Photo by Rainier Ridao on Unsplash
No school, no classes, no movie theaters and no malls. No kid festivals and play centers either. The kids are home for at least two whole weeks. So what do we do with them?
Well, unless you want them to be swallowed up by iPads and smart phones, it’s time to be old fashioned.
Gupshup and Gossip
You are also probably spending more time at home than you used to. Use the time to catch up with family, especially your kids. Have tea-time together. Chat over munchies. Find out what’s going on in your children’s lives, what’s up with their friends and tell them a little more about yours. In our fast paced city lives we usually have very little time to spend time as a family. Well, now is our chance.
It’s also a good time to discuss a social issue, or some topic from science or history, learn capitals, challenge each other with mental maths problems, and quiz each other about characters and plot lines from your favorite books, comics and fantasy series.
Board Games and Puzzles for kids of all ages
Board games are no longer just limited to Scrabble and backgammon. There’s a wide spectrum of board games out there that would appeal to kids of various ages. Even 4 or 5 year old kids can play games like Kids on Stage, Junior Pictionary, Twister, and Blokus.
For slightly older kids there are jigsaw puzzles and games like Jenga which they can even play just by themselves. Lego keeps my little ones entertained for hours. If we join them in making jigsaw puzzles and Lego structures for just 15 to 20 minutes a day, our kids start valuing and enjoying these games a lot more.
Games that keep siblings from fighting
If you have more than one kid, an issue you may be facing is to keep them from fighting. Competitive games often lead to fights. In this case co-operative games work better. Here are some ideas.
Word making: This is an old game we used to play in school. Give the a long word like Constantinople or ambivalent or beautification or education and have them work together to make as many little words as they can using the letters of the big word. They can only repeat a letter if it is repeated in the big word itself. Kids can get quite engrossed in this activity drawing of each others ideas working cooperatively trying to make that list of little words go to a 100.
Putting on a show: Kids like to put up shows for their parents and be the center of attention. But you can insist on high quality elaborate shows. They’ll make up a story, put together dialogue, compose songs and music, use their dolls as characters, create sets and props with boxes, stationary and used up notebooks. It will keep them entertained for hours. All you have to is watch the 20 minute performance they put together and the results are likely to warm your heart.
Developing a project: Kids love working cooperatively on projects. Just give them a few empty amazon boxes, a bit of wool, a few plastic hangers, bubble wrap and some craft supplies. They’ll make doll houses or amusement park rides, or bridges or cities or . They may not be very realistic and may not look like much to you, but embellished in their imagination these projects can transport them to fantasy worlds and keep them busy for hours.
At times like these when travel is impossible, your kids can still visit exotic and fabulous places. All they need is a book! The right one can transport them to fantastic delightful places that teach them, introduce them to characters they come to regard as friends, and engage them in thrilling adventures. There is nowhere a book can’t take you. And if your kids can think of such a place, well, it’s time they started writing their own stories and books!
Grown ups consider cooking a chore, but not kids. They love it. Let them loose in the kitchen and they couldn’t be happier. So at this time when many societies are limiting access to delivery people take your kids to the kitchen and engage them in culinary experiments to create healthy and tasty snacks they can then enjoy eating. Here are some cool ideas you can try.
Chores can be fun too
When kids are home they tend to make huge messes while entertaining themselves. Then clearing up these messes can become a battle with kids. Sometimes just to avoid the battle we moms just do the jobs ourselves. So how about a compromise? Play some music and ask your kids to help you clean up. You’ll be surprised to see how eager they are and you’ll get away with doing very little as they compete to do the more difficult jobs. Peppy cheerful music goes a long way towards making boring chores fun and the company certainly lightens the load.
Some tips for maternal sanity
Be alert and diffuse fights between siblings as soon as they begin, and long before they escalate.
Make sure siblings spend time in solitary activities like reading, solving puzzles, drawing or building Lego structures, for at least an hour, a couple of times a day. That way they don’t get an overdose of each other, and enjoy their time together better.
Spend time with them for a few minutes every couple of hours so they don’t feel neglected. That way you can get work done too. Spreading out the time you spend with them works better than one large chunk of time unless you want to do some specific activity with them.