These months at home have been really hard on kids and young adults, as they might not understand the extent of what is going on that is causing them to have to be at home. They went from flourishing in an interactive space to being confined at home. So while we are home during this time, here are some activities you can do to strengthen their minds and keep them entertained, including an ‘at home scavenger hunt‘.
Learn a new language
Learning a new language takes time and effort, and it is an activity that will really get your kids engaged if you use the right tools. For example, you could let them use language apps such as Babbel that offers programs for students and has a very interactive interface, making learning seem more like a fun game. Other great ways are to watch television or movies in another language, play games in the target language, and set sticky notes around the house to learn new everyday vocabulary. Make a game of it or a family challenge to learn X number of new words/phrases per week, work your way up to describing your favorite things and how your day was, and keep going! Learning a language also has health benefits and career benefits for your children (and for yourself!), and it is something they will thank you for later.
Start a family book club
Reading a book is a wonderful way to get lost in another ‘world’ and let your imagination wander. While it is a fun and engaging solo activity, make it more interactive and get to know each other better by starting a family book club. While kids don’t really have new and exciting stories about what they did and learned outside during their days right now, this gives you a conversation topic as well. Get everyone excited for the book club by taking turns choosing the book, and maybe even making a themed night of it with snacks or activities depending on the book topic.
Mini trips to the lake or beach, nature hunt in your neighbourhood
Getting outside and in nature is a way your kid can do and experience something that is more ‘normal life’. It is also a way they can have fun and just get out of the house! Look up nature spots in your area, and make mini trips to the lake, beach, or mountains. If you don’t have areas that you can get to easily, go for a nature hunt in your neighborhood! You can also garden, make planter boxes or build a bird feeder to make the most of your own outside space.
Have a culture day
While we can’t travel right now, we can still have a culture day at our own homes! Choose a country/culture to focus on for the day, make dishes from that country, listen to local music, watch a movie that honors the local culture, etc. This is a way your kids can learn about geography as well as different cultures. You can also take a look at old vacation pictures to feel a bit of the magic from that wonderful vacation!
Visit online museums
While we may not be able to visit museums in person right now, we can visit them virtually! Make an event of choosing your museum visits with your kids, asking them questions about what they are interested in and searching through the museum’s websites. Come up with a list, and plan some activities around the museum topics so you can expand on what you learn. After you tour a museum, ask your kids what their favorite parts were and why. This can also spark ideas of some other follow up educational activities or another museum to visit along the same line.
Hopefully this pandemic will come to an end soon and our kids can go back to normal life. But for now, let’s make the best of the time we have at home with fun exploration activities, and there are more to try here.