9 Fun Indoor Activities for Kids During Quarantine
Move over, Monopoly—these indoor activities will keep your kids entertained in quarantine.
Socially isolating during the COVID-19 pandemic isn't easy for anyone, and that's certainly true for parents. Instead of school, parks, lessons, and play dates to keep the kids entertained, parents and their offspring have little more to enjoy than the confines of their home and one another's company. However, that doesn't mean a homeschool-TV-sleep-repeat routine is a foregone conclusion. With the help of top therapists, we've rounded up the best indoor activities for kids so you can connect with them and keep them entertained in quarantine. And for the lighter side of the isolation juggling act, check out these 12 Tweets From Parents Hilariously Struggling to Homeschool in Quarantine.
Have an indoor picnic.
You don't need to risk braving the crowds at your local park to enjoy a fun picnic with your family. Prepare a meal together, then spread a blanket out on the floor in the middle of a room and dig in, suggests psychotherapist Sarah Roffe, LCSW, founder of Kind Minds Therapy.
Want to make things even more exciting for your little ones? "Have your kids make flowers out of paper or tissue paper, giving the illusion that you're outside," she suggests. And for more great ways to stay entertained indoors, check out 19 Family Games for When You're Stuck in the House.
Make a time capsule.
Your kids may be eager to put this period of time behind them, but commemorating such a strange experience through a time capsule might just make them feel a bit more grateful in the future.
"[There's] no better way to help kids remember a part of history than capturing their thoughts and feelings about what is happening in the present," says Roffe. "Have them keep a photo diary, clip out local newspaper headlines, and make a collage."
Do a family hand print art project.
Looking for an art project the whole family will love? Create a hand print wreath to hang in your window.
"Make different color hand prints of everyone in the family's hand [and] paste one on top of another," explains Roffe, who notes that "this activity helps visualize the sense that you are all in this together." It also has the added benefit of bringing some cheer to anyone who might spot it while walking or driving by.
Plant a garden.
Even if you only have a windowsill to keep a few succulents on, planting flowers with your kiddos can be a seriously rewarding activity to embark upon together.
"It's a great pick-me-up for kids while also helping them to learn lessons in both responsibility and patience," says certified mental health consultant and family care specialist Claire Barber. And once your kids are back in school, "They'll be able to tell their friends about their great accomplishments!"
Have a family movie night.
Make screen time special by watching family films together at least once a week—and aim for authenticity to make things even more exciting. Roffe suggests doing this by having your kids make tickets to the movie and distributing them before the show starts. "Have the kids collect the tickets and show parents to their seats and serve little bowls of popcorn," Roffe recommends. But if you're eager to limit your little ones' tablet use, discover these 7 Ways to Cut Back on Your Screen Time Right Now, According to Experts.
Write letters to friends.
Video chatting isn't the only way for your kids to stay connected to their friends while they're stuck at home. In fact, this is the perfect time to reach out via snail mail, suggests clinical psychologist Nina Kaiser, PhD, founder of Practice San Francisco. She also recommends having kids decorate blank postcards or send art projects like body tracings and ornaments.
Of course, the benefit here isn't just for the sender: "[These] can be sent to friends and family as a way to keep in touch and brighten someone else's day," says Kaiser.
Have a family dance party.
Put on your kids' favorite songs, crank the volume up, and bust out your best moves to lighten things up for everyone at home.
"Exercise boosts everyone's mood, and so does good music," says Kaiser. Better yet, "having fun together as a family can help parents and kids feel more connected even in the face of tension from being stuck at home together."
Do some mindfulness exercises.
Though emotions may be running high while you're spending all day together, you can help keep everyone calm and centered by engaging in a few mindfulness activities.
"Use outdoor time to practice mindfulness-based skills that are helpful to all of us at stressful times—listening to the different sounds you can hear, or observing different colors, textures, and patterns," suggests Kaiser.
Get some exercise outdoors.
Just because your kids can't hit the playground doesn't mean they can't enjoy the great outdoors. Kaiser recommends walking and biking around the neighborhood or sitting in your yard to help break up the monotony of the time inside.
"Everyone can benefit from some fresh air—kids can work off their excess energy and parents can catch their breath and remember the bigger picture," she explains. And if you want to take care of yourself while you're stuck inside, check out these 17 Mental Health Tips for Quarantine From Therapists.