Staying home during Quarantine?
Here are some great ideas to entertain and educate kids of all ages at home!
- Pop some popcorn and watch a movie, lots of streaming options
- Do some baking or teach teens how to cook a meal
- Play some board games – my family’s favorites are Connect 4, Guess Who and Uno
- Fly a kite or have a backyard scavenger hunt
- Tie dye a shirt
- Make slime
- Borrow books from the library online
- Do some spring cleaning and donate to a local charity
- Visit the Dallas Arboretum, virtually of course and check out their daily STEM classes
- Visit the Dallas Holocaust & Human Rights Museum – free digital content and storytime
- J’s Art Studio has kid classes and art kits!
- do a class online (Classes are for preschoolers ages 3-5: Dance, Gymnastics, Sports, Fitness, and Music) at Stretch n Grow McKinney
- Visit virtual museums
- Check out these fun busy boxes from Care Package Depot
- More ideas here!
And a HUGE list of great tips from one of our homeschooling Moms in our Facebook group
1. Spend time outside.
Every day, no matter the weather. It doesn’t have to be long. Have your kids play in the mud or splash in the rain, throw snowballs or go on a walk. It will be good for everyone’s health! If you really can’t manage much, stand on a porch or balcony or open a window for 10 minutes.
2. Limit screen time.
Use this VERY sparingly and only after completing tasks or as a last resort. At least for us, it almost always results in peaceful focused kids who bicker and fight afterwards, and are generally LESS happy after TV. When possible, redirect them to educational or uplifting screen activities (see some ideas below).
3. Go back to the basics.
Build forts, play games, complete puzzles, or read aloud as kids color and build with legos, etc. Find focused activities.
4. Switch gears.
If you or your kids are grumpy, CHANGE IT UP. Eat a snack. Drink water. (Parents? Have some coffee!) See step 1 again.
5. Choose your responses carefully.
When you want to respond negatively, ask yourself what you want to say/do that you know isn’t great. Then ask, “if I were a good parent, what would I say/do?” And try that response instead. 😜 OR Consider how you would feel or what might be going on in your child, and try to respond the way you would want to be treated. Apply the golden rule here. Children are people, too.
6. Find joy & be present.
Try to find joy and opportunity in this extra time with your kids. What do you enjoy? Share it with your kids. What do they enjoy? Try to share in their enjoyment and come along side them. Take time to SEE, RESPOND and BE PRESENT with them in a way you haven’t been able to before.
7. Be kind.
If you have multiple kids, encourage them in their relationships and friendships. You might even consider small $ payments as rewards for gracious, kind play with a sibling.
8. Take time to answer questions.
If your kid asks you ANY question, run with it! Look up how bridges work, make a meal from a country they’re curious about, find out more about plants in your yard or area, research why birds sing and how their songs differ… Whatever they’re curious about, take it seriously and add on to it!
9. Slow down.
Don’t let your kids talk over one another. It’s obnoxious. There’s no rush! Set clear boundaries and set a routine and schedule – especially for eating.
10. Try not to whine.
Yes, you. Your kids WILL whine at times. It helps if we catch ourselves when we’re having an attitude because our kids will reflect it back! Try to have a positive outlook and encourage your kids rather than nag or belittle them with your frustrations/disappointments. *currently struggling with this myself but it helps to name it.
Since some of you will need to continue teaching your children, you may like some helpful things to do so. Here are some things we use and enjoy at our home.
Xtra Math – drills for math facts. We are striving to do this about 10 minutes a day and currently my kids are bad at it. That’s why we are doing it! Free.
Happy Numbers – like a video game where your kids get fun visual rewards of special creatures hatching from eggs and revealing new planets for having completed math practice. It adjusts based on where your student is academically and repeats in new ways when they aren’t understanding a concept to help make it more clear. Free if you sign up as a teacher or if you get a login provided from your school.
SeTerra.com – A fun, interactive geography game with quizzes your children can play with and learn about the world. Free.
Your online library – if you aren’t quarantined, put a bunch of books on hold at the library and pick them up. If you must stay home, find out more about your local library’s offerings. Apps and programs like Hoopla, Libby, etc will allow you to have picture books read aloud on a computer to your kid or give you access to movies, ebooks, audiobooks, etc. You might even want to call them to find out all that they have to offer. They are a treasure trove for the homeschooler!
