Are restless kids driving you up the wall? Kids who are stuck inside during cold winter weather or rainy summer days can quickly become little troublemakers, but it doesn’t have to be that way. Parents can turn winter downtime into an opportunity for fun and learning by making use of online resources, many of which are completely free! If you’re short on ideas, try these five activities to keep your kids engaged and learning regardless of the weather outside:
1. Hands-on science experiments
Ask your kids if they want to study science and you’re likely to be met with a groan, but ask them if they want to turn milk into a rainbow of colors and you’ll have enthusiastic scientists who can’t wait to get their hands dirty. These can be a lot of fun especially in a preschool homeschool curriculum or a kindergarten homeschool curriculum.
The internet is full of instructions for fun, hands-on science experiments to get kids excited about learning. Refer to this guide from Scholastic for 40 ideas to include in kindergarten curriculum programs through middle school curriculum, or let your kids lead the way by developing and testing hypotheses of their own.
2. High-energy exercise videos
Children need at least 60 minutes of exercise every day to stay healthy, but that’s not easy to accomplish when the weather is cold and dreary — or is it? YouTube is chock full of exercise videos designed just for kids, from Cosmic Kids Yoga to easy-to-follow dance videos. You can even find mom-and-me workouts, perfect for the busy single parent who needs to squeeze in a workout of his or her own.
3. Personalized music lessons
According to the Royal Conservatory, playing an instrument can boost academic skills, instill a sense of discipline, and strengthen memory and attention, among other benefits. But as a single parent, the idea of one more extracurriculars to chauffeur to may feel overwhelming.
Online music lessons deliver the same benefits as in-person instruction in a more convenient format, and often at a lower price point than traditional music education. If it’s your child’s first time playing an instrument, choose one that’s relatively easy to learn, such as the clarinet. You can choose a beginner clarinet using an online clarinet buying guide or talk to fellow parents to find a deal on a used instrument.
4. Games to make math fun
Of all school subjects, math tends to be the area where children face the most challenges. And when kids are already struggling in math or find it boring, it’s not exactly easy to convince them to practice their skills. Instead of spending another afternoon studying flashcards, use online games to make math fun. Coolmath is a popular website full of games to help kids master math skills from addition through pre-calculus, and it’s 100 percent free. It can be great supplement to a kindergarten curriculum program or just a way to take a break.
5. Virtual art instruction
Artistic skills boost children’s self-esteem and provide them with a healthy outlet to express emotions, but talent doesn’t come without practice. At the same time, you can’t simply buy a drawing pad and a set of colored pencils and expect your child’s creativity to shine. Children benefit from instruction and demonstration, especially as they develop higher-level drawing skills like perspective and shading. If you’re not much of an artist yourself — or have limited time, like most single parents — you can turn to online resources for kid-friendly art instruction. In addition to paid services like Sparketh, parents will find plenty of free art lessons available online.
Winter boredom isn’t any more fun for your children than it is for you. Thankfully, keeping kids busy doesn’t have to mean spending a lot of money or sacrificing what little free time you have. With online activities like these, it only takes a little bit of effort to be the rockstar parent you aspire to be.
A guest post by Jenny Wise from http://specialhomeeducator.com/
Image via Unsplash