Keeping children occupied or entertained in ‘normal’ times requires a lot of ingenuity, as most children get easily distracted with indoor games that do not require running around and exerting energy, especially when they are still pretty young. Here comes the pandemic and the lockdown where people cannot go out or socialize due to the threat of infection. If you have children under the age of ten at home, you can be sure that they are already feeling frustrated by not being able to go to the cinemas, visit the parks and go out for extra-curricula activities they enjoy like ballet, football, etc.
If one is not careful during this period, there is a likelihood that the media consumption of children, especially television, will increase due to the quarantine. For parents that have opted out of cable TV or just need a change for their children, they can explore other means of media entertainment by reading select TV reviews to determine and regulate if their media programs are suitable for their children. If you have children, it is a given that you have toys. But these toys are those they have been using for some time, and may no longer hold the allure of newness. You might therefore want to check toys that are not only for play but also educational since the children will not be physically in school for a while. Companies like Fat Brain Toys and other toy shops can help you with that. Let us further explore some ideas on how to keep children entertained during the coronavirus threat and the attendant lockdown.
- Art and crafts have been around forever, but creasing the focus on it during lockdown can help you entertain the children. Apart from the fact that it encourages creativity, arts and crafts also help your children find multiple ways to express themselves, from a three-year-old drawing and coloring what he sees within the home to a nine-year-old turning the tissue cardboard into a pencil holder.
- You can also get science-oriented and geography toys and kits where the children can perform experiments with or without help according to their ages. This will not only help them learn about their environment and the laws that govern it playfully, but it also gives them a sense of accomplishment to execute experiments and learn about the world around them.
- You can also get them into the kitchen to help out, and in the process, learn how to cook. Cooking is a life skill that is useful to the survival and independence of an individual, so whether as a boy or a girl, learning to cook is a win-win. Of course, expect to have some wastages and mess here and there, but it is a guaranteed way to engage children of different ages. You can also take the opportunity to teach children about safety around fire, electricity, sharp objects, etc.
- You can invest in some costumes with which your children can play dress up. To up the ante, get some for yourself as well. Get the children to come up with stories that you can play-act even after Halloween has passed.
In sum, keeping children entertained within the confines of hope requires a lot of creativity and patience, and even with the above-listed points, your patience will still be sorely tested. Remember that the routines of their lives have been abruptly changed during these trying times, and even some adults find it difficult to adapt to the changes, so cut the children some slack. Also, use the opportunity to talk to them and know what is happening in their lives. Remember to also teach them over and over again about the social protocols to protect themselves when they finally have to go outside the confines of the home, since we do not know how long the coronavirus will be around.