Since the government decided to shut down schools in the UAE as a precautionary measure for Covid-19, keeping the kids busy at home might become a challenge. Even though the school going kids have to soon start off with the distance learning programme to make up for the loss of school days, they’ll still have a lot of time to kill at home. At a time like this, what you need most is kids’ activities at home that are constructive, engaging and fun for the little ones. Most of the activities covered in this post are for younger children, but there are a few that your older children would also love to try!
VIRTUAL ACTIVITIES TO KEEP KIDS BUSY AT HOME
Being quarantined at home is just as challenging for the kids as it is for adults. But if you can come up with a routine and activities to keep the kids busy at home, it will turn out to be a win-win situation for all. Here are a few ideas to help you get started.
MAKE LEARNING FUN WITH GAMES AND QUIZZES
Who doesn’t love a little bit of challenge, especially when they have an incentive to work for it? If you’re guilty of increasing the screen time for your kids because of social distancing during Covid-19 outbreak – don’t be. Instead, turn your guilt into accomplishment with some fun online quizzes and games that will keep your children busy and help them learn too.
The internet has a plethora of platforms offering quizzes and mathematic games for kids of all ages. Try kidzworld.com, funtrivia.com or coolmathgames.com for a start – you’ll find your way after that. Add a reward for every full score and your kids will have a favourite activity in no time.
ENROL THEM IN AN ONLINE CLASS
If it weren’t for social distancing, you’d probably be looking for the best guitar classes in Dubai for your child, or perhaps for some good art courses to enrol your artistic little one in. Unfortunately, since that can’t be done, all you need to do is look for online courses available during the social distancing.
There are a number of places that offer online courses for languages, music and art. For starters, you can explore the options available at mymusichead.com and Headway Institute for music and language courses respectively. You can also look into the language learning apps like Duolingo, Babbel and Drops in case you can’t find an online tutor.
ALLOW THEM TO EXPLORE
If you’re looking for more virtual activities for kids at home, look for websites that add value to their knowledge and intellect. Screen time isn’t always a bad thing when they can learn stuff like why evergreen trees don’t shed their leaves or how people can save energy.
Websites like howstuffworks.com have a ton of useful information for young minds to soak in and learn from. For kids who’re more inclined towards nature, National Geographic Kids is a treasure trove of mindboggling facts that’ll keep your kids occupied and fascinated for hours.
GET THEM SOME ONLINE BOOKS
Have a reader in the house? Find them some online books from their favourite authors. You can easily buy them online in PDF format. Those of you who already have Kindle or any other reading tablet, let them have it. Encourage them to read and explore different genres. Reading online is perhaps one of the best virtual activities for kids at home and it can keep them busy for hours
You can even create a little book club online with a few of your child’s friends participating remotely. Give them a new book every week and then conduct a session where they can discuss their observations and opinions on the story. It’s bound to keep them busy!
LET THEM WATCH THEIR FAVOURITE SHOWS
Obviously not all day long, but maybe twice a day for moderated time periods, let them watch what they want – with parental guidance of course. Whether it’s Peppa Pig, The Boss Baby or even Frozen 2, give them the extended time to enjoy as long as they are completing their homework and/or the chores assigned to them.
Another interesting option to keep your kids busy at home are the NASA-funded animated series Space Racers. You can catch the latest episodes of the programme on the official YouTube channel of the series. In addition to the show, the Space Racer website offers lesson plans that could be great if you wish to homeschool your little ones.
Fun Activities for Kids at Home
There are a variety of things to do for kids at home that would keep the little ones busy and nurture their minds. If you want to keep your kids busy at home during this social distancing period to deal with coronavirus in UAE, here are a bunch of activities to try.
Let Them Plant Their Own Garden
If you’re looking for fun learning activities for kids at home, this one can teach them to be responsible. Allow your child to grow a plant and take care of it themselves, while you supervise. Start with simple herbs. Give them the seeds, planters and a small gardening set. While they are at it, make sure they are wearing gloves. You can never be too careful these days.
Arrange the indoor garden on the windowsill of your villa or rental apartment in Dubai and voila! Make them check on their plants each day, water it and measure its progress. That’s plenty to keep them occupied. If your kid is too young to grow their own garden, maybe give them an easy to maintain plant to take care of. This could be anything from a money plant, to a succulent – the idea is to cultivate a sense of responsibility in your child and make your Dubai home look prettier.
Tools to Keep Them Busy
Who said tools are just for adults? They work equally well to keep the little ones occupied. Things like a flashlight, lock and key, a magnifying glass, a pair of binoculars, a compass, some magnets and stencils are great to stimulate your child’s curiosity. But bear in mind that they need to be kid-friendly and not have sharp edges or other harmful elements. If you have very small children, also be careful that they don’t swallow any of the smaller things.
