7 Things Your Kids Will Never Get to Do Again After the Coronavirus

From school customs to family outings, COVID-19 takes these activities off the table.

With schools across the United States already closed for the rest of year—and possibly beyond—parents and their children are doing their best to adjust to the new reality brought about by the coronavirus pandemic. And it isn't only those young people reaching the end of high school—missing traditions like prom and graduation parties—who are feeling the effects of the last several months. Even children at the elementary level are going to see many of the things they were doing in the not-too-distant past become all but obsolete for the foreseeable future. Not sure what we mean? Read on to discover the activities that experts say your kids won't get to do again after the coronavirus.

Use a lending library.

young white girl taking book out of library

While lending libraries—classroom libraries with a selection of books curated by your kids' teacher—may have inspired a love of literature in countless children, they aren't long for this world.

"Cautious administrators, fearing contagion, may well ban such libraries come September, as well as the ubiquitous 'pencil lending cup' for those students who inevitably forget their pencil," says David Nurenberg, PhD, an associate professor in the Graduate School of Education at Lesley University in Cambridge, Mass.

While Nurenberg says that some educators may be able to keep these resources available by providing adequate disinfecting supplies, many will inevitably go away for good. 

And for other thing your children should steer clear of, This Is the One Thing You Shouldn't Let Your Kids Do Amid Coronavirus.

Sit next to their friends in class.

kid smiling in class, class clown, middle child

The days of kids working elbow-to-elbow on a class project or passing a note unnoticed are sadly over.

"It is very likely that schools will think more towards fewer children in a class to create convenient gaps and reduce the spread of viruses," says Jonah Ulebor, managing director of UK-based tutoring company, Lextra Learning.

Go a day without screen time.

kid on tablet, things that annoy grandparents

Unless you're willing to fully homeschool your children—and create your own curriculum—this generation of children will be dependent on screens for both socialization and education.

"The pandemic has hastened the shift toward using tech to connect with each other, and I would not be surprised if some of the activities that have migrated online stay there," says licensed therapist Katie Lear, LMHC, who specializes in treating children.

However, Lear predicts that this may prompt parents to limit the amount of "just-for-fun" screen time they allow their children after seeing some of the more concerning "effects that [screens] can have on a child's mental health and well-being." And if you plan on visiting loved ones soon, make sure you take these 6 Precautions You Must Take Before Visiting Family.

Visit a petting zoo.

young asian boy cuddling with sheep at petting zoo
Shutterstock/sanya buanam

While it's still unclear how widespread coronavirus is in the animal kingdom, one thing's for sure: Petting zoos will be out of the question for the foreseeable future.

"Petting the animals and feeding them used to be considered good and safe fun, but when this pandemic is over, it may be considered dangerous," says certified mental health consultant and family care specialist, Claire Barber, who notes that any petting zoos that choose to eventually reopen will likely require kids to wear gloves, which will limit the sensory benefit of interacting with the animals. And for more things you and your kids should keep your hands off of, check out these 7 Things You'll Never Want to Touch Again After the Coronavirus.

Play dress-up at school.

Charming girl with red lipstick wearing adult dress with hat and accessories looking at camera

School dress-up clothes and shared costumes, many of which pass over a child's nose and mouth when they're being put on—and which are unlikely to be washed on a daily basis—are disappearing from classrooms as we speak.

"Until COVID-19 is under control, we will be packing our costume collection away," Norah Roderick, a head teacher at Pono, an independent school in New York City. "There is no way we could expect young children to carry the responsibility of self-managing and not sharing these items, and to wash them every day would be prohibitively expensive."

Go to school on a daily basis.

children who are inattentive are less successful later on in life

The bad news keeps coming for parents and caregivers to young children, with many experts predicting that schools won't return to a five-day-a-week model any time soon.

"[The] large number of students per class will be a problem for maintaining physical distancing," says Enchanta Jenkins, MD, MHA. "School systems have to consider staggering class times/school day times to accommodate [these precautions]" while keeping some of the existing homeschooling measures in place to keep kids safe, Jenkins explains.

Play in ball pits.

three kids playing in ball pit

It's no secret that ball pits are essentially petri dishes. In fact, according to a 2018 study published in the American Journal of Infection Control, the ball pits in physical therapy centers tested by researchers were sources of eight different types of pathogenic bacteria and one pathogenic yeast. As such, don't be surprised if your local play place shuts down for good.

"It will be hard to maintain physical distancing" in crowded areas like this, says Jenkins, who notes that in order to keep people safe, play places would have to disinfect these areas after every individual use—a time- and cost-prohibitive activity for most businesses—especially if you have hundreds of plastic balls to sanitize.

Sarah Crow
Sarah Crow is a senior editor at Eat This, Not That!, where she focuses on celebrity news and health coverage. Read more
Filed Under