We know school closures can be intimidating and confusing for our kiddos (and adults!), so we have put together this resource to help you think about what to do during the few weeks off. Below please find some tips, activity ideas, and a list of online resources aimed at providing parents with academic, creative, functional, and most importantly safe & fun, activities!
Keep kids informed, but not scared
● It is important to keep things simple, age-appropriate and fact-based
● The CDC suggests telling children that, from what doctors have seen so far, most kids aren’t getting very sick. In fact, most people who’ve gotten COVID-19 haven’t gotten very sick. Only a small group has had serious problems. And, channeling the great Mr. Rogers: Look for the Helpers. Assure your kids, if they (or someone they love) do get sick, the world is full of grown-ups who will help.
● Check out this kid-friendly comic that explains more about COVID-19 https://www.npr.org/sections/goatsandsoda/2020/02/28/809580453/just-for-kids-a-comicexploring-the-new-coronavirus
- Create a Daily Schedule
● Children perform best under some kind of structure. While you may not be able to completely recreate the structure from the classroom, you can do many things that are similar.
○ Have kids wake up and complete their morning routines as normal
○ Have lunch and snack at the same time as they would during school
○ Create a daily schedule at the start of the day with your kids so they know what to expect
- Try to balance free time, exercise time, creative time and screen time throughout the day
Monitor Screen Time
● Chances are screens will be an important part of the next few weeks given many schools are trying distance learning, adults are working from home and health professionals are exploring telehealth. However, it is important to monitor the time spent on these devices, content being viewed and ensure children are completing other activities as much as possible in addition to screen time
○ Set limits and schedule amounts of screen time during school closures
○ Check out the American Academy of Pediatrics Screen Time recommendations: https://www.aap.org/en-us/about-the-aap/aap-press-room/Pages/American-Acad emy-of-Pediatrics-Announces-New-Recommendations-for-Childrens-Media-Use.
○ Check out some of the links below that offer high-quality free or low-cost content to help your child learn and move
Websites & Apps
● National Geographic & PBS Kids
● Breakout.edu- Structured critical thinking/problem-solving games for grades K-12
○ Learn a new skill, language, dance, or craft!
○ Search for pre-made Disney movie trivia or Disney Sing along
○ Check out tons of free, no equipment workout videos like those on Pop Sugar!
● Growing Healthy Children Therapy Services- free sensory-motor booklets to download and use with children of all ages
○ https://www.ghcot.com/sensory-motor-activity-books/?fbclid=IwAR 0x_vLnNtZR0H_rHHE-y034ZRvrFjxiO1noJaRoot1kKpnXgqOUle6 miCE
● Cincinatti Zoo & Botanical Gardens Facebook- they will be presenting a “Home Safari ” live at 3pm EST every weekday starting March 16th.
Many of us try to cross off our to-do lists while kids are at school, now that may not be possible! Instead of trying to manage all of it on our own, find ways to get the kids involved in household activities and learning new life skills. Try reading a recipe, sorting clothes, cleaning off surfaces, or taking extra care of the pets. Many of these tasks involve sequencing, memory, direction following and problem-solving! Plus, teaching your kids how to do a load of laundry now might save you some time on college move-in day! 😉
Simple & Affordable Home Activities
● Activities for kids do not have to be hard! A lot of the tools we use in therapy are just regular household items. Check out the simple ideas below- chances are you already have a lot of this stuff around the house, if not a quick trip to Dollar Tree or Walmart can set you up for a few weeks without spending very much at all! ○ Sensory bins
■ Rice, beans, rocks, sand, shaving cream, hair gel, play-doh, slime, pudding etc
■ Get small figurines or magnets to increase imaginary play ○ Water play
■ Play “car wash”, “grooming salon” or bathtime with figurines and soap in the sink or plastic Tupperware
■ With older kids try building boats out of various household items, see how much they can carry and for how long
■ Blow bubbles in water with dish soap
■ Give the family dog a bath! ○ Counting & Sorting
■ Separate different color popsicle sticks, marbles or cards
■ Roll dice to determine how many of something to count
■ Count pebbles or marbles and place into ice cube trays to work on fine motor precision as well
■ Use tweezers or spoons to manipulate items to practice utensil use as well ○ Fun Around the house
■ Cooking can be a great activity for kids of all ages, especially with more interactive components like pizza, cookies and topping “bars” for parfaits or sundaes
■ Family Talent Show- everyone works to learn a new talent (try youtube for ideas) and perform for the family
■ Poetry Slam- everyone can write or recite a favorite poem, riddle or joke. Turn the lights low, serve hot cocoa and don’t forget to snap for you faves
■ Fashion Show & Makeovers- stop by your local thrift shop for one of a kind treasures you can’t wait to show off! Practice painting nails and braiding hair, too! You can even make one of these DIY masks out of stuff you have at home! https://www.fancynancyworld.com/2017/08/16/3-diy-edible-face-masks/
■ Family Game Night- pull out to classic board games, learn a new card game as a family, or try some of these easy, no equipment, no prep games that you can play together
Need more ideas? Check out some of our favorite blogs and Instagram Accounts:
● Buggyandbuddy.com Buggyandbuddy.com
● Yourkidstable.com Yourkidstable.com
-Bailey Rainey MOT, OTR/L