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8 Tips for Keeping Your Kids Busy While Working From Home

8 Tips for Keeping Your Kids Busy While Working From Home

    Working from home with kids around can be a delicate balance of finding enough things for your kids to do while trying to get your own work done. Caring for children and keeping them busy all day is a full-time job in itself, and it can be challenging to try to work at the same time. However, with a good routine in place and a few tips and tricks in your toolbox, it is very possible. Here’s our guide for how to work from home with kids.  

8 Ways to Keep Your Kids Busy While Working From Home

To avoid some of the chaos that comes with working from home while the kids are around too, a little bit of planning ahead and organization goes a long way. Many parents find that having a general routine is helpful for everyone, but do what works best for your family. Know that disruptions to the routine will happen, and it’s ok to get off track sometimes. Keep toys and craft supplies as organized as possible, so they’re easy to find — and put back. If possible, designate certain rooms or zones for particular purposes — for example, have an area for playing with toys, a quiet room for reading and a desk full of art supplies. This is especially helpful if you have more than one child, and they want to do different activities. If you can pre-plan some activities beforehand, your day will likely go a little more smoothly, too. Choose a handful of activities for the next day and ensure you have all the right supplies. Have realistic goals and expectations for your family and try to enjoy the extra time together. To start, try these eight activities to keep your kids entertained and busy while you work.

1. Toys and Imaginative Play

Having lots of age-appropriate toys around is one of the easiest ways to keep your kids busy at home. You likely already have plenty of toys, but when you’re working from home, it’s even more important to have them organized and easy to access. You may want to put away some toys in organized bins, and cycle or rotate the toys that are out at any one time. This helps keep messes from getting out of control, and it prevents boredom as the cycled-in toys seem new and fresh to the children. Encourage imaginative play, having the kids role play scenarios like store, restaurant or school, and have toys and objects available that spark the imagination for this type of play. Construction sets like LEGO, wooden building blocks, Erector sets, K’nex and lots of others are great for free play activities and lengthier projects that will keep kids busy for longer periods of time. Give kids specific challenges like building a house, city or robot to keep them focused. Try other challenging and fun toys like jigsaw puzzles and board games, too.

2. Books, E-Books and Audio Books

Older children can easily entertain themselves by reading silently. Choose books in advance that are appropriate for your child’s age and reading level, and that will hold their interest. Even children who are not yet able to read to themselves will enjoy flipping through picture books, and they can usually understand most of the story just from the pictures. You can also find children’s books with an audiobook CD, so they can listen and follow along. Check your local library’s website for audiobooks and e-books that can be easily downloaded from home. Some may even have videos of library storytimes for your younger children to watch at home.

3. Arts and Crafts Projects

Kids love to create, and art projects can keep them busy while you’re working from home. Have some basic art supplies on hand, like crayons, markers, play dough, construction paper and coloring books. For the youngest artists, also try finger paints, stamps and stickers. As kids develop motor skills and artistic abilities, add in cut-and-paste activities, collage, drawing and painting. Older children may enjoy books or online lessons that teach drawing or painting to practice their skills. Try some of these fun art and craft activities for kids to do while you work from home:
  • Painted rocks: Kids of all ages enjoy hunting for rocks outside and decorating them! Attach googly eyes to make pet rocks or have older kids paint the rock according to the shape they think it most resembles — maybe a tree, flower or turtle. You can also heat the rocks and use crayons. The crayons will melt as they touch the rock and create a cool painted effect. Just be sure to wash the rocks before decorating them.
  • Decorate a cardboard fort: Use a large cardboard box, or attach a few smaller ones together. Have children use crayons, markers, paint and stickers to decorate the outside and inside. The box can be a house, secret fort, car, boat, rocket ship or whatever the kids imagine. Cut out doors and windows, and draw in any accessories to set the scene. When they are finished decorating, the kids can play all day in their new creation.
  • Picture collage: Give kids a stack of old magazines and catalogs, and let them cut and paste to make new pictures. It could be abstract or give them a theme, such as collecting pictures of objects that they like, or have them create a house, city, garden or landscape. Make a silly person, an imaginary animal or a robot by cutting out different parts from the magazines and pasting them together.
  • Textile crafts: Younger kids can practice early sewing skills with plastic or cardboard “sewing cards” with pre-punched holes and a plastic or blunt needle with yarn. Older kids can try a real needle and thread — try an embroidery kit or look up guides for different patterns and stitches to try. Kids can also learn simple knitting or crocheting stitches, or make tie blankets with fleece.
  • Beading: Stringing beads is great fine motor practice for little ones, and they can make something to wear that they are proud of. Look for pop beads or large plastic pony beads for young children. More advanced kids can try stringing seed beads or do fuse bead projects. Alternatively, kids can glue beads to cardboard or wooden objects, making decorative items or trinket boxes.
  • Homemade board games: This activity is perfect for more advanced kids who have played lots of board games. Set out a large piece of cardboard and heavy paper and allow them to design their own board game. Have them choose a theme, design the board, find playing pieces or tokens and write up the rules of the game — and, of course, when they’re finished, they can play their new game, too!

