What to do when we need to stay inside?!
Well there are rainy days (literally) and rainy days due to unforeseen circumstances (pandemics, natural disasters etc). Our little ones do not understand it is an emergency situation and seek continuation of their fun little lives! Parents know it is tough but we are ever-evolving to make lemonade when life gives us lemons… So, instead all parents intend to make the time at home, a chance for a beautiful family bonding time. Until they run out of ideas… I’d love to help you with a bottomless ideas list!
Why are rainy days boredom busters important?
Rainy days happen often and sometimes they last unexpectedly long. Many studies have shown that intentional interactions build brain connections (Harvard Study Review Short Video), especially for the littlest ones whose brain completes 85% of its development by age 3! So get your kids active even on a rainy or cloudy day. Here’s a few tricks of how I try to keep my little one entertained at home.
At Home Activities For Developing Skills
Weather it’s a boring rainy or a pretty serious pandemic, kids need constant entertainment. With schools closed because of the coronavirus, kids could be stuck at home for weeks and even months. I am sure you are just as worried as I am about how you could keep your kiddos occupied, while also helping them develop essential skills and avoid missing schoolwork. Scrambling to arrange childcare or trying to work from home can add to the stress. In other words, school closures can be challenging for everyone. To help keep the peace, I have done some preliminary research on various types of learning activities that are simple and fun for you and your kids to try. These activities are free, except certain materials you may need for the crafts.
Need More Ideas? Totally get it! 😉
Check out this fun list of things to do in your backyard or your neighborhoods. You can click on the images and download the guides form there.
Online Educational Programs
In addition to fun games around the house and neighborhoods, it is important to keep up with your STEM and Arts! Below I have outlined many excellent spreadsheet for quarantine, school closures, weekend social distancing and rainy days. However, before I get into specific of the various at home activities you can task your kids to do, it is important to acknowledge the “motivation factor.” Setting goals gives kids something to work toward. But as they move forward, it’s important to help them look back at what they’ve already achieved—including small steps they may not have even realized were accomplishments. This can help them stay motivated and push ahead with confidence. Check out my home schedule and daily chores board linked below.
- Ideas for Quarantine/Social Distancing – download the guide here.
- Cultural and Social Justice Based Curriculum – download the guide here.
- Education Companies Offering Free Subscriptions due to COVID-19 – click here for more info.
- Check out this list of guided learning by education professionals; and an additional resource for more online educational resources arranged by subject.
Exercise for Kids (With a Purpose)
Exercise for kids should be fun. Instead of thinking of it as “working out,” think of it as “exercise play.” Working for UNICEF is the best job I have had and I love many of the programs we provide. Check out more details on exercise for kids with a purpose here. Additionally, I was thinking of a few other fun way you can get your kiddos moving! Here are a few suggestions that they’ll enjoy and benefit from. These activities require no equipment or large outdoor spaces. They can be done in small bursts of 5-10 minutes, or you can string several together for longer playtime. Running is just about the simplest form of exercise there is, and it’s perfect for kids. They love it! Jumping Jacks, stretch arms and legs out to the side like a starfish while jumping; on the second jump, return arms to sides and legs to center on landing. Tuck Jumps, bend knees and lift heels high while jumping. Hurdle Hops, jump side-to-side or front-to-back over pretend hurdle. One-Foot Hops, lift one knee and jump on standing leg; alternate (this is a great balance challenge too!). Criss-Cross Feet, jump straight up, then cross one foot in front of the other; on next jump, switch feet and continue. Rope skipping is a simple and effective morning exercise that can enhance physical fitness and improve agility and stamina in children. It also relieves stress and improves blood circulation. And one of my personal favorites, how about some yoga with cartoons – check it out. Totally recommend it!
Easy & Intelligent Crafts
Between the ages of 2-3 kids begin to pay attention to print, color and shapes. They also begin to distinguish between drawing and writing and start to scribble on paper. By their 3rd and 4th birthdays, can match and sort things that are alike and unalike, recognize and print and can “write,” or scribble messages. By the time they reach 5 years old, they can recognize and write the numerals 1-10, recognize shapes such as circles, squares, rectangles and triangles and can write some letters. Helping your kids learn the fun way also means less stress and pressure around learning. Here’s a list with easy crafts for 40 days! “Creativity by Day, Continuous Play.” Click on CraftADay to print a PDF with more specific games. You can click here to download the images for each craft day. I also love following busytoddler on Instagram, she has great ideas!
The next time your kids say “I’m bored,” I would recommend: scavenger hunt! Sometimes you just need a quick activity you can print out to get the kids moving, learning, and having fun, and scavenger hunts always a great idea! Click on each image to view in full or download a PDF copy here.
Keep it Organized – Fun TO DO Lists & Home Schedule
Organizational skills don’t always come naturally, so we have to become our children’s organization coaches. This means that we need to help them practice skills on a regular basis, and encourage them to stick with the systems we create together. I would recommend that you use a weekly calendar to help your kiddos learn the days of the week, as well as the concepts of yesterday, tomorrow, and so on. A monthly calendar is usually seen as information overload; therefore, a daily or weekly view is easier to grasp and can still be used to teach the concept of time management. Click on the images below to see a few of my favorite ways to stay organized! You can find more detailed schedules here!
