A lot of families will be cooped up at home for the next few weeks.
All schools across the state are closed starting Tuesday, and all activities that bring together more than 25 people have been banned in Massachusetts. Tensions among families could run high.
So, what are creative ways to keep your kids entertained while stuck at home?
We asked two moms — Quiana Agbai, who runs the blog and Instagram account Harlem Lovebirds in New England, and Cyndi Reitmeyer, who runs BostonTechMom.com — give us their top at-home activities and tips to keep kids busy and engaged these next few weeks.
Be patient. Give your kids — especially your teenagers — time to adjust:
Cyndi: "It is tough because the teenagers and the tweens tend to be very involved and active in school right now. All those activities have come to a screeching halt. With my own daughter, I'm giving her a little bit of time just to sort of, you know, ease into this... Perhaps talk with your [teenagers/tweens] about [their] interests, maybe a project she'd like to work on and, you know, take it from that perspective."
Give everyone in your home autonomy over what they are doing each day:
Quiana: "Kids really like to know what the plan is. So, I've sat down with [my kids]... we talked about what was about to happen. We had a family meeting to kind of decide what are some of the types of things that we'd want to do as a family. There are some things we've been putting off that aren't academic that we want to do together.
But for us, rather than make a mandated hour-by-hour schedule, we're going with the look and feel of each day and [always] making sure that we get some time outside."
Look to online creators for new ways for kids to get creative:
Quiana: "A lot of artists, designers, creators, and musicians [are] using technology to give mini-lessons. My kids have really gotten on board with that. They're not the type of kids who will sit down with all their supplies and get to work, but if it's guided and directed, they're following [along with these short little 20-minute sessions:]"
Use this time to learn a new skill, like learning to code online:
Cyndi: "This is a great opportunity if you want to dabble and try to learn to code. This is your time. Coding is a popular activity today for kids, even as young as elementary school all the way through high school. [But, if your kids have never coded before], as a parent or caregiver, sit down and do the activity with them [to start.]"
- Hour Of Code has free 1-hour coding tutorials and activities for all ages, interests and skill levels with themes like Minecraft, Star Wars, and Harry Potter.
On out-of-the-box science and technology activities for kids to do at home:
Cyndi: Science-sparks.com [has] a ton of free science experiments. Often you can do these [experiments] with materials that you have around your house. What I love about that site is you get an explanation of why the science works, how it works."
- One activity she recommends to get started is "Easy Play-Dough Circuits."
Invite your children into the kitchen with you:
Quiana: "With limited deliveries and access to food, it causes us to get creative. So it's been really fun to get our kids involved in the pantries, in the deep freezer and try to figure out how we can get creative in the kitchen and get them involved."
Be intentional about being active every day with your children:
Quiana's family has been taking walks and finding online yoga classes for kids.
This article was originally published on March 17, 2020.
This segment aired on March 17, 2020.