1. Sticker books: Elsie talked so much about
2. Do kids yoga together: We usually take Lola to a free yoga class at the library on Mondays, but now that that’s out I found
3. Scavenger hunt walk: Get outside in some nature if you can! While playgrounds are out for now, being outside in general isn’t off limits. Whether you are in your yard or going for a walk around the block (with appropriate distancing if you pass someone), take
4. Make pet rocks: On your walk, keep an eye out for some good rocks and bring them back to paint, add some google eyes, or glue some yarn hair onto and keep as a pet (maybe come up with a food they like to eat and have them feed it every day and eat the snack when they aren’t looking). If you can’t get out for that walk or are short on supplies, you can also
5. On-demand coloring pages: Lola loves to color, so I find free coloring pages online and print them for her to color. If it’s one I know she’ll want to do multiple times, I print off two of them and give one to her to color and keep the other one as my “original” so I can quickly copy it on our printer (it has a “copy” function) without having to go and find it again online. There are a million free coloring pages sites, but
6. Craft kit for their particular interest: There are so many craft kits online for specific things, so it can be fun to order a few to stash away for when you’ve run out of ideas and really need something new. I got Lola this
7. Make cards for friends/people they miss: Lola asks several times a day about her friends from daycare that she misses, so we made them a card to send them and I think it was helpful for her to do something to let her know she was thinking of them (if you’re concerned about potentially mailing germs you can always text them a photo of your kiddo with the card).
8. Get dirty and have a popsicle bath! If you can get outside and dig in the dirt or run in the rain and get a little messy (and get those wiggles out), come back in for a popsicle bath! We definitely have a lot less complaints about bath time and hair washing when a popsicle is involved … or a lollipop … or whatever!
9. Start a music jar: Elsie started
10. Puzzles: Lola has gotten really into puzzles so I ordered a few
11. Sensory bins: I’ve
12. Make nature/food stamps: Find rocks, flowers, sticks, etc., and dip them into paint to see what shape they make when you use them as a stamp! Same goes for things like celery, potatoes, and other hard veggies (am I the only one who made potato stamps as a kid?).
13. Have a dance party: This is a HUGE one for toddlers especially who need to get those wiggles out at some point or, well, things just don’t go well. When I can tell she’s getting a little crazy with energy, we have a dance party to her favorite upbeat songs and it’s a great way to expend some energy if you can’t get outside! Right now, Little Richard’s “Tutti Frutti” is her jam.
14. Have a new “friend” come to visit:
15. Make a racecourse: Grab some cardboard boxes or large sheets of paper and draw roads to make your own racecourse for cars or anything with wheels! You can make bridges and ramps with the cardboard and things like paper mailing tubes from your recycling pile make the perfect tunnel as well.
16. Bake a treat: I think we are probably all eating our feelings a little bit right now, so let’s make it an activity with the little ones to
17. Have a family movie night: Popcorn, snacks, and their favorite film … grab a cozy blanket and just relaaaaax for an hour or two. Snuggle those little bodies and take a few breaths. You earned it.
18. Paint! I know it can be a bit messy, but let’s face it—kids of all ages love to paint! I just got
19. Make an animal craft: Pretending to be animals is a great imaginative play option and you can make it more fun (and fill up more time) by making a mask or costume to actually be the animal. There are lots of
20. Outdoor chalk and bubbles: If outside is an option and the weather is nice enough, a driveway/sidewalk with some
21. Play “library” and read books: Especially when kids reach the play acting age, it can be really fun to pretend you are a library with all their books (especially if they are sad their library is closed like we are). You can set up your library station in front of their bookcase and have their stuffed animals or other family members come through and pick out books to check out. Give them a stamp (and some ink if you want) and let them stamp the inside cover of a book when it’s checked out and make some library cards with the name of each borrower. When all their checking-out duties are done, sit down and read for a bit!
22. Video chat with loved ones and friends: Probably one of the best things about this happening in 2020 is that we have the video chat capabilities, so use it to your advantage! Do some Skype playdates to say hello to their friends, call their grandparents or cousins—let them feel connected to people they miss. It may help you feel not so alone and stir crazy to talk to other people too.
23. Learn a new skill: Is there a new skill milestone that you’ve been planning to do with your kid soon? Maybe now’s the time! Being inside a lot may make it a good time to potty train if they are ready, learn to ride a bike in your driveway, start some online music lessons … anything that will fill up some time and check a new skill off the list is a double win! We’ve been night potty training Lola and transitioning her to a big kid bed the past two weeks, so that’s been a nice distraction and something she’s been excited to learn. Now, just a note here that it should be something you are excited to do (even if it takes some effort and planning) and not something that will totally stress you out more!
24. Make your own playdough: While you can just
25. Dress up party: Whether you already have
For a final word, just remember that it’s OK to feel that this is a hard season—it is! It’s not the same as having your kids home under more normal circumstances, so don’t beat yourself up for doing things like more bribes or treats or screen time than you normally would like to just to make it through. We are all doing the best that we can and we are all in this together. Hope some of these ideas will not only help fill your time but also help make some happy memories along the way! xo.
Credits // Author and Photography: Laura Gummerman. Photos edited with