Updated: May 21
We are now in week 8 of Distance Learning... I'm sure your kids have had a few (hundred) extra hours of video games under their belt.
When normal routines and structures get thrown out the window, it's hard for anyone to stay as motivated and productive as they used to be... especially kids. But during this phase of quarantine, social distancing, and distance learning, it is more important than ever to find creative ways to stay active for the sake of our mental health. Here are some ideas that have the potential to not get completely shot down by your kids.
1. Build a Rube Goldberg Machine
A Rube Goldberg machine, named after American cartoonist Rube Goldberg, is a machine intentionally designed to perform a simple task in an indirect and overly complicated way. Usually, these machines consist of a series of simple unrelated devices; the action of each triggers the initiation of the next, eventually resulting in achieving a stated goal.
This is something that would be so fun to create as a whole family, or pin your kids against each other to see who can make the better machine. The best part about this is that it can and should be made entirely with objects you already have laying around the house.
2. Play a Strategy Game
Strategy games are a great way to keep brains working while having fun! It may come as a shock but if you really put some effort into strategy games, they are proven to help skills such as organization, attention to detail, deductive reasoning, anticipatory thinking, teamwork, problem-solving, resource allocation, negotiation, probability, logic, and concentration. If you really want to ramp up the excitement, turn it into a tournament. Pick a whole list of games, keep track of wins, and come up with a prize!
3. Do Family Workouts
So many Health and Fitness brands have gone virtual during this time and are kindly offering free workout videos. Take advantage of these and carve out a time each day to exercise together! Your kids may not want to do this alone but I guarantee if you all commit together, it will end up being a blast. Just be cautious or you will end up on your kids Instagram stories without even knowing it.
4. Have a Bake-Off
What kid doesn't like dessert? That's reason enough for them to take the bait on this idea and get them in the kitchen! Each family member should choose their favorite dessert. Assign a time limit if your kids already know their way around a kitchen or pair up if they are going to need assistance. Bake away and then have an unbiased judge who doesn't know which dessert belongs to who and let them pick a winner. Winner gets to choose the movie that night (and gets double dessert).
5. Hold a Steps Competition
No, don't worry I don't mean step dancing. Perhaps that could be fun as well and certainly active, but I mean have your kids wear some form of pedometer (even an iPhone will do these days) and see who can get the most steps each day. This will provide a little encouragement to keep them moving!
6. Plant a Garden
The weather is getting nicer and Spring is in the air, get your kids outside and try to grow something! Grab a few plant seeds at Home Depot, try starting with something simple like tomatoes or strawberries. Within 2-3 months you will have something real, tangible, and actually edible that you made with your own hands. Nothing is more rewarding than eating food you literally grew yourself! If you want more immediate results, plant some flowers! If you are blessed with sweet children, you may even get the benefit of hand-picked bouquets every once in awhile.
7. Make a Home Scavenger Hunt
Choose from a long list of scavenger hunt options or get creative and make your very own. If you want to add an educational element, make hints and riddles! You can either make them for your kids and have them to it, or even better, have your kids make one and swap.
And one last tip for when this school year is finally over, your Summer Camp is cancelled, and now your kids have ever more free time, sign them up for Camp MAVE!