Activities, Schedules, and Ideas for Kids at Home

What a wild time. First and foremost, I hope everyone is staying safe and healthy. Thank you to all medical providers, first responders, and volunteers who are selflessly giving each day, even during especially stressful and uncertain times.

I have come across lots of ideas that I want to pass along. This will be the home page and with many links to outside resources, other posts, websites, etc. to try and cover as many angles of this as possible. I will update this site as I discover more resources to share with you. *Disclaimer: this is a personal blog with all posts written by me. All information presented is intended to help and inspire anyone who spends time with children. Links to other sites are ones that I find useful, informative, and align with my opinions.

Updated 4/1

Updated 3/25

Updated 3/20

  • New post! Using the gift of time to teach independence
  • Epic! is a digital library that has over 35,000 books! I have used it in the classroom and it is a wonderful resource. It is free for educators and also free for 30 days for everyone. Some of the books are digital copies but many of the books have the option of reading it aloud to the child. Below is a screen shot from their website of some of the books for 5 and under:

Updated 3/18

  • New post! Maintaining balance for you and your family; finding what works for you
  • Another great post by Kid Friendly DC that focuses on tips for PARENTS, not kids, on navigating life at home
  • Lunch Doodles with Mo Willems. He is one of my favorite authors — Elephant and Piggie, Pigeon series, and others — and this has been a huge hit with the elementary age group. Would be above my 2 and 3 year old but we might watch a little as Keener loves his books. The website says: “Mo Willems invites YOU into his studio every day for his LUNCH DOODLE. Learners worldwide can draw, doodle and explore new ways of writing by visiting Mo’s studio virtually once a day for the next few weeks. Grab some paper and pencils, pens, or crayons and join Mo to explore ways of writing and making together. New episodes will be posted each weekday at 1:00 p.m. ET and then remain online to be streamed afterwards.  Check back each weekday for new LUNCH DOODLES!”

New post for St. Patrick’s Day! Simple art activities for St. Patrick’s Day

Links to Lists of Activities:

  • Kid Friendly DC. If you live in the DC/VA/MD area and don’t subscribe to her weekly/weekend newsletter, you should! She aggregates all of events going on an pushes them out all in one email. One for the weekdays and one for the weekend. Considering she isn’t advocating for families to attend events right now, her newest post includes ideas for staying home: “What to Do on the Weekdays at Home During the Coronavirus.” This post is applicable no matter where you live.
  • Busy Toddler. Follow Susie on Instragram if you don’t already! She has tons of ideas for activites to keep little hands busy. And lots of the materials are things you already have around your house. Which is really great now that Amazon is backed up on deliveries.
  • Google Spreadsheet of ideas. Jennifer Serravallo is a brilliant literacy expert who I had the privilege of working with in NYC. She posted this document on Facebook and I reposted it on my Calm Chaos Facebook page. It includes activites and lists whether they include screens, parent involvement, indoor or outdoor, educational focus, and cost.
  • Kids Activities.com. She has tons of ideas for babies, toddlers, kindergarten, elementary aged kids and older. She really has some great stuff on there! This is a list of education companies offering free subscriptions to kids due to school closings.

Visual Schedules

Something you will see in every preschool and early elementary classroom is a visual schedule. Kids thrive on routine so attempting to create a sense of predictability will help kids feel in control of their day. The following are “centers” you might include in your child’s day:

  • music
  • art (including St. Patrick’s Day ideas for 3/17!)
  • building
  • cleaning
  • reading
  • outdoor play
  • independent play
  • screen time
  • snack/meals
  • cooking
  • sensory
  • games
  • puzzles

Options for creating visual schedules:

  • With your little artist, draw the parts of the day together. The more kids are involved, the more buy in they tend to have!
  • Google pictures to match these images and have your little one pick the one they like best.
  • Google “free visual schedules” and you will also be directed to lots of free resources. For example, this one from teachingmama.org. I just joined her newsletter and she sends you a free visual schedule (it did go to my spam folder so be sure to check that!)

There are tons of examples floating around the internet for how to structure the day for your kids/and yourself. Most importantly, pick what works for you and your family.

This one is from The Mama Notes. She has a full blog post about how she plans to design her day for her kids.

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I’ve also seen this one :). Find what works for you and your kids! The most important thing is keeping yourself and your kids as calm as possible.

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Ideas that are keeping us busy

I will post more this week when I can! For now, the following are ideas that are working for us or on our to do list:

  • Find non crowded paths to hike
  • Play with chalk outside
  • Go for walks
  • Make obstacle courses
  • Cook/bake
  • Make cards for others (elderly, doctors, etc.)
  • Sensory ideas (shaving cream, sand, oatmeal, water beads, etc.)
  • Read, read, read
  • Play games
  • Play-Doh
  • Spring cleaning of toys and clothes
  • Try to enjoy the slower pace of not having to be anywhere

Blog posts I hope to get to soon! Which would you like to see? Check all that interest you: