Ways To Occupy Your Child During Quarantine


By Ella Gribben, Youth Journalist

Got some youngsters stuck at home with a lot of energy? Many parents are working from home during this pandemic and are looking for new ideas on what to do with their kids when they have to work. Here are 11 fun and creative things your kids can do while being quarantined – so they’re not forced to just sit in front of a screen watching TV all day.

1. Go on a teddy bear hunt

– If you have young children that need to get out of the house for a little while, going on a teddy bear hunt is the way to go. Since the quarantine started, some people came up with the ingenious idea of putting teddy bears in the windows of their houses. The idea is that little kids can go around the city or their neighborhoods “hunting” the teddy bears. Every time they see one they count it and see how many they found on their walk. Not only is it fun for the kids, but it also allows you to get out of the house and get some fresh air and exercise.

2. Help them build a fort

– Whether it’s made of couch cushions or a cool kit specially made for this purpose, fort-building is a great time and a fun distraction. Here’s a link to my favorite: Fort Building Kit

3. Encourage them to start a journal or a blog

– Right now is a very important time in history and people in the future will want to know what it was like and what was happening day-to-day. Journals or diaries are also a good thing for kids to have so that they can write down everything they’re feeling. Also, in the future, they can look back on these diaries and remember everything that was happening in their lives all those years ago.

4. Give them an instrument

– Knowing how to play an instrument is a great skill to have, and they can play it for hours on end without losing interest if they really love it. Ukuleles are pretty cheap and not too hard to learn. There are YouTube videos and apps out there for learning pretty much all instruments. So go ahead and get your kid an instrument and put a computer in front of them for watching YouTube – they’ll be occupied for a while!

5. Have them learn a new language

– Just like learning an instrument, there are lots of easy ways to learn a new language. For example, Duolingo is a free app that you can download on your smartphone that helps you learn almost any language super easily! And I know for a fact that it works because I have many friends that have used it. One friend started using Duolingo a year or two ago and now he’s practically fluent. Anyone of any age can learn a new language, especially children. Give it a shot!

6. Teach them how to make their favorite meal or dessert

– Not only do you all get to eat it once you’re done, but the kids will also know how to make it in the future too – what’s not to love? Plus, it can take hours to finish depending on what it is. Therefore they can be occupied for a long time without being bored!

7. Give them paints or arts and crafts

– There are lots of YouTube videos with DIY tutorials on crafting, and many are made with things you can find just lying around the house. Or, you could buy a nice big canvas or poster board and they can just throw paint on it for a while. You could even just do a coloring book (there are some cool adult coloring books too for older kids). Who knows, maybe they’ll make a masterpiece.

8. Have them play some educational games

– Chances are the kids will want to be on their devices at least a little while a day. There’s nothing wrong with that as long as they’re doing something productive. So, check out websites like coolmathgames.com. There are some super fun games that will entertain your children as well as educate them.

9. Let them spice up their room a little bit

– There are lots of things they can do to make their room or personal space just a little bit better without having to do much. They can rearrange their furniture! Hang up artwork or pictures! Put up some cool lights! Even just organize and clean out their drawers, which I promise will make them feel so good. It can take a while, and when they’re done, they’ll be very happy with the outcome and it might inspire them to do something else productive.

10. FaceTime or Zoom their friends/family

– You don’t need to be face-to-face to spend some quality time with the people you care about. Especially with tween/teen kids, they can just talk for hours without actually doing anything. Another option is to watch Netflix with your friends as if they were sitting right there next to you. There is a Google Chrome extension called Netflix Party that allows you to watch the same thing as your friends at the same time, and it has a group chat where you can discuss what’s going on in the show/movie.

11. Give them a Lego kit

– You can do so much with just a box of Legos. You can just buy a big tub of them and let them create whatever they want, or you can get a kit and have them follow the manual. Lego has probably hundreds of different kits, some small, and some with thousands of pieces, all of them super fun. If they like Harry Potter, you could buy a Hogwarts kit. Or, if they’re super into Star Wars buy them a Death Star kit! They can be pretty pricey, but most of the time it’s worth it.

Here are a few products that you might be interested in buying for your children while quarantined:

1. Magna Tiles

– Magna Tiles is a company that sells 3D magnetic building sets. You can build whatever you want with them, and they’re a fun thing for younger kids to play with. You can find them at: https://www.magnatiles.com/

2. Leapfrog

– Leapfrog is a company that markets technology-based learning products and related content for the education of children from infancy through grade school. Here’s the website to access: https://www.leapfrog.com/en-us/home

3. Indoor playground

– Because parks have a lot of germs and can be dangerous during this time, you can buy a playground that you can have in your own home! For example, there is an indoor playground for young children that includes a swing set, plastic rings, a trapeze bar, rings, and even swinging ropes. You can find this great option on Amazon with this link: Gym1 Deluxe Indoor Playground

4. Paint By Number

– If your child wants to make something cool with paint, you might consider a Paint By Number Kit. It comes with a paper to paint on as well as some paints and step-by-step instructions on what to do. You can find a kit at this website: Paint By Number

It’s a difficult and confusing time for all of us right now, including children. It’s important that they’re doing fun and productive things that will take their minds off the current pandemic. I hope that this article helped provide some ideas of things your children can do while quarantined.

This post is part of a Community Youth project sponsored by Varsity Technologies. At the beginning of the COVID pandemic, we invited local middle school youth to participate in collaborative writing projects. If you are interested in participating, please contact Julia Lathrop at julia@varsitysf.com.