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Engaging Activities for Kids at Home

Published on Mar. 24, 2020

Activites for Kids Coronavirus Munson Healthcare

Parents in northern Michigan have experienced their share of snow days. One or two days at home, no problem. But with the need for physical distancing and the potential of prolonged school closures, keeping kids engaged and active in the age of COVID-19 can present a bit of a challenge.

So how do you keep kids active (and learning), without the structure that schools provide? We have some tips to get you through this collective “social distancing” journey. 

Connect with Friends

It’s likely the first thing your kids want to do is stay in touch with his or her buddies. If you’re in contact with other parents, consider organizing a virtual play date. Almost all web-enabled devices are set up for video chat. FaceTime, Skype, and Google Hangouts are just a few of the many options out there.

You can also use video to keep in contact with elderly family members who may be most vulnerable to the new coronavirus.

Get Creative with Screens

Coronavirus Munson Healthcare activities

Consider limiting mindless screen time. Here are some resources to keep your kids learning when they earn some time with their computer or mobile device:

DIY Games

coronavirus activities munson healthcare

Now’s the time to get creative with random household objects. 

  • Outdoor retail giant REI offers tips for DIY versions of three popular games you can make at home, including Midnight Bowling, Washers 2.0, and Campground Golf.
  • Create an obstacle course for younger kids using your couch cushions, pillows, and unused boxes.
  • Cut an empty box to create a ramp, get some hampers and tennis balls for an interesting game of Laundry Basket Skee Ball.

Arts & Crafts

A pad of paper and a pencil is all you need to get creative. But here are a few more ideas for helping kids express themselves through art:

  • Traverse City artist Heather Spooner of Ampersand Lettering Lab designed the #wearyourwingsTC illustration on downtown Front Street. Heather made her iconic design available to print and download so you and your kids can color your own versions while safely social distancing.
  • Children’s book author and illustrator Rob Biddulph provides free #DrawWithRob drawing tutorials to inspire kids during long days at home. Rob hosts Twitter “draw-alongs” every Tuesday and Thursday at 10 am GMT (that’s 6 am in northern Michigan).
  • The brand new DC Kids camp is a new online program helping parents engage kids at home using the power of Batman, Superman and other super heroes from the DC comics universe. Activity sheets, coloring pages, blank comic book pages and other kid-friendly activities will be featured daily on the @dccomicskids Twitter channel and @dckids on Instagram.​
Activities for Kids Munson Healthcare
  • Build a Rube Goldberg Machine just like Carson, Cam, and Graham Peters of Traverse City. These brothers are generating millions of online views of their trick shot videos. A Rube Goldberg Machine is a device created to perform a simple task in the most complex way possible, like this one reported by UpNorthLive.

Online Learning 

Your best bet for keeping kids focused on schoolwork is to heed the advice of local teachers. But on the off days, these ideas should help your stay engaged in the process of learning:

  • Kahn Academy Kids offers a variety of educational programs for children aged two to seven.​
  • PBS Kids and PBS Learning Media offers kid-friendly games, shows, and activities. Educational videos are organized by topic and grade.

PBS Learning Media: Learn About Leonardo da Vinci

Staying Fit

If you’re able, make sure your kids are getting exercise for at least part of every day. It’s easy to make “fitness time” a routine similar to recess or a gym class they might normally have at school.

  • Cosmic Kids is all about making yoga and mindfulness fun. Apps are available on mobile and streaming devices.
  • Dance it out! Turn on some music and burn calories by hosting a family dance party.
  • Even though most gyms are closed, there are plenty of online workout videos geared toward kids. Try this Fitness Blender for Kids Workout if you need a place to start.

Reading and Storytime

Whether your kids are reading themselves or listening to stories being told, there are plenty of fun group activities that revolve around books.

  • Tune into Storytime from Space to hear NASA astronauts in space read stories to kids.
  • An easy way to prompt your child to read is to start a family book club. You could also make it virtual by involving friends and family via video chat.
Stories from Space

Stories from Space: Ada Lace Take Me to Your Leader - read by Astronaut Anna McClain

How are you keeping your kids active and engaged?

Is there an activity that your kids love - or that keeps them entertained for hours? Let us know and we’ll continue adding great ideas to this resource.