Friday, March 20, 2020

25 Social Distancing Activities For Kids

Mixing slime way back when we could be with friends

Anyone who is a parent is searching for activities to entertain kids for the next month. I could tell you to search the blog, go year by year, month by month, but how is one to do that while your child(ren) scream in your ear??!!? Instead, I'll put our favorites in one place. These activities are proven to be fun and have kept kids entertained for longer than 20 minutes (always a plus, right??). These aren't necessarily geared towards learning or educational, however each activity can be great for kids 1 - 11 years old (as the test subjects have been). The best part is that all of these can be done with you're practicing good social distancing. All wins!

25 Activities For Kids (ages 1 - 11):

1.) Mural painting
Kids love this one. Easel paper works great for this activity. You can tape it to the wall(s) or on a table top and have kids paint away, use Do A Dot markers, use oil pastels, or just color. It's simple and every age child seems to enjoy this.

What you'll need:
Mural painting with daycare kiddos in January.

2.) Shaving cream play
Put a thin layer on a table top (that's easily cleaned) and let the kids draw in it with their fingers. Make it into a paint or make it into bath/shower paint for bath times too.

What you'll need:

3.) Bath/shower paints
As mentioned above, you can use shaving cream or even baby soap and food coloring to make bath paints. Sure your water bill might be a little bit more if you have a kid standing in the shower singing and painting (not that that's happened over here or anything) but that's an hour of semi-quiet time for parents.

What you'll need:

4.) Recyclable build
I keep a healthy stash of recycling things (cans, boxes, empty containers) around and masking tape. When I feel I have more than enough, I dump it on the floor along with various art supplies and let the kids build. To make it more educational, have kids work together to build something. Have them include measurements and planning how they'll build it, what they'll use to make it, and how they'll decorate it (hint: we're doing something like this at the beginning of April).

What you'll need:
  • recycling materials
  • tape, glue, markers, paint, construction paper (any other art materials you'd like)

5.) Movie theater at home
Now that theaters are closed (here in Iowa, at least), Universal is releasing new movies to rent at home! Set up an at home movie theater, make popcorn, let the kiddos splurge on juice or even soda (no judgement here), and enjoy a movie. Or two. Or three. Again, no judgement.

What you'll need:
  • a movie
  • chairs, comfy blankets, pillows (however you choose to do your movie theater or enhance your "theater" experience
  • popcorn, candies, drinks

6.) Peeps play dough
This is perfect for the Easter season. It's also great if you have kids that feel they should eat everything. This is my favorite recipe to use.

7.) Goop
Cornstarch + water (+ food coloring if you wish) = goop. This can be messy but it does clean up easily. Hide small toys or coins in the goop for kids to dig through. I find this works best in a large cookie sheet instead of in a bowl. The kids have also used play dough tools with it too.

What you'll need:
  • cornstarch
  • water
  • food coloring
  • spoon (for mixing)

8.) Rice or noodle sensory bin
You can color the noodles or rice or just leave them plain. Scoopers, cups, spoons, toys, anything can work in these bins. Get creative with it. If you want them to scoop or bury things, fill up the bin more. If kids are just playing with toys in it, then put just enough to cover the bottom of the bin.

What you'll need:
  • 1 bin
  • rice or noodles
  • scoopers (sand supplies work great here)
  • any toys you already have on hand (packages of play bugs or snakes from Dollar Tree also works great in these types of bins)

9.) Art
Simply lay out a good amount of art supplies and see what the kids come up with!

What you'll need:

10.) Board games
Now is a great time to break out board games that you can play with them (or without them). Connect 4, Clue, chess, checkers, Mancala are the favorites in our house.

11.) Scavenger hunt 
Just because you're social distancing doesn't mean you can't get outside (unless that's banned in your area. Then don't)! It's very much needed. You can find numerous scavenger hunt resources online or you can make your own. For older kids (who have a phone or camera to use), I write a list of what they can take a picture of (example: a brown leaf, water, a budding flower, a dog barking, etc.). This gets them active and outdoors too.

