Let me preface this by saying I was amongst the millions of Americans who initially mocked and didn’t fully understand the complexity of COVID-19. “It’s just a cold?!” “The survivability rate is 98-99%?!” “This is all just media hype!”

But this is not just about me & others like me who are young, healthy, and likely to not even be symptomatic should we contract the virus. COVID-19 is sweeping across the nations faster than any other pandemic in modern history. We are not quarantining ourselves just to protect our families, but to also fulfill our civic responsibility to protect the elderly & those who are immunocompromised—who sadly may not be so blessed to recover should they contract the virus. We are quarantining to help  s l o w  the spread, so not to overwhelm our medical system which may be underprepared to handle the crisis with the possibility of equipment shortages should worst come to worse.

So! I’ve seen countless posts across social media of all the mama’s who are doing their best to adjust to this new reality of keeping our kids occupied without the luxury of hitting the park or childcare-equipped gyms. We’ve basically all become overnight homeschooling-moms (or at least attempting to). I’ve actually been having some fun with creating my own little lesson plans, coming up with activities, and finding Pinterest-worthy crafts. I thought this would be the perfect time to share some of the ideas I’ve put together with everyone who will be struggling through the next few weeks of social distancing & school cancellations. Struggle on sisters! I’m right there with you.

 But, to help make things a little easier… without further adieu…

10 Keep-Your-Kid-Busy Ideas for Quarantine

Bake Cookies & Make Your Own Pizza: No matter how small their role, my kids absolutely adore being included in food prep. You don’t even have to be a baker yourself, we’re talkin’ break out the pull-apart store-bought dough and let your kids use their sticky little fingers to not-so-neatly place them all over the baking sheet. This option of course won’t be all that time consuming, but they will love it nonetheless! I like to pair our cookie baking shenanigans with pizza making. We use store-bought pizza crust from the pasta aisle, squeeze sauce for ease & less mess, mozzarella cheese and a pillow pack bag of pepperoni. They love this! It’s so easy and between creating their pizzas, having lunch, and then doing a little baking you’ve spent up to 2 hours of quality time with your kiddos doing something both educational and fun.

Academic Printables: Ok ok, I know this sounds boring but bear with me for a minute. I’ve been using this site for a couple of years to find FREE school-like worksheets that I know my kids will love. Their personal favorites are anything involving a bingo dabber. It’s fun for them, promotes fine motor skills, and is another letter recognition activity to throw into the mix.

 Virus Craft: Yes, I know this sounds weird. But we did this a few days ago and the kids paid surprisingly close attention. We actually talked briefly about why they can’t go to school, Coronavirus, and how easily germs are spread. We created a book of  age-appropriate micro-organisms facts and talked about handwashing & using our arm to cover our mouth when we cough or sneeze. Their favorite part? Tracing their hands and creating their own little germs to stick to them. This was a super simple craft to do at the end of this “lesson” and helped drive home the message in a really fun way.

Be the Cool Mom: No park? No problem. Do something that is {probably} out of your comfort zone and work with your kiddies to create a fun indoor obstacle course and/or hopscotch. Personally, the cabin fever and lack of running & jumping at first turned my kids into literal heathens.  This is typically something I’d be having a panic attack over if my kids did it on their own so just make things fun, get involved, and control the chaos. Get those wiggles & energy out!

Create Contact Paper Sun Catchers: If you’ve never used or woked with contact paper it is SO VERSATILE for crafting! It’s in the home section of Walmart near the cases of mason jars. Add it to the list for your next essential store run. We used cardstock to make the cutout egg shape & zig zag through the middle. Allow your child to choose their favorite colors of tissue paper to stick to the contact paper. Once it’s all covered, use another sheet of contact paper to seal your beautiful Easter egg (or any shape!) suncatcher.

ABC Mouse: Right now, ABC Mouse is just $5 for 2 months! This is a HUGE discount and beyond worth it. We actually already had an ABC Mouse subscription and the kids really do love it. There is an entire bundle of ABC Mouse apps that you can download along with the main app and includes everything from letter & word traceables, science videos, and math games that truly make learning fun. They earn tickets every time they complete another segment & they get entirely too excited to spend them on things at the virtual mall for their little avatar. I know mostly every article on the internet tells you to limit screen time, but during this time of survival, in my completely unprofessional opinion— give yourself grace and a short-lived break.

Letter of the Day Craft: We actually try to do these pretty regularly and I try to match it up with whatever letter my son is currently learning at school. We made these ones towards the beginning of the year. There are a ton more examples all over Pinterest if you need to brainstorm.

Window Shape Sorting & Become Shape Detectives: I used contact paper + cardstock to make large shape sorters to tape to the window! I then cut out squares, triangles, rectangles, & circles for the kiddies to stick straight to the contact paper. Again- fun, educational, and kept them occupied for a good 30 mins! Once they finished sorting all the shapes that I had cut out for them, they literally asked for more to sort!! Since they were not “sOOoOo bored” yet I used their eagerness as an opportunity to be “Shape Detectives,” an activity I had planned for another day & so we ended up doing it twice. The contact paper again came in handy to make fun shaped magnifying glasses and we adventured through our home finding “clues” in the shape of whatever magnifying glass we were holding.

Read to Them: I’m sure your home, much like ours, is full of lots and lots of books. Many of which haven’t been read or seen the light of day in far too long as they made their way to the back of the book shelf or bottom of a storage bin, while your kiddies continually wanted to read the same handful of books over & over again. Use this quarantine to fish out some of the books that don’t get enough attention and that will be new and exciting for your kiddos while library trips and Prime deliveries are out of the question.

And when all else fails, there’s always YouTube

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