Activities to keep your kids engaged during long periods at home
Practically every parent
on earth is struggling today with the same question: How do I keep my kids
engaged indoors during this prolonged lockdown?
To put things in perspective, even before the lockdown, children were spending quite an amount of time indoors. But what they are missing now are: (a) learning and education, (b) social interaction, and (c) playtime and sports. Hence, the activities that you design for your children should revolve around what they’re losing in the lockdown and keeping in mind their mental and physical development.
Learning and Education
Read to your child and help her learn to read. When you read out loud to your child, she memorizes the sounds that you make and mimics you, thereby building her vocabulary and pronunciation. Pick up any age-appropriate fun book and help her read along with you. Make this a daily ritual.
Children these days demand screen time! Download well-rated and reviewed edutainment apps on your phone or tablet and let your child indulge in them. It is a win-win deal!
Build lesson plan-based quizzes. Use chart paper, animal characters, picture books, and items lying around the house to quiz your kids on words, numbers, counting, and so on. Of course, in a quiz, there should be prizes too!
Use sticky notes to label everyday items in your house. Write in big letters so that it is easy for your child to read. This will build their vocabulary.
Nowadays, the major streaming media services have a children’s section full of kids’ movies and documentaries. Select according to your child’s age and set out a time when they can watch them with you. Answer their questions and help them understand the content and its underlying message.
Teach your kid about how things around the house function: light bulb, fan, pressure cooker, fridge, pen, radio, phone, and such items. These are things that we take for granted. But knowing how they work makes us well-rounded individuals.
Teach your child a new life skill: language, cooking, counting money, polishing shoes, washing dishes, gardening, pet care, and such. The lockdown is a great time to learn skills that will be useful later in life. In the process, your child will also grow into a responsible citizen and helpful family member.
Use technology to set up video play dates for your child with her friends from school or colony. Coordinate with other parents to tie in, but once it has started, leave the children alone for the designated time period. They also need a space with no parents around! This activity can also be extended to grandparents and relatives so that the feeling of isolation is lessened.
If you have trees, birds, pets, or animals around, and if you can view them without stepping out of your house, take your child to see them. Help your child give them names and even have mock conversations with them (Ricky and racoon and Peppy the parrot!). Read up on them and then teach your child too.
Encourage adult family members to have long conversations with kids. Don’t worry about using complex words and sentences. Children absorb language easily and quickly. These conversations will help build their vocabulary as well as mental processing.
Enact role plays where your child can learn complex mental analyses. You could enact a shopping scene where your child is the shopkeeper and you, the buyer. Or a teacher-student scene, banker-customer, politician-voter, manager-employee, and so on. Don’t aim for perfection! Just lay down the basic premise and let your child’s imagination take over.
Playtime and Sports
Let your children alone to play with their toys. Add a segment to their playtime to clean, sort, and store their toys. They will, of course, resist it, but explain to them why it is important and maybe even incentivize them with their favourite snack.
Skipping rope is a great physical exercise that also builds balance. Group skipping with singing is a great way to engage your child in a fun activity while also helping them get some exercise.
Set up an obstacle race using household using props like chairs, tables, toys, cushions, pillows, etc. Make it creative and thematic.
Plan a treasure hunt with fun clues and exciting treasures that your child will love to discover. Use a favourite theme and improvise thematic costumes.
Teach your child basic callisthenics and yoga. These are great physical workouts that are good for any age.
Help your kid develop some fine motor skills and creativity via art and craft. Stone and egg-shell painting, drawing, origami, upcycling dry trash, house of cards and ice cream sticks, domino chain reactions, and so on are some great ideas to keep kids occupied for hours.
But Remember These!
Safety first: Ensure that all
safety precautions are in place and that there is adult supervision when
Age appropriate: Activity
selection should be age-appropriate so that the child is able to participate
with active mental and physical engagement.
participation encourages children and increases their enthusiasm. Moreover,
parents will also get some physical exercise, mental stimulation, skill
development, and, especially, bonding with their child.
Record: Don’t forget to record
through photos and videos all the fun stuff that your child and you do
together. When the lockdown is over, which it will be one day, you will look at
these pictures with love and pride.