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Mrs Whiggins

Coronavirus--Activities for Children & Teens

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No school, no day care, everyone is restless. Here's where parents can go to find things to occupy the wee and not so wee bairns.

I will copy and paste the post of mine from another thread and add more later. If any of you have ideas, questions, tips and tricks, this thread may be a good aggregate for activities as opposed to the more medically minded COVID thread. The following is from that post, but I can add indoor activities too if y'all like. I have to add that one computer game (and my children are older now so I don't know if it's still available) my children LOVED was a hand me down version of Zoombinis. I've heard the newer version is not quite as great graphically but in a pinch, I'd give it a shot. We have an external hard drive/CD Rom or whatchamacallit my husband rounded up so we have the older version. It is great for the pre teen set.

So, here are some ideas for the parents out there with children on the younger side, BUT never underestimate your teens willingness to revert to that youth of so long ago and stop being a stressed out teen. It may take some coaxing and they won’t admit it until decades later, but your teen looks to you especially in times of crisis. How you behave, your compassion, your mental health, your ingenuity are all being modeled whether you like it or not.

So after you spend some time looking out for others, take some time to be together. Oh, and Mrs. Whiggins recommends that children who are young enough to take naps are often very amenable to routines so setting a phone alarm prior to nap time (so one can wind down and prepare for a nap) is one benefit to tech. There is a time to be flexible, but my kiddos were meltdown masters at that age so if it all possible, keep routines in mind.

Your spouses have probably looked all of this up on the web already, but here is my own take on what we used to do when my children were younger.

Weather permitting, taking children outdoors is a great idea and those of you who already had this thought are probably heading out already. A few mom suggestions, YMMV.

Some activities (below) will be suitable for older age groups.

My advice/rule of thumb is the younger the child, the smaller the excursion. Many parents like commitment and thus have a hard time bailing on a longer distance trip (like to a state park) when things go awry. For the wee bairns (<5) short excursions, small activities, and for heavens' sake the only time your phone should be out is when the alarm goes off to remind you that it is naptime which is probably why they are becoming irritable and contrary. (Sorry--we didn't have anything but a flip phone when my children were that age--slow to buy into tech) A reluctant child may need time to adapt but don’t be afraid to bail if there is overall crankiness as it may be an indicator of another need: illness, sleep, hunger. You know how that goes.

My second piece of advice/rule of thumb: Whatever happens, it’s your fault. Don’t beat yourself up about it, learn and plan for the next outing. Stuff happens. If that means you have to throw a screaming child over your shoulder because little brother needs to go home to nap then that’s what you do. (Sad, but true) During the activity, children lead the way but when it comes to the outing, Mom and Dad run the show. So, if someone forgets the DIAPERS…ahem…forgive or apologize and move on.

My third piece of advice/rule of thumb: accompanies the second. Let your child lead a little bit. If they get distracted watching a bug crawl across the paper on which they were coloring, it’s okay. Lose sight of having a goal (finished drawing) and follow for a change. Not with the big stuff (like when it’s time to go home) but with those little tangents. “Hey! Look Dad, I got the soccer ball stuck in a tree.”

**State parks--wonderful! Pack up your drinks/snacks, and get to exploring. As an added bonus, the day before you go, pack a small tote/shoulder sack with a few items and do science! A little package of crayons/pencils and a spiral allow you to do leaf colorings, or sit and point out a pretty scene, wildflower, tree, or critter. Have them draw it. Take your time. Stop on a trail every once in awhile and silently count to 20. If no one else is around, the critters that stopped when they heard you coming often resume their warbles, chirps, and movement. That one is great practice for the can't sit still crowd. Older children that can be trusted with magnifying glasses and compasses and binoculars should definitely have those handy. Oh, and if your children are older and you are at McKinney Falls—get lost. Not leave, get lost. We spent quite awhile in that park trying to find some obscure location on one of the maps and it took the 12 year old to rescue us. Gave him quite a boost of confidence. Make sure you have food though in case that happens. Low blood sugar in a teen girl can really test the family bonds.

Neighborhood parks--wonderful!! Again, pack up your drinks/snacks and get to exploring. Bring a blanket and if you have one a large umbrella (for shade) I expect these parks to be busy as every one will have similar plans and that way you can avoid the tables if necessary. Or if your city has a park map (online/paper) use that to scope out parks that are less crowded.

