5 Activities to Do with Young Children This Summer While Working from Home
By Jessica Allison, Director, Education and Training
The country is opening again; things are starting to look like they did back before the pandemic hit. While things could change quickly, many companies are making plans to return to the office sometime this fall. This means that many families are still working from home at least part of the time.
To help parents get through the home stretch, I put together some helpful tips and activities for parents trying to juggle working from home and encouraging little ones to stay engaged and exploring their world this summer.
- Box Explorations (Preschool/Pre-K) Next time you get an online order delivered, save the box or boxes. Let your child use their imagination to create something out of the boxes. At first, they may need some direction, but once they start, they will be excited. Provide markers and crayons for them to add to their creation. They can even bring accessories like toys or pillows, and blankets to complete their project.
- Blanket Fort (Pre-K/Young School Age) Give your child the challenge of building a blanket fort. You can set guidelines—they can only use 5 blankets, the fort must stay in the dining room, etc.—or you can give them the option to use whatever they want, wherever they want. If they need help, suggest some ideas: use the chairs in the dining room to hold up the blankets, could the couch cushions help support your fort? Ask your child to make it big enough for you to join when you get a break. Explore the Outdoors (All Ages)
- Sensory Play (Preschool) Using a table or a container (an under-the-bed container works great), fill with some of their favorite items (blocks, cars, shakers, sand, play dough, etc.). Ask your child for their thoughts on what might make it different. Here are some ideas: what can they create when they use two of these items? Can they find different sized containers to fill and dump the items into? Get creative and let their imaginations go wild.
- Race Car Tracks (Preschool/Pre-K) Sometimes all it takes to keep your child engaged is changing a toy just a little bit to make it something new. For this activity, take some easy-to-remove tape like painter’s tape and create car tracks in your house. Depending on where you want your child to play, you can have them in multiple rooms. If tracks can go up objects like a couch, there can be places where the car can change direction or turn, etc. Children can then add blocks to the edges of the roads as buildings and set up a mini city.
- Door Painting (Preschool/Pre-K) Using washable finger paint, allow your child to paint a picture on your front glass door or a sliding glass door. Make sure your paint is washable; this makes clean up super easy. Set just a few drops of each color on a paper plate and give your child a paintbrush. Ask them to create a picture for you or to cover the door with as much color as they can. You may need to be close to make sure the paint stays on the door, but this should keep them occupied for a considerable period!
These activities will help parents encourage children to play independently, get outside, and avoid depending on screens to keep them entertained. I hope these activities help the labor of working from home while parenting a little easier.