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Fun Activities to Do at Home for Kids During the Pandemic

Fun Activities to Do at Home for Kids During the Pandemic

The pandemic took away so many learning opportunities for children as they were forced to stay at home. With schools, malls, parks, and play areas closed, play and interaction have been limited to what’s available at home. Because we live in a time where gadgets and electronic devices are easily accessible, the easiest route to take to make sure that kids are occupied while the adults are working is to leave them with something to watch or play with on televisions, cellphones, tablets, and computers. Evidence shows that exposing children to screen time limits their learning opportunities that may affect their language, cognitive, and emotional development. But you can recreate the school learning environment with fun activities to do at home for the kids.

Here are some activity ideas to help facilitate your child’s development in targeted skills. These are low-cost and low-prep activities and games using materials, tools, and equipment that are already available at home.

Fun activities to do at home: gross motor skills

Gross motor skills are fundamental movement skills that enable children to explore the world, perform physical tasks, and participate in different activities alone and with others. This includes walking, running, jumping, skipping, and hopping.

Ideas for activities

Movement exercises

  • This does not only promote physical health and well-being but also improves body awareness, motor imitation, ability to follow instructions, balance, and coordination.
  • Copying animal walks (bear walks, crab walks, donkey kicks, etc.)

fun activities to do at home

  • Doing simple stretches and light exercises
  • Working out as a family may also serve as a good bonding experience for the child who has limited opportunities for interactive play with peers.
  • Indoor obstacle course. Simple obstacles can facilitate muscle strengthening, motor planning, balance, and coordination. You can create different obstacles using furniture and toys already available at home.
    1. Lining up dining chairs to crawl underneath them.
    2. Using boxes from deliveries to hop or cross over.
    3. Putting tape on the floor to challenge balance to play hopscotch.
    4. Balancing and stepping from one throw pillow to another.
    5. Using recycled ribbons from gifts and deliveries to create an obstacle course.

Fun activities to do at home: fine motor skills

Fine motor skills or hand skills allow children to participate in everyday activities such as taking care of themselves, playing, and studying. Everyday tools at home can be used to improve a child’s fine motor skills that are needed for school participation.

Ideas for activities:

  • Using tongs or tweezers in play can help improve grip and pinch strength, as well as dexterity.
  • Constructing and playing pretend using putty (such as Play-Doh), homemade dough, slime, and kinetic sand.
  • Painting using fingers and other tools such as sponges and brushes.
  • Using toilet paper roll to make craft.
  • Using clothespins to hang or remove clothes (which also doubles as life skills training).
  • Making arts and crafts using materials found in the backyard or garden.
  • Coloring and learning worksheets and printables.
fun activities to do at home
You can check out free printables and other materials on Ms. Munji’s Instagram @teacherdada.ot and @playspot.ph

Fun activities to do at home: play and socialization skills

The keyword to remember is “engagement.” Children must not be left to play alone. To facilitate age-appropriate play and social skills development, parents, siblings, or relatives must spend time playing with them and engage in conversations with them to improve language and communication skills.

Ideas for activities

  • Indoor and an outdoor scavenger hunt.
    • Finding objects in categories
    • Nature scavenger hunt
    • Backyard scavenger hunt
    • Garage scavenger hunt
  • Working on chores with parents or siblings. Having a schedule or list of tasks to do together does not only allow children to spend more time with their families, but also introduce life skills and responsibilities at an early age.
    • Fixing the bed
    • Setting the table
    • Folding laundry
    • Helping out when cooking or baking
    • Sweeping the floor
    • Using the vacuum to clean up after arts activities or class
  • Reading hour. Read books together, build their vocabulary by learning new words and finding their meanings, and share what they remember and learned from the story.
  • Family movie night. Assign tasks and roles for the kid to perform such as setting up the area, preparing snacks, and cleaning up after watching.
  • Theater role play. Make children act out their favorite movies or TV shows or sing their favorite songs.
  • Charades. Acting out their favorite characters, movies, shows, or songs.
  • Virtual play date. Share stories, play games, and do arts and crafts with cousins and friends in Zoom, while adults watch, facilitate, and supervise.
fun activities to do at home
More fun activities on Instagram: @teacherdada.ot and @playspot.ph

Key Takeaways

Despite the limitations brought about by pandemic restrictions, there are still so many ideas for play we can choose from.

With the amount of digital content available online, we can easily find other activities we can do to fight cabin fever with the kids. In any case, should they may need to go online to attend classes and do video calls with family and friends, make sure a parent or an adult is physically present to supervise what the child does online, monitor his/her performance and participation given digital tasks, and facilitate engagement, interaction, and communication.

Learn more about Child Health here.

Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Sources

Deborah Marr, Sharon Cermak, Ellen S. Cohn, Anne Henderson; Fine Motor Activities in Head Start and Kindergarten Classrooms. Am J Occup Ther 2003;57(5):550–557. https://doi.org/10.5014/ajot.57.5.550, Accessed May 25, 2021

Gabrielle A. Strouse, Georgene L. Troseth, Katherine D. O’Doherty, Megan M. Saylor, Co-viewing supports toddlers’ word learning from contingent and noncontingent video, Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, Volume 166, 2018, Pages 310-326, ISSN 0022-0965, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jecp.2017.09.005. Accessed May 25, 2021

Lucas, B.R., Elliott, E.J., Coggan, S. et al. Interventions to improve gross motor performance in children with neurodevelopmental disorders: a meta-analysis. BMC Pediatr 16, 193 (2016). https://doi.org/10.1186/s12887-016-0731-6, Accessed May 25, 2021

What do we really know about kids and screens?, https://www.apa.org/monitor/2020/04/cover-kids-screens, Accessed May 25, 2021

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Written by Danielle Joanne Villanueva Munji, OTRP Updated May 31
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