Sticking to a schedule is helpful. Routines help provide a sense of stability and structure. Kids can get anxious when routines are lost. This will be more important as time out of school increases. Create a schedule that works for the whole family. Do things together but also allow for self-discovery in any process.
- Keep consistent wakeup and sleep times
- Schedule time for meals
- If you choose to do schoolwork, schedule time for it – visit the Ministry of Education Learning portal to access math and literacy skills, and other learning resources
- Schedule time for breaks and exercise (indoor/outdoor)
- End the day’s routine by 3 p.m. (or the same time as their regular end of day)
- Keep an evening routine that’s familiar
Activity Ideas for Social Distancing/Self Isolation
Preparing meals and eating meals together is a great way to stay connected, and has nutritional, health and social benefits. The extra time together is a great chance to involve kids in the planning and preparation of meals – not to mention you may actually have time to sit down for a meal together. Remember to put devices in a basket or away from the table.
Meal planning and cooking is an important life skill that you have the opportunity to foster during this unplanned break from school. And, if you’re at work, while your tweens/teens are at home – put them on dinner duty. You might all be surprised what they’re capable of accomplishing. If it doesn’t work out, you can always rely on breakfast for dinner: scrambled eggs and toast with cut up veggies on the side!
- Unlockfood.ca – Cooking with Kids
- Unlockfood.ca – Baking with Kids
- Eat Right Be Active: A Guide for Caregivers of Toddlers 12 – 36 months – download for free
- Eat Right Be Active: A Guide for Caregivers of Preschoolers 3 – 5 years – download for free
- Eat Right Be Active: A Guide for Caregivers of Children 6 – 8 years – download for free
- Have your children research and host a themed dinner
- Sign your teen up for an online food handler certification course. This is a great addition to any resume.
Resources for Parents:
Reading & languages
Reading is a great way for kids to expand their world and imaginations. With his extra time on their hands, reading is a great way for them to learn and escape while staying home.
There are many apps out there to help children learn a new language is a fun way. Learning a new language is not only a great life-long skill, but also stimulates growth and creative thought:
Have your children write letters to residents at your local long-term care home. Not only will this improve their writing skills but also brighten someone’s day who isn’t permitted visitors at the moment.
School’s out but learning never stops. There are plenty of neat and interesting activities you can do at home using what you have laying around your house. Parent-supervised experiments can be fun and informative for everyone.
- Online science/education experiments
- Elephant toothpaste
- Bill Nye episodes & Home Demos
- Study the weather – journal it, take down the cloud shapes, forms, learn about patterns each day (as part of a schedule?)
- How to make soap at home, and why washing our hands is important
- Some school-ish ideas: Brain pop
- JK – Gr. 5: Mystery Science
Create an animal fact sheet – make it up and then do real research with the kids and see how what you made up for that animal compares to what’s real.
Pillage your closet and see what fun stuff can you find in there. Dress up party/fashion show. Make believe time helps to broaden future creativity.
- Lego Projects for Kids
- 50+ Free LEGO Instructions
- Playdough recipe
- Board games/card games (so long as it doesn’t end up in a family feud)
- Have a dance party
- Check out online videos for at home family workouts
- Build a fort with pillow and blankets
- Track your activity and Win Prizes
Social distancing does not mean you must stay in your home at all times. There are many ways that you and your children can stay physically active, even while maintaining the social distancing guidelines. Some outside ideas include:
- Create a backyard obstacle course
- Collect nature items like twigs and pinecones, and use them to build something
- Go for a bike ride
- Track your activity and Win Prizes
For more ideas visit Activities for Life Raising Physically Literate Kids
Wondering how much physical activity your family should be getting?
- 24 Hour Movement Guidelines – Ages 0-4
- 24 Hour Movement Guidelines – Ages 5-17
- 24 Hour Movement Guidelines – Ages 18-64
- 24 Hour Movement Guidelines – Age 65+
Go for a bike ride
Arts & crafts
Who doesn’t love to paint, or draw, or create? Here are a few ideas and links for you and your children.
- Write a book / create a comic together
Arts & crafts, painting, drawing, etc:
- 50+ Quick & Easy Kids Crafts that ANYONE Can Make
- Parents – Arts & Crafts
- Tons of Art and Craft Ideas for Kids to Make
Have your children create pictures and messages to mail to your local long-term care home for residents who cannot currently have visitors.
Explore the virtual world
While we typically want to dissuade overuse of screen time, parent-supervised exploration of the virtual world may be a fun way to share an experience together. Many museums, zoos, and aquariums are offering free virtual tours or live cams of their exhibits. There are apps that will even take you to outer space!
- Virtual museum tours / Video tour of zoo/aquarium
- Museums, Zoos, and Theme Parks Offering Virtual Tours
Explore the solar system – apps, solarium, etc.
- Solar System Exploration – NASA Science
- Solar System Tour – The Nine Planets
- Passport to Space – National Geographic Kids
You could even throw on a podcast for some background listening while doing other things
Learning new skills
Time on your hands? Why not learn something new?
Learn how to edit videos/code/do things on the computer
Things to do together
With you at home, your kids want to be with you. Take some time to do something together that is fun and is something they can immediately connect with.
- As a family make a fun video or post for social media
- Make a family YouTube channel/podcast
- Include some age appropriate chores in the day