Anyway, in mom and dad's bag of tricks:

Art supplies: once again, encourage them to see art as not limited to indoor experiences. Bring along a disposable cup, a water bottle and water colors for slightly older children, crayons and a small pad for the younger ones. Lay on the blanket and watch the sky. Don't look at the sun!

Hoops, balls, and all the big outdoor running around toys. Jump ropes, chalk for sidewalks, kites, and if you have them: cones. My kiddos loved that we would bring a couple of cones and set them up to run races, soccer goals, pretend obstacle courses--the bad thing for the virus is that it was often a magnet for other children. Normally that was fine (except for those lazy parents that suddenly seemed to think I was providing free child care at the park) but in this case might not be welcome.

My favorite: bubbles. Bubbles are so much fun and if you have a large container like those sterlite ones with a lid? Put the supplies in there as bubble bottles often leak and get messy and then your car is gross. We had a complete bubble set up with large and small wands and those wire hanger big bubble makers. It was glorious.

Musical instruments: if the park is deserted, here is where to bang that drum that annoys the heck out of everyone. Have a parade.

Backyard--much of the above goes here as well with a couple of additions. If you're like me and you don't have an HOA, take a couple nails or duct tape and get a long roll of white paper (like butcher type paper) and tack it to your stockade fence (again--if using nails, be careful they are secure) you may have to fold the paper over a couple of times so it doesn't rip away if it's a little breezy. Put the kiddos in older clothes give them paint brushes and water soluble paint and turn em loose.

Roly poly/pillbug adventures--see if they can locate all the 'safe' creatures that live in your micro environment. How many butterflies do you see? How many ant mounds ('no, don't touch those' like my son, the ant bully was, may be tested with this one). How many anoles?

For the more mechanically minded: backyard obstacle courses are fun or Hot Wheels race track (maybe don’t use your nice cars for that one). Youngest liked to set up parallel courses with loose track and race cars. Lots more room outside to get a good course going. If you have any of the large pieces of pvc pipe laying around, tunnels make it worthwhile.

I also used to give him a board or two and tools and let him mess around (supervise this one!). Husband gave him his first pocketknife when he was small and the two of them would sit outside whittling sticks and having ‘man talks.’ I can’t recall exactly how old he was but he was coordinated enough that holding the knife and properly applying pressure, etc wasn’t going to be too risky.

Garden! Good time of the year to plant a few seeds. Or just dig in the dirt. If you've got a sandbox, there's two ways to do it: wet-get the sand moist for construction or dry-fluid and pouring capabilities. Older children seem to prefer the wetter building option in my experience.

Lastly--

My children are older now, heck my oldest is now in grad school. I loved their childhood. Absolutely loved watching them grow and learn and love. Set aside your agenda and your phone and watch them. Really observe them and listen to what they have to say about what they see and learn about the world. Encourage them to THINK about why something might be a certain way (eg--why does a plant stand up tall vs trail along the ground) and then be mindful that this is not a test for them, it is to help them formulate their thoughts into a coherent reply. They are yours, now and forever, and you love them for who they are and who they will become. Good luck! You will have a lot of material for the Dad thread and the Wives thread.

Whiggins

 

**State park users are going to be stressed. Texas has a looooot of people and not a lot of park. Go early!

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Here are some indoor activities beyond the games that are especially suited for the younger crowd. Bonus point--some require supervision that can be accomplished from sitting on the couch if you're feeling under the weather.

Fashion show: toss dressup clothes or old clothes and a bunch of hats in a laundry basket/container. If they still fit, old Halloween costumes work too. Child puts on clothes and you are the announcer (from the couch). "And here we have Mallory wearing a stunning pink bath robe. Notice, everyone, how the terry cloth catches the moonlight and coordinates so well with the cowboy boots. These boots were made for walking Mallory, thank you! Next!" We tried to keep the focus on the clothes because our kids loved picking out the outfit.

HGTV Design World: Needs a big box or essentially a large enough box the child can fit into. If you can, cut a flap for a window on a side, or two sides. Hand out crayons (or WASHABLE markers). Decorate. When that gets boring, make sure to name drop favorite stuffed animals and soon you, too, will discover that 55 animals can fit in a rather small box. Bonus: NASA Design World. Son loved this one. Same as above, but help out a little with drawing knobs and gadgets if the child is too young to master that. If you have cables that are made with safe materials, those are a bonus.

