Welcome to Elephant Notes . . . our periodic take on some of the ideas, issues, and news impacting parents, children, and reading.
With so many kids spending more time at home for their (and our) well being, it’s important to find activities to entertain and engage them. With this in mind, we’ve compiled a list of fifteen activities you can do at home to pass the time. Some are old favorites while others may provide unique and unusual new suggestions.
1. Take a Virtual Field Trip
Explore a museum from the comfort of your own living room! Many museums around the world have virtual tours of their exhibits that you and your child can walk through. The Guggenheim, Van Gogh Museum, Houston Zoo, and Boston Children’s Museum all offer these tours on their websites.
2. Have an Indoor (or Outdoor) Picnic
Depending on where you live, taking a nice walk to the park or finding a lovely spot of grass is a great way to get out of the house and get the kids moving. If parks near you are crowded or inaccessible, take your picnic inside! Set up a picnic blanket, gather all your goodies in a basket, dress up, and pretend you are lounging on the beach, in the forest, by a lake, or in your favorite nature spot.
3. Make a Fort
Make a special place to cozy up in your house. Gather all your blankets and pillow and build a fun structure to read, nap, or just hang out in. You can even challenge your children to make the tallest fort they can or the widest. Encourage them to be creative and build imaginatively.
4. Make an Obstacle Course
Get the kids moving (safely) inside with an obstacle course. Use couches, chairs, trashcans, stuffed animals, and anything else you can find to create a maze in your house. Help your child build it and encourage them to race through it. You could even get them to have toy cars or stuffed animals race through the obstacle course to see who is fastest.
5. Have a Dance Party
Another great way to get moving is to have a dance party. Put on your kids’ favorite songs and have them dance along! You can also play “freeze dance,” where you dance while the music is playing and freeze when it stops. The best part is, dancing never gets old.
6. Put on a Fashion Show
Bust out the red carpet and have your child show off their style. Have them put different outfits together from their closet or yours and strut their stuff. You could even decorate your own red carpet and take paparazzi pictures.
7. Play Indoor Hide and Seek
Take the great game of Hide and Seek indoors! See if you and your child can find some creative places to hide in your home. This game has enough movement to get your child’s energy out and is great for smaller living spaces where you might not be able to run or move around safely.
8. Do Yoga or Meditate
Yoga and meditation are another great way to get active and burn off some energy, even in a small space. In fact, it can help calm some children down who might be getting restless inside. These practices encourage children to slow down, be more mindful about how they are moving their bodies, and to get some of this energy out. There are many great videos on youtube–just search “yoga for children”!
9. Play a Board Game or Do a Puzzle
Get those brain juices flowing with a board game or puzzle. Both of these pastimes are great for developing fine motor skills and critical thinking. So bust out that old Candy Land board and sit down with some great snacks, all while doing some great at-home learning.
10. Play Matching Games
If you don’t have any board games laying around, this is a great alternative! Grab a few objects around the house that you have more than one of. This could be as simple as office supplies (pencils, pens, Post-It notes, paper clips, erasers) or as creative as blocks, Legos, snacks/candy. Whatever you chose, place these things in a pile and have your child match them in pairs, either by shape or by color. If they are old enough, you might also make this into a counting game, in which they count how many of each object there are.
11. Make Decorations for an Upcoming Holiday
Get crafty and have your children make some decorations for an upcoming holiday your family celebrates. Easter is coming up, so you might have them make paper eggs. Fourth of July is around the corner too, so they could make their very own flags. Get creative and make something truly special for your next holiday celebration. It’ll get your children excited and give them something to look forward to.
12. Write Letters for Family Members
Put a smile on your family members’ faces by writing them good, old-fashioned letters. Encourage your kids to think of a nice message and write it if they can. Also have them draw something or make something little to include in the envelope. Especially in hard times, it’s nice to do what we can to make peoples’ days a little brighter.
13. Make up a Story
Get creative and make up a brand new story all your own. Brainstorm characters, plot, setting, conflict, and then put them all together. You could make this an oral story, where you and your child just throw out ideas to one another. Or, you could write down and illustrate your story to make it extra special.
14. Put on a Play or Puppet Show
Take the story you and your child created or interpret a classic story you both love and make it into a performance. Design costume, set, and a script and put it on for the rest of your family. You could also make puppets and use them as characters instead. Doing this will get your creative and crafty juices flowing, as well as providing a sense of accomplishment when it all comes together.
15. Read a Book
Last, but not least, our favorite pastime–reading a book. Pick a new book, an old book, or something in between to share with your child. Find a special or favorite spot to read and enjoy spending time with one another. Books are always a great way to pass the time and to bond with one another.
From all of us at Elephant Books, we hope you and your family are saying safe and well during these trying times. When we stand by each other and stick together, we can get through anything.
“Happiness can be found even in the darkest of times, when one only remembers to turn on the light”
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone
by J.K. Rowling
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