Summer is normally an ideal time for kids to spend as much time as possible outside. And while it’s still a good idea to ensure your children get enough physical activity and take advantage of the nice weather, there are some unique concerns related to the COVID-19 pandemic that may have many parents worried. Although it’s safe to take a walk around the neighborhood, ride bikes on a nearby trail, or play in the backyard, areas like playgrounds and sports fields are off-limits for the moment. And on stormy days, your kids will likely be stuck inside.
There’s no arguing that staying home as much as possible is still the best course of action for slowing the spread of the novel coronavirus. But that doesn’t mean your children have to watch hours of TV or play games on the family tablet. There are plenty of educational and valuable activities your kids can try while staying indoors this summer. Here are just a few to add to your calendar.
Create Homemade Hand Puppets
Although painting is the most popular media found in collections worldwide, representing 83% of gallery displays, painting isn’t the only way for your kids to express their artistic point of view. You can help your kids use their imagination by making a toy they can use for creative play for years to come. Hand puppets are relatively easy to make and decorate, whether you use a craft kit or some old socks lying around the house. You’ll need googly eyes, yarn, scissors, and glue to make these puppets come to life. Once the puppets are physically assembled, you can encourage your kids to discover the identity of their unique puppets and put on plays for everyone. Puppets can also be a fantastic tool for working through tough emotions — which may prove necessary with all the stress of the pandemic.
Make a Lemon Clock
Although you may already know that electricity travels at a rate of 6,696,000 miles per hour, your kids may not realize that you don’t need a wall socket to power an electronic device. Much to their surprise, you might teach them that you can actually create a clock that runs on the power of citrus fruit! By using lemons or other citrus fruits, some copper wires and pennies, galvanized zinc nails, an AA battery, two electrical clips, and a battery-operated clock, you can create a powerful chemical reaction and get your kids interested in science in an unconventional way.
Try Out Cabbage Chemistry
The U.S. may be the number one producer of chemical products worldwide, but you don’t need a laboratory to increase your chemical knowledge. If your kids are into using food to conduct science experiments, you can use a head of cabbage to learn all about chemistry. Keep in mind that this experiment does use some potentially toxic chemicals, so you’ll need to gauge whether this experiment is appropriate for the age of your children and be sure to supervise closely at all times.
Get a fresh red cabbage, some plastic cups and utensils, and some household substances that are acidic (like toilet cleaner or citric acid), neutral (like water or baby shampoo), or basic (such as dishwasher liquid or floor cleaner). You’ll use a sharp knife to slice three or four leaves of cabbage and place the leaves in a bottle filled halfway up with hot water. Shake up the bottle until the purple color starts to permeate the water and leave it to cool. Then, you’ll strain that solution and add enough water to reach the one-liter mark. In each of your plastic cups, pour in a small amount of one household substance so that you have acids, neutrals, and basics covered. From there, you can fill each of those cups with the red cabbage water and stir. You’ll then notice that the cups display different colors on a spectrum from deep red to yellow. With this introduction to chemical makeup, you can get your kids interested in what’s in the products we eat, drink, and use for cleaning.
Although being stuck indoors doesn’t sound like much fun, the truth is that your home can provide a wealth of opportunities for both fun and learning this summer. Whether you’re teaching your kids about cars and the automotive industry or using these activities as a guide, your kids will be occupied and educated no matter the weather.