Staying at home can be fun for the little ones until a serious case of cabin fever sets in! Before you grapple with one more meltdown or hear another “I’m bored!” try one of these simple stuck-inside activities to keep learning going while school is out.
Advantage: each of these activities helps children build the foundational skills so your kids can combine fun and learning during the current world climate!
- Engage in sensory play with infants
Babies love to use their senses, and it’s easy to help them do it while working their STEM skills. All you need is a basket or low-sided container with materials in a variety of different shapes, textures, weights, smells, and sounds. Need some ideas? Try crinkly paper, a wooden block, a lemon, a stuffed animal and a pine-cone. Help your baby explore everything in the basket and describe what he or she is doing, seeing, feeling, hearing, smelling, or tasting. This helps your baby build their brain by introducing new vocabulary and hand-eye coordination!
- Keep learning rolling with toddlers
“Things that go” is a favorite toy category for toddlers, so build on their interest and ramp things up for a simple game! Use blocks, boxes, and pieces of cardboard to build ramps and roads of various heights and angles. Gather objects that will roll and some that won’t. Experiment with each variation and encourage your child to investigate how each thing does or doesn’t go, and how ramps can be adjusted to get the outcome you want. A little trial and error helps develop problem solving and estimating skills. Layer on a math game by measuring how far objects travel when they zoom off the ramp!
- Get crafty with pre-kindergarteners
Did you know that crafting is learning? It’s true! When kids tinker, build, create, and craft, they practice engineering through art! Anytime boredom sets in, let kids design, build, problem-solve, and create all while having a terrific time. You don’t need much; just a few crafting supplies from around your home like construction paper, markers, fabric scraps, glue sticks, tape, scissors, recyclables, or old toys. Get crafty together or alone, but either way, notice how limiting the number of materials you offer can create more opportunities for problem solving and “aha” moments!
- Re-purpose materials with elementary schoolers
Elementary schoolers are ready to grow their learning by understanding the science behind how our human habits impact our natural world. Bring the conservation conversation home by seeing how things we typically throw away can be used again for the same purpose, or even a brand new one. Pull a few different containers out of the recycling bin. Can your child think of a new use for anything you found? Let your child invent something new with the help of a few crafting materials. When the new invention is complete, give your child feedback like engineers do! Ask questions, offer suggestions, and of course, test it out!