Activities and Free Learning Resources for Quarantining With Kids due to Coronavirus COVID-19

activities when in quarantine with kids

Hi there! How are you doing? Are you feeling the Coronavirus / COVID-19 anxiety? As a mom of children with wonky immune systems (thanks to the autoimmune disease PANS/PANDAS + Lyme Disease and co-infections) and a person who struggles with anxiety myself, I’ve had to balance being prepared and aware with turning off the news and trying to focus on things here at home and staying positive. I think that, for me, I feel better just surrendering to our circumstances and hunkering down at home with my family,  taking deep breaths, and trying to find the positives in this slow down. I know my husband and I are very lucky because we work from home and are able to do this without too much hardship. I feel for those of you who are facing bigger challenges professionally, economically, and logistically.

For those who will be quarantining at home with kids, I thought I would share the activity list my kids and I made that we’ll refer to when we feel bored or to help keep a bit of structure to our days (my PANS kiddo especially does better with structure because it helps keep his OCD at bay when he’s busy). So here’s our list, along with links to some of our favorite board and card games:

ACTIVITY IDEAS:

Outside:

  • play with sidewalk chalk
  • outdoor play-doh
  • nature scavenger hunt
  • paint rocks for garden
  • garden prep and other spring yard jobs
  • plant early veggies and learn about them as we go
  • plan our herb garden
  • plan our flower gardens
  • scooter rides
  • family nature walks/visit metro parks
  • trampoline
  • hop-scotch (can do multiplication hopscotch for older kids)
  • bike rides
  • backyard nature study
  • Mr. Fox
  • wash the car (if warm enough)
  • bug collecting
  • plant identification (I use PictureThis app)
  • make a gnome/fairy garden
  • clean up/open sandbox if weather permits
  • set up birdhouse and fill bird feeders to do some birdwatching — can ID birds with our bird book
  • outdoor painting
  • bubbles
  • kickball
  • backyard DIY obstacle course (can be simple)
  • plant a tree
  • do a weather study
  • water play once warm enough

Inside:

  • puzzles
  • write a story
  • draw/color
  • pick a topic and then research/read about it (could also ask kids’ Alexa)
  • listen to kid podcasts or audiobooks
  • break out old lego sets and magna tiles
  • write letters to family and start sending postcards to pen pals
  • Nugget fort/play or build a fort if you don’t have a Nugget, set up a tent, etc.
  • GoNoodle (body movement)
  • CosmicKids Yoga
  • Twister
  • dance parties!
  • indoor treasure hunt
  • Charlie’s indoor quidditch game or homemade Minecraft board game
  • invent other new games
  • organize/clean rooms
  • save cardboard boxes from the many deliveries we’ll have to avoid stores and come up with creative ways to use them. Build a robot, make a playground for the cats, etc.
  • Go through old clothes and see what fits and what doesn’t. Make a donation bag. Also go through old toys while playing indoors at home and put in a donation box. Explain where our donations go and how others enjoy them and environmental benefits to second-hand goods.
  • chores (make it a game or contest)
  • workbooks/activity books for littles // homework for big
  • marble run
  • cars/car tracks
  • baking
  • charades
  • reading / read-to-self

activities when in quarantine with kids

GAMES

Non-Animated Movie Ideas for Bigger Kids

      • Labryinth
      • The Goonies
      • Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory (original)
      • ET
      • The Dark Crystal
      • The Greatest Showman
      • Akeela and the Bee
      • The Sandlot
      • The Mighty Ducks
      • Flight of the Navigator
      • The Sound of Music
      • Wizard of Oz
      • Harry Potter(s)
      • The Chronicles of Narnia
      • The Princess Bride
      • Mary Poppins
      • BFG
      • Matilda
      • Newsies
      • Little Giants
      • Hook
      • Honey I Shrunk The Kids
      • The NeverEnding Story
      • Willow
      • The Jungle Book (live action)
      • Lion King (live action)
      • Beauty and the Beast (live action)
      • Pete’s Dragon
      • The Karate Kid
      • Back to the Future
      • Space Jam
      • Rookie of the Year
      • School of Rock (older kids)
      • Spy Kids
      • Free Willy
      • Cool Runnings
      • Jumanji (old and new)
      • Mrs. Doubtfire (older kids)
      • Kindergarten Cop
      • Star Wars (originals and prequels are best for kids)
      • Jurassic Park (Jurassic World for older kids as well)
      • Indiana Jones
      • Holes
      • look for other options on Disney+