Simply hand it out to them and let them explore what it does. If they’re having a tough time with it, drop in some hints until they figure out how it’s used and what it can be used for. However, do take the time and explain more about the tool later to your children.
Introduce Them to Science
Kids are inquisitive by nature and that is one thing you should always capitalise on. Allow your little ones to discover the world of science and be mesmerised by it. Simple science activities for kids at home can make a huge impact on how they perceive the world and the possibilities in it.
Give them a bowl of water and a mix of wooden, plastic, metal, sand and paper items. Then leave them to figure out which items float and which ones sink. Alternatively, hand them a magnet and ask them to see which things in the house stick to it. You can also try colour mixing or dyed flower experiments as further educational activities for kids at home.
If you have older children, you could ask them to take on slightly more complicated projects. Plant the idea of creating a lava lamp or a making a DIY fragrance dispenser to keep them occupied for some time.
Make Them Do Good
Children pick up habits from their parents and surroundings. Why not indulge them in kids’ activities at home that instils the practice of giving back in their young minds. While these kids are too young to volunteer at charities and causes, they can still absorb the concept of sharing and doing good. And social distancing during coronavirus pandemic is a great time to get them started at it.
Ask your child to pick out the toys they don’t play with anymore, with the intention of giving them away to those who don’t have any. Of course, you’ll have to show them how it’s done by donating clothes and belongings of your own to help others out. There are a number of places where you can donate stuff in Dubai – these stores and charities accept everything from toys, clothes, shoes, home décor and a ton of other pre-loved things to spread smiles around the city. You don’t have to do it right away, just wait for the right time – once the social distancing ends.
The Custom Playmat
Introduce your child to the world of maps with one custom-made by you. Use a drop cloth with some felt and hot glue to create an imaginary neighbourhood or city with black-felt roads, coloured-felt homes, a park and some skyscrapers. Simply cut everything and glue it to the drop cloth.
Help your kids understand the map and then let them play on it with their toy cars, vehicles and even action figures to reach from one place to another, using the roads. Once the little ones get the hang of it, this can turn out to be one of the best activities for kids to keep them busy at home even.
Home camping can be set up even in a room because staying indoors is a primary social responsibility for all to curb the coronavirus pandemic in UAE. Hopefully, once the outbreak is over, you can even take it outdoors.
The basic idea is to set up a tent. Toast some s’mores in the kitchen, bring it back to the tent and spend some quality time together. Read them a bedtime story and let them fall asleep in the tent. When the sun comes out in the morning, let the tent be the centre of their imaginative play – think along the lines of a spaceship, a fort, or anything that piques their imagination. You can always improvise it to suit your situation better.
Make a Yarn Maze
If your kid likes to run around a lot, slow them down with a mildly challenging yarn maze. This is one of those home activities for kids that requires minimal effort on your part and works great in both big and small homes. Whether you live in an apartment in Dubai or in a villa, all you need is some yarn and a hallway or a door frame.
Use painter’s tape to attach the yarn across the hallway or doorway to form a maze. The idea is to make your toddler cross the maze without their bodies touching the strings. This is great if you’re looking for kids’ activities at home that keep the little ones busy and stimulates their motor skills and cognitive abilities at the same time. Make things more interesting by working in some scavenger hunts that makes your kid repeatedly cross the obstacle. It’s fun and interesting – your toddler’s very own Mission almost-Impossible.
Make DIY Projects
DIY projects are fun activities for kids that keep them busy at home. They get even better if the project is something that can be decorated in their rooms. This sense of achievement builds your child’s confidence and keeps them occupied in constructive activities. It is best to initiate simple DIY projects for kids, like a rainbow lantern or a glow-in-the-dark jellyfish mobile.
These easy-to-make projects require bare minimum supplies like rainbow-coloured crepe paper squares and a paper lantern kit. Let your child glue the crepe paper rainbow squares to the lantern frame, wait for it to dry and then allow them to appreciate their marvel when you fix it in their room. There are tons of other DIY and fun art projects for kids to do at home with tutorials online. Get searching!
There you have it, 13 amazing kids’ home activity ideas for you to try. We do however realise that each kid has a unique temperament, which makes them adapt to things differently than other kids around them. However, while there are plenty of other things to do for toddlers in Dubai it may not be possible to explore them until the coronavirus threat subsides.
Till then, even all the free activities for kids in Dubai will have to wait. If you’re thinking of treating your kids to some fun indoor activities for kids in Dubai, hold that thought too – since most entertainment places in Dubai are now shut down as a precautionary measure by the government for Covid-19 prevention in the UAE.