4. Play Office

Kids love to mimic adults and pretend that they also have important work to do. Use a small desk or table, or just set them up at a corner of your work station. Set out scrap paper, junk mail, envelopes, pencils, notepads, sticky notes and any other office supplies you have around. Let them play with old calculators or keyboards. Give them work assignments like stapling papers together, filling pages with stickers or practicing writing skills. Set out a pretend phone so they can take calls in their office, too.

5. Educational Apps and Websites

If you have an extra computer or tablet for your child, they can use it to play educational games online. Websites and apps are available for all age levels and in a wide variety of school subjects. Many of these educational sites make learning fun, so kids will feel like they are playing games while they build their reading and math skills. You can also look online for virtual museum tours or performances from orchestra, opera and theater groups. Stream a documentary about animals, plants or National Parks for kids to learn about the world around them. Look for other interesting videos like factory tours or how-tos, and let kids learn how crayons are made, how cars work and more. Just keep in mind that even when screen time is educational, you should have some time limits so they aren’t staring at a screen all day. Be sure your kids know what the boundaries are before starting.

6. Exercise Videos

Any time the kids need to burn off a little extra energy and you can’t get out to play just yet, have them watch an exercise video. There is a wide variety of videos available that are specifically designed for kids, and many of them are free — just search online! Try kids’ yoga classes, dancing and more. These short videos are fun for kids and often have themes using music and movies the kids will recognize and enjoy. Alternatively, just put on some upbeat music the kids love, and let them have their own dance party!

7. Play With Pets

Keep the kids — and your furry friends — busy and encourage children to care for and play with pets. Kids can learn responsibility by being in charge of daily requirements such as feedings, walks, grooming and litter box cleanings. Encourage the kids to interact with their pets, playing fetch in the yard or setting up different pet toys to play with. You can also let your kids get creative and make new toys for your pets from household objects. Look online for specific ideas, and make sure the materials you’re using are safe for your pets.

8. Write Letters

Get the kids to practice their writing skills in a practical way, by writing letters or making cards for friends and loved ones. Write to grandparents or long-distance relatives, or just surprise a neighbor with a handmade card. Younger kids can simply draw pictures, copy a few words or choose stickers for the recipient. Older children can write a few sentences and create artwork to share. Connect with online groups to find a penpal for your child, and they could start learning about a different area of the country — or world — and make a new lifelong friend.  

The Benefits of Outdoor Play

Whenever your situation allows, try to get your kids outside! Older children might have more freedom to play outdoors unsupervised, or with light supervision. Even while you’re working, there may be ways to get the little ones outside, too. If you have your own yard, you could work near a window so you can keep an eye on things, or bring your laptop outside to work while supervising the little ones. If this just isn’t feasible, or you don’t have your own outdoor space, squeeze in some time to take a short break at a park during your lunch break, or when you’ve finished work for the day. It’s so important for the whole family to spend some time outside, getting some exercise and fresh air. Time spent outdoors encourages overall health and well-being, increasing fitness levels and getting vitamin D, as well as releasing pent-up energy. Regular outside time is good for physical fitness, and it is also known to improve mental health. After playing outside, kids will likely be calmer and can return to their indoor activities with better focus. Outside play also helps develop kids’ independence and confidence levels. They’ll learn how to play by themselves, solve problems and navigate new surroundings and situations. More time outside also helps kids learn about the natural world and increases their appreciation for nature. Encourage creative play outdoors, using playground equipment and natural elements to create imaginative play scenarios.  

Playsets, Trampolines and Basketball Hoops From Superior Play Systems®

Having fun play equipment in your yard will entice kids to play outside more, and it is one of the easiest ways to keep kids busy while working from home. Superior Play Systems® has the best play equipment options available, so you can customize your yard for fun outdoor playtime:
  • Wooden playsets: Swings, slides and playsets are classic, quintessential additions to any yard and will keep the kids busy for hours. A simple swingset or slide are great for smaller yards, or you can go big with a wooden fort playset and let your kids’ imaginations run wild. Kids will love playing and pretending in their very own backyard fort. Add on fun extras like climbing walls and tube slides.
  • Trampolines: Adding a trampoline to your yard is a great way to keep the kids busy and provide lots of entertainment and exercise. You can choose the shape and style that’s right for your family, and add on features like nets, extra padding, hoops and tents to make your backyard trampoline even safer, more comfortable and more fun.
  • Basketball hoops: Another classic addition to any yard, a basketball hoop can keep the whole family entertained. Go for a wall-mounted unit or if you have more room, install an in-ground unit for more stability and professional play. Playing basketball at home is a great way to get outside and get in some exercise.

Contact Superior Play Systems®

As a leader in residential recreation, Superior Play Systems® offers a wide variety of play systems, trampolines, basketball hoops and more. We have everything you need to turn your yard into a fun destination the whole family will enjoy. Playing outside is one of the best things for kids to do while you work from home, and you can make this easier with play equipment from Superior Play Systems®. Contact us today for more information, or find a dealer location near you, so you can see our high-quality play systems in person.
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