What in the world did Roscoe make? This one needs supervision, but my children loved to cook real food. Sometimes, however, having a helper wasn't possible so we made fake concoctions. Child has a bowl at the table. From the cupboard select some spices. Be careful as you do not want to just hand the child a box of cinnamon (inhalation is a no-no). Name the spice, hold to let child sniff, then sprinkle a little in the bowl. You can add a little liquid such as milk and let child stir. Keep adding spices, naming as you go. When done, only you can decide if you want to try the concoction. My children composed some very interesting mixes. Getting mom to taste the one with cayenne, oregano, sage, and probably ten other spices was their crowning achievement. Oh, and sound effects and appropriate noises are extremely appreciated.

Hairdresser 101 aka Beauty School for Beginners: not for the faint of heart, this requires a willing parent to round up the 100 plus little plastic hair barrettes and letting the child painstakingly attach them to your head. Did you know you can watch a Packers game and make it almost to half time if you set this up in front of a big screen television? Open up the barrette for small fingers, but the rest is a good manipulative exercise. May not work for Dads as well as moms, and sports are slim pickings right now, but some children really like the opportunity to give mom or dad a makeover. I do not recommend letting the two year old comb your hair unless you have a high tolerance for pain.

Tube sock wars: the name is all that is needed. Move the fragiles.

Plastic Egg Hunt: Have some of the plastic eggs around? Our children liked to find them (empty of course) if we hid them in the living room and then sat and gave them clues.

Dental Hygiene for Barney: grab an old toothbrush and all the stuffed animals take a trip to the dentist. You are the assistant who provides cues and assists in key moments like when it is discovered that Elmo hasn't been flossing. Skip the rinse and spit.

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9 minutes ago, Homercles said:

This weather can suck my ass, poor timing.  

No shit. This sucks. 

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Posted (edited)

Cross posted from the Card Games thread:

Open-handed Uno is the tits. So much more possible strategy than closed-hand. 

My wife and I played a ton of two-person spades in the 18 days after Hurricane Wilma that we didn't have power. 

https://www.thesprucecrafts.com/complete-rules-of-spades-for-two-players-412489

Cross posted from the main CV thread:

If anyone is still going out and about today, I picked up about 10 of these things for $10 at my local Harbor Freight a month or so ago. And I know that my local store (Chicago) is open today because they have been emailing the shit out of me about it.

They're good for a couple of hours with a kid. 

 

20200315_123251.jpg

Edited by Prepuce of Doom

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For today’s outing, we took our 5 year old to the 4-story parking garage for my office.  
 

It has gate access and nobody was there, so it made for a nice scooter racing course.  Started at the top level and sped our way to the ground floor.  Rode the elevator back up and did it again...and again....and again.  
 

Made for a fun hour or so outside, covered (since it’s raining in Dallas), alone, and out of the house.

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Posted (edited)

Scholastic doing good work and providing 30 days worth of info and books and activities for parents affected by this.  

https://classroommagazines.scholastic.com/support/learnathome.html?promo_code=6294&eml=CM/smd/20200312//txtl/sm/ed

Quote

Even when schools are closed, you can keep the learning going with these special cross-curricular journeys. Every day includes four separate learning experiences, each built around a thrilling, meaningful story or video. Kids can do them on their own, with their families, or with their teachers. Just find your grade level and let the learning begin!

-The Editors of Scholastic Classroom Magazines.

 

Edited by atomheartbevo

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Just stopped in to Hobby Lobby and grabbed some models (B-17, hot rod, and a small battleship), and some paints.  Have A few things arriving from Amazon.  Ran into another dad doing the same

 It’s been decades since I did a proper scale model, but this is going to be a good time for father-son bonding.  

And I splurged and got acrylics, so I don’t swear up a storm like my dad did when I spilled a bottle of enamel on our dining table.  

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We implemented a 10-minutes every 2 hours exercise routine today.  10AM, Noon, 2PM, and 4PM.  We all get up and exercise for 10 minutes.   My wife did the elliptical, I did a kettle bell routine and the kids played soccer in the backyard.  We've only done 1 session so far but I think this is gonna be a success.  

 

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14 hours ago, Chewy's Hairy Horn said:

For today’s outing, we took our 5 year old to the 4-story parking garage for my office.  
 

It has gate access and nobody was there, so it made for a nice scooter racing course.  Started at the top level and sped our way to the ground floor.  Rode the elevator back up and did it again...and again....and again.  
 

Made for a fun hour or so outside, covered (since it’s raining in Dallas), alone, and out of the house.

