any fancy equipment — just a phone or computer. Check out their website for examples and instructions on how to do it all.
Code like a pro
We all know that kids love their apps and games, so why not get them stuck in and building their own? It’s a fantastic way to get them thinking like coders and engaging their planning, problem-solving and creative skills. Udemy offers a range of coding courses for kids that are really accessible and fun. Some are free, while others cost just a few dollars. You can even get your elementary or high school kids in on the action, too!
Lockdown activities for high school kids
The hardest part of keeping high school kids on track during the coronavirus lockdown will be keeping them away from their phones. They might want to scroll through TikTok all day, but if you find some educational tasks that are actually fun, it’ll be easier to keep their attention.
Whether they’re learning a language at school or not, Duolingo is a great resource your teen will quickly get addicted to. It’s an app that’s built like a game, designed to teach 15 different languages. They can start from absolute beginner or use it to help practice a language they’re already learning. The gameplay encourages them to complete lessons to earn rewards and keep coming back for more.
Right now, in the midst of an unprecedented global event, it is an excellent time to start keeping a journal. Encourage your teen to write daily, whether it’s a stream of consciousness or a more structured narrative.
The New York Times has free daily writing prompts for high school students that aim to help them think and write critically.
Keep resources on-hand
No matter how much you plan, there’ll always be those afternoons where something goes awry and you need a quick activity to occupy your kids.
A KidsKonnect membership will give you access to all of our worksheets and lesson plans, which cover every topic imaginable and are suitable for all age levels. Try it for free and see what a lifesaver these resources can be!
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