Keeping Your Kids Busy During Social Distancing - Promise
A boy pretends to be an airplane while his dad lifts him in the air.

Keeping Your Kids Busy During Social Distancing

Healthy Ways to Avoid Crowds and Keep Kids Engaged during the Coronavirus Pandemic

The COVID-19 (novel coronavirus) pandemic has changed Americans’ daily lives due to cancellations and closures just as many parents and kids prepared for spring break. Schools and other organizations are now closed for at least two weeks in an effort to reduce the spread of the virus. Kids are thrilled, but parents are… well, not. Here are some things parents can do with kids while avoiding crowds, and coronavirus, and keeping some level of sanity.

Make a nature bracelet.
When I was little, my grandmother took me on “nature walks” in her neighborhood. She made a bracelet for me out of tape, turned sticky side out, and I would pick flower petals, leaves, blades of grass, and other items from nature to “decorate” my bracelet.

Put on a show with homemade puppets.
We’ve all created puppets out of cotton socks, paper bags, markers, and a handful of buttons. But kids can get really creative with a cool grab-bag of puppetry accessories that you gather and store in a special Puppet Box.

Create a dress-up chest.
Collect scarves, funky hats (cowboy hats, sombreros, team baseball caps, construction hard hats, etc.), costume jewelry, shoes (adults’ and kids’), shirts (oversized white shirts for doctors’ lab coats, Hawaiian shirts for a luau, etc.), dresses, skirts, and jackets. Collect any piece of clothing or accessory that could lend itself to make-believe.

Become a superhero with your kids!

Make cards for neighbors, caregivers, or family members.
Create thank-you cards on regular old printer paper or construction paper. Add special glued-on adornments like family photos, ribbons, glitter, and buttons (beware of small objects that could pose choking hazards for babies and toddlers). Help improve kids’ spelling and letter identification skills by letting them write their own messages. Instead of doing crafts just to get through the day, this project will help kids feel like their time and efforts are being spent on a greater purpose.

Make a cooking demo video.
Let your kids host a cooking demo of their favorite meal or snack. Need a snack idea? Try this Simple Snack Mix. If you share your video on social media, tag @nemours so we can see it!

Go for a bike ride.
Bike riding is a great way to get exercise and share time as a family. But before you and the kids start pedaling, be sure you’re up to date on how to do it safely.

Go backyard camping.
If it’s not too cold where you live, set up camp in the backyard for a fun way to give your kids a staycation. Roast marshmallows on the grill, watch a movie under the stars while snacking on popcorn.

A backyard camp-out is always a winner!

Hold an official family spelling bee, trivia contest, or talent show.
Winners can earn trinkets, stickers, activity or coloring books, trading cards, food treats, money (the younger the child, the smaller the amount), or extra minutes of screen time or stay-up-late time.

Go hunting for seashells and shark teeth.
If you live near the ocean, visit the beach to search for treasures. If the beach isn’t an option for you, make your own treasure box by putting rocks, trinkets, and other items in a box of sand or soil for your little ones to mine.

Staying out of the public can be difficult when your kids are excited and want to get out of the house. Stay up to date on COVID-19 with these articles from KidsHealth.

Audrey Laine Seymour

About Audrey Laine Seymour

Audrey Laine Seymour is the Social Media Marketing Manager for Nemours Children's Health System. She's also a mom to 18-month-old twin boys and enjoys running, barre, and traveling.