With the spread of coronavirus limiting your family’s plans for outdoor fun, don’t resort to just watching any TV program or diving deeper into your devices. Instead, enjoy your day by using inexpensive online tools that are also educational and developmental. Use your parental control to subtly influence their content choices. Through YouTube and other sites and apps, children can enjoy cooking, exercising, and music while experiencing fun twists on learning that can rival the best in-class lessons.

How activities can help children develop

Education is not limited to material in a textbook. Through home-based online activities, children can also develop executive functioning skills that provide a core that supports all other learning. These skills include working memory, cognitive flexibility, and inhibitory control. A variety of activities is key to sharpening executive functioning. From following instructions in an exercise class to engaging in interactive online learning, children can help focus their executive functioning at home.

Turn to your tablet

The best way kids can learn something is through interaction. This means that instead of sitting at a computer and reading a how-to article, your kids should be immersed in hands-on activities. If you own a tablet, consider letting your kids borrow it to access apps, websites, and videos anywhere around the house—whether they’re learning to cook in the kitchen or making a science project at the table. If you don’t own a tablet but are looking to buy one, you can find discounted models at stores like Target. You can save even more by taking advantage of these 17 tips for saving at Target from Rakuten. Tips include combining manufacturer and Target coupons, checking out the Top Deals page, and signing up for a Target REDcard.

Cooking together can make for healthier food choices

You’re probably aware that the rates of obesity and type 2 diabetes are rapidly increasing in children. This can be the perfect time to teach your kids the importance of nutrition by giving them a cooking lesson. You can find a ton of healthy recipes online, including free video tutorials on YouTube. Apps that contain recipes, meal planning, and shopping lists are also available, and many of these are low-cost or free. 

If you want to keep the cooking lesson simple, your kids can learn to make a healthy snack instead. Purchase some popcorn and then teach them to make it healthier by cooking it in a popper. You can also make your own trail mix together with ingredients like nuts, dried fruit, and shredded coconut.

Unique spins on exercise

Nothing gets kids moving faster than music. Combine music with some dancing and you have a recipe for exercise. Online, there are numerous outlets for music videos. YouTube, Vimeo, and others host all sorts of videos from classic music to today’s latest hits, and best of all, they’re free. And if you are concerned about adult content in some songs, these online portals also provide modern versions of the radio edit. Put on a YouTube playlist of some popular music videos and get the whole family dancing. 

After your kids are used to sweating to online music, you can gauge their interest in online exercise videos, which are focused on technique and practice. Online exercise classes are offered in every fitness technique in existence. From yoga to kickboxing, gymnastics to core exercises, children can follow along and gain fitness. Working memory is improved through activities that require following directions, such as exercise programs.

Music can stimulate artistic appreciation and learning

Music is an important component of education, and it should have an equally important role in home learning and activities. In addition to getting the body moving through dance, music stimulates children’s brains and expands horizons. Children who appreciate music have higher IQs, language capabilities, strengthened spatial-temporal skills, and improved test scores. Children who learn to play an instrument can develop even more cognitive ability. Your kids may already be learning an instrument in school. Show interest in your kids’ lessons and encourage them to share their instrument at home. Instead of asking for them to perform a recital, have them use their instruments in their own way.

If your child is interested in different instruments, have them tap into the many free online music lessons on YouTube. Popular entry-level instruments include ukulele and guitar and each are easy enough to learn some basics after just a few videos.

Making science and art fun

If you want to make sure that your kids get some practical learning, make sure you check out some of the many science videos and online activities. Science lab simulations such as making a jar of lava from household items will keep kids occupied and entertained.  Other eye-opening science experiments that engage children indoors include creating an eye-popping rainbow magic milk experiment. You’ll need to buy some food coloring, but many of the items you can find in your bathroom and kitchen cabinets. 

Art activities are perfect for long days inside, too. Get the family involved with a drawing challenge. See who can draw the most animals in two minutes, or have partners draw each other, and the time will fly by.

You don’t even have to go through hands-on work to learn science and art. There are numerous shows and documentaries that are available on streaming services. Science-based programs can detail everything from the mundane to the most intricate science subjects. Shows like MythBusters and Brain Games are other family-friendly programs that explain how the world works.

These are scary times, but days indoors don’t have to be wasted days. They can be fun, educational, and active. Find out what moves your children, mentally and physically, and tap into their interests.

by Jenny Wise

Photo Credit: Pixabay