20 fun activities (and learning resources) to keep your child engaged

The PlayShifu Blog

20 fun activities (and learning resources) to keep your child engaged

24 Mar 20
7 min read
24 Mar 20
7 min read

Since the last few days, we have all come to terms with the fact that schools are going to be shut for quite some time. The thought of staying at home with our kids – while exciting – has built up a certain level of stress and anxiety.

How to keep them engaged?

Here are our tips, hacks, and resources for the quarantined parent (P.S. Bookmark this). Some of these activities aren’t just fun and entertaining but can also be educational, if done right!

1. Plan a schedule

Plan what to do and when, and stick to it. Make space for DIY activities, cooking/baking, board games, cartoons (we know, we know, but let’s cut the child some slack), learning a new instrument or a new language, etc. And of course, don’t forget naptime! You can also use fun routine charts to plan your day.

schedule for homeschoolers during school closure
Design each zone based on your child’s interests and requirements

2. Try cool science experiments – DIY

Nourish the curious brain of your budding scientist by introducing them to DIY science experiments.  And you know which science experiments won’t end with a bang? The ones that involve unpoppable balloons (yes, it’s a thing!). Does your kid love soft drinks?

Gently educate them about its ill-effects, through a simple activity by Sick Science!

How to make mucus at home. Children's art project. DIY concept. Children's hands making slime toy on blue. Step by step photo instruction.

3. Build the city of your dreams – DIY

DIY miniature cities, jungles, and villages are loved by kids (and parents alike) and with good reason. Besides being super fun, they also allow the imagination to run free, spark creativity, build problem-solving skills, and help kids understand the functioning of various ecosystems. Build your own city in shoebox or do some fun jungle activities together.

forest- diy- model school project

4. Get crafty – DIY

Get the kids to build decor from scratch and revamp their room! Make cardboard bookends, planters, clay trays, origami birds, and more. Take some inspiration from 5-Minute Crafts Play for getting crafty! Also, let’s be honest – fun DIY decor gives you Instagram bragging rights.

Child hands make handmade christmas toys from cardboard. Children's DIY concept

5. Green it up – DIY

Introduce the li’l ones to nature and gardening, and keep them grounded (literally!). There are plenty of online resources that talk about soil, seeds, farming, light, and compost. Have the kid maintain a plant growth diary, and track the growth from time to time; experiment with light, water, and compost, and document how the plant responds to each experiment or simply try out our very own DIY eggshell garden!

DIY eggshell garden herbs and seeds activity

6. Bring out the board games

Who says old school games have to be boring? This is your excuse to check out the exciting board games in the market as well as introduce your kids to the good ol’ ludo and snakes & ladders. Bonus: Board games train the little minds to think strategically and help them develop a nimble mind!

Happy family at home in the couch playing classic table games

7. Make technology your friend

While it is essential to limit your kid’s screen activity,  don’t forget that the internet has plenty of great learning resources. One great tool is Teachers Pay Teachers, which is an online marketplace for free educational material that acts as a supplement.

For STEAM activities, check out the Shifu Plugo STEAM learning system – it teaches math, music, letters, and more!

girl playing the piano and smiling

8. Let them (virtually) hang out with friends

Isolation doesn’t mean the kids can’t socialize with their friends and peers. This is the age of Skype!

Connect with other parents, and plan fun activities for kids, over video calls. Making study groups (on Outschool), DIY groups, or even jamming groups can be a great way to make your kids socialize and keep in touch with friends.

video calling her friends

9. Open the door to Narnia

Read to your kids. 

Make it a habit to read to the children before you tuck them in. Reading builds vocabulary, hones imagination and creativity, and makes the kids better thinkers. Oh and also, you won’t be judged for buying Harry Potter again. Or Matilda. Or Dr. Suess. Ok, we’ll stop.

Grandfather Reading Fairy Tale to Little Grandson.

 10. Be a storyteller

Didn’t like the ending of a certain book? Reimagine the ending and make a new story! Help your kids flesh out characters by asking questions about their personality and behavior. Create interesting storylines and bring the stories to life! To up the fun quotient, film the entire storytelling session, and make your own little movie!

