How to Keep Kids Engaged & Active While at Home During the Coronavirus Pandemic

Jalesa Campbell
Updated Feb 17, 2021
5 min read

With many states closing schools amidst the COVID-19 outbreak, American children are out of school and staying home with their parents. But this isn’t a time to sit in front of a screen all day.

Kids still need to be engaged and active while at home. Thankfully, some schools are implementing alternative measures to deliver kids’ educational materials and lessons while they’re home. We think it’s important for parents to come up with a plan for their kids each day to keep them occupied (and out of their hair).

Here are 14 activities you can plan for your ever-curious kids.

1. Polish up their English, reading, & writing abilities.

Interactive reading. If you have a child with a natural flair for the dramatic, this activity would probably become a favorite. If your child’s school has pre-assigned readings or there are books at home, have your child read certain parts with emphasis and you do the same. Emphasizing parts of readings can help them to remember key information.

Audio books. Have your child listen to audio books with enactment.

Whiteboarding sentences. Ramp up their grammar practice with writing sentences on a whiteboard. You can have your child write sentences around themes, and then go back to check for grammar as well as look at ways they can enhance their sentences.

Labeling objects in the house. This is a great activity, especially for younger children, who are just learning what certain objects are. You can create labels and stick them throughout the house while having your child find them, repeat the object’s name back to you, and give it to you. As a fun twist, you can keep a tally of the labels returned and promise your child a reward.

2. Keep the momentum going with science lessons.

Cook up science lessons in the kitchen. Does your child have a favorite cupcake recipe? Or weeknight dinner? You can get them involved (in a child-appropriate way of course) and teach them about science. Have them understand the chemistry behind why cupcakes rise or why eggs start off liquid and then solidify while being cooked. shares several kid-friendly science activities for the kitchen.

Go on a nature walk. If you’re able to go outside or walk through the neighborhood, you can have your child observe foliage, animals, the sky, and even the weather. Try to pinpoint a specific nature activity for each day—one of the positives here is also just getting outdoors for fresh air. After educating your child on a particular science-related topic to nature, you can have them come back inside to write about what they learned and want to explore further.

3. Sharpen their math skills.

What’s in your closet? Counting indoors. Some kids hate working on laundry, but you can help make this time more fun (and educational) by having them to go through their closet or wardrobe and counting up the numbers of shirts, pants, jackets, shoes, and any other they have. They can write this down, and from here, you can practice doing fractions and percentages with them, all through a common household chore.

Toy cash-register counting. Does your child have a toy cash-register? One way you can make math fun is to give your child a dollar amount they should reach each day. They can complete tasks and activities through the day to earn their way and reach that dollar amount. On the flip-side, if they want to get an extra snack or have extra time on the iPad, they’ll need to pay up. Give this activity a go to build their math skills and help them be more responsible.

Teach probability by counting cars. As a fun outdoor lesson for those who may live in more urban areas, create a sheet with automobile colors and a tally section. For a period of time, have your child keep a tally of the number and color of cars that pass by. Once that time’s up, you can help your child learn about probability.

4. Nudge their creativity.

Paint a photograph. This activity can be done indoors or outdoors. If you and your child go outside or take a walk through the neighborhood, have them take a photo, and come home to paint a portrait. This will allow them to flex their creativity muscles. Using watercolors, acrylic paints, or other tools, give your child some space to be creative with what they find in nature (or scenes in the house).

Make cursive fun with hand-lettering. Know how to hand-letter? Is your child learning cursive in school? You can add to their cursive skills by teaching them how to hand-letter. Make sure you have the tools you need, like a felt-tip pen, watercolor brush, or even a Sharpie marker and some paper. For a finished project, have them make a card they can show to grandma and grandpa!

Put together a rollercoaster or build a small city. Got a child who enjoys building or putting things together (to sometimes later tear them down)? Keep their creative juices rolling by having them build a toy rollercoaster or small city with Lego blocks or whatever toy they have on hand that would allow them to do this.

5. Keep them up-to-date with digital activities.

Use digital educational resources. There is a wealth of online educational resources available for parents and children today. Here are a few resources we recommend checking out:

Busy Toddler’s 40+ Best Indoor Activities

SwitchZoo Animal Games

Fun Brain games and activities


AllKids Network

Schedule virtual activities with their friends (and your parent-friends). Being at home with your family is great but can become stifling if you don’t have contact with your friends in the outside world. Set up some time via your tablet to have your friend and your child’s friend video call in. You can plan an activity that each of you can do, such as put together a sweet treat in the kitchen or share home projects. Make your child feel like their work is worth being seen and give them the spotlight.

Hear a bedtime story from grandma or grandpa. As a unique way to get your parents involved at the end of the day (and keep them connected), have them share a bedtime story for your child. They’ll both be able to enjoy all of the theatrics while getting ready to settle in for bed.

A Sample Daily Schedule for Your Kids

If you’re not sure of where to start on creating a schedule for your kids or would like to see a sample schedule, we’ve put together one you can use below. Since they’re on a schedule in school, by setting boundaries sooner, you can help each day to run more smoothly.

Here are a some high-notes to get you started:

  • Collect any notebooks, pencils, pens, paper, headphones, and items before getting started
  • Break up learning periods with snack times, breaks, and recess
  • Set up a dedicated learning space in a community home area like the kitchen (avoid bedrooms)

Over to You

While we might be stuck at our homes for a while, we don’t have to keep our kids in front of screens or give them unleashed reign. Keep them on a routine as in school and engaged with any of these fun and educational activities.

COVID-19 Resources

Get the latest information about the Coronavirus and what you can do to stay safe.

Safety and Security Reporter

Jalesa Campbell

Jalesa is one of's staff experts on home security, natural disasters, public safety, and family safety. She's been featured on and elsewhere.

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