Tuesday, March 17, 2020

Resources to Keep Kids From Being Bored during Coronavirus Outbreak

Life as we have known has been changing daily if not hourly over the last week.  Last Friday I felt a wave of relief as K-12 schools were dismissed for a minimum of two weeks.  I have a 1st grader that tends to catch everything.  We were told that teachers would spend Monday and Tuesday getting technology up and running to teach online.  Online instruction will start on Wednesday for my elementary, junior high, and high school students.

Mom won in the end.

We survived Day #1 by playing LEGOS, video chatting with our missionary, reading and listening to books, spending time on educational websites, playing Minecraft online with friend (who was playing from their home) communicating via speaker phone, playing Sorry, watching a show, making homemade fries, and barbecuing hot dogs and hamburgers. My three kids that live at home all asked at various times if I was certain that their friends could not come over to play.  Playing with friends will be the thing they miss the most during the next few weeks. I may have heard the word BORED exit one or two of my kids mouths.

I have been scouring social media and the internet searching for activities we can do as we social distance ourselves from others at this critical time and make the most of the situation for two weeks, one month, or two months if necessary.  My friend, Debbie Dujanovic from KSL News Radio, has asked me to call into her show to share what resources that I have found and things that families can do during lockdown.

5 Things to Keep Kids From Being Bored

1. Help your kids connect to their friends and extended family via technology or phone calls or texts. This is not the time for playdates and meeting up at the park with friends.  Google Hangouts, Facetime, Skype, WhatsApp, and many other platforms are available to use to communicate.  Words with Friends and other games can be played with friends via technology.  Find a list here including Pandemic:The Board Game that can be played with friends.

2. Make jobs at home a shared responsibility.  Clean out closets, work on the yard, sanitize the house, bake cookies, or cook a meal together. Home Beautiful shares 33 jobs your children can do to help around the house here. Make a list that can be checked off and give incentives.  "Once we finish the jobs on this list, we can" play a favorite game, watch a favorite movie, go for a bike ride, or do a favorite at home activity.  You can find free printable chore charts here, here, here, and here.

3. Get outside for fresh air.  Take a scenic drive. Play in your yard.  Take a walk or go for a hike while avoiding crowded outdoor areas and staying 6 feet away from others. Go to alltrails.com or download the AllTrails app to find walking paths or trails near you.

4. Enjoy all the free educational resources available online. Choose any of these 20 virtual field trips to take with your kids to famous art museums, zoos (webcams to see animals), aquariums, Ellis Island, and more. Scholastic has released free daily courses with activities for Pre-K through 6 grade kids who are home from school.  New users will need to create a free BookFlix account to access the content. A special username and password has been made public for anyone to use for free, which can be found on the Learn at Home grade level landing pages. Save The Children is also offering resources on how to talk to your kids about the virus, learning activities that can be done from home, list of free educational websites and apps, and more on their website.

5. Have fun together as a family.  Pull out board and card games that haven't been played in a long time, order a puzzle online that you can piece together, and pull out craft/art supplies that have been gathering dust in our cabinets. Watch Frozen 2 on Disney Plus. We have joked about the boys having a Marvel marathon in the basement while we girls have a Hallmark marathon upstairs.

Remember that during this time you are making memories that will last a lifetime. When I was a senior in high school, we experienced 3 weeks without power after an ice storm took down all but one power pole in our county. Schools were cancelled. Roads were closed. I still remember that time spent bonding with my family with laughter and fondness. I keep reminding myself that this will be easy in comparison to what my mother faced. We have power, water, internet, electronics, and multiple ways to cook our food. We can do this!

Comcast is offering their Internet Essential program free to new low-income Americans for 2 months. Xfinity Wifi hotspots across the country will be available to anyone who needs them for free.  More details can be found here.

Disclaimer: I may have stocked up and stashed (in a secure location) chocolate made with stevia and other healthy treats to help me get through the next several weeks (worse case scenerio).  Moms, take time to take a long bath and do some self care.  If the kids start fighting, don't hesitate to check out my "if you have time to fight, you have time to clean" plan here.

* More and more resources are becoming available online every day.  I will add additional items to this post as I learn of them below.


As schools and libraries are closed, kids may need more reading materials. For Amazon Prime members, all e-books in the following lists are free.
Free Prime Reading by Levels (K and Younger) https://api.readu.io/link/l/7vmM7ZiMrA/
Free Prime Reading by Levelsb(1st & 2nd) https://api.readu.io/link/l/5Xg9xxT9mj/
Free Prime Reading by levels (3rd-4th) https://api.readu.io/link/l/0emwQMHNrl/
Free Prime Reading by levels (5th-6th) https://api.readu.io/link/l/o3mJ71fXgX/
Free Prime Reading by levels (6th grade and above) https://api.readu.io/link/l/nBmEvNIbg5/


1)  GIANT LIST OF IDEAS FOR BEING HOME WITH KIDS from the Princess Awesome and Boy Wonder Community can be found here.

2) USA TODAY shared a list of 100 things to do while stuck inside due to a pandemic here.


1) New York Family has released a list of their 10 best free educational online resources here.

2) A comprehensive list of AMAZING EDUCATIONAL RESOURCES can be found here.


A comprehensive list of resources for educators can be found here.

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