Much like all of you, our South Carolina schools have been cancelled through the end of March, then we have spring break the first full week of April. So who knows how long we truly will be out of school and how long the CDC will decide we need to practice social distancing. To say the least, it’s going to be a while at home.
My children are only 2 and 3, so while I won’t be implementing a full “home schooling” schedule like I’ve seen floating around social media, I still will try to keep them occupied with educational, yet fun, activities throughout the day. Thought I’d share a roundup of ideas that I’ve seen circulating around + a roundup of toys that I think are perfect for young children!
Scholastic is giving free daily courses during school closures, which provides up to three hours of content each day and can be completed on any device. They have a “Learn From Home” website with four categories: PreK and Kindergarten, Grades 1 and 2, Grades 3 to 5, and Grades 6+. Each section is already equipped with one week of content for students, with 15 additional days on the way. Each day of content is filled with exciting articles and stories, videos, and fun learning challenges. The students can even go on virtual field trips or meet best-selling authors.
Hang a really fun swing in your yard.
Have fun with educational books and coloring books! I linked some of our favorites in this blog post.
Make a giant fort in the living room using all the pillows and blankets. Then snuggle up and watch movies! Disney+ has released Frozen 2 a few months early, just as a surprise treat due to all of these closures.
TOYS. PUZZLES. LEGOS. POP UP PLAY FORTS. I have tons of toys and activities like this linked in my amazon storefront. There’s a section called “baby/toddler gifts,” but really, I’d say it would be fitting for children up to 6+. This is basically a thoughtful running list I keep for when I need ideas for my kids. Everything has really great reviews—not just a random list that was quickly pulled together!
Check out animal webcams at zoos! How fun for the kids? Here are links to zoos that have this kind of virtual access to see the animals:
- San Diego Zoo
- Zoo Atlanta Panda Cam
- Smithsonian’s National Zoo
- Reid Park Zoo Lion Cam in Tuscon, AZ
- Ouwehand Park Polar Bear Cubs Rhenen, Netherland
Declutter the house! Starting with the play room and kids’ rooms. Make it a project you all do together!
If you want to adopt a good learning schedule to get on a routine, this is a great one:
Stock up on arts & crafts supplies—there are tons linked here! The color wonder kits are so great because they keep everything else from being messy. This one in particular is convenient because it’s an art desk for kids! There are also fun things like kinetic sand—this one comes with 2 pounds of sand! Necklace activity sets… and then there’s our personal favorite, play doh. You can get every color under the sun for $25 in this set. And rainbow dot markers are so fun! Also, you can go ahead and get a start on your egg decorating with this fun kit.
These 12 Famous Museums are offering virtual tours that you can take from your couch, among hundreds of other museums and galleries. This includes the British Museum in London, the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam, the Guggenheim in New York City, and literally hundreds of more places where you can gain knowledge about art, history, and science. This is especially good for older students who are looking for ways to stay on top of their studies while schools are closed.
Write letters to nursing home residents since they can’t have visitors right now. Just call your local nursing home to ask for the best mailing address, or check online! For that matter, have your children write letters or draw pictures to elderly relatives that you don’t see often. This would definitely brighten their day—on both ends.
- Monterey Bay Aquarium
- Georgia Aquarium
- National Aquarium Virtual Tour
- Virtual Tour of the Seattle Aquarium
Go outside and play in the yard. You can still social distance while outside playing. Plant flowers, have the kids help you clean the yard, play with sidewalk chalk, have a picnic, learn somersaults and cartwheels, lay in a hammock or on a blanket and feel the sunshine.
Take advantage of the free educational websites. Here’s a list!
Pull out all the toys and treats you’ve been hoarding for Easter or a future birthday and let the kids enjoy it now. Oh wait, just me? haha!
Break for exercise. There are great children exercise videos on YouTube, like this one where kids pretend to different animals! Or, go outside and run around the yard for a few minutes or play a quick game with the kids. It doesn’t matter what you do as long as you do something to burn off some energy. Everyone will feel refreshed afterwards!
Travel the world. Without leaving your home! (Thank you for the ideas, Adventures in Familyhood!)
- Google Maps street view will allow you to visit almost any destination around the world. Check out this view from Pompei.
- Visit the Great Wall of China
- Virtually discover Yellowstone National Park
- Tour England through this 360 video.
- Take a live look at Colonial Williamsburg.
- Go on a virtual field trip to Ellis Island.
I’ll keep this updated as we go! Hang in there, mamas & daddies.