Likhitha Reddy, MD, PGY2, Resident, Baylor College of Medicine – The Children’s Hospital of San Antonio
How many times have your school-age children told you they are bored today and that there was nothing to do? Have they given up asking, “What are we doing today?” because they know the answer? It’s tough being a kid – even tougher being a parent the past few months.
We’ve compiled a list of things parents and caregivers can do to keep kids of all ages occupied and maybe even stimulate their curiosity and knowledge – helping you all get through the crazy summer of 2020.
1. Schedule activities ahead of time While it may not be possible for children to physically attend camps, extracurricular activities or play dates in person, there are an abundance of activities available for your children to enjoy. Scheduling activities beforehand will help children maintain a routine and have something to look forward to every day.
2. Active play is a child’s best friend It is important to incorporate as much active play into children’s schedules as possible. Playing outside, riding bikes in the park, hiking, playing soccer, basketball, volleyball, or just going for a walk around the neighborhood are great ways to get exercise while also spending valuable time with your children.
3. Read, read, read As much as exercise and active play are necessary, it is just as important to make sure kids have time to keep their brains engaged and continue to learn through the summer. Schedule time for reading or listening to audio books or podcasts this summer. The San Antonio Public Library is a wonderful resource to achieve this goal.
4. Limit screen time as much as possible Electronic devices may seem like the easiest option to keep kids busy for most of the day. You can still find ways to make sure screen time includes interactive and educational components. As a parent, it’s important to make sure screen time doesn’t interfere with activities that engage the brain and keep children physically active. Also, make sure devices do not interfere with sleep and family relationships.
Let’s keep our brains active!
Google Arts & Culture has partnered with thousands of museums around the world to offer virtual tours from the comfort of your home. Click here for the complete list.
If you prefer a virtual zoo experience, the San Diego Zoo has set up virtual cams for children to watch the animals. San Diego Virtual Zoo
From drawings to science experiments, NASA is providing lists of activities for kids to enjoy with their parents at home! Check out Outta This World!
For a low price of $5, Scholastic provides educational activities for children all summer long. Learn at Home
Chrome Music Lab is a hands on website that helps kids tap into their musical side
Texas Home Learning provides at-home resources for parents to help access educational activities for children. Let’s Learn!
Summer camp…Virtually!? Use Varsity Tutors to help kids (K-12) make the most of their break with interactive camps taught by expert instructors online.
Get your art on with Ms. Sue! Let you and your kids’ creative side flow with free online art classes on Youtube! Ms. Sue’s Art Studio is always open!
Story time is fun time!
Audible is one of the world’s largest collections of audio books and they are currently offering free stories in all different languages for kids! Start Listening Here!
Podcasts especially for younger children between 2 and 6 years old! List of Podcasts
Storyline Online is a children’s literacy website that streams videos of celebrities reading children’s books along with illustrations.
Imagine a world of possibilities thru the San Antonio Public Library! Subscribe to the Youtube Channel to get more information. IMAGINE!
- Go on family bike rides or hikes, try to see how many different animals they can identify.
- Go to the San Antonio Zoo.
- There are a number of parks still open in San Antonio and families can spend time there while safely social distancing:
- Friedrich Wilderness Park – By far the most popular park in San Antonio!
- Brackenridge Park – Great place for biking!
- Government Canyon park
- Woodlawn Lake Park – Great place for hikes and fishing!
- Japanese tea garden
- Botanical Gardens
- Jenschke Orchards in Fredericksburg has peach picking tours available for the family. Pick Peaches here!
- Plan a picnic in the park on a nice sunny day.
Stay in and bond!
Garden in your own backyard.
Cook with your brand new planted garden crop! Explore new recipes with the help of local San Antonio CHEF program. Children as young as 3 can help you cook in the kitchen and it can be a fun adventure to get them to try new cuisines as well!
Camp out in your backyard and cook up some s’mores.
Shoot for the stars! Go stargazing outside on a nice clear night. How many different constellations can you identify?
Pick up some chalk at any local store and decorate the sidewalks. Maybe even play a game of hopscotch!
It may have been a while since the kids saw their elderly loved ones. Have them write and decorate homemade letters to the grandparents! Plan time to visit with them through windows or glass doors. If it’s hard to hear each other, use your mobile phone to chat at the same time. They will love seeing how big you’ve grown … and they miss you more than you know!
We hope this list has given you some new ideas and resources to make it through the summer, get some exercise, and keep the boredom blues away!
If your child is having a tough time coping during the pandemic, talk to your pediatrician. If you need a pediatrician, check out The Children’s Hospital of San Antonio Primary Care Pediatricians