Ideas for kid-focused activities during coronavirus shutdowns

Nat Geo asked parents what they’re doing at home to keep their newly stay-at-home children active and educated. Here's what they told us.

Tuesday, 31 March 2020,
By National Geographic
Photograph by Alistair Berg / Getty Images

As schools shut down to prevent the spread of COVID-19, plenty of kids are finding themselves stuck at home with mums and dads struggling to fill their time. So who better to come up with creative solutions than parents? Check out these ideas from the experts themselves on how to keep children engaged during this forced togetherness time. And keep checking back as we continue to add new ideas. Share your ideas with us on Twitter.

• Learn old-school games, like playing jacks and performing magic tricks.

• Buy inexpensive patterns and supplies off Etsy to create crafts projects at home, like making Easter bunnies from upcycled wool sweaters. This also helps support small businesses that might be hurting during the pandemic.

• Practice homesteading like the settlers in the early days: Make yogurt from scratch or ferment foods to preserve.

• Have a picnic on the kitchen floor, complete with tablecloth, basket, and flowers.

• Try art projects using common household items, like making a robot out of cereal boxes, bottle caps, and jar lids.

• Watch the Smithsonian’s National Zoo live webcams and ask kids to write a short report on what the animals are doing.

• Tour museums around the world—virtually. Google Arts & Culture has created a website to "visit" famous art museums, from the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum in Santa Fe to the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam.

• Video chat with classmates.

• Making a schedule to keep them from getting too overwhelmed with everything school sent home. Also making time to go outside, play music, do arts/crafts and just have general downtime. This is hard on them too.

• Lego blocks are endless fun. Also, every night is a movie night at our place.

• Flip through old photo albums.

• Write letters to grandma and grandpa.

• My daughter has been documenting her experience so she can share it with her descendants.

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