Busy Toddler – if you have a little or little ones at home, this is an amazing resource. The mama who runs it is funny, charming and down to earth. She shares very simple and engaging ideas for activities for your kids that use things in your home already or can be acquired very cheaply. Free resources on her website and Instagram account @busytoddler
Google Lens- this free resource from google lets you lookup what a plant is by taking a picture of it. Have your kids use it outside to learn the names of and more about the plants nearby!
Art Hub – This YouTube station offers approachable, simple art instruction from a father and usually his son. Grab some paper and a pen or pencil and enjoy! Free.
Kosmic Kids Yoga – Videos on YouTube with imaginative story telling through body movements. Fun for younger and low elementary aged kids. Free. If your kids are too old for this, try looking up YouTube video exercises for stretching, yoga, or other workouts.
Cooking & Baking – this offers so many practical benefits such as math and relational learning as you work together, and underscores the importance of following directions! Prepare meals with your children if you’re up for it. It *can* be fun and then you have food to eat!
Cuddle! (Or show affection) – This is one of my kids’ favorite thing to do. 😉 I’m not a physical touch person, really, but give them some extra love and think of how you all understand love best. Try to show it.
Tea Time – Offer your kids tea or a fun snack/drink mid afternoon and enjoy listening aloud to an audiobook or reading aloud. Maybe even do so on a blanket outside or on your living room carpet.
HUMOR – get silly. Write jokes, read jokes, act like a fool or throw a dance party. Sometimes we all just need to let loose and find a way to savor or shift the mood. “
Great Links to Check Out
Watch out for online schooling resources from our local Schools but you can also check this great list of resources we found!
Attention students, parents and teachers: while kids are on extended break, we want to feature their work! Send us a photo of your student’s work, their first name, grade and their school. We will post a Virtual Student Art Exhibit every Thursday. Please send your submissions to Amy at firstname.lastname@example.org. Need some ideas? We’ll post art-project inspiration every Monday at noon.
See how farms work and meet Texas farmers and ranchers in their YouTube videos
Get free lesson plans about agriculture
Try out some new recipes for cooking at home on Texas Table Top:
National Ag in the Classroom has fun activities for kids AND adults:
Teach your Kids to Code
Particularly useful for kids, Code Monster features two adjacent boxes. One displays code, the other shows what the code does. As you play with the code (with some help from a prompt), you learn what each command does.
Known for its extensive and challenging math games, Khan Academy also has basic programming tutorials that teach kids how to build graphics, animations, interactive visualizations, and more. Its latest addition is a partnership with Pixar, which gives users a chance to learn how Pixar artists do their jobs.
Designed by MIT students and aimed at children ages 8-16, this easy-to-use programming language lets kids build almost anything they can dream. There are no obscure lines of code here. Instead, arrange and snap together Scratch blocks as if they are virtual Legos. It’s more than just a coding guide; it’s a vibrant online community of programmers who swap ideas and inspiration.
Designed by Apple for the iPad, Swift Playgrounds is a much more sophisticated-looking version of Code Combat (see below), with the added benefit of being FREE. Kids solve interactive puzzles in the guided “Learn to Code” lessons to master the basics of coding or experiment with a wide range of challenges that let users explore many unique coding experiences. It requires an iPad with iOS 12.0 or higher.
Get Outside & Get Fit
Camping and state parks – if you want to get the family out in nature and get some fresh air, we have some great State parks nearby for hiking and camping. Here’s a post on camping at Eisenhower State Park.
If you’re looking for ideas on some local spots for Hiking and biking, we have a great list.
Planet Fitness: They are bringing the gym to you with Home Work-Ins FREE for EVERYONE. Join them on Facebook Live 6 pm DAILY for an in-home workout because they know that staying healthy means staying active. United We Move.
While you have some time, plan your next family vacation, there are sure to be great deals to be had in the near future.
Ask your kids where they’ve always wanted to go and have them cost it out.
Do you have any other ideas? let us know so we can add them in!