Looking for ways for your child to stay busy and engaged while staying at home? See below for some examples of age-appropriate activities you can do with your child. Remember to be creative, stay flexible and safe, and have fun! The Center on the Developing Child at Harvard University has also compiled a list of resources with ideas for activities here.
1. Phone call or video chat with family members or friends. This is a great time to reinforce your child’s relationships with grandparents, cousins, and friends.
2. Try a new recipe with your child, or let them help you plan meals for the week by looking through the refrigerator and pantry together.
3. Go on a treasure hunt around the neighborhood or in your own house or backyard. Give your child a basket or bucket to collect leaves, rocks, or objects around your home. This is a great way to help your child develop motor skills while also getting some fresh air if possible.
4. Color! Our website includes coloring pages (linked at the top of this page) that depict healthy hygiene habits and basic information about coronavirus for kids. While the coloring books were designed for children in Grades 1-3, you may find them age-appropriate for your preschoolers or older toddlers.
5. Build a fort or obstacle course in a safe place in the home using soft objects such as blankets and cushions. Remember to supervise your child to prevent injuries.
6. Listen to an audio story. Right now, Audible is offering free audio stories for kids up to age 18. The stories are available in multiple languages including English, Spanish, French, Japanese, German, and Italian.
7. Create a Spirit Week for your household. Choose themes for each day of the week. Some examples include pajama day, jersey/sports day, crazy socks day, superhero day, and favorite animal day. Have fun with this!
8. Build a masking tape racetrack by using masking tape to create “traffic lanes” on your floor or carpet. Your child can guide toy cars along the tracks all throughout the room or house. See here for an example.
9. Engage in water play at the kitchen sink or in the bathtub using toys or household objects of different sizes like sponges, cups, and buckets. You can also use things like empty (and cleaned) milk jugs and yogurt containers!
10. Combine dress-up and story time. Have your child create their own costume using items around the house such as hats, scarves, belts, or other old clothing items. Then, have your child make up a story to go along with the costume and practice acting the story out.
11. Practice gratitude through art. Color and cut out paper hearts, and tape them to your doors or windows to show support for frontline workers during the COVID-19 pandemic. This could be a great opportunity to talk with your child about the many groups of people who are working to keep them safe during this time. Check out this news story for examples from a project called “Hearts for Healthcare Workers.”
12. Create a family marching band using bells, whistles, and household objects like pans and spoons. Let your child lead the marching band around your home as you make music together.
13. Open a pretend restaurant together. Make food items (like pizza, cookies, or fruits) out of materials you have available, such as playdough or even food drawn onto paper, and have your child “serve” the food to dolls or stuffed animals in your pretend restaurant.
14. Go on virtual tours to learn about new places. Consider these virtual tours of the Metropolitan Museum of Art (MetKids), the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, and Yellowstone National Park as some starting points. For a more complete list of virtual art museums, click here.
15. See our “Healthy Physical Activity While Physical Distancing” section for more ideas on physically active fun.