Navigating the unchartered territory of being a working mom with two children and a work-from-home spouse who are all home ALL THE TIME is going to be an interesting experience. I’m sure many of you have already scoured the internet looking for easy and cheap ways to entertain your children while they are on an extended break from school. Some of you are on spring break with disappointed children who didn’t get to do the fun things they had planned, and some of you are probably already knee-deep into the adventures of home learning. Whatever your situation, we all will need help in our virtual village to get through this. To explore some of the ways that you can help your children while also entertaining them to get some work done, I’ll share some of the creative ideas that I have used or that I have seen in the last couple weeks.
- Virtual Playdates – Use facetime, Messenger Kids or other video chat tools for your children to set up playdate times with friends. They can use it to explore the backyard with their friends, just talk, play dolls or even help with schoolwork together.
- Call a relative – Let your children connect with others in your family network and learn stories about their family history, or if they live far away, what is something unique about where they live?
- Netflix Party – For older children to get together and download the Netflix party app in Google Chrome and have a virtual party.
- Gym and recess time – as you go through lessons for the day, make sure your children still have free-play run-around time as they normally do. Make sure they get regular breaks to move and walk around as they typically do during the day.
- Obstacle course: To get the energy out, use everyday items around the house to create an indoor course, jump over shoe boxes, ball toss into cups, use cups as cones to run around. If it is nice out and you have outdoor space, see who can throw a ball the farthest or have a race around the yard and time them.
- Activity Apps: Many companies are waiving fees or extending trial times on their workout apps. PopSugar fitness has free fitness videos, Peloton has an extended trial time, major gym chains are streaming free classes on their Facebook pages.
- Virtually explore the world – https://artsandculture.google.com allows children of all ages to explore museums and learn about art.
- Visit the zoo or aquarium – Many zoos and aquariums have webcams and tours available. A couple of options are https://kids.sandiegozoo.org or www.georgiaaquarium.org
- Explore space or nature – Let your children visit Mars by going to https://accessmars.withgoogle.com or see a national park www.nps.gov/yell/learn/photosmultimedia/virtualtours.htm.
- Have extra cardboard boxes laying around? Let your children take the boxes and create whatever their minds come up with. Mine took boxes and created spaceships and leprechaun traps.
- Take advantage of Legos or blocks you have around the house. Find or create a 30-day Lego calendar that encourages your children to build something new each day. Some examples are building a house, a rocket, a bear or a skyscraper. You can adapt the items based on your children’s ages.
- Many drawing classes have moved online. A favorite of mine is Mo Willems, who is doing lunchtime doodles each day. Visit the Kennedy Center YouTube page for their videos.
I hope these ideas bring some enjoyment to your families and help when you need to entertain your children while you work. Outside of these ideas, to help entertain my children during this time of social distancing, I allowed each of them to select one gift card in the Vitality Mall that they wanted. I used my Vitality Bucks to cover them. That makes me stay active to keep earning points and Vitality Bucks and I am making sure I take care of myself so that I can take care of them.
Megan Schier, Client Relations and Operational Lead at Vitality, has a Master’s in Business Administration from Southern Methodist University, where she focused on marketing and strategic leadership. That, combined with her undergraduate focus in Sports Medicine, has allowed her to find the perfect fit at Vitality. She loves to travel and can be found on a beach, the mountains, in wine country or at Disney when not at work.