Although some kids are back at school full-time, many are still at home for all of their schooling and much of their free-time activities at well. Here are some simple and fun things to do that can help to banish host-kid boredom and keep kids engaged with creative and educational subjects.
Become a backyard naturalist
Your backyard can be an amazing ecosystem any time of year. Take your kids exploring there and see what you can discover.
The iNaturalist app is a great resource. Use it to snap pictures of plants, insects, birds, and animals. Then, upload them for identification. Kids can learn names and other information about the wildlife in their yards. This information also helps scientists better understand the biodiversity of various regions.
The Ebird app also offers up a great learning opportunity. Simply register for the program, and observe and count birds in your yard. Kids can participate and then report their findings. If they enjoy the activity, they can find a cheap birding guide and try to log as many bird sightings as possible.
Learn to cook
Cooking is a necessary, practical skill. It’s also loads of fun. Even better, almost any kid is capable of creating something awesome in the kitchen with !
Start with baking bread. This task involves focus, attention to detail, use of exact measurements, and provides a tasty reward. Kids can bake quick bread, or experiment with various yeasted loaves of bread. Ambitious au pair and host kid teams can experiment with sourdough starters, flatbread, pizza crusts, and other recipes.
Kids can also work to plan and execute a healthy meal for the entire family. They can use their creative skills to create colorful menus, hold cooking contests, or make how-to videos to make the process more interesting.
Make musical instruments
Music is enriching and fun for all ages and skill levels. Research shows that kids who are exposed to music do better in so many areas. Making instruments can increase fine motor skills, encourage kids to be creative, and give them an object they can use to learn rhythm and other concepts.
For little ones start with something simple. Fill plastic Easter eggs, small jars, or other containers with beans or pebbles to make simple maracas. Decorate them by covering them with paper and colouring them, or glue on bits of pipe cleaner, construction paper shapes, glitter, and other craft items.
Try making tin can drums. Simply cut the tip off balloons and stretch them over tin cans that have had the lid removed from one side. Secure the balloon to the tin can with a rubber band. Use chopsticks, fingers, or pencils as drumsticks.
Jingle Bell bracelets are fun and festive. There are several ways to make these. Glue little bells onto a piece of felt to tie around your wrist. You can also string bells on pieces of yarn. Dig through your jewelry box, and you may find some unused bracelets that you can use for this project.
If you fill glasses or bottles with different levels of water, they will make different tones when you strike them. Have kids experiment with this. They may even figure out how to fill enough bottles to play scales or a song. Try using food colouring to colour the water, or buy decorative bottles at a discount store.
Take a digital tour with your host kids
If you can’t make an in-person visit to your local museums, zoos, and historical sites, try a virtual visit. Many of these institutions will have links on their websites or social media to facilitate such a tour. Even better, you could organise a virtual visit to some faraway cities, Unesco Heritage Sites, or famous museums like the Louvre or the Guggenheim.
Check out nearby parks and nature centers as well! Many have webcams running 24/7 to give kids a closer look at local wildlife. To see earth and space from a different perspective, there are several live feeds available from the International Space Station.
Anyone caring for kids should have at least a few ‘stuck at home’ activities to keep things lively on the front. Ideally, these will challenge kids, allow them to showcase their talents, and increase their creativity. There’s really no limit to what you can do. Start with some of the ideas listed, then add a few of your own creations. Don’t forget to encourage kids to create some of their own activities. That can be the best way to stimulate the imagination of the little ones.
About the author: Erica Sunarjo is a talented writer whose skills are sought out for a wide range of writing projects, including providing writing support for academic assignments, guest blogs, and articles on a variety of topics. She is particularly passionate about writing about family life and well-being. When she is not writing she enjoys painting and drawing.