In order to stay safe and protect those that are at risk, most of us are staying at home during this coronavirus outbreak. This means that you have so much time you can spend bonding with your family. If you have kids, bonding has never been easier seeing as how there are so many interesting activities you can do together. Keep on reading for some inspiration.
If the children are still relatively young, you can start teaching them how to read. Even if they’ve started school, they still might need some help. So, get some interesting picture books where they can enjoy the illustrations as well or consider some children’s books such as The Cat in the Hat, Winnie-the-Pooh or The BFG. Luckily, books are easy to purchase online, whether you want an electronic or physical version, so even if you don’t have any at home, you can stock up in no time. You can read to them out loud or they can read to you while you correct their mistakes.
Maybe you’re looking for something a bit more creative than simply reading. In that case, you can write short stories. If the kids can’t write yet, they can tell you the plot and you can put it in writing while they handle the illustrations. On the other hand, if they know how to write, you can set a theme and let their imagination run wild. Perhaps your kids are a bit competitive and they would like to turn this into a competition. Of course, taking one kid’s side can cause problems so you can just compliment all of them on certain aspects and give rewards regardless of how well they did.
Play mad libs
Another fun writing and reading activity is playing mad libs. You will fill in the blanks in a story you know nothing about and it will often turn out odd and hilarious. Anyone can play this and it’s easy to purchase online or in a local bookstore (if it’s open).
Take up a new language
People acquire a new language easier when they are young so if you are bilingual or speak several languages, you can start teaching your kids some new words and phrases. Even if you don’t know any other languages, you can start learning one together with your little one. Luckily, there are now apps that help with this and you can get some for free. For instance, Duolingo offers many languages you can try out and there is even a leaderboard so you can check which member of the family is doing best. When you learn some basics, you can leave messages around the house for each other or label your possessions in the new language.
Learn to play an instrument
Perhaps you have an instrument in your home that you still haven’t mastered. Now is the right time to both learn more and teach your kid the basics. Whether it’s a guitar or piano, there are many tutorials online you can rely on and see how to play a song or two.
Conduct science experiments
Seeing as how your kids might be missing a lot of school, you can consider doing some science experiments with them if you are good at that. Not everyone is a pro at home-made science projects but you can find instructions on the internet that will tell you how to make a volcano, a miniature model of the solar system and even slime. There are many ideas out there so find something that interests you all.
Give painting a go
Regardless of your skills, you can also try painting. It’s easy to buy some supplies online, from canvases to paint and brushes. This is an amazing activity as it will let you relax and take your mind off of the unfortunate situation that we’ve found ourselves in. Many talented people have posted detailed how-to videos so it should not be hard to follow them and create some art for your home. Even if you can’t purchase any equipment right now, you surely have some crayons and paper in the house so let your kids draw something interesting and hang it on the fridge. Alternatively, coloring is a very soothing way to pass the time.
Cook and bake together
Unless you have really young kids, you can definitely find an interesting way to have them help around in the kitchen. From simply handing you the tools and mixing the ingredients to peeling and chopping veggies, there are many methods to develop a passion for cooking in your children. Kids that are a bit older might really appreciate this, especially if they plan on moving out and going to college. Start by teaching them some basics and then slowly introduce slightly more complex recipes. You can even try out some new stuff if you’ve stocked up with the necessary groceries. If they don’t like cooking, maybe they’d prefer baking so try out different approaches. You can even call their grandparents for some step-by-step instructions of a recipe that’s been in your family for a while.
Try your hand at gardening
Perhaps you already have a flower or herb garden. Maybe you’re considering starting your own veggie garden to have fresh produce in these difficult times. If any of these are the case, you should consider including your kids. Designate one planter to your kid and teach them how to take care of their plants. They can learn how to choose the right seeds, how to properly use the essential garden equipment and what to do once they harvest their plants. Plus, doing some gardening might encourage them to eat a bigger variety of foods seeing as how they will learn where they come from.
