For most of us, the Coronavirus, COVID-19 has derailed our normal routines and everyday lives. And it’s so easy to get caught up in the pandemonium, letting fear and anxiety take control. Your kids might even pick up on your feelings of worry and start to feel the same way.
What if instead, we made this a really positive experience for our kids—almost like the snow days we experienced when we were young? We can shift our thinking so that when they look back on this experience later in life, they’ll remember the blanket forts they made in the living room and how their parents let them stay up after bedtime. This may be much easier said than done, but here are a number of ideas and resources we think you might find helpful during these unfamiliar times (while of course keeping the recommendations from the CDC top of mind).
We will be updating this list with any notable resources so please check back for the latest and feel free to share with anyone that may find this information valuable!
Learning is important but this is also a great time to prioritize play. Make sure to schedule a couple of hours each day for school assigned work but also consider scheduling some of these fun activities.
- Go on morning or evening walks (How often do you get time for things like this as a family?).
- See what plants you can identify around your neighborhood.
- The USFS has some great activities for kids to help them learn about wildflowers.
- Spend time outdoors (while staying close to home and still practicing social distancing)
- Avoid “rush hour” for outdoor recreation areas–typically from mid-morning to mid-afternoon on the weekends. Be prepared to change plans if your go-to place is busy.
- While your spring break trip may have been canceled, this crisis will pass. Spend time planning outdoor adventures with your family for when things return to normal.
- Check out the Leave No Trace recommendations for getting outside during COVID-19
- See our list of best free apps to get outdoors with your family
- Work on a group project for the whole family
- Start a jigsaw puzzle.
- Plan and cook meals together (if you’re feeling really adventurous, try cooking outdoors for a couple of meals).
- Teach your kids how to do their laundry.
- Write letters or draw pictures for the local nursing home residents.
- Check on your elderly friends and family.
- Plan a virtual hangout with friends and family.
- Play games together as a family
- Here are some of our favorite, simple games we play at camp.
- Board games can offer great learning opportunities and they’re fun!
- Schedule some alone time for:
- Educational screen time
- Have a campout indoors (or in your backyard if you can!)
- Make s’mores at home.
- Tell stories around the “campfire.”
- Set up your base camp in the living room.
- Pick one of these great nature activities. A few of our favorites are:
- Plant a family or friendship tree.
- Invite more urban nature to your home by planting a simple garden.
- Play in the dirt.
- Khan Academy
- Their mission is to provide an online, world class education for anyone, anywhere and it’s 100% free.
- Courses are available for a wide range of topics for preschool through college (click courses tab in the top left corner).
- There’s also a fun app for kids aged 2-7 with educational material including social-emotional, math and reading.
- For as long as schools are closed, Audible is offering an incredible collection of stories for all ages that you can listen to for free without even being a member.
- NASA has made their entire library of photos, videos and sounds available to the public online for, you guessed it, absolutely free.
- Scholastic Learn at Home
- Amid COVID-19, Scholastic is offering these free, 5-day long, online and interactive learning plans for Pre K - 6th graders.
- Google Arts & Culture
- From virtual tours abroad to information on historical figures, Google Arts & Culture offers a wealth of knowledge and fun learning opportunities.
- Mystery Science
- Be sure to check out these lessons, Can animals laugh? or, How much water is in the world?
- This resource offers free, science-based, remote learning for all ages.
- Ask your kids what they’re interested in learning about
- There's no time like the present! Give them the opportunity to explore their passions, curiosities and strengths.
- More free educational resources
- The resources listed above were a few of our favorites but take a look at this list for more organizations offering free services while schools are shut down.
- Avid4 Adventure Online Camp
- A live instructor will lead your camper through a variety of outdoor focused activities and camp games tailored for an online experience.
Health & Wellness
- Keeping Your Immunity Up During Virus Season (and Beyond)
- 9 Ways to Improve Children's Mental Health
- Calm is offering free resources for relaxation, meditation and better sleep for kids and adults.
- CDC COVID-19 Parental Resources Kit
These are unusual and fearful times for many of us. We can, however, choose to make the most of this rare gift of free time with our families while at the same time teaching our kids to be resilient, adaptable and to make the most of unfortunate situations.
These are just a few of our favorite ways you can help make these difficult times fun and memorable for your kids. If you're looking for outdoor adventure options for your kids this summer, we've got you covered. In light of the COVID-19 outbreak, we've worked incredibly hard to develop new, adapted small group and online summer camp options with the safety and health of campers and staff as the top priority.