We’ve got this, Ann Arbor!
Life is changing at a rapid pace as we grapple with COVID-19. There are a lot of unknowns as national and state leaders work to combat the spread of this virus. Each day, more things are being cancelled or shut down. Rumors are swirling that students could be out of school longer than three weeks.
As we all adjust to this new normal, there’s a lot to juggle, especially with students home for the foreseeable future. But this isn’t all doom and gloom. Look at this time with family as a chance to connect in a way you may not have had time to do in awhile.
On those days when the siblings are bickering, the laundry is piling up and you’re going a bit stir-crazy, take a deep breath and know you’ve got this! Here are a few ideas to help.
Life Skills Learning
Not all learning has to be about what you learn from a book. Use this time as a chance to teach important life skills to your kids.
Teach them how to follow a recipe from start to finish.
- Teach them how to do laundry. If they’re old enough, show them how to run the washer and dryer. Younger kids can help fold.
- Toddlers can help match socks.
- Have kids load and unload the dishwasher.
- Show young kids how to set the table.
- Teach your tweens and teens how to balance a checkbook.
- Show your kids how to set up a budget.
- Roll change from a piggy bank.
- Teach young students how to set up a Google doc. Then have them write a note to a family member and share it.
- Teach young kids basic (and age appropriate) kitchen skills: how to fry an egg, cook pasta, slice fruits and veggies.
- If you have supplies on hand, work on a project together: paint a room, show them how to fix the leaky faucet or how to check fluid levels in the car.
- Have them help organize a space: their closet, the playroom or basement, the pantry or the garage. (Or maybe all of the above!)
When we’re used to being able to go-go-go, being told to slow down and stay in isn’t always easy. Do your best to limit screen time and try a few of these to help keep boredom at bay.
- Bust out the board games. Try classics like Monopoly, Scrabble or Scattergories.
- Put together a puzzle. Set it up in a spot where you can work on it throughout the day and/or week if needed. Get the whole family to help.
- Build a fort out of blankets and pillows. Bonus: let the kids sleep there!
- Create an obstacle course inside or out!
- Play card games: Rummy 500 (or 5000), War or Go Fish.
- Build that complicated LEGO set.
- Make homemade playdough.
- If you have the supplies, make jewelry like friendship bracelets or necklaces.
- Let kids make their own books. Have them create a cover, title page and fill the blank pages with their own fun stories.
- Color, color, color.
- Write a card or draw a picture for a neighbor.
- Draw comic strips.
- Sort blocks or Hot Wheel cars by color.
- Read books together. This is a great time to try a chapter book if your kids are old enough.
Fresh Air Fun
Getting outside is good for all of us and there’s plenty to do in the fresh air. Bonus for incorporating learning opportunities without kids realizing they’re doing school work!
- Make a list of objects to find (heart-shaped rock, giant leaf, wild flower) and send kids on a scavenger hunt.
- Go exploring in the woods.
- Take a hike.
- Grab a magnifying glass and go exploring at a creek.
- Have kids draw a map of the neighborhood and use a compass to follow directions.
- Play hopscotch.
- Go on a bike ride.
- Take a walk. Try a route in the neighborhood you’ve never walked before.
- Break out the sidewalk chalk. Try writing sight words or math problems in the driveway.
- Play hide-and-seek.
- Run laps around the house.
- Do some jumping jacks.
- Walk the dog. If you don’t have a dog, offer to walk an elderly neighbor’s dog.
- Dig for worms.
- Splash in puddles on a rainy day.
- Jump rope.
- Shoot hoops.
- Play soccer.
- Toss the baseball.