Expressing Emotions & Coping Activities
Giving our kids a solid foundation for emotional and mental health is so important. Kids don’t know how to care for their emotional health any more than they know how to care for their physical health. Therefore, it is up to us to teach them, specially during difficult times like COVID-19. Part of that comes with giving them the vocabulary. This activity is excellent for expressing emotions and coping with many life events. Click here to download a PDF of the emotional activity workbook.
Learning the ABCs and 123s
Learning the ABCs and 123s can be a fun time! Some of the coolest activities I have come access are the following: ABC Water Balloon Hunt – Label water balloons with the letters of the alphabet. See if kids can find them all without breaking them. Car Ride Letter Hunt – Find the letters of the alphabet on road signs and license plates. Use a checklist or go in ABC order for more of a challenge. Grocery Store Letter Hunt – Find the letters of the alphabet on foods and signs in the grocery store. Use a checklist or go in ABC order for more of a challenge. Another fun idea is to learn by coloring fun workbooks. This is a creative and fun activity for any kid 3 or above. Click on each letter to see the full image (print) or download a printable PDF here!
Coloring ABCs, Shapes & 123s
Learning the letters of the alphabet takes lots of hands-on practice. These activities are some of my favorite way to have preschoolers learn the alphabet, various shapes and numbers. Download this packet – learning for toddlers and help your kiddos get ahead! This learning package is intended between the ages of 3 – 7.
Home and bored? Storyline Online is a FREE children’s literacy resource featuring the world’s best storytellers reading books aloud. Each video includes an activity guide with lessons for K-5 students to do at home. Check out Storyline Online. Another favorite storytime of mine is savewithstories – check it out!
Virtual Museum Tours From Around The World
- Here is the top 13 museums that are offering online tours and exhibits.
- British Museum, London: This iconic museum located in the heart of London allows virtual visitors to tour the Great Court and discover the ancient Rosetta Stone and Egyptian mummies. You can also find hundreds of artifacts on the museum’s virtual tour.
- Guggenheim Museum, New York: Google’s Street View feature lets visitors tour the Guggenheim’s famous spiral staircase without ever leaving home. From there, you can discover incredible works of art from the Impressionist, Post-Impressionist, Modern and Contemporary eras.
- National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.: This famous American art museum features two online exhibits through Google. The first is an exhibit of American fashion from 1740 to 1895, including many renderings of clothes from the colonial and Revolutionary eras. The second is a collection of works from Dutch Baroque painter Johannes Vermeer.
- Musée d’Orsay, Paris: You can virtually walk through this popular gallery that houses dozens of famous works from French artists who worked and lived between 1848 and 1914. Get a peek at artworks from Monet, Cézanne, and Gauguin, among others.
- National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Seoul: One of Korea’s popular museums can be accessed from anywhere around the world. Google’s virtual tour takes you through six floors of Contemporary art from Korea and all over the globe.
- Pergamon Museum, Berlin: As one of Germany’s largest museums, Pergamon has a lot to offer – even if you can’t physically be there. This historical museum is home to plenty of ancient artifacts including the Ishtar Gate of Babylon and, of course, the Pergamon Altar.
- Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam: Explore the masterworks from the Dutch Golden Age, including works from Vermeer and Rembrandt. Google offers a Street View tour of this iconic museum, so you can feel as if you’re actually wandering its halls.
- Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam: Anyone who is a fan of this tragic, ingenious painter can see his works up close (or, almost up close) by virtually visiting this museum – the largest collection of artworks by Vincent van Gogh, including over 200 paintings, 500 drawings, and over 750 personal letters.
- The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles: European artworks from as far back as the 8th Century can be found in this California art museum. Take a Street View tour to discover a huge collection of paintings, drawings, sculptures, manuscripts, and photographs.
- Uffizi Gallery, Florence: This less well-known gallery houses the art collection of one of Florence, Italy’s most famous families, the de’Medicis. The building was designed by Giorgio Vasari in 1560 specifically for Cosimo I de’Medici, but anyone can wander its halls from anywhere in the world.
- MASP, São Paulo: The Museum de Arte de São Paulo is a non-profit and Brazil’s first modern museum. Artworks placed on clear perspex frames make it seem like the artwork is hovering in midair. Take a virtual tour to experience the wondrous display for yourself.
- National Museum of Anthropology, Mexico City: Built in 1964, this museum is dedicated to the archaeology and history of Mexico’s pre-Hispanic heritage. There are 23 exhibit rooms filled with ancient artifacts, including some from the Mayan civilization.
Sadly, not all popular art museums and galleries could be included on Google Arts & Culture’s collection, but some museums are taking it upon themselves to offer online visits. According to Fast Company, the Louvre also offers virtual tours on its website.
To see more of Google Arts & Culture’s collection of museums, visit the collection’s website. There are thousands of museum Street Views on Google as well. Google Arts & Culture also has an online experience for exploring famous historic and cultural heritage sites. If you are looking for more virtual museum tours, you can check out these 500+ museums and galleries across the globe.
COVID-19 Resources for Kids (Serious)
Many US-based organizations that are providing free resources for children and families as we navigate this new and challenging time. The resources posted here also reflect the work of our international counterparts—governments who are prioritizing young people as active participants in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic, as well as resources developed and shared for youth, by youth. Here’s a link to many other groups of organizations and governments providing real-time updates for kids.
Hope & Cheer