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8 Experiences You Can Recreate for Cooped-Up Kids

I think we can all agree that things are (and have been for almost a year now) really weird. Who knew we’d miss things like a trip to the grocery store or even the daily commute to work? If we find ourselves missing the daily pleasures of pre-quarantine life, just imagine what it must be doing to the kids.

With online classes, no play dates with friends or outings with the family, things can get really dull really soon. Though there are certain things you can include in their daily routine to keep them occupied (like exercise, crafts, etc.), every once in a while, let them have a little reminder of certain events they used to love and now have to wait to experience again. Here is a list of favorite experiences you can recreate in the comfort and safety of your own home.

Bowling

One of the most fun indoor activities for kids, and most adults, is bowling. Set up a bowling lane in your living room and make some bowling pins with small plastic water bottles. You can fill them with clear or colored water. Set them up in a triangle and hand over any ball to your child to act as a bowling ball. This activity works great for younger children as it develops their motor skills. Older kids can count the pins they knock down.

Carnival

Agreed, going to a carnival has its own special charm but with the right materials, you can try to recreate some of it in your own home. Set up small games in different rooms or even beside each other and also serve up common carnival snacks like cotton candy or sweet corn. For the games you can have ring toss, darts, bottle pyramid, etc. Find ideas among these 20 carnival activities for kids. You can even have prizes for them to win and photo booth as well.

Movies

This is not just one of the best quarantine activities for kids, but something you can make a weekly or monthly event in your home. Print out or make a poster of the movie you plan to screen that week (after consulting with the kids of course). Make tickets and give them to the kids earlier in the day. If you’re wondering how to make a movie theatre at home – there’s really nothing to it. You just have to rearrange your furniture so that everyone can sit together comfortably, facing the screen. This can be on the sofa or even on a comfy blanket on the floor. If you have a projector, that would be amazing but your TV will work well too. For effect, you can queue up some trailers of other movies (preferably ones you plan to screen in the weeks to come) before the movie of the night. Turn down the lights, adjust the sound and let the fun begin. Serve up some movie theatre snacks like popcorn or nachos. If you plan the movie around meal time, you can use an ‘intermission’ to finish dinner and return to your seats.

Camping

Camping is fun but not always possible. That’s why we have indoor camping! If you set the scene right, include the right food and entertainment, the children will forget they’re in the same room they are every day and believe they are camping under the stars. If you have a tent, set that up. If not, build one with blankets and chairs. Throw in some fluffy pillows to make it cozy. You can play games like a scavenger hunt or “I spy with my little eye” or even dumb charades. If it’s night time, you can hand over flash lights to the children and tell them stories in the dark (not scary stories or they will be up all night and maybe for a few nights after).

Picnic

This is one of the easiest and best indoor activities for kids. Having an indoor picnic is great way change up your usual routine. Create a little empty space (maybe in the living room or even the kid’s bed room), lay out a mat or a waterproof tablecloth and prepare a picnic basket. The basket can have typical picnic snacks like sandwiches, fruits and juice boxes. Remember to include napkins and cutlery and maybe some board games.

Puppet show or play

If you already have some puppets then just come up with a story and perform it for your child, maybe from behind the sofa. If you don’t have puppets, here are some great ideas on how to make puppets with the children. You can all come up with a script together and each play a part and maybe perform it for grandparents or even just for yourselves.

Holiday

If you can’t go for a vacation, bring the vacation to you. Let the children choose a type of vacation, your options can be – having a beach side holiday, sightseeing a particular city, visiting a national park, going deep-sea diving – the possibilities are limitless. Look for an appropriate video or website. There are plenty of virtual tours of museums, national parks, safaris, monuments and more. You can visit the Great Wall of China or go on a tour of the International Space Station while sitting in your living room. There are plenty of virtual zoo and safari tours for children as well. Explore.org gives you access to wildlife webcams from across the world so you can watch real animals, live in their natural habitats.

Restaurants

If it’s been a while since you dined out as a family, try this for Sunday breakfast. Just set the table as it would look in a restaurant – with place mats and cutlery all neatly placed. Make a menu of limited items that you plan to make that morning (pancake, dosa, idli, milkshakes, cold milk, etc.). Greet the children, seat them and let them make their choice. You can set the mood by playing the radio or café music. To have some fun, when the meal is over you can ask them for feedback and maybe hand them a bill for a hug.

Some of these indoor activities for kids can be done on a regular basis and some might need some planning and preparation so can happen once a month or on special occasions. The world outside might be a scary place now, so the children (and you) deserve a break every now and then. These activities are more than distractions from screens or ways to keep the kids busy, they’re chances for all of us to feel a sense of happiness and normalcy.

Rivka Shilpe

By Rivka Shilpe

A part-time content editor who spends the rest of her time as a swing pusher, snack sourcer, hug provider, road roller spotter and nap-time negotiator. Rivka believes that everyone has a different parenting style and there’s no one-size-fits-all solution to any problem. That said, there are certain unique hacks that every parent discovers, that might be useful to someone else. This is her way of sharing those suggestions (and secrets).

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