Until some asshole decides to practice his stunt driving in his company’s empty parking garage. 

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I need recommendations for how to optimize my time to efficiently work from home while entertaining a 2nd grader.  He has a significant amount of energy and hates reading (challenged with dyslexia).

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4 minutes ago, Izhmash said:

I need recommendations for how to optimize my time to efficiently work from home while entertaining a 2nd grader.  He has a significant amount of energy and hates reading (challenged with dyslexia).

My kids were watching some story time youtube channel today.  One was somebody reading a book, the other one was somethign about sharks or some shit.  It put them in front of the screen, but must have cleared the wife's approval since she pathologically hates having the kids in front of screens.

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Wife is compiling a list of the different things she has found.  Apparently it was facebook live, not youtube.  I'll post it here. 

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For those of you that live in Texas, the monarch butterflies have been migrating northward and if you have any blooms in your yard you may have noticed them fluttering about. If you do not have milkweed/butterfly weed in your yard and if you can risk your garden center there is still time to plant some or to order seeds and have them shipped to you--they sprout fairly quickly.

I have several plants in my yard and chop it down close to the ground after the first frost. This year was so mild it came back quickly and it is loaded with caterpillars small and large. They have eaten one plant bare. Great opportunity for your children to watch nature in action and have some chats. 'Why do you think they eat only milkweed ?' is a great question for the child who has a chicken tender fetish and what the pros and cons of that lifestyle might be. (I'm not urging pedantics here, just an opportunity for them to puzzle it out). For the younger crowd, a follow up with Eric Carle's The Very Hungry Caterpillar is of course a must. Charting how big they grow in such a short span is a lot of fun, too. We've had chrysalis in some interesting places and let me tell you, little ones can spot them very fast!

I know a scientist who studies butterfly migration and it is pretty fascinating to think about these tiny orange and black creatures that look so frail flying so far year after year.

The more you know your children, the more they know you! Hang in there parents!

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Do butterflies carry Corona?  Eeeks..stay inside!  /sarcasm

I'm looking forward to the blackberries starting to grow.  We love picking those in the late April / May timeframe.  Gonna be lots of blackberry cobbler in our house this year.

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12 minutes ago, Anastasis said:

must have cleared the wife's approval since she pathologically hates having the kids in front of screens.

Yeah that high horse is going to last about another 2-3 days. 

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Posted (edited)
27 minutes ago, Izhmash said:

I need recommendations for how to optimize my time to efficiently work from home while entertaining a 2nd grader.  He has a significant amount of energy and hates reading (challenged with dyslexia).

Hmm, that's a challenging age because they are really starting to expand the social circle which is now obviously not a good plan. So, could you perhaps give us something to go on with respect to layout?

For example:

Inside or outside?

Is he okay to play by himself with light supervision? My youngest (also a boy) liked to build with popsicle sticks and glue and make little forts for those plastic soldiers you can buy at the store. I think he made a garage for a race car once too. Edit--do not think Frank Lloyd Wright here. Beauty is in the eye of the maker. He mostly just like using lots of glue and sticks.

There are some pretty cool paper airplane diagrams online nowadays although my husband might have also checked out a book from the library. They folded (and cut if necessary) together for some together time and once they had a few test flights, our son ran around the backyard flying airplanes. I've found if you have together time first, then often children don't mind playing by themselves or occupying themselves for awhile.

So, with respect to optimizing your time you may need to think like a teacher does and have short productive bursts of 'work' for both of you? Some together and have big muscle group activity followed by alone time (where you get some work done) and followed by something quieter leading into lunchtime. I don't know if that is possible, this may take awhile for the two of you to figure out. Another thing to think about, is just how much time prepping a child's snacks and meals can take depending upon your kiddo's preferences. I usually kept sliced cucumbers, washed grapes (older children), etc in a container so my children could snack on them when I was busy.

Oh, and if you haven't got Snap Circuits, that is a good visual activity that mechanically minded children often enjoy. You know your children best, so with that one you will need to take a look at the kits to see how much supervision is necessary. They were worth the price (it was usually a holiday or birthday gift) and I only smelled smoke once.

Edited by Mrs Whiggins
Addition

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Posted (edited)

Any ideas for an 18 month old? Wife and I made the decision to pull him out of daycare, which means four days out of the week he'll be home with me. I work from home, even before this virus. Most important things would be ideas to simply keep him occupied for little chunks of time so I can get work done.

