When my kids’ school closed on March 12th, I had no idea that we would be homeschooling for the remainder of the school year. There have been a lot of ups and downs, but mostly I am incredibly grateful for our health and this special, unexpected family time.
That all being said, entertaining my kids 12 hours a day is NO JOKE! My husband has been crazy busy with work and has been holed up in his home office most weekdays. He has been incredible about entertaining the boys in the evenings and on weekends, so no complaints here. But finding additional activities outside of school time was important so that I could focus the boys on projects while I got other things done around the house.
As a caveat to all the screen options I am about to share, let me be clear that we had a nice balance! We are fortunate to be in Florida and have all taken advantage of the warm sunshine. We have had an absolute ton of family walks, bike rides, and pool time. Our school sent some amazing gym activities that the boys were able to do in our garage or driveway.
Though school is coming to an end, I think we all might still need some tricks up our sleeves to help entertain our kids this summer with less camps and travel in our future. So, I want to share some new finds that have really helped our time at home during quarantine.
My COVID-19 Time Capsule
This is simply a MUST DO. From my understanding, this was created Natalie Long of LONG Creations, and is available for free download online here.
The Time Capsule is a ten-page journal with multiple different activities, including a page to put handprints, a page for pictures, a page for your kids to write a letter to themselves, a page for you to write a letter to your kids, an “All About Me” page with a list of all your kids favorites during this time, and more. I will keep this forever as an important memory of this crazy time. My kids really enjoyed filling it out over several weeks whenever they had a little free time. I am still in the process of writing my letter to both to finish it off, and I am so excited to share all the ways they amazed us with their resilience during this time.
Our school sent home this amazing reading resource, and our boys have loved it. You can access the website here. They are offering 30 days free to parents, which grants you access to 40,000 books. Children have the option to read the books themselves or to listen to them, which is great for a variety of ages. We have listened to a lot of books on Epic! during lunchtime, which helped keep it quiet and peaceful (for me!).
This SAG-AFTRA Foundation literary website has famous actors reading children’s books. My boys LOVE this, and we watched hours of videos over the quarantine, especially at lunch time. It is an award-winning site with over 100 million views annually. They are constantly adding new readings, and we will continue to watch stories on this site for a long time to come.
National Geographic Kids
This site has an endless amount of interesting content for kids to explore. There are games, videos about animals, easy and cool science experiments to do at home, information on everything from Native Americans to space. It is easy to navigate and so much awesome learning. We have loved this and will continue to explore it for months to come.
My kids’ love for art has really blossomed during this time at home. Their art teacher sent home some amazing projects to do at home, along with some outside resources, including Harptoons. This is an incredible website created by Steve Harpster that teaches kids to draw the most hilarious creatures starting with either a letter or number. The videos are usually 10-15 minutes long, fun to watch, and easy to follow. My kids made a few dozen drawings with him. This is a great indoor activity any time of year.
I hope these are some helpful resources for you all as we head into a long summer with more time at home than normal. If you have any favorites, please comment below or email me at email@example.com!