Well, we never thought our April would be like this, but here we are. Normally this time of year is the first time the family gets together since the holidays. But the COVID-19 pandemic had other ideas.
With group activities banned, self-isolation encouraged and social distancing essential, children across the world are in dire need of some distractions. And the age-old tradition of hiding chocolate in the park just isn’t on the cards in the age of hand sanitizer scrubs.
But don’t worry, in today’s digital age, there’s no shortage of creative ways to keep the kids entertained for a few hours, no matter what they’re into. We looked into some pandemic parenting resources for inspiration. Plus, we caught up with our pal Gena Mann, Co-founder of Wolf+Friends, for some added expertise.
Note. Things. Down. We can’t stress that enough. From work, to virus protection, to parenting, there’s a lot going on. When inspiration strikes during a news feed scroll or a YouTube binge, we guarantee you’ll forget about it an hour later. And don’t worry, it happens to everyone.
Experts attribute that odd inability to retain useful information from the internet as ‘digital amnesia’. Basically, we’ve trained our brains not to remember things because we think we can just Google it later.
Personalized parenting Linktrees are the way to go. No matter how many kids you have or what kind of things you think they’ll enjoy, having a centralized Linktree for all the ideas you accumulate will result in an ever-expanding list of activities. You can create your own Linktree, for free, and swap with other parents to grow the resources at your collective fingertips!
Need a place to start?
Science and education
Last week, we caught up with Sergei Urban from TheDadLab. His mantra is to find ways to get kids solving (conceptually simple, but complex) day-to-day problems. On his Instagram page, he sets up ‘challenges’ using everyday items around the house, like “build something that floats”. Not only are these experiments fun, they’re a great way to help them learn from both success and failure.
You can create your own Linktree, for free, and swap with other parents to grow the resources at your collective fingertips!
Thousands of museums across the world have made their collections accessible via the internet. So you can take your kids on an online field trip to the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum. Or, The Natural History Museum has some great online activities for kids, alongside their explorable online exhibits.
Sergei also clued us into Twinkl, an online resource he uses for printable worksheets and assessments. This has a lot of great academic resources for homeschoolers.
Art and books and stuff
Let’s be real, you can’t expect your child to enthusiastically learn all day. Sometimes you have to let their creativity run wild. Luckily, a ton of artists have banded together to create Illustrators Against Covid-19, a collective of artists who are drawing printable black-and-white templates for kids to color in. We chatted with them last week, too.
Art museums are also going virtual. The Brooklyn Museum started doing virtual tours last weekend, which are a great way to get your children engrossed in classic art.
Is your kid a big reader? The New York Library has recently made more books available via their app, Simply-E, all you need is a library card. Plus, TIME for kids is now freely available online for the future Pulitzer winners in your family.
What about kids that are full of energy?
Some kids just can’t sit still. But don’t worry, we found some ideas for them, too. Canadian schools recently put together this great photo scavenger hunt, for kids who absolutely need to run around. It has 51 activities, so it’s unlikely that your child will finish it quickly.
Jamie Oliver has a great hot cross bun recipe for kids who love to make stuff. Show them the ropes and you could be enjoying delicious baked goods all long-weekend.
One of the best resources is your local neighbourhood. In Melbourne, where Linktree is headquartered, communities of people are putting teddy bears in their window, so that kids can go on a bear hunt. It’s a really great way to encourage community engagement, and forge neighbourly bonds in the era of social distancing.
But energetic kids need routine most of all. If you’re more of a Type B, Khan Academy has recently created a great starting point.
Tips from Gena Mann, co-founder of Wolf+Friends
“It’s definitely a time for people to go easy on themselves and maybe be a little more forgiving with strict screen time rules. Depending on how independent your children are, you can get them set up with something to do on their own while you get some work done. If all else fails, put on a movie and don’t beat yourself up about it!
“My 17 year old with autism requires full time care and my Kindergartner also needs a lot of supervision for her work. I am carving out time with each of them to work on school and then a few hours midday for work and then by the afternoon, we all just need to get outside and take a walk!
“Kids with special needs typically thrive on structure so this time has been particularly difficult for those kids. Try to get your kids on some kind of schedule, use a visual schedule if it helps. Even if it just structures their day a bit and they know what to expect. And join us on Zoom. We are hosting twice weekly calls for special needs moms and providers to help moms feel more connected to other moms who ‘get it’ during this time.
“We are trying to get up at the same time every day, have breakfast, do whatever school work and parent work that needs to get done and then take a long walk with our dog in the afternoons. The fresh air has been a life saver for all of us.
“Our friends at Tilt Parenting created a great list of resources. Plus, moms all over Instagram are posting great ideas for children with and without special needs.”
Now it’s your turn
Businesses are adapting to COVID-19, with new initiatives are popping up every day. No matter what your child is interested in, you’ll find something out there that’ll hold their attention. With a bit of searching, and a little testing, you’ll find out what works and end up with your perfect Linktree.
And when you do, send it our way! We’re always on the lookout for new, cool things to click and will share with the Linktree community.