TV doesn't keep his attention that well, at least not anything we've tried (except Blippy who is now banned from the house by my wife..). I've gotten him to sit still with a couple of phone games before but they seem to be getting stale for him. 

Edited by BradInATX

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And in all seriousness, I have no clue.  My kids were in school today, but I strongly suspect that they will be out starting tomorrow.  Wife and I both working from home and all the kids at home is going to be interesting.

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Posted (edited)
31 minutes ago, BradInATX said:

Any ideas for an 18 month old? Wife and I made the decision to pull him out of daycare, which means four days out of the week he'll be home with me. I work from home, even before this virus. Most important things would be ideas to simply keep him occupied for little chunks of time so I can get work done.

TV doesn't keep his attention that well, at least not anything we've tried (except Blippy who is now banned from the house by my wife..). I've gotten him to sit still with a couple of phone games before but they seem to be getting stale for him. 

Is your work portable (laptop?). At that age, supervision is a bigger deal so some of this is going to depend upon your child's personality.

Outside you may need to stay away from water (computer), but sometimes we would set the easel up and let them paint outside. That's something where if you have a table outside for your stuff that's high enough he can't get paint on it is ideal. If you don't have an easel set up, a box or something you can tape or fix the paper to works as well. The important thing is something immobile but that the paper is vertical so he would be standing and moving (this is important because it solves a few issues: it's novel, it allows the child to move around, and it is somewhat tiring--yeah!). It doesn't have to be paint, especially if you don't have the spill proof paint cups. Markers and crayons work too. Before you start, set up an old towel, rags, something to clean up with or you're going to have paint on your work. Also, old clothes or put an old bib on them to catch splatters.

Do you have any of the wooden puzzles with the shapes that fit in a hole? Like these? https://www.melissaanddoug.com/first-shapes-jumbo-knob---5-pieces/2053.html?cgid=our-toys-puzzles-toddler-and-preschool

Manipulatives and sorters are good at that age as long as they are large enough that he can't put them in his mouth. Something along this line: https://www.lakeshorelearning.com/products/p/AA775

If you can trust him not to eat the paper and/or decide later  that all books can be ripped, our oldest would 'read' large catalogs. Fisher Scientific would be plopped on the floor next to her while I was doing some adult work, and she would turn the pages and talk. Now, that may make it hard for you to work, so it depends upon what you are trying to do.

As much as you can, think about how his day was organized at daycare, and follow that but tailored for home. For example, when was quiet time, when was big motion time, when was 'thinking' time, music time etc. It may help structure both his day and yours.

Edited by Mrs Whiggins
Punctuation

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Posted (edited)

Thought of another one but I can't recall how old our children were when I used to do this. I know it was before pre-school. If you have some butcher paper, have them lay down and trace around them with a large marker or crayon. Then they can draw themselves. When they are finished, cut out the figure and hang up somewhere for viewing for the next couple of days. That used to occupy them especially when they got old enough to use glue w/o much supervision because we would lay it outside and they would make 'glitter pants.' Glitter belongs outside if you can at all help it, IMO. If you do use glitter, for the love of Mike, shake the paper before you bring it back inside.

Edited by Mrs Whiggins
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1 hour ago, BradInATX said:

Any ideas for an 18 month old? Wife and I made the decision to pull him out of daycare, which means four days out of the week he'll be home with me. I work from home, even before this virus. Most important things would be ideas to simply keep him occupied for little chunks of time so I can get work done.

If you have a trampoline with an enclosure just put him in there and zip it up. Go outside and check up on the kid every couple of hours.

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2 minutes ago, F250 said:

If you have a trampoline with an enclosure just put him in there and zip it up. Go outside and check up on the kid every couple of hours.

Actually, we got an indoor trampoline for our 2 year old and he loves it. This one, but they have others with enclosures.: (https://www.amazon.com/Little-Tikes-Trampoline-Amazon-Exclusive/dp/B00AU0O7QI/ref=sr_1_5?crid=7QUTQC4VJ5I9&keywords=indoor+kids+trampoline&qid=1584401977&sprefix=indoor+kids+tr%2Caps%2C194&sr=8-5)

 

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1 hour ago, Mrs Whiggins said:

Is your work portable (laptop?). At that age, supervision is a bigger deal so some of this is going to depend upon your child's personality.

