Because of COVID-19 affecting our Houston community, it is important to keep your kids safe while also maintaining the integrity of their learning schedule. However, for many parents, it may be challenging to educate their children and work at the same time. Despite the structured schedule that online learning provides, your children can still fall behind in their education and growth due the lack of face to face interaction with children their age. This makes integrating a learning and social environment into their schedule highly important. It is important to understand that kids have lots of energy and are still developing. They require activities to keep them occupied; preferably something that intrigues them and teaches them something. While they may be random or act wildly, this might be a cry for attention or simply boredom. Perhaps you can engage in interactive and fun educational activities. These activities will keep your kids busy while ensuring attention to their mental and physical health. Here is a list of activities that we have chosen that you and your child may enjoy:
- Teaching Life Skills – Changing a tire, doing laundry, general house cleaning, etc.
- Visit Iconic Landmarks Virtually – Utilize Google Maps to explore places you have never been to before! There are even online tours online that are very affordable.
- Virtually Tour National Parks Online – Many national parks offer virtual tours that you can utilize to experience some of the beauty that they have to offer.
- Play Board Games – Play some board games that bring the family together and encourage thinking! Some classics include Monopoly, Scrabble, Rummikub, and Jenga.
- Encourage Reading – Read books appropriate for their age. Maybe you can even introduce them to books you enjoyed when you were a kid!
- Teaching Cooking and Baking – With some restaurants closed, trying out a new recipe or making some sweets could be a fun activity for your little one that shows them how their favorite foods are made.
- See an Online Broadway Show – A wonderful display of the arts could be something that fosters creativity in your young one and also give you something interesting to watch.
- Take an Online College Tour – It never hurts to show your child the campuses of universities/colleges. It could act as a motivator. The earlier goals are set, the better.
- Online Safari – There are many live camera feeds of animals and scenery around the world for you to access for free. Seeing new animals can develop curiosity and foster a desire to know more.
- Ancestry.com – Learning about predecessors Curious about your ancestors? With platforms like ancestry.com, you can trace your lineage alongside your child to show them their own history.
- Going outside – trails, body weight exercise Stimulating the body physically is just as important as stimulating it mentally. Running, jumping, body weight exercises, and even free weights can help keep your overall energy levels up so you can spend more time with the kids. Be a role model. Exercising is also great for your child’s development as it helps with concentration, fitness, ability to socialize, self-esteem, and even academic scores.
- Learn a new language – Utilize free time by learning a new language. There are classes available online too. With proper guidance, a child can pick up a language just as fast if the desire and consistency is there.
- Maintain a structured schedule – School usually starts early in the morning. Maintaining their usual sleep schedule is the best way to reintroduce them to the classroom once in-person classes resume. Instilling time management and a drive to get more done in the day is a helpful life skill.
Trying some online classes or helping your kids read textbooks is a great way to help them in your free time. Kids’ books come with colorful artwork and inspiring lessons that promote creativity. You can also let them play online educational games to keep them busy. Make sure they are challenging themselves with things that are not too easy. These games can improve their mental health, problem-solving skills, and even reaction time as long as they are forced to use their brain a little. Continuous practice of such games as well as reading can have great results in the long run.
Benefits for kids on physical health:
Experts advise parents to involve their kids in some physical activities as well. Although they shouldn’t go to the park or playground too much, (especially if others are around) some routine exercises can help maintain health. Many parents ask “how much exercise should my kids get?” Teach the importance of exercise to your children and help them understand the benefits of playing outside. Usually, the best way to do this is to be an example. Do it while they watch and do it with them. Help them with their form and be encouraging. Show basic body weight exercises like pushups, squats, running, jumping jacks, stretches, etc. Encourage outdoor play. Maybe visit Discovery Green or walk in the Museum District near Hermann Park, the Houston Museum of Natural Science, Houston Zoo, or Museum of Fine Arts if safely possible. Remember to wear face masks.
Benefits for family relationships:
You can also try many family activities despite coronavirus to set up a strong bond with your kids. Let them know that having fun as a family is still possible in times where we should try to stay home as much as possible. The idea is to bring family together and start having fun in quarantine. You can play chess, Uno, Rummikub, Scrabble, Monopoly, Skip-Bo, card games, and more! Read, talk, and play with each other. Make the best use of this family time, and soon you will see positive effects in your relationships.