Staff Writer: Olivia Oliver
If you’re a parent during this insane time period, first of all, kudos to you. The amount of patience and creativity you have to have in order to keep your kids busy while also worrying about COVID-19 while also having your own responsibilities is astounding. But if you’re running out of ideas and you kids are bored of watching Scooby-Doo for the 17th time, here’s a couple of fun activities that you can do with your kiddos or that they can do while you work.
Build a fort! It might take some time, duct tape, and a heck of a lot of blankets, but it’ll keep your kids busy and happy while you get to work. Plus, you’ll know exactly where they are in the house. My personal favorite as a kid (and even now…) was to take an inflatable are mattress and put it overtop the couch and coffee table or between a bed and nightstand (or even the wall, if you can get it to stay). It makes for a great ceiling that you can cover with blankets or pillows. Add some blankets inside, give them a clear view of the TV, and set down some snacks and you’ll be golden for at least a couple of episodes (or until they ask you to be the dragon attacking their newly built castle :) )
Look up 360 videos on youtube! Have you ever wanted to swim with whales? Maybe see the top of a skyscraper? There’s a youtube video for that, and probably in 360-view. This works best with a larger device like an iPad or tablet. Just search 360 videos on Youtube and hand over the phone. It’ll look like you’re actually looking around. There’s plenty of videos like this, and if you have virtual reality goggles (which you can buy off of amazon) it only makes the experience more real.
FaceTime family! It’s hard when you can’t see grandparents or aunts and uncles for such a large period of time. Not only is FaceTiming (or any video chat, or even just a phone call) good for the kids, it’s helpful for grandparents who are stuck at home right now with so much fear circulating.
Make your own pizza! Put on some cheesy Italian music, draw a fake curly mustache, and have some fun with it! You can use pita bread, English muffins, or store-bought dough! While this one might require some planning ahead the next time to venture out to the grocery store, it’s sure to be a favorite, especially if you let the kids help. Just be prepared to have a clean-up session afterward :)
Watch some live streams! This is a good way to keep your kids occupied for a little while whether you’re working or making dinner or just need a couple of minutes of peace. There’s several zoos that have live streams of their animals (Cinncinati Zoo starts one at 3pm and the Indianapolis Zoo has tickets available to buy for watching walruses and penguins!). Aquariums also have live streams ranging from animals as big as Beluga Whales to as little as otters. It’s a great alternative to watching the same Disney movie for the 7th time.
Put on a MythBusters episode! These may seem like classroom videos at first, but kids will be ecstatic to watch them test crash dummies in cars or make a giant human sticky fly trap. They’ll learn about science, testing hypothesis, and whether or not the spy cars in the movies could be real. It’s great for middle school-aged kids (and even high schoolers too).
Have a paint night! Break out the colors, brushes, and canvases. Make sure you also break out some old newspapers or magazines, too, unless you want your kitchen table to become the new canvas. It’s a great way for kids to use their hands, get their mind off quarantine and also make something they’re proud of.