Outside you may need to stay away from water (computer), but sometimes we would set the easel up and let them paint outside. That's something where if you have a table outside for your stuff that's high enough he can't get paint on it is ideal. If you don't have an easel set up, a box or something you can tape or fix the paper to works as well. The important thing is something immobile but that the paper is vertical so he would be standing and moving (this is important because it solves a few issues: it's novel, it allows the child to move around, and it is somewhat tiring--yeah!). It doesn't have to be paint, especially if you don't have the spill proof paint cups. Markers and crayons work too. Before you start, set up an old towel, rags, something to clean up with or you're going to have paint on your work. Also, old clothes or put an old bib on them to catch splatters.

Do you have any of the wooden puzzles with the shapes that fit in a hole? Like these? https://www.melissaanddoug.com/first-shapes-jumbo-knob---5-pieces/2053.html?cgid=our-toys-puzzles-toddler-and-preschool

Manipulatives and sorters are good at that age as long as they are large enough that he can't put them in his mouth. Something along this line: https://www.lakeshorelearning.com/products/p/AA775

If you can trust him not to eat the paper and/or decide later  that all books can be ripped, our oldest would 'read' large catalogs. Fisher Scientific would be plopped on the floor next to her while I was doing some adult work, and she would turn the pages and talk. Now, that may make it hard for you to work, so it depends upon what you are trying to do.

As much as you can, think about how his day was organized at daycare, and follow that but tailored for home. For example, when was quiet time, when was big motion time, when was 'thinking' time, music time etc. It may help structure both his day and yours.

 

Some great ideas here. Thanks. We have plenty of indoor stuff like those puzzles (we have so many toys it's absurd), and he already does pretty well just sitting there and reading on his own. Outdoor things that will wear him out are key. I just bought a trampoline (great call @F250, he'll love that) and some other outdoor stuff. Will be doing the painting as well. I'm going to have to trial and error it a bit. I suppose absolute worst case if I have a meeting that requires silence, I can put him in his room, which is very much babyproofed, and keep his monitor on. See how it goes.

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1 hour ago, BradInATX said:

 

Some great ideas here. Thanks. We have plenty of indoor stuff like those puzzles (we have so many toys it's absurd), and he already does pretty well just sitting there and reading on his own. Outdoor things that will wear him out are key. I just bought a trampoline (great call @F250, he'll love that) and some other outdoor stuff. Will be doing the painting as well. I'm going to have to trial and error it a bit. I suppose absolute worst case if I have a meeting that requires silence, I can put him in his room, which is very much babyproofed, and keep his monitor on. See how it goes.

Outdoor, good to know. 
Some other types of things you can rig up at that age:

Dishtub with soapy water and a couple of bathtub boats and pouring vessels. If he’s the type to pour it over his head, omit the soap. Prepare for this to be messy but that’s the point. 
 

Suspend a rope from a branch that is too high for him to entangle himself, but high enough to whack at. My husband made a slit in a tennis ball and a small knot in the end of clothesline/rope and our children would whack a small plastic bat at it and watch it swing. Note: this was not ‘strike zone’ level, more like pinata. Otherwise they try and climb it. A climbing rope was when they were a little older. (We didn’t have a playset).

Bucket of balls. Husband would round up all the old tennis balls he didn’t use anymore and pile them at one end of the yard and a big bucket at the other and our son would race back and forth filling the bucket. That one doesn’t hold their attention forever, but for the under 3 set, it’s sometimes the simplest activities that they can find amusing. 
 

Those large collapsible tunnels are another activity that burns energy. Place a favorite stuffed animal inside so they have a friend. 
 

Bucket of shapes (like bucket of balls but more complex). For this one you need some set up time. Gather up some containers and tape to it a piece of paper that you’ve drawn a shape upon. Keep it simple for the littlest ones: square, circle, etc. Draw, cut out, etc that shape on a sturdy piece of paper or cardboard. Make several of each and place them next to your computer. Place the boxes around the yard far enough apart that your child has to run around to reach them but near enough that you have a visual of him. Hand him the shape and show him how to ‘find’ the box with the shape. See if he can do the next one by himself. Keep the stack handy and he should be able to run back to you each time to get a new one. 
 

You can do that for #s and letters too but it’s a lot more work. We didn’t have a lot of $$ when our children were small, but we tried to encourage them to find play everywhere. 

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Geocaching is a good way to get out of the house without having to interact with other people. 

