Outdoor activities often play an essential role in your child’s summertime schedule. But whether you have a lack of green space or their favorite summer camp remains closed due to COVID-19, it’s not always easy to find a safe way to spend time outside. What’s more, not every summer day will be a beautiful one — and as remote learning becomes a distinct possibility for the fall and beyond, chances are that you’ll need to figure out some ways to keep your kiddo engaged while they stay inside.
A four-year-old child askes 437 questions a day, on average, and you can bet that at least one of them will be, “what should we do now?” But rather than hand over the family tablet when boredom strikes, you may want to prioritize screen-free fun when your child spends time indoors. By giving their eyes a break and focusing on activities in the real world, you’ll foster a sense of connection and can aid their cognitive development. Here are just five educational and enjoyable activities that your kids can partake in without ever leaving the house.
Play a Board Game
There are plenty of games that your child can play on a screen — like Minecraft, which has sold more than 200 million copies as of May 2020. But while those games may have some value and can keep your kid occupied for hours, there are benefits to getting back to basics with a board game. From memory recall and math skills to general trivia and critical thinking, there’s no shortage of games and benefits to choose from. Consider making regular board game nights a tradition in your home as a way to bond or trying out a new game each month on a rainy Sunday to keep things exciting.
Take Up a Craft
Partaking in arts and crafts can be an excellent way to encourage your kids to use their imagination and artistic ability. But crafts can also be educational in other ways. Crafts can involve principles of chemistry, geography, language, technology, anatomy, nature, and much more. Give your children a chance to be creative and learn about the world around them with some basic supplies and your guidance. They might not even realize they’re engaging in something educational, but they’ll likely remember the lessons they’ve learned for years to come.
Put on a Show
If you have a little diva or ham at home, they might already become fun characters in their everyday lives. But if you give them the chance to put on a real show for their loved ones, they’ll enjoy being imaginative and getting to work through different emotional scenarios. Put together a dress-up trunk with hats, costume jewelry, feather boas, and other accessories, along with hand-me-downs or fun items you might already have in your closet. Alternatively, you can decorate some of their own clothes with Velcro backed patches (which are popular with law enforcement and other professions that require uniforms) that can easily be switched out without damaging the clothing. You might also consider making some puppets out of old socks and setting up a “stage” with an old sheet to act as a curtain. Be sure to get the whole family together to cheer on opening night!
Go On an Indoor Scavenger Hunt
Scavenger hunts are popular outdoor activities, but there’s no reason they can’t be done inside. Come up with a list of everyday household items to look for; you can make it a little more challenging by making your kiddos decipher riddles or clues for each item. Give them a basket to gather all the items in and give them a few other tasks to do along the way (like making their bed or picking up stray toys) to take care of some basic tidying tasks at the same time. Not only will they learn personal responsibility, but they’ll develop their critical thinking skills, too. Once all of the items are retrieved, present them with a fun reward like a new book to read.
Put Together a Puzzle
Puzzles have been a popular option for many adults during quarantine, but they’re great for children, too. They can help to develop skills like shape recognition, patience, focus, and hand-eye coordination. Be sure to choose a puzzle that’s appropriate for your child’s age and skill level, as well as one that’s in keeping with their interests. After it’s finished, your child will feel a huge sense of accomplishment and gain a number of skills they need to succeed in school.
Ultimately, staying inside doesn’t have to be boring or necessitate spending hours looking at a screen. With these ideas up your sleeve, you’ll be able to make each day fun and valuable for your kids — even if they don’t end up leaving the house.