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Home Entertainment: Things to Keep Your Kids Occupied During COVID-19

May 8, 2020

“I’m bored!”

You’ve probably heard that quite a lot from your kids lately, as we all endure COVID-19 stay-at-home orders. But there’s good news for beleaguered parents – not only are there plenty of online resources kids can access over a broadband connection but thanks to your fellow embattled parents at CableLabs, there also are simple but brilliant offline activities you can try. Let’s start with free or discounted Internet resources that can entertain and educate your kids. Here are just a few:

RazKids.com  – Aimed at kindergarten to fifth-grade kids, this site offers an extensive lineup of online books – all offered free through the end of the school year.

Tynker.com – Geared for kids age 5 and older, Tynker teaches kids computer coding. Better yet, during the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s offering free access to its premium coding courses.

Prodigy Game – This website offers a raft of fun games calculated to improve math skills for kids in the first through eighth grade.

Mo Willems Lunch Doodles – Draw upon your kids’ artistic talents with this art activities website sponsored by the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.

Dance with Debbie Allen – To get your kids moving, tap into this series of Instagram Live dance classes hosted by the legendary choreographer Debbie Allen.

Storiespodcast.com – For pure entertainment value, nothing beats a good classic story available from this podcast website.

It’s also important to give kids time away from the screen, if only to give your computer a rest. With playgrounds and recreation centers closed, here are some great ideas for home recreation gathered from your fellow parents.

Balloon volleyball

All you need is an open space in a room or a yard, some tape or string, a balloon and as few as two players. To set up your court, run some tape or string at kid-level across a room, or between chairs set up in your backyard. If you like, you also can put tape on the floor or grass to mark the court boundaries.

Blow up a balloon, and let the game begin. You can use standard volleyball rules, or you can be more adventurous and make up your own, such as allowing the balloon to bounce off walls, or use your head, knees or feet to hit the balloon. Your house, your rules. If you are playing with teams of kids and adults, you might want to have the adults play on their knees to even the playing field a bit.

Cardboard creations

This activity is a great way to teach kids about building structures, and all it only requires masking tape and the cardboard boxes you probably already have lying around from your last online shopping delivery. Start by cutting the boxes into various rectangular pieces. Then give each kid a roll of tape and a pile of the cardboard pieces and challenge them to build the best house, truck, castle – whatever. Use your imagination. Give them an afternoon to build their creation, and then have the family vote on the winning design over dinner.

Not your average cookie-cutter bake-off

Here’s an activity that includes a built-in reward. Assemble some simple ingredients, including either home-made or store-bought cookie dough and various toppings such as nuts, chocolate chips and colored sugar sprinkles – but no cookie cutters. Instead, roll out the dough into small sheets for each child, and give them each a small butter knife. Then challenge your kids to come up with creative cookie designs, cutting their own shapes with the butter knife and adding their toppings. Bake up these artistic designs and have the family vote which is the best – before eating them, that is.

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