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We found the neighborhood parks to be almost deserted last Saturday. Based on the number of people I saw walking their dogs with masks on, my guess is that everyone thinks Covid-19 is airborne (it isn't), or it's the oak pollen. Time to take advantage.

 

6 hours ago, ztejas said:

Yeah that high horse is going to last about another 2-3 days. 

More like 2-3 hours for us. I told my wife before I left for a couple hours of work in the morning that we should give in and let our 4 year-old watch some tube. These are unprecedented times. I'd be tempted to let our one year-old watch it too except she doesn't have the attention span, thankfully.

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I need recommendations for how to optimize my time to efficiently work from home while entertaining a 2nd grader.  He has a significant amount of energy and hates reading (challenged with dyslexia).

Buy a kindle. Buy kindle books that also have an Audible version. You buy both and they sync automatically. As the audio reads, it highlights each word. This did wonders for my dyslexic kid when she was first diagnosed. Five years later she still uses it even though she reads well above grade level now.

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Last night I sat down and watched The Blues Brothers with my 12 yo and 14 yo boys.

I have never seen them laugh so hard.

I forgot just how gratuitous the all of the car chase scenes were.  My 14 yo lost his shit in the mall scene with the completely unnecessary driving through stores and kiosks.

They also got a kick out of Princess Leia  using a rocket launcher, remote detonator, flame thrower and M-16.

The chicken wire at Bob's Country Bunker was also a hit.

My 12 yo laughed pretty hard at the scene where Jake and Elwood were crawling out of the bricks-he liked the sound of the bricks falling about them.

That movie really does have everything: Illinois Nazis, James Brown, Ray Charles, Franklin, Cab, John Candy, the Penguin, steam rooms, country and western music, and soiled prophylactics. 

It was good to completely forget about the goings on in the world for a couple of hours.

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Posted (edited)

A final word of encouragement for all you parents out there trying to keep it together. It's stressful for you, it's stressful for your loved ones. Unite with each other, love each other, forgive each other.

Remember that your little ones (and your teens) are passing through developmental stages: physical, emotional, intellectual and on some days it's going to feel like everyone's holding the same book but coming up with a different plot.

For those of you that are having to juggle work at home, here's an anecdote that maybe will offer some hope (help?). If your children aren't yet school age, it will be harder, but give yourself a pat on the back, take a deep breath, and keep moving forward. They'll be in college before you know it.

I grew up in a home where both parents worked, an early Gen X latchkey kid when most of the moms of my friends were homemakers. My parents didn't have much choice, they were trying to escape the crushing poverty of their childhoods but like a lot of little kids I didn't always understand. One thing both of them did, however, was show me what their work was in ways big and small. While both of them occasionally took me to their actual job, it was the other little tasks--my father sitting at home, letting me look over his shoulder while he sketched diagrams and talked out loud about what he was thinking and how it would be put to use. My mother totaling up columns on the adding machine so fast it made my head spin. My dad would give me a piece of graph paper and talk to me about how something goes from design to build to sale while my mother would have me put returned checks in order and discuss the satisfaction in puzzling out when the books don't balance. (She transitioned to computers during her career but when I was small it was all pen and paper). What does it mean when your columns don't add up? They were very matter of fact about it, it was not meant to be "this is a lesson you must learn" as much as 'this is what I'm doing right now, join in and see if you like it.' I'm sure I took it for granted. I know I did. Neither had college degrees, but they loved to learn and that was the example they set for us. I miss them so much right now, as I try and pass along their wisdom and advice to my own children.

You can do this in your own unique way. Think about what it is you do and what it is fundamentally about. Is it sales? What kind of sales? An eight year old can relate to sales in so many ways. How do you make your sales? Do you call people? Are you an attorney? What type of attorney? Does that mean you have to read a lot? What do you have to know when you read? Are there any neat tools of your trade? Do the judges ever let you bang the gavel when nothing else is going on or would you get in trouble? If they come around and you have a moment, invite them into your world, set aside your cynicism and adult eyes for a moment and show them what it is you do to add value to your life, your home, your community, your world. The skills that are probably second nature to you are novel to them. You don't have to even talk much, if that's not your thing. Often, innate curiousity takes over and they begin asking questions.

Most of you all are UT grads so your children are probably geniuses and maybe none of this is hopeful or helpful, but sometime when you're in the weeds and those wee bairns are jumping up and down on your last nerve, hang in there and persist. These are the times of our lives.