12.) Baking or cooking
Try a new recipe, bake your favorite sweets, teach kids how to do it themselves. Use this to your advantage and (if your child is old enough) when this is all over, someone else can help with dinner duties.

13.) Plan your next vacation
We love to travel and have a list of places we want to go in the next year or more. Have kids come up with their destination and turn it into a lesson (of sorts): have them figure out how to get to where they want to go (driving? flying?), what they want to do and see, places they'd like to eat, and overall cost of the trip. Plus, it's always good to dream. I have many bucket list trips like this that I would likely join in on this lesson! It could also become a family activity (or a couples activity if you can't stop dreaming about your next couples only vacay). Our go to book for traveling is 50 States, 5,000 Ideas. As we complete our 50 State tour, this book gives us TONS of ideas. I also like to check out the local blogs of the places we plan to stop for hidden treasures and where the locals like to go, do and, see.

14.) Music
Have a dance party, play the music way too loud, sing at the top of your lungs, check out YouTube and learn to play an instrument. Practice an instrument if you have one.

15.) YouTube
I am against tons of screen time and I'm even more against letting kids use YouTube, but there's a lot of great educational things on there from art and learning to draw classes to various how-to courses.

16.) Clean the toys
This is a favorite plus toys should be cleaned extra well now anyways. Just don't tell your kids they're actually helping you out!

Check out this link for how we've cleaned outside toys in the past. You can also grab toothbrushes or paint brushes, rags, soapy water and clean toy trains and cars (Hot Wheels).

17.) Plant a garden
It is spring afterall! If it's not quite warm enough yet in your area, plan what you'd like to plant in your garden. Now would be a great time to plant some herb and spices window plants.

18.) Kinectic sand or flour "sand"
Buy some Kinectic sand, make your own (I haven't had great luck with this, but hey, give it a try), or make the super easy flour "sand" (8 cups to flour + 1 cup of vegetable oil). Use it indoors (in an easily swept area of course) or in outdoor space. No matter their ages, kids never tire of scooping, playing, and being creative with messes. Embrace the mess right now. 

What you'll need:

19.) Experiments
Whether you come up with your own to do (this is a great resource for at home experiments) or grab one of the many science kits (this and this ones are our favorites), experiments are fun for kids of any age. One of the favorites we did was a Pop Rocks Experiments.

20.) Do a sidewalk mural
With people trying to get outdoors (at a safe distance from others), I've seen some of our local communities set up a neighborhood scavenger hunt so kids can look for things on their walks. Some of these include sidewalk messages or pictures. Encourage kids to draw pictures with sidewalk chalk or paint for others to enjoy.

21.) Water play
It's still spring but water play can still be done! Bring the water table inside (but only fill it minimally so there's less to spill) and add bath toys, plastic figurines, plastic animals, etc. Don't have a water table? Easy, use a plastic bin!

22.) Build a fort
This makes for a great rainy day activity. Or put your boxes to use

23.) Easter activities 
Our favorites include egg hunts and an Easter egg lunch. Dye eggs (this is how we're dying eggs this year!). Bunny crafts are also popular with the kids. Here's all you need for an Easter celebration for kids.

Easter egg surprise lunch is easy, fun, and keeps kids guessing what they'll be eating next the entire meal time! ** tip: I've found larger eggs work best!

24.) Slime
The word parents dread, but this stuff really keeps kids busy and entertained. Especially if they can make it themselves.  There's sooo many recipes out there. You have basic slime recipes, cloud slime, cloud slime made with Instasnow, edible slimes made with candies (helpful hint: the marshmallow slime is sticky-avoid it at all costs). Google it and you can probably find it. If your child is old enough to be trusted with the usual slime supplies or in the kitchen warming things up for edible slime, you're set (plus, it can be a good time to practice measurements). Otherwise, you can always mix some up yourself and let them play it. Either way, kids love this stuff. Here's four ways we've made slime.

25.) Facetime/Skype/Video Chat
FaceTime, video chatting, Skype, or just a good ole' phone call to those you can't see during this time goes a long way and boosts everyone's morale. I know the minis look forward to keeping in touch with friends, family, grandparents, daycare friends (those they won't be seeing for a while), and pretty much anyone else they/we can think of.