Although we’ve been working from home for a few months now, summer break has finally come around as well! While this likely means an upcoming vacation for your family, it also means that the kids are around all day long. Depending on how old and independent your children are, you may be struggling to keep them busy so that they stay out of your hair while you are working. We’ve got some tips and tricks for you to help manage this period of school-break limbo.
For toddlers and young children, attention spans can range from 15 minutes up to an hour or more. If your children are younger and have a harder time staying busy without direction, it may be best to work close by so that you can direct their playtime. Set up several stations for activities and show them how to use each; this might buy you some more time to get that conference call completed!
We’re not sure exactly what the magic secret is behind these inexpensive stickers, but they will captivate children for an inordinate amount of time! Buy several packs, since they rip easily, and bust them out when you need some quiet time for getting work done.
Much like window clings, stickers are a beloved pastime of young children everywhere. You can either buy sticker workbooks or simply grab a large pack of garage sale dots. Grab some sheets of white paper, markers, and maybe some stencils and let your kids have fun!
There’s something special about being able to wipe up your drawing immediately after finishing it. This activity will keep toddlers and infants engaged for a long time; pick up a pack of colorful dry erase markers and let them doodle all over a handheld mirror, or purchase a dry erase board that can be laid onto the floor. Provide different objects to wipe the board so that they can experiment with different textures.
Though this might take a little bit more preparation, the end result will be hours of fun, we guarantee it. Felt has a unique texture and pliability that young hands love – and it sticks together without flying around. Prepare a felt board by wrapping cardboard or plywood in a large swatch of neutral felt. You can cut out any number of shapes, foods, animals, people, and clothes for your kids to mix up and match! Ask them to tell a story with the objects you’ve provided!
When you’re stuck at home with older children, they can often entertain themselves; however, there will likely be an odd day or two when it’s raining or their friends aren’t home. When these days roll around, it can be extremely helpful to have a few tricks up your sleeve. Here are some ideas to help you create a secret stash of fun activities to keep your kids busy during that all-important meeting.
Boxes and Craft Supplies
If there’s one thing in life that can become nearly anything, it has to be the infamous cardboard box. The larger the better, cardboard boxes can be crafted into spaceships, castles, boats, astronaut helmets, and many more items from your kids’ imaginations. The possibilities are endless, as long as you’ve got a good base. Plus, if you’re like the millions of Americans right now, you’ve probably spent your pocket change on online orders galore – don’t throw away those boxes! Break them down and save them for a literal rainy day.
Older kids will love planning and putting together something that they can keep to show to you and their friends. Ask them to decide what they will make and perhaps even draw it on paper before introducing them to the materials. Once they are finished making their creations, set them aside to dry and they can present a show and tell to the whole family!
Looking for a way to explain to the older kids why everyone is at home? This creative experiment can show the incredible spread of viruses and the importance of washing our hands.
Flour on a Balloon
First, air-blow up a balloon. This activity is best done outside, as it will make a considerable mess. Coat the dry balloon in a bowl of flour or powdered sugar. Have your kids bounce the balloon to each other, making note of all the particles that are flying off the balloon. Feel free to explain that this is how some diseases are spread (through the air and from surfaces), and let your kids continue to dunk the balloon and bounce it around the yard!
Also best done outside, gather your supply of glitter and some cooking spray. Spray the kids’ hands with cooking oil, then ask them to dip their hands into the glitter. If you are outside, turn on the spigot and ask them to try to clean all of the glitter particles off with just water. They’ll find that it is extremely difficult to do so, after which point you can offer them soap – this, of course, will clean their hands much more easily. You can make an analogy to viral particles and bacteria if you’d like, or you can simply let them have fun with glitter; it’s entirely up to you!