Social Distancing with Kids

by - March 22, 2020

You know that saying about March coming in like a lion? Boy was it true this year...except for maybe the part about it going out like a lamb. Although, with schools, daycares, and nearly everything else closed down to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and social distancing in full effect, things have been pretty calm.

So how has my family been spending our unexpected school break? I'd like to tell you we implemented a homeschool routine and have been filling the days with educational activities, but that would be a lie. In reality, we've spent a lot more time outside - riding bicycles, drawing with chalk, jumping on the trampoline, and playing on the swingset - and probably letting Alexis watch too much television. From a parenting perspective, I've spent more time picking up after everyone, attempting to keep Alexis from snacking all day long, and trying not to get annoyed when I'm interrupted working for the tenth time in two hours.

Despite surviving last summer working from home, I wasn't prepared to spend nearly a month at home with an almost-5-year-old. Without our usual break-the-monotony activities like a trip to the library, it felt like we ran out of things to keep her entertained and busy (so I can work) before the first week was over. So I decided to sit down this weekend and put together a list of things we can do to keep busy - and sane - over the next two weeks...or however long we're stuck here.

Visit a local park or playground.

Go for a walk or bike ride.

Have a bubble party.

Decorate your driveway, sidewalk, or even your backyard fence with sidewalk chalk. You can use painter's tape to create abstract "paintings."

Make an obstacle course using hula hoops, sidewalk chalk, jump ropes...whatever you've got!

Go on a picnic. It can be in your front yard or your favorite park.

Have a movie marathon.

Write letters or cards for nursing home residents.

Use Skype or Messenger Kids to keep in touch with school friends.

Our school is posting daily videos of the teachers reading, and Alexis loves it. There are many authors doing the same thing, and Janssen over at Everyday Reading has a running list. Also, check out this awesome Harry Potter Reading Club.

Speaking of reading, the Dothan-Houston County Library has tons of resources on their website. And if you want a safe, fun way to get outside that looks suspiciously like exercise, check out the Story Walk along the Kiwanis walking trail at Westgate Park.

Tumblebooks is giving free access to their online ebooks for a limited time: K-6 Children's Ebook Database, K-6 Math Ebook Database, 7-12 Ebook Database, All Ages Audiobook Database

Take Virtual Dance Lessons with Patti Rutland Jazz.

Cosmic Kids Yoga - 15-minute long videos featuring a cute theme and simple, beginning yoga moves great for toddlers and older kids alike.

Several local art studios are offering to-go art kits: All About Art, AR Workshop Dothan, Tipsy Easel, and Pinspiration Headland. Tipsy Easel is also doing virtual art classes on their Facebook page.

Wiregrass Museum of Art - The museum will post an art challenge on their Facebook and Instagram pages every day with a new theme each week. Wednesdays at 10:00 a.m. CST, the museum will post a video on Facebook with guided instruction of an art project to go with the weekly theme. Also check out the Educator's Lair blog every Monday for projects that can be done from home.

Free coloring sheets from the Peanuts gang. Plus free educational activities approved by none other than Snoopy.

Michaels Kids - They have lots of projects posted on their website right now for kids of all ages. They're offering curbside pickup, and in some places, delivery. They're also posting videos from craft classes.

JoAnne's Fabric has posted lots of kids classes on their website. They range from $20 to $80 depending on the craft.

Hobby Lobby also has lots of DIY projects and videos posted on their website.

Cookie Monster is having virtual snack time on Sesame Street's Youtube channel (which is pretty awesome all on its own) to help kids during stay-at-home orders. It's called Share a Cookie with Cookie Monster and it is precious.

Merrick over at Merrick's Art put together a list of more than 50 screen-free activities for kids of all ages. Check it out! There's lots of good ideas on there.

Free Educational Resources
SciShow Kids - YouTube channel with science projects you can do at home.

Primary Playground - A Facebook page that shares lots of fun educational activities you can do at home, like these scavenger hunts.

PBS Kids Newsletter - A resource to keep your kids playing and learning at home while school is closed.

Khan Academy - Free educational resources for kids and parents, including detailed daily schedule for kids ages 4 to 18, interactive exercises, and videos and articles that cover a range of subjects. There's also a free companion app for kids ages 2 to 7.

Lunch Doodles with Mo Willems - Your kids will learn how to draw characters with illustrator Mo Willems. He posts a new episode every day so you'll never run out of content.

Home Safaris with the Cincinnati Zoo - Every day at 3:00 p.m. EST, the zoo highlights one of their resident animals on Facebook and includes an activity kids can do at home. If you miss the live stream, each episode is posted to their YouTube channel.

Mystery Science - Science lessons and experiments that can be done at home, including "who invented pizza" and "why do woodpeckers peck wood?"

Tiny Travelers - Kids can take a virtual geography lesson and learn about other cultures. Ideal for ages 6 and under.

Virtual Museum Tours - 12 famous museums are offering virtual tours.

ABC Mouse - If your school hasn't already, have them fill out this form. They'll receive a code that parents can then use to receive free access to the site.

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