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8 Fun, Mind-Stimulating Activities for Kids

8 Fun, Mind-Stimulating Activities for Kids

At-home education doesn’t have to involve books or apps!


Even if your kids are continuing schoolwork at home while schools are closed due to the coronavirus pandemic, there are fun, mind-stimulating activities you can do at home to give your kids an educational boost.

With classrooms and learning centers closed, there is a widespread fear that our kids are going to fall behind—even if they are continuing schoolwork at home. But as we adapt to the coronavirus-quarantine, opportunities for gaining new knowledge seem to be sprouting up everywhere. In addition to books, educational apps, and online educational programming, there are alternative forms of learning we can give to our kids. From online videos to parent-led electives, here are some ideas of how to stimulate our children’s curious minds during the COVID-19 quarantine.

Discover Weather Wonders

At 50 minutes past every hour of live programming, The Weather Channel shares a short video on some aspect of weather science. Learn how raindrops and rainbows form, why thunder happens, why is the sky blue (finally an answer for your kids!), and how to stay safe in all kinds of weather. 

Host a Creative Writing Workshop

This doesn’t have to be academic—it’s just a time for kids to write their own stories. You could prompt them with ideas—write about a person who has an adventure while staying home, for example—or lead them in a journal-writing session. And this doesn’t have to be limited to traditional story telling either. Introduce kids to poetry (haiku are usually a hit with kids!), have them write a parody of their favorite song, or create story-telling rocks to boost their quick-thinking skills and imaginations.

Start a Documentary Club

Make a list of kid-friendly documentaries that will inspire little ones to see a different way of life, and then send the list to a few friends. After the viewing date, parents can set up have a video session for kids to talk about the film (and even suggest discussion questions for them).

Get Other Parents to Host Educational Video Sessions

Because every parent on your block or in your building likely has a great talent or skill, ask a few of them to give a 45-minute “class” (via video)—it could be cooking, music, drawing, yoga. Let another parent lead your kids in gaining a new cultural skill. After all, they say it takes a village.

Do Some Science Experiments

What kid doesn’t want to get messy? Steve Spangler Science sells cool science kits that use supplies from around the house. And Steamsational has a long list of STEAM-based experiments and activities kids can do at home—and most come with videos for easy instruction. You can also make some crafts or cook up a recipe to teach kids about science, including bath bombs, growing stalactites, learning about trajectory with rockets, or whipping up some homemade ice cream, English muffins, marshmallows, or DIY microwave popcorn.



Go on Some (Virtual) Bucket-List Trips

While you can’t actually go exploring, there are plenty of awesome virtual places to check out—including ones you may never actually get to visit in your lifetime. For example, look around Mars in real time or tour Yellowstone National Park. See the Great Wall of China or watch the polar bears in the tundra. Try Googling your fantasy destination to see if there’s a virtual trip online. There is also a slew of museums that are offering virtual tours of exhibits, both in NYC and around the globe.

Listen to Audiobooks

Most kids seem to be reading up a storm while cooped up and trying to stay on track, but there’s another literary world out there: audiobooks. With sites like Open Culture and Audible Stories, you can listen to the classics as a family or let older kids use headphones to get lost in a fictional world. Plus every day, authors and celebrities are reading storybooks to younger kids on social media: Check out @savewithstories on Instagram or #gadbookclub on Twitter (yep, Josh Gad, the voice of Olaf, is reading stories, complete with spectacular voices!).

Make Art

Since there’s now a waiting room for access to Mo William’s excellent Lunchtime Doodles, check out the Tate Museum’s art projects for kids. There are video instructions for a wide range of eclectic creations from a kaleidoscope to soap carving to Picasso imitations.

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Shana Liebman

Author:

Shana Liebman is the features editor of NYMP. She’s a writer and editor who has worked for magazines including New York MagazineSalon, and Travel & Leisure,—and she is the mom of two energetic little boys.

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