Kids are home from school for the remainder of the school year. When the schoolwork is done or your children need a break, what do you do?
There are lots of resources available to help families keep their minds and bodies active. Especially during the COVID-19 pandemic, many companies have made their content either free or discounted while families are quarantined.
We compiled this list of some of the resources and ideas to help you and your kids make the most out of this difficult time.
1. Financial Wellness
Set your child up for financial success. There are several interactive options depending on your child’s age and interests.
Vantage West On-Demand Courses
Suggested age: 10+
Our free on-demand courses are available 24/7/365. Lessons cover topics including various forms of debt and debt payoff, higher education financing and saving options, credit scores, the process and considerations around buying a home, and more. Additionally, there are 21 calculators to estimate budgeting needs and other goals. Start learning.
Suggested age: 8+
From their website: “Biz Kid$ is an Emmy Award-winning public TV series about kids, money, and business. Each episode introduces financial literacy and entrepreneurship topics using sketch comedy, animation, and stories of real-life young entrepreneurs. BizKids.com includes games, biz resources for kids, parent / teacher blog, and free lesson plans mapped to Common Core state standards.” Pro tip: It’s also available for streaming via Amazon Prime. Visit the website.
Suggested age: 14+
From their website: “The Payoff is an immersive experiential game for teens to easily learn about financial basics. The game is played in a web-app that simulates a mobile phone where players can chat with characters, check their bank, open fake websites, check their emails and more.” Fun fact: This is part of Visa’s Practical Money Skills, which also includes “Financial Football.”
2. Online Library Story Time
The Phoenix Public Library is bringing story time to homes. Visit PhoenixPublicLibrary.com for a selection of pre-recorded videos where “fun people read fun stories.” Pro tip: Scroll further down the page for links to more resources like “At Home Learning with PBS” and “Code at Home with Girls Who Code.”
3. Active Video Games
When your kids have reached their video game time limit for the day, but they don’t want to leave the console, there’s a way for you and them to win. Active video games. We’re talking dance, golf, river rafting, bowling … the activities you can’t travel to do, you can do them in your house. Check what options your video game system has!
4. Online Exercise Classes
Another way to get your family moving is to take a fitness class online. Many gyms are making workouts and classes free via their websites or social media pages. Check your local gyms and fitness studios to see what they might be offering. Additionally, some fitness apps and websites are making their services free for an extended trial period during the pandemic. Here are some options we found:
- YMCA 360
For a limited time, YMCA has made on-demand video classes for various ages, skill levels, and interests available. Fun fact: Includes sports classes and other options geared towards young people. Browse the catalog at YMCA360.com.
- Les Mills on Demand
This is another temporarily free website with access to many workouts. There are 10 categories, including on-demand videos ranging from high intensity interval training, to strength training, to yoga and mindfulness and beyond. See the options.
5. Outdoor Exercise
Nothing can replace old-fashioned outside activity – especially during the beautiful southern Arizona spring. We’ve seen families outside riding bikes, pulling weeds, and taking walks (maintaining their social distance, of course). Other ideas include raking the yard, playing basketball, roller skating, and playing hopscotch. Whatever your family likes to do outside – now is the time to do it. Seriously. It won’t be too long before our southern Arizona summer temps will arrive and many Arizonans will avoid the outdoors.
6. Pen Pals
Do you remember the novelty of receiving a postcard or hand-written letter in the mail? Many of today’s kids have rarely felt that excitement. No surprise to any parent, our kids are growing up in a digital-first world. Many of them only receive postal mail for holidays or birthdays. We send a massive thank you to our mail carriers, who continue to risk their own safety to ensure Americans receive their mail. Because of their service, writing letters remains an option during quarantine. If you don’t know where to find a pen pal for your child, this article from LifeHacker.com has some ideas.
7. Cooking Lessons
Teach your child how to make their favorite meal or learn how to make something new together. All of 177 Milk Street’s online cooking classes are temporarily free. You can access them here. User note: Users create a login for the website. Each time you enroll in a course, the site will email you the link to access the course.
8. Get Creative
Studies show that creativity can increase happiness, reduce dementia, improve mental health, boost the immune system, and make people smarter (Forbes). Sometimes folks assume that creativity looks like a specific talent or job. But creativity is something that everyone has, and they each express it differently.
You might choose to build a cabinet, bookshelf, or doghouse with your kids. Or you might choose to color inside a coloring book or paint by number together. Alternatively, Good Housekeeping shared 50 do-it-yourself projects that can appeal to a wide variety of interests. And, if none of these appeal to your little one, no worries! People can express creativity through movement and music, too. So dance, play an instrument, or whatever works for your family!
9. BONUS: Don’t Be Hard on Yourself
Especially if you’re teaching your kids their school curriculum for the first time, be gentle with yourself. You probably didn’t get formal training on how to become a teacher overnight while balancing your job and other responsibilities. Every day may not look the way you plan, but you can do this.
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