Play board and video games
A classic activity for families is most often playing board games. Perhaps you prefer card games like Uno, Canasta, and Hearts. Maybe your family is a big Monopoly or Clue fan, or maybe you want games like Operation and Jenga. Luckily, the options abound and you will not have a hard time finding a few games that the entire family can play. On the other hand, if you have a gaming console, you can play Mario Kart, Sonic Mania Plus, Overwatch and a wide variety of other video games. You can make it a competition and give out prizes to the winners or you can just keep it fun and friendly.
Have fun with charades
To bond and work on your communication, charades might be the right activity for your family. What is great about this is that you don’t need anything for this game – just some paper to write down the words and phrases you will be explaining. You can either split into teams or play individually. It can be themed or have a range of topics. The only rule basically is that you’re not allowed to speak.
Organize a movie night
Okay, many movie nights; but that shouldn’t be difficult seeing as how movies are now more available than ever before. Even if you don’t pay for any streaming services, you can easily rent or buy movies online if you don’t already have them on DVD. Of course, remember to keep the films you choose appropriate for your kids. Don’t play horrors for your little ones, no matter how big of a fan you are. Stick to animated and family-friendly movies if you have young kids, and you can consider something more serious if your teenagers are willing to spend time with you watching a movie.
If the furniture in your home can easily be moved around, you can drape some blankets and rearrange some pillows to create a fort. Your kids are sure to love this and you can use it for watching movies and playing games. You can even pretend you are camping and spend the night there. On the other hand, if you have access to a backyard, you can even set up a tent and spend the night outside stargazing in the fresh air.
Staying healthy during self-isolation is also important so you need to encourage your kids to do some exercises as well. The best way would be to work out together as then they can follow your example and learn how to properly do it. Even if you live in an apartment, you still have plenty of exercises at your disposal. Look for a tutorial online or read some articles to see which ones are best for your kids’ age but sticking to some basics like jumping, stretching and squatting should be okay.
Create an obstacle course
If these types of exercise are too boring for your kids, you can try to create some sort of obstacle course that will get their heart pumping. It doesn’t matter if it’s inside or outside, just put some things they have to jump over in front of them and add some they can crawl underneath. You can surely think of creative ways to use your possessions to get your kids to break a sweat.
Similar to an obstacle course but less physically demanding – you can create a mini-golf course. Use shoes and boxes to form the path the ball should follow. For the hole, you can use cups or baseball caps. Even if you don’t have regular golf balls and clubs, you can find a substitute around the house.
Plan a scavenger hunt
If your house is not big enough to play hide and seek, perhaps you can opt for a scavenger hunt or some other sort of hidden objects game. Hide certain items around your home and have your kids look for them, and vice versa. This fun activity can last for several hours, depending on how you design it.
Make a music video
If you got tech-savvy kids, maybe they’d like to make a short film of sorts. They can use a phone or camera to film a music video for their or your favorite song. If they want to be the star of the video, film them. Maybe they’ve written a fun script that you can enact and later edit and post online.
Do a puppet show
While this is unlikely, perhaps you’ve exhausted the list of cartoons your kids like. Maybe they simply prefer the live approach. Either way, if you have any puppets at home, consider putting on a show for your kids. You can make it interactive if that is something they like.
Have a spa day
Sometimes, a fun family activity can be relaxing. You can pamper yourselves the entire day and pretend you are at a spa. Light some scented candles while putting on face masks. Paint each other’s nails and do each other’s makeup. Do some extravagant hairdos and just hang out in your pajamas.
Create a time capsule
Finally, while this time in self-isolation hardly anyone will be able to forget, you can make a time capsule that you will open in ten years’ time. All of you must promise not to open it sooner. You can put in some photos and mementos from this time, write letters to your future selves or to your family members, and your hopes for the future. If you want to bury it outside, put things in a mason jar; if you’re going to keep it inside, a shoebox is fine.
Besides these 21 fun activities, there are so many more you can most certainly think of. You just need to keep your interests in mind and some creativity.