If the idea of quarantining Coronavirus with your children for days or even weeks plunges you into a panic, be assured that you are not alone. Without exception, all the parents I spoke to recently panicked about the possible closure of a school. What to do to keep an energetic child busy when you are not allowed out of the house? Here’s a list of 13 ways to keep kids entertained in quarantine – and it’s not just unlimited screen time.
1 – Sticker books
Reusable stickers and giant sticker books keep you entertained for days. Kids love stickers, and there are many sticker book options for kids of all ages. The giant sticker blocks from Melissa & Doug come with over 100 reusable stickers that will keep your little ones entertained. For older kids who know their numbers, choose something that requires a little more focus, like the book Paint By Sticker Zoo Animals.
2- Play-Doh modeling clay
I generally do not allow my children to use Play-Doh inside the home, but desperate times call for desperate action. Spread out an old sheet or towels, and let the kids let off steam with a pack of 36 Play-Doh and the Play-Doh Creations magic oven. They will use their imagination and the colorful plasticine to create loads of wacky “pastries”.
The puzzles have the potential to keep children – and adults – entertained for hours, especially if they are old enough for one of the really complicated 5,000 piece puzzles. Puzzles help solve problems and boost memory, and they are fun to play over and over again. I like the 150-piece Educa Department of France geo puzzle because it’s a great way for kids to get to know their country. If you don’t want to have to move half-completed puzzles from the dining room table, set up a card table to act as a puzzle station.
4 – Art supplies
Never underestimate the power of markers, pencils or paint to keep a child occupied for long periods of time. Even if your child is not a super artist, providing them with a selection of new art supplies can stimulate their creativity. Get older children to know famous artists and their different techniques by consulting art books or online galleries, and then have them create their own masterpieces. My children always find the pointillism of Georges Seurat fascinating.
5 – Math exercise books
If you have school-aged children and you don’t want learning to stop just because the school is closed, Stéphanie Eleaume-Lachaud’s 54 mental maps are a great way for children to follow their math course. They don’t look like the boring exercise books you remember from your own childhood – they make learning fun, and my kids ask to do them.
6 – Scientific kits
Science can be fun and a great way for children to learn how things work. While the youngest will certainly need help with the experiments (or at least reading the instructions), the science kit “My first chemistry” includes many cool chemistry experiments that children will love. It even includes a set of test tubes, which my son found super cool. For young scientists, get a biosphere terrarium kit. They will love decorating the pot, planting the seeds and watching everything grow.
7 – Costumes
Do not get rid of last year’s Halloween costumes too quickly: they are very useful for dusting off long days spent indoors. Ask your children to write their own stories and then put on a show. You will be amazed at the different ways in which children can adapt the costumes to their imagination. Don’t have costumes on hand? Smiffys offers a large selection of popular costumes, such as that of a pirate, fairy or soldier.
8 – Cooking
Cooking is not only a good activity for long days spent at home, but it is also a great opportunity to teach science and math to children. Get their own cookware and stock up on ingredients for their favorite recipes so they can experience food and prepare delicious creations.
9 – Construction toys
Toys that children can use to build structures usually give them a few hours of fun. Kids of all ages can find creative ways to play with MagnaTiles and – our favorite – Zoobs. While it may seem like these are just fun toys to pass the time, they actually give kids important lessons in engineering and spatial perception.
10 – A subscription to Prime Video
Because you also need to be able to breathe a little, a subscription to Prime video video on demand will allow you to channel your children 1 or 2 hours while offering them great movies and other entertainment for the whole family.
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