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Keeping your kids entertained while social distancing has proven to be challenging for even the most skilled of us. Everyone’s schedule is different and we’re building routines that blend work, homeschooling, and daily living. However, sometimes it’s good to step away from the electronics and do interactive activities that challenge your kids while enhancing their creativity.

Here is a list of creative and interactive activities you can incorporate in their daily routine that will keep them learning and having fun.

1. Start a Journal

Have your child start each day with journaling. Ask 1-2 questions that help your child document this time in their history.

Here are some questions to get you started:

  • What do you miss most about school?
  • What is the best thing about being home now?
  • What is one new thing you learned this week?
  • What is one new activity you’d like to try this week?

2. Cookies & Conversations

Organize a video group chat with your kid’s friends or family members while decorating cookies. You can also support small businesses by buying a cookie kit or making your own at home!

Group Video Chat Resources:

3. Virtual Field Trips

Explore the world with virtual field trips! These interactive videos give you an up-close look at the world and narrated tours that can guide their experiences. They’ll be able to view animals, history, and outer space while never leaving home.

Explore the various categories:

4. Get Interactive With Story Time

There are so many virtual storytimes & illustration activities popping up every day. From celebrities, authors, and illustrators, people are hosting regular reading and art sessions that kids can join from home.

Some of our favorites include: 

Virtual Volunteering – Nonprofits are relying on our help more than ever these days and many are offering virtual volunteer opportunities. Have your child pick a cause or organization they’d like to support and see if they are offering virtual opportunities. We’ve volunteered through Generation Serve, a local Austin nonprofit dedicated to engaging children in volunteerism. They have been posting videos on their Facebook to educate kids on their cause and provide a virtual opportunity to engage with their organization with weekly activities to do at home.

Virtual Princess Date – Lexi’s Little Princess allows you to bring magic into your home with a live and personal video session with a princess on Facebook Live. These are great for quarantined birthday parties or a reward for good behavior!

Goodnight with Dolly – This is a free 10-week series beginning in April where Dolly Parton will read bedtime stories to kids. Join in as the superstar reads a new book selected from the Imagination Library, her book gifting program which mails free books to children. 

Tiny Tails Virtual Petting Zoo – Animal education is always a great way to keep your children engaged. Tiny Tails allows you to book a private virtual session or join in on the various Facebook Live events they’ve been hosting which feature animal facts, songs, games, and more!

The Liv Bits– Liv encourages kids to positively use the internet whether she’s meeting authors, reviewing a new book, or encouraging self-love with her spunky charisma. Her website maintains one of the most comprehensive lists of books by topic, theme, and genre.

Save with Stories– Hollywood actresses Jennifer Garner and Amy Adams joined together to help children during the coronavirus pandemic with #savewithstories. Each day on their Instagram, different celebrities read a children’s book while bringing awareness to food banks and community feeding programs.

5. Balloon Party

A fun and inexpensive way to keep the kids entertained! Simply buy a small bag of balloons. You can find a bag with a dozen or more balloons for under $3 at most local grocers. Then, you can fill each with air in a variety of sizes based on your desired activity. If you want to give your lungs a rest, you can also support small businesses and buy a balloon drop bag that can be delivered directly to your doorstep. You can also send a “box of sunshine” filled with an array of colorful and smiley face balloons.

You can also make good use of your balloons by hosting games and exercises that keep your kids moving and active.

6. “I’m Bored” Sticky Notes

Work with your child to create a list of activities they can do when they are bored. Write each fun idea on sticky notes and put them on the fridge.  Every time a child is ‘bored’, they can choose an activity from the sticky notes. 

Here are a few ideas to get the creative juices flowing:

  • Make art with chalk in the driveway
  • Build an obstacle course or fort
  • Create a scavenger hunt around your house
  • Make a postcard for a friend/family member and mail it
  • Complete a volunteer project (i.e. create a card for a senior, birthday card for a nonprofit) 
  • Go on a geocaching excursion
  • Take a nature walk where you take pictures of all the flowers you see or collect rocks and bring home to paint
  • Create a home movie to watch later with your iPad or phone
  • Make a sock puppet and put on a show
  • Get active with a dance or workout video
  • Plant a little garden and watch it grow
  • Download pages to color

7. Get Crafty

Crafting never takes a break when various areas in our home serve as a storage space for The COOP Austin. I have bins upon bins of party and craft items so we’ve been creating up a storm! This is also another opportunity to support a small business that has pivoted to offer take-home art kits or subscription boxes.

Are you ready to expand your creativity? Figment Creative Labs is an art studio now offering art kits for kids to enjoy at home. They also share daily no cost inspirational art ideas you can do with your kids on their Instagram.

If you want to expand your children’s senses, Mama of Joy has fun and modern themed sensory bins that can be delivered to your door! There are so many themes to choose from including spring sensory bin for gardening, a unicorn sensory bin filled with kinetic sand, and an adorable ice cream parlor bin. 

Playtime just got more exciting! Project Mommy 03 features printable activities for play-based learning. Her Instagram is filled with different examples of how to use the prints in your home. Ideas range from creating a coffee shop to a market or post office. This is a great resource that will help keep the kids playing for hours and requires little-to-no planning on your end.

Whether you’re getting up close and personal with your children’s favorite furry animal or building a fort in your living room, creativity knows no boundaries. These are great ways to give them a break from the TV or iPad and engage their imagination with different learning styles. Don’t be afraid to try new activities and give them a mental boost with arts, crafts, and interactive reading.

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