Upon returning from my safari in Kenya with Yellow Zebra Safaris I found all my travel plans for March, April and May crumbling before my eyes. While I’m feeling helpless at the disintegration of my travel writing exploits I can’t even imagine what’s going through the minds of parents with kids unexpectedly home because of coronavirus school closures.
Since I’m back to work with my OG Nanny Family to help them get through this crazy time I wanted to come up with some ideas of things I could do with the kids.
Hold your own Cooking Show at home
My Nanny Family loves baking and the Food Network, in fact, most kids love cooking, so I know we’ll be giving this a try during our time away from school.
I’d suggest giving the kids an ingredient they need to incorporate in a meal. Don’t make it too difficult so what they make will be edible and no food is wasted. Try giving them: Pasta Sauce, Corn, Bananas, or another common meal ingredient. You could even try one of these kid-friendly recipes from around the world.
Afterward, get together and watch an episode of a cooking show starring kids to give them some inspiration for the next time you do the cooking activity.
Plan your next Family Adventure
These coronavirus school closures won’t last forever, and when it’s over you’ll all be ready to get out and explore.
Pick a destination that’s not too far away from home and get everyone in on the planning. Have everyone come up with things they want to do and see. Use hotels.com to pick out a hotel with a great pool perhaps?
You can even make a list of things to pack or not to pack. Whatever you plan and whatever you do make it fun and something to look forward to!
Facetime or Call an Elderly loved one
It’s not just coronavirus school closures that are effecting families right now. During this time older loved ones will be getting less visitors to keep them safe. Gather the whole family together and Facetime Grandma, Grandpa, Great Aunts and Uncles; Anyone who you think needs an extra smile during this tough time.
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Do an Eco-Audit of your house
For me, all this craziness has made me think of the planet and all the people in the in. We need to do better for the future of the planet, and kids can help make those changes. If we teach them how to do better now they will for the rest of their lives.
Have the kids go around the house and see what things they can change. Here are a few things they can look for:
- Do you use plastic pages at the store or do you bring your own?
- Are appliances unplugged when not in use?
- Do you have a dishwasher? Do you only run it when it’s full?
- Do you use a short cycle on the washing machine? Do you use cold water?
- Do you use natural cleaners?
- Do you recycle everything?
- How much food goes to waste? How can you change that?
- How can you use less plastic?
- Do you use plastic water bottles?
- Do you use LED Lightbulbs?
After they answer those questions, and they or you can come up with more have them come up with a plan on what changes can be made and stick to them!
Make toys for Animals at local Shelters
Everyone is in need of a little help right now, even our animal friends. While shelters are looking for donations of animal food as well, not everyone is going to be in the position to donate. However, I guarantee that you have some old socks and t-shirts laying around the house you don’t need anymore.
Check out this YouTube video and learn how to make 5 different dog toys. The kids will have a blast, and they’ll be doing something positive as the same time.
Take a Virtual Tour of a Famous Museum
This one is for the older kids or ones that are really into museums. Travel and Leisure put together this full list of museums offering virtual tours. Of all the ones listed, my personal favorite is The British Museum.
This famous museum in London is one of my personal favorites. As one of the only museums I really wanted to see during my visit, I was super excited to find out they had a virtual tour. This tour is all about their artifacts! It’s easy to find the time period and original location of the pieces and the photos are stunning.
Make DIY Bath Bombs
Everyone is a little stressed out right now including kids, so it’s a perfect time to make some homemade bath bombs for kids. I suggest making these early on and using them throughout the coronavirus school closures.
And the best part? Most of the ingredients are pretty common and most people have them in the homes already!
Make Origami Animals
Origami is perfect for kids of all ages. It is the ancient Japanese art of folding paper.
While some projects can be more challenging than others there is an origami project for everyone. For beginners grab an easy origami book and some origami paper and get folding. If you get confused check out YouTube they have lots of videos with great instructions.
Create a Scavenger Hunt
Who doesn’t love a good scavenger hunt? I know I do. And the best part is, you don’t need to go anywhere do to a scavenger hunt.
If you have younger children you can make the scavenger hunt. Either create some clues and have them figure it out or make a list of things for them to collect either around the house or if you live in a place with a yard have them go outside.
For older kids have them each make a scavenger hunt. Give them a designated amount of time to create it to challenge them. Once they’re done have them trade scavenger hunts.
I’ve seen this activity go on for hours! Kids really get into it. I’ve even created a scavenger hunt while they were creating and doing theirs and surprised them with a really BIG one for them to do, they LOVED it!
Make friendship bracelets
Making friendship bracelets is an activity I’ve been doing since I was a kid. There are so many different kinds to make and it will keep the kids happy for hours.
And one of the best parts of friendship bracelets is they’re cheap. All you need to make a friendship bracelet is a safety pin to pin it to your pants and some embroidery floss.
Watch the video below to learn how to make some really easy bracelets. When the kids get really good, or if they’re already experts, check out Friendship-Bracelets.net they have plenty of patterns.
Listen to a Podcast Together
Who doesn’t love listening to stories? I know I do! So why not round up the kids, pop some popcorn and listen to a podcast together.
Bust out the jigsaw puzzles
Jigsaw puzzles are a great way to fill time and keep brains active. Grab a few jigsaw puzzles and have the whole family work on them. I’ve done this with the Nanny kids for years over winter breaks and snow days and they really enjoy it.
Here are a few jigsaw puzzles I think would be fun for kids:
Design a Rube Goldberg Machine
A Rube Goldberg Machine is a contraption that uses a serious of chain reactions to carry out a simple task. I’ve created Rube Goldberg Machines that shut doors, rolled balls in cups, and knocked over action figures.
Check out the video below for a little inspiration on how to make you own Robe Goldberg Machine. For more information on how to make your own Rube Goldberg mahcine check out my blog post.
Create a Time Capsule
Kids grow up so fast, so while you’re all together, have everyone in the family create a time capsule.
Have each of the children write a letter or draw a picture to their future selves. They should talk about the activities they enjoy doing, what they want to be when they grow up, and anything else that is important to them. In addition, they should find something at home that represents them to put inside the time capsule.
It would be really fun to do a time capsule for each child in the family and have them open it when they graduate from high school. Parents should write a letter to their child and add things inside that remind them of the child.