As more and more school systems close and families across the country follow mandates and start to socially distance themselves in order to help stop the spread of the coronavirus, parents are scrambling for ideas on how to occupy their children – off the grid. So, if you want to keep the phones, tablets, computers and gaming systems to a minimum – other than for the purposes of online learning – we’ve complied some great ideas for you and your children of all ages and complexities.
The first rule of thumb is to set and keep a predictable schedule – for all children of all ages. Since school, leisure time and all activities are now at home, perhaps consider a white board or chalkboard or simply type up a basic schedule in big, bold letters and hang on the refrigerator for everyone to see. Here at The Center for Discovery, we know that predictability in schedules helps end confusion and eases anxiety and fear in children and adults with complex conditions.
The Great Outdoors – Fresh Air and Fun
At TCFD, we have the great privilege of being located in a beautiful, rural environment. If you have access to the great outdoors, even just a backyard, here’s a few ideas to enjoy the fresh air:
- Decorate a shoebox and go on an adventure collecting favorite rocks, acorns, twigs, pinecones. You can even make animals from the treasured pinecones and acorns with pompoms, googly eyes, construction paper, feathers, pipe cleaners, and more.
- Go on a botany adventure! With a notebook and crayons/pencils in hand, try to draw local plants and observe what’s already budding.
- Collect rocks and categorize or paint them! Here at TCFD, we have a painted rock garden with inspirational pictures and sayings.
- Play balloon tennis. No racquets? No problem. Use your hands, which is great for hand-eye coordination.
- Ball Challenges. In partners, try bouncing a small ball right hand-to-right hand, and left-to-left.
- Obstacle courses are a fan favorite! The skies the limit – use hula hoops, sidewalk chalk, tunnels, paper circles for markers, sturdy tape.
- Digging in the dirt – obvious? Do not underestimate the power of a mud pie.
- Preparing the garden for planting – rake, weed and plant a vegetable garden.
- Build a slackline! Got two trees? Look around the garage for tubular webbing, carabineers and an old piece of carpet and voila – hours of fun trying to balance! Here’s additional information on setting up a slackline: https://www.instructables.com/id/Set-Up-a-Slackline/.
- Start a weeklong fitness challenge – indoors and out – jump rope, sit-ups, pushups, etc. Team up – kids versus adults to see who has the muscle!
- Potato sack races: an old game with a few old pillowcases equals endless fun.
- Three-legged races: team up adult and child and see who wins!
- Egg race: a few spoons and a few hard-boiled eggs and a relay! Plus a perfect protein snack when you are done!
- Bubbles, Bubbles, Bubbles! Everyone loves bubbles. Make giant wands and homemade bubbles mixed with some dishwasher detergent. Chase them. Pop them. Marvel at the rainbow of color in each! Check out a fun tutorial here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lTQIgVFvFYE.
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