These are ones that we have/would let our oldest son watch. He’s 9 but a bit more of an advanced movie lover and won’t really watch animated films anymore. He will flat out tell you that his favorite directors are George Lucas and Steven Spielberg, and he pays no mind to swear words — it’s all about the art 🙂 That being said, we may feel ok with letting our kids watch something that you would not, so be sure to check out the movie at Common Sense Media or on IMDB first. Please don’t come blame me when you let your kids watch The Goonies and then they start using new words afterwards 😉

Free Learning/Activity sites:

You can also use code SCHOOL7771 for free access to ABC Mouse, Early Learning Academy, Adventure Academy, and Reading IQ while schools are closed.

Other read aloud sites: storylineonline.net, storynory.com, mightybook.com, ngexplorer.cengage.com (great nonfiction for K-1st), oxford owl.co.us/ (free access to 250+ books)

Virtual Field Trip Ideas: 

(I did not create this amazing list, just sharing it!)

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1SvIdgTx9djKO6SjyvPDsoGlkgE3iExmi3qh2KRRku_w/preview?fbclid=IwAR3ZOKPE1cXVkNoWhFnt2hwewRFBa0w0ClWtLpqPBZGA8_VE5Kne6SYlL3A#

15 Broadway Plays and Musicals you can watch on stage online:

https://www.playbill.com/article/15-broadway-plays-and-musicals-you-can-watch-on-stage-from-home?fbclid=IwAR0QFVgLn7CChqSqXhwtHy6Mq0a5SaqlQDeyjppWjDsVH-jzEdn38jECZVU

We can do this! Stay safe and healthy everyone. xx

 

This post contains affiliate links. If you click one and make a purchase I may earn a small commission at no cost to you.

Car Safety Tips When Driving With Kids

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #SOLOLifeSensor #CollectiveBias

Baby safety month + carseat safety

Driving with kids: it can be fun, loud, crazy, and sometimes miserable. Balancing everyone’s needs in the car while actually driving a car can be quite a feat. On top of the responsibility to keep your kids safe while on the road are the day to day demands of caregiving that can leave you hurried and distracted in your normal routine. While you may not have control over other drivers, you can make sure that children are properly protected in your own car. Here are some things I do or use to keep my kids safe while we’re driving in the car. Read More

Surviving Cold, Flu, and Coronavirus Season

Tips for Surviving Cold & Flu Season | Oh Lovely Day

This post couldn’t have come at a more perfect time – I’ve just gotten over the flu, my older son has a double ear infection and pink eye, and I’m just holding my breath to see what the baby ends up with. It seems like so many of us are dealing with a particularly nasty cold and flu season. And as frustrated as I am with the sickness, I can’t help but consider us lucky: lucky that this is the worst we have it, and lucky that we have healthcare that enables us to go to the doctor and get medicine we need. I kid you not, I’ve been to the pediatrician almost weekly for the last two months.

So I thought I would share some of my tips for surviving this germ-filled season (besides taking your kid out of preschool for the duration, which I’ve been tempted to do myself…)Read More

I think my Child’s sudden behavior changes are due to PANS/PANDAS: Where Do I start?

*I am not a doctor and this post is not meant to give medical advice. I’m just a mom who has had to become a medical advocate for my child, who has learned a lot and started him on a path to healing, and who would like to share what I’ve learned to help other suffering families.

Does my child have PANS/PANDAS? If so, where do I start finding help?

The most frequent question I receive from parents who are finding my family’s story about PANS/PANDAS and Lyme is “How do I get my child tested/diagnosed/treated for P/P?” It seems like a really simple question, but the answer is incredibly complicated. So I thought the answer deserved its own blog post because it is multi-layered.

You’ve likely found this post because you already are following along with my family’s story (or were already a blog reader) and want to know more, OR because you’re searching for answers yourself because you have a child who suddenly started exhibiting very extreme behaviors like anxiety, rage, OCD, food restrictions, and more. That was me just 5 months ago, although it feels like years worth of developments, knowledge, and treatment has occurred during that short time. It took me almost 2 months to realize that Charlie’s behaviors were caused by PANS/PANDAS — that is a really long time when your child is in pain, depressed, suicidal, raging (and I mean RAGING, like they are possessed by demons), stuck in a constant cycle of compulsive thoughts and obsessive behaviors (OCD), having sleep disturbances and food restrictions (like barely eating, only eating very specific things, etc.) I recognized the OCD right away and he was quick to receive a diagnosis of OCD. Unfortunately, our pediatrician and behavioral therapist did not explore anything further than that — no questions regarding other behaviors, recent illness, or anything else. It took Charlie deteriorating more and more for me to be certain there was more wrong and to push for answers. Those two months were critical and had he been treated for PANS/PANDAS earlier things might not have gotten so bad for him.