Edited by Mrs Whiggins
Spelling and grammar fails

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Posted (edited)

The best $120 I ever spent was a LifeTime Basketball hoop. 

The 10 year old spends at least 2-3 hours outside, throughout the 10 hours of daylight he's awake, shooting, dribbling, playing with his siblings, playing by himself, HORSE, knockout, Around the world, 1x1, Three Point contests, etc.

Do it.

Edited by Rougarou

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Is anyone interested in our home school routine and curricula?  I don’t work so there’s no juggling, and the kids are same age and grade so i can teach both simultaneously, but as a jumping off point?

there is computer based learning which might allow some work time instead of hands on teaching. 
 

khan academy for math by website or app. 

alecks.com has a home school component of the McGraw hill curricula. 

earthschooling.info
 

Duolingo for foreign language exposure, web based or app based.

wonster words for learning to read  

 

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Posted (edited)

My boys are 11 this week. 
 

our routine is block scheduled. Monday and Wednesday is math (Saxon math), history ( I read them 2 chapters of “the story of the world” which is 4 volumes of about 500 pages each that goes from early civilizations through it looks like 9/11, so it touches on a lot but isn’t in depth on any one thing- you can branch out of they show an interest in a subject or event), and personal reading time where they read a chapter book. 
tues and thurs is spelling (spelling workout from modern curriculum press), grammar (First language lessons for the well trained mind- we are a little behind with grammar so that’s not the usual material for a 5th grader I don’t think), and writing (no curriculum- having them write letters to family or creative story writing either prompted or unprompted)

routine takes 3-4 hours daily depending on how they absorb the material. We usually run 10-3 or so because I allow small breaks between subjects and a lunch break. 

then at 4 is when their school friends get home so they go play and are out of my hair for a few hours, so that part is novel to me as well. Will likely be filled with dog walks and bike rides, backyard baseball. 

Edited by Pato del Muerto

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17 hours ago, CooterBrown said:


Buy a kindle. Buy kindle books that also have an Audible version. You buy both and they sync automatically. As the audio reads, it highlights each word. This did wonders for my dyslexic kid when she was first diagnosed. Five years later she still uses it even though she reads well above grade level now.

We use EpicKids.  Similar applications.  Love the read to me.

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On 3/16/2020 at 7:00 PM, BradInATX said:

 

Some great ideas here. Thanks. We have plenty of indoor stuff like those puzzles (we have so many toys it's absurd), and he already does pretty well just sitting there and reading on his own. Outdoor things that will wear him out are key. I just bought a trampoline (great call @F250, he'll love that) and some other outdoor stuff. Will be doing the painting as well. I'm going to have to trial and error it a bit. I suppose absolute worst case if I have a meeting that requires silence, I can put him in his room, which is very much babyproofed, and keep his monitor on. See how it goes.

I’d have him cold call potential new clients. Once he reels them in with innocence, boom you take over boiler room style and close the deal. You guys could wear matching suspenders. 

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On 3/16/2020 at 10:54 AM, CooterBrown said:

We implemented a 10-minutes every 2 hours exercise routine today.  10AM, Noon, 2PM, and 4PM.  We all get up and exercise for 10 minutes.   My wife did the elliptical, I did a kettle bell routine and the kids played soccer in the backyard.  We've only done 1 session so far but I think this is gonna be a success.  

 

We implemented a ‘honey do’ exercise routine this week.  Day 1 (Sunday) was me going up/down the stairs 15 times hauling bins of extra toys to my car for donation and Day 2 (Monday) was raking up/bagging all the leaves in our mulch/tree grove in the backyard.  35,000 steps and 25 stories = spare calories for beer.  Day 3 (today) was cleaning out the kids old clothes and hauling it downstairs.  
 

Im dying for safe reasons to leave the house at this point...will do 2+ hours of hard labor if it means I can take bags of yard waste to the dump, or drop off toys at Goodwill, or say ‘babe I just realized we are down to our last quart of tahini, imma order curbside now to fix this’.  Gonna be a long quarantine 

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On 3/15/2020 at 8:08 PM, LABEVO said:

 

If this was posted already I’ll edit this out but if not...

 

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For parents of middle schoolers and high schoolers with gaming PCs or XBox, the game Sea of Thieves has announced they will be free to play for the next 5 days. It is an absolute time suck and will keep them busy. It is a multiplayer with communication, so they may experience some foul language from other players, but those settings can be adjusted to where they don't receive communications from strangers.

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