Activities to do with the Kids While Social Distancing

Posted by Sara Ifert on Saturday, March 28th, 2020 at 8:38am.

family going for a bike ride togetherSocial distancing has brought the entire family back under one roof 24/7, which can be a challenge. How do you keep your kids from getting too stir crazy?

Structure is important, and setting a rough daily schedule can be a good guide for the whole family. Include time for quiet play or relaxing, learning, and getting physical activity. Make sure to include something fun each day. Just remember, in-person play dates or time at the local playground are not permitted right now in order to slow the spread of the virus.

If your kids are anxious about COVID-19, or are fearful or confused, read this article from a UW-Madison expert on how to talk to your kids about COVID-19.

Make it educational

Just because school is out of session doesn’t mean kids can’t keep learning! If you have a budding coder, set them up with Scratch from MIT. It teaches kids ages 8-16 how to code. If your child loves science, have them work on a science project at home. Take a virtual field trip to the Cincinnati Zoo, which has a daily home safari. The Smithsonian has virtual tours of its entire grounds. PBS Wisconsin is launching at-home learning broadcasts for students K-12 with programming and digital resources that align with state academic standards. There is a wealth of information and resources online that help keep kids engaged and learning during this time of social distancing.

child painting

Enjoy the arts

Search on Pinterest or YouTube for a craft you can work on together. If the weather is nice, get out the sidewalk chalk and create a mural on your driveway, which can be fun for kids of any age! Madison Public Library’s Bubbler has several great resources for creative activities to do at home with children of all ages, even teens! Join artists and authors live online for daily art projects or reading. Check out their resources page for many fun activities to do while at home.

Cook a meal together

Have everyone in the family submit a favorite recipe, or a new one to try. Then, choose one to cook together each night. Get the kids involved by assigning them age-appropriate meal prep tasks. When the meal is prepared, everyone can reflect on their contribution, and share ideas on how to make the recipe better for next time. It’s a great time to teach basic, age appropriate cooking skills, and there are great resources like this site to help them get started.

Take a family walk or bike

Start a new tradition with the family! Get the whole family out on bikes or walk around the neighborhood after dinner each night. It’s a great way to blow off steam after the day, and can be fun for everyone. Be sure to maintain social distance while out in the neighborhood, but waving and talking to neighbors who are more than 6 feet away is highly encouraged!

Play a board game or work on a puzzlefamily game night

Get a big puzzle and set it up on a table where family members can work on it whenever they need to take a break. You can also set up a weekly board game night where each week a family member chooses a game to play and you spend at least an hour playing together.

Plan a garden together

Warmer weather is coming, and it’s a great time to plan a garden. Get the kids involved by having them help choose what to grow, and then start preparing the garden. Check out this resource for getting kids started with gardening.

Stay connected with family and friends

Social distancing doesn’t have to mean your kids have to be lonely. Set up phone dates with your kids and their grandparents. Schedule Facetime get-togethers with their friends so they can stay connected. Many families are using Zoom to connect family from all over the country at once. Just because in-person get-togethers aren’t possible now, doesn’t mean social connection has to stop!

Start a family gratitude jar

It's a confusing time, and focusing on positive aspects of life can help to ease fear and worry. Place a jar in a central area of the home with strips of paper and writing or art supplies nearby. Each night before bed, all members of the family can write one thing they are grateful for and place it in the jar. When frustrations hit, pull a few gratitude notes out of the jar and reflect on them.

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