28 Ways to Keep Kids Busy & Thinking When They're Stuck at Home

Almost a year into this pandemic, many of us still have our children at home for huge chunks of time while. Even in places where schools are in session, we’ve got school holidays and occasional shutdowns to contend with — leaving us constantly wondering, “Is school going to be canceled tomorrow?” at regular intervals. And while we sometimes feel like we’re used to this “new normal,” there are still days when our kids alternate between whining “I’m bored!” with literally climbing the walls.

The truth is, we need a lot of options in our arsenal if we’re going to keep our children busy and their minds stimulated for the foreseeable future. Many companies, teachers, nonprofits, museums, and other creators have realized this, though, and we’re reaping the rewards of their efforts: tons of online classes, at-home activity kids, videos, and games for kids to play.

Parents, teachers, and officials alike are worried about a potential “brain drain” due to coronavirus-inspired school closures. “Wide-scale learning loss could be among the biggest impacts coronavirus has on children in America,” Betsy Zorio, vice president of U.S. programs at Save the Children, told SheKnows when the shutdown first began in March. “With an unprecedented number of school closures already announced and many more expected, ensuring that children can continue to learn is essential.”

So what can we do? We’ll try our best to stick to the online curriculum our schools give us. If they’re lucky, most kids will only know the COVID-19 pandemic as a time when grownups messed with their school schedules and made them get a ton of screentime. It’s our job to keep it that way — while also making sure their brains don’t rot.

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A version of this story was originally published March 12, 2020.

Here are some great ways to entertain, educate, and distract our kids at home for as long as we’re in this thing.

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