The whole social distancing thing is quite a novel experience for a great many of us. We’re used to being out and about, meeting friends, and, most often, playing chauffeur to take our children to do things with their friends. But now that it’s upon us and there’s no getting away from it, we need ideas on how to keep the kids entertained. Here are 6 tried and true ways that give them something active to do and you a break from being the entertainer.
It’s Time to Limbo, Jimbo!
Hit up Spotify, iTunes, Pandora – whatever streaming service you use – and find the limbo tune. You know the one: Jack be limbo, Jack be quick, Jack go UNDER limbo stick. Set the bar and start the competition. This one is a sure-fire, laugh-a-minute game to see how low they can go before they fall down and giggle.
A classic of the old school driveway/garage genre. Set up as large an oval as you can and use as much of the drive and garage as possible. Put the cars in the street, break out the timer, and see who can skate the fastest lap. The fastest 3 laps. The fastest 5 laps. See if they can beat their own times, who improves the most, etc. Then set up a figure 8. Or an obstacle course. If you have hockey sticks start up a little skills competition with a plastic puck if you have one. If not, a tennis ball works fine. Physical activity + time consumed = winner winner chicken dinner.
Let the Obstacle Run its Course
Here’s another one to get them outside and moving. Use every corner of your yard and every inch of your imagination. Jumping over an obstacle, rolling – or doing the limbo – under one, bobbing for apples, jumping rope, running up and down the backyard stairs, doing shuttle runs, slip-n-slide, tummy crawl under a tarp, tennis ball toss (you decide the targets) – there is literally no end to the creative ideas you can come up with. Get them running, get them jumping, and, most importantly, get them TIRED.
Sidewalk Art Exhibition
Sidewalk chalk is possibly one of the greatest inventions of all time. Sure, professional artists create those mind-boggling 3-D drawings in public, but your kids can create their own works of art right in front of your house. If you have a driveway made of cement you can turn them loose on that. Let them draw their pictures or give them a picture to replicate in their own style. To get a more museum style, use the sidewalk squares and draw frames around the outside of the square. You can also create geometric shapes with masking tape or painter’s tape (blue lightweight tape that isn’t very sticky). Use the tape to create a large rectangle and then multiple shapes of differing sizes with the rectangle. Once each shape is colored in, remove the tape and voila! A geometric work of art!
Chalk ‘em Up Games
The tried and true game of hopscotch is another great idea for using that sidewalk chalk. Create a small one, then a larger one, and a larger one… each one more difficult than the last. Get each child a rock and then go to town. Add in some hangman, or play some Wheel of Fortune with some fake money and, if you don’t have a spinner lying around, some dice or a deck of cards can be used for $$ value.
Let Loose the Scavenger Hunters
This one takes a little more planning, but can, depending on how elaborate you make it, last quite some time. It really all depends on the age of your hunters. The older they get, the more elaborate and intricate the hunts can get. Give clues that lead to a song they have to play to get the lyric that is the clue. Have them hunt down a specific time in a move to get a clue from a scene. Hide things in obscure cabinets. Use ingredients labels to get a word at a time in the kitchen to find the next clue. Make them take off the grill cover and look inside the grill. Hide clues in the flower bed. The sky’s the limit. This can legitimately take hours, especially if you put something like a $20 gift card at the end for the winner. It’s good to have consolation prizes as well so every kid gets a little something, OR have them work together as a team and make the prize a little bigger: a $50 gift card to their favorite pizza joint, for instance, also covers dinner delivered!