33 Kids Activities for COVID-19 School Closures

March 25, 2020

We all love our kids dearly but one thing the coronavirus school closures have taught us is that teachers deserve so very, very much respect. It can be difficult to keep your little ones entertained day and night, especially if you’re simultaneously trying to work from home. Luckily the whole internet seems to be uniting and introducing new out-of-the-box ideas daily. After you’ve heard enough Peppa Pig and Sesame Street for the day, here are some other activity suggestions—many of which do not involve screens.

Mother and Son Washing Hands at Kitchen Sink

Photo by CDC

1. Teach Kids How to Wash Their Hands

Pick a 20-second excerpt from a song they like and show them how to properly wash their hands.

2. Learn At Home

NYC Public schools are of course closed and though your child’s e-learning may already be mapped out for you, Scholastic Learn at Home offers plenty more educational resources for those who want additional enrichment. And here are some more online classes organized by subject and grade level. Don’t forget this long list of educational sites waiving fees right now. Or this virtual class calendar with a ton of options.

3. Write a Story

Need a prompt? Scholastic has a ton of ’em. Bonus: Have kids illustrate the story too.

4. Do a STEM Activity

Any aspiring astronauts in the house? They’ll love the many activities that NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory offers online.

5. Take a VR Museum Tour

Guggenheim, Van Gogh Museum, National Museum of Art…and so many more to explore.

6. Quarantine Olympics

Thank you, Anderson .Paak, for introducing us to this cute indoor Olympics idea. (If you host your own, please be safe!)

7. Explore National Parks

Google’s interactive 360-degree VR tours are sure to keep the kids occupied.

8. Do a Puzzle

We have a feeling Puzzle Warehouse is doing a lot of business these days.

9. Build a Fort

Be creative and use different sheets and furniture from around the house.

10. Host a Fashion Show

Help the kids make a runway, let them pick out their outfits and select their favorite music. Then have them strut their stuff.

11. Play a Board Game

Dust off that Monopoly board or prep for an Operation. If you don’t have any board games at home, try ordering one from your favorite store online. Bonus: Encourage kids to make their own board games or card games.

12. Do a Craft

Using supplies from around the house, the crafting possibilities are endless.

13. Make a Movie

If your child is old enough to operate a video camera or borrow your smartphone or tablet, they can make their own movie. Print out some storyboards for them, give them a few pointers and let their imagination run wild. Or, prop up your recording device and have them get in front of the camera where they share their knowledge with the viewer, tell a story or make a how-to video. Depending on their age, teach them some editing skills. Then you can have a family screening once they’re finished.

14. Have Karaoke Night

Kids can sing their hearts out even if you don’t have a karaoke machine. Use a spoon as a mic and use your computer, phone or other device to play their favorite songs.

15. Cook or Bake Together

Search online for different kid-friendly recipes. Some of our favorites: cookie and cupcake baking and decorating, pizza making and veggie platters (use different colored vegetables to make shapes and characters).

16. Make Your Own Playdough

There are lots of recipes out there. Make it with your child, then encourage them to play with it on their own. Bonus activity: Have kids try their hand at stop-motion video making.

17. Have a Dance Party

The kids can either follow a YouTube choreographer, try Dance Sweat Live or you can help them create their own playlist, set up the lighting, choose an outfit and dance the night away.

18. Hunt for Treasures

Use this printable scavenger hunt sheet as a guide or create your own.

19. Birdwatch

Have the kids look outside the window, in the yard or at a secluded outdoor spot to find birds, then use an online bird guide to identify their species.

20. Write Letters

Have your child write a letter to themselves, their friends, teachers or loved ones.

21. Color

Use a coloring book, a free Crayola printable page or draw simple shapes for the kids to color in.

22. Clean the House

Head to Parents for a ton of tips on how to make cleaning fun and get kids to help out.

23. Dust Off or Repurpose Old Toys

If you have any old toys in the closet, now might be a good time to try reintroducing them. If the kids aren’t interested, challenge them to repurpose the toys. You may also suggest putting together a toy donation box with them.

24. Make a Time Capsule

Explain to the kids what a time capsule is, then challenge them to select or create a shoebox full of items that they can open later in time. Bonus: Have them decorate the box once it’s filled.

Girl Jumping Rope in Tutu from Behind

Photo by Caleb Woods

25. Get Moving

Use GoNoodle for their trademark combo of “movement and mindfulness.” Give Cosmic Kids Yoga a whirl. Try Debbie Doo for singing and dancing. Or crank up the music and try freestyle.

26. Listen to a Story

Brooklyn Public Library is offering virtual story times throughout the stay at home order.

27. FaceTime with Relatives

Don’t have FaceTime? Here are some alternative video chat apps.

28. Do a Kitchen Experiment

Turn your kitchen into a science lab. Try searching for “kids kitchen experiments” on Google for more ideas.

Little Boy Drawing with Chalk on Bricks

29. Draw with Chalk

If you have a driveway, bricks or chalkboard, this one’s for you.

30. Let Kids Pick a Subject

Ask your child if there’s anything they’d like to learn about today and then spend 30 minutes or so teaching them that subject.

31. Go to the e-Zoo

Watch cute animals waddle, crawl, slither and swim through some of the country’s top zoos and aquariums.

32. Learn a New Language

Rockalingua is one of the many sites that offer language learning through song.

33. Have an Art Show

Gather up the kids’ old drawings and paintings, and have them make new art pieces over a period of hours or days once you explain to them that you are going to have an art show. After you’ve compiled a decent number of art pieces, display them around the house. Have your child talk about each piece while you admire it.

And if you’re still looking for ideas, sign up for the PBS daily newsletter to get fresh ones delivered each weekday.

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