Looking for some easy ways to keep your children entertained so you can work from home? In this blog post, I’m sharing 30 plus activities that don’t require plopping your children in front of the TV to stimulate imagination and fun (without your help!).
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30+ Activities to Keep Kids Busy At Home
With the current Coronavirus epidemic, schools are closing world wide and desperate parents are trying to cram their work day into a routine with kids at home. YIKES!
As a homeschooling mama who also runs a Pinterest management consultancy, I have learned that working while the kids are at home can be done. You can have a successful business and make choices about your time. You can teach your children to be independent and learn on their own too!
Think about how much time you spend in the car driving your kids to school, to practice, and to activities! Maybe for you that is 10 hours a week (especially if you aren’t sitting at their games). This is a lot of time to be productive. Get scrappy!
I’m not suggesting that you abandon your children for activities so you can be a slave to your laptop! No, in fact, I would encourage you to spend 1:1 time with them (and many of these items can be done together as a family), but at the time of writing this, during the pandemic, many of us have no choice but to work from home with the kids. I sincerely hope some of these suggestions are helpful for you!
One: The best Podcasts for Kids
My kids beg to listen to podcasts! As a parent, I love them. They get to hone in on their listening skills, learn science, or get engaged in a great story! While many of these suggestions are for 4 and up (yes, my four year old is obsessed with them!), they are suitable for elementary-aged kids.
- Wow in the World (Science)
- Pants on Fire (Science/Facts)
- Eleanor Amplified (Story about broadcasting- SO hilarious!)
- Brains ON
- But WHY: A Podcast for Curious Kids
The best part about these is that if your kids are out of school, they are engaging with the scientific world and learning SO much! I can personally attest to the exciting concepts they have learned in some of these podcasts. I might have learned a thing or two, too. 😉
Two: The BEST read aloud books
My husband is the resident ‘read alouder’ in our home. He has the BEST voices and my girls adore spending time with him this way! But, if you are trying to get a quick 30 minute to an hour of work done, I’d recommend trying some of these great books in audio form! Pop these great children’s books on your Alexa or iPad and watch your children get lost in a great story!
These are some of my girls personal favorite books:
- The Chronicles of Narnia
- Harry Potter
- The Hobbit
- Little House Series
- Red Wall
- Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH
- The Mysterious Benedict Society
- The Little Princess
- The Penderwicks
- The Wind in the Willows
All of these are available on Amazon, but many of them are available from your library online app too! If your kids aren’t used to listening to audiobooks, start small in 15 minute sittings! Many of these stories are so captivating, eventually they will want more!
Three: Arts & Craft Activities for Kids
My girls are the QUEENS of arts and crafts! Even though some of these make a mess, it is so worth it if I can knock out an hour of work. I’m sharing my girls favorite craft items that keep the creativity flowing, as well as the quiet. 😉
- Kinetic Sand – much easier to clean than Play-Dough!
- Play-Dough Kits– I adore this dentist one! My girls love baking, so they are always interested in making treats and cakes.
- Watercoloring Kits for Kids– my girls LOVE painting! And as an added bonus, you can find YouTube tutorials for art for kids. My girls love learning online!
- Water Beads– I love the ways these grow and shrink and they are so fun! Plop the kids outside (with supervision) with these beads and let them play!
- Ironing Beads– while the kids will need some supervision for ironing, my girls can make designs with these for hours!
While there are many, many other craft ideas, I trust these in a pinch because they aren’t super messy and easy to clean! I’m more reticent to recommend real paint without supervision, but your mileage may vary!
Four: Building & Stem Activities
My girls, next to art, love nothing more than big building kits! They love lego and will often work collaboratively on a project to see it to its completion. We have personally owned all of these and they are mom approved for buying you some time to work.
- Lego Girls– while you may have boys in your home, my kids love putting together these lego kits, followed by role playing with the characters. “Stephanie’s House” is a favorite!
- Brain Flakes– I cannot explain to you the HOURS my kids have played with these simple building contraptions! They are so fun and easy to clean!
- Magnatiles– While these can be pricey, there are some off-brand options. Teach your kids to build! I have also used these handy shapes to demonstrate fractions and geometry for visual learners!
Five: Educational Activities To keep up with School SKills
And while crafting and playing is fun, we might need to incorporate some learning during their time at home too! While I’m sure that many school districts are preparing for kids for school time out, here are some resources I love as a homeschooling mom.
- Khan Academy– Free math tutorials, quizzes and tests that align very well with grade level requirements.
- Math Mammoth– I personally use these for my girls to learn math. They come with a lesson and instruction, and the problems are challenging but also test their knowledge.
- READ to your kids and let them READ uninhibited! Never have your children had so much time to read! Let them dive into some fun books (the book list above might help).
- YouTube Art tutorials- these are SO fun! Your kids can learn to draw.
- Documentaries on Netflix- there are so many quality documentaries, like Planet Earth, that they can learn about the wonders of the Amazon or the Ocean floor.
- Markers and paper- My girls love drawing and coloring, but I also give them tasks, like, “Draw a menu for an ice cream store with your FAVORITE flavors. Invent a smoothie shop, illustrate what they would serve!”
While we are in a time of unprecedented history, kids have been entertaining themselves way before the onset of electronic players and devices. I believe with some quick preparation and supplies, you can get a lot more done than you think while having the kids at home!
Let them explore and know, this too shall pass…
Want to read more? Check out my post for 4 Tips to Thrive as a work from home mom!
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