Lovely kitten in pirate costume. Funny cat in the mask.

11. Learn a new instrument

We all have a Beethoven in us (or so we’d like to think). Teach the kids new chords and play together! You can also look at toys that teach instruments like the piano. And when your child learns the keyboard, it isn’t just music skills they’re developing, but also cognitive intelligence and memory! You can also opt for online courses on Udemy.

beautiful cute little boy in hat and shirt keeps guitar isolated on yellow background

12. Draw, sketch, and paint!

Art can be meditative and therapeutic. And it’s crucial, in times like these. Encourage your kids to paint freestyle, make a caricature of themselves or of you, or paint the walls of their room. If they color outside the lines, give them brownie points! Creative Bug offers online art and craft classes, FUN!

Young children girl and boy painting astronaut costume by pens and dreaming about cosmos with cosmonaut constructor toys: rocket, shuttle and rover in comfortable interior at home on wooden floor

13. Play with colors

What happens when you mix yellow paint with red? What if you add white to the mix? Learning how colors interact with each other is great fun and a terrific learning experience! Another fun experiment to do is mixing different colored lights and seeing if they behave differently from paint colors!

rainbow glass liquid

14. Tickle the brain with fun challenges

Chess, coding, and mind-bending puzzles – there’s no dearth of engaging and stimulating activities that keep the brain running. They develop not only strategic thinking and memory but also aid overall development.

boy smiling and playing chess

15. Master one new skill a week

Let the kids add new feathers to their cap every week. It can be anything – mastering calligraphy strokes, solving the Rubix cube, learning to bake bread, or even mimicking a crane standing on one leg!  (P.S To step up the fun, join them in their weekly challenges and see who wins!)

Closeup of a calligrapher working on a project

16. Say no to germs

The children might be washing hands 10 times a day, but make sure they stick to the habit even post-pandemic. Bathing, cutting fingernails, brushing teeth twice a day, and doing laundry regularly – teach the young ones that these habits are essential and cannot be skipped or compromised upon. You can do so by a simple washing hands activity or How clean are your hands experiment?

cute curly boy, a child in a black T-shirt washes his hands with soap in a bowl with water in the studio on a white background. prevention of acute respiratory viral infections and coronavirus

17. Superheroes, you have a mission to accomplish!

The time is ripe to educate children about keeping their surroundings clean. Make up stories and poems, all underlining the importance of cleanliness. Instruct them how to clean their toys, make sure their play-areas are spick and span and their bed doesn’t have any crumbs on it! You can play a dress up game wherein you all are superheroes and your mission is to clean your city (the house, in reality)!

The family in suits of superheroes is cleaned at home.

18. Pretend to be a doctor!

No number of snazzy toys can entirely replace pretend play. Don the hat of a doctor, an architect, a teacher, or shapeshift into an animal or a monster! Roleplay builds creativity and hones verbal skills. Plus, it’s the easiest thing to do with your child when you’re drained and out of energy.

boy pretend play with stuff toy

19. Play with light and shadow

Before bedtime, indulge in a little light and shadow game. Use a torchlight to cast shadows on the wall, and observe how the shadows appear much bigger than the object! To improve your child’s motor skills, have them play with their hands or with puppets! It’s a fun way to teach physics, and it’ll help them understand light behavior!

shadow animals on the wall
Head to The Dad Lab YouTube channel for more!

20. Use positive reinforcement

The woefully short attention span of children is no secret. Engage them through a daily reward system (using an app). Plan a learn+play schedule and incentivize them for sticking to the calendar, practicing good habits or learning something new. We use Habitz.

reward your kid stars with building blocks

Parents, welcome to the homeschool club! Remember to not jump into the school curriculum right away. Use this time to adjust, reflect, and spend quality time as a family together. Do reach out to your friends and family in times of need. Remember, we’re all in this together.

Please feel free to share this with anyone who you think may benefit from this.

Vivek & Dinesh
Co-founders, PlayShifu

HomeSchooling resources to use during school shutdown. We’ve compiled a list of learning resources just for you guys in this PDF!

how to keep your kid engaged


get your free pdf here button


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