So if you’re searching for answers because of your kiddo’s sudden unusual behavior (or suddenly increased behavior), you can compare what you’re seeing with these criteria for PANS/PANDAS:Read More

How Our World Has Been Turned Upside Down by Lyme and PANS/PANDAS

Childhood lyme, PANS/PANDAS, and OCD

This is a tough post to write, but one I feel compelled to share (with my son Charlie’s permission) due to the extreme struggles we’ve been through and the lack of answers and experienced physicians out there treating kids like Charlie. I’ve alluded to some health issues going on at our house, but it really didn’t begin to touch on the hell we’ve been going through for a few months. Charlie is a smart, kind, sensitive, and creative kid. He’s funny and enjoys life. Or he did before this August.

Charlie has never been what you’d call laid back (he comes by it honestly 🙋🏼‍♀️) and has definitely shown signs of social and performance anxiety since he was 4 or 5. But a few months ago — almost overnight — he started to show some new behaviors. Extreme anxiety about things that might have bothered him only a little before. He became very irritable, controlling and often didn’t want to go do anything outside of the home. Then he started to fight us on leaving the house at all. By August we realized he had developed full blown Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. When we would push him to leave the house to go to a doctor’s appointment or swim class he started flying into rages, screaming, calling me names, and getting physically aggressive. With guidance from his pediatrician and therapist we started treating his OCD with an SSRI and Exposure Response Prevention (ERP) therapy, which is the gold standard treatment for OCD. At first he could participate in therapy, and then in school when we started the next week. By the following week he was showing a lot of hyperactivity and impulsivity at school (also a new behavior we had never seen before), and even more aggression and rage at home. His dose was increased. No improvement. Dose was increased again. Rage went through the roof. Things got really scary. We ended up at the ER and then admitted to Nationwide Children’s Hospital where they clinically diagnosed him with SSRI activation syndrome and discontinued his Prozac, switching to a new SSRI. They didn’t run any tests or labs. He had to wear a special color hospital gown which indicated mental issues and we had to have an aide in the room with us at all times. For two days and two nights. But while in the hospital his extreme hyperactivity continued. He was not himself at all. We started seeing a psychiatrist who took over his medication protocol and his therapist for ERP and behavior management. Things continued to steadily decline. I knew in my gut that something else was wrong. I could tell the meds weren’t helping and I was losing my sweet boy. I didn’t recognize him 80% of the time. His eyes were dead; he wasn’t there. I took on sorting him out as my full-time job. I listened to every podcast, read every article and text I could find, joined and searched posts in every OCD parent support group on Facebook. OCD consumed Charlie’s life and that of our whole family. But it was more than OCD — we just didn’t understand that yet. Read More

How I Ensure My Family Drinks Safer Water While Also Being Friendly To The Planet

Tracking PixelThis post is sponsored by Primo® but all thoughts and opinions are my own. 

How I Ensure My Family Gets Clean Drinking Water While Still being friendly to the environment with Primo Water | Oh Lovely Day

The last few weeks, my family has been easing into our back to school routine. After a very busy summer where our overall wellness took a back seat to unstructured summer fun and making memories, we’re getting used to going to bed earlier and sticking to a schedule. In addition to our usual routine, I’ve been looking for ways to implement healthier lifestyle habits, such as drinking more water and swapping out the water we used to drink, which for us was tap or filtered water from our refrigerator, with water I couldn’t ensure had gone through a purification process to remove anything harmful. I just don’t trust that our tap water is as safe as I want it to be. And while we have a refrigerator with a water filter, the water quality depends on the age of the filter (and those things are expensive!) and it is only being filtered, not purified. Also, ours is soooooo slooooooow, and I have frequently caught my kids and my husband using the tap rather than investing a solid minute to fill their cups at the fridge. After much research on the best water choice that is also environmentally-friendly, I put a Primo water dispenser in our kitchen.

Read More