Keep Your Kids from Becoming Video Game Zombies this Summer

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We are all learning to live our lives inside the walls of our own homes.  So many schools have moved to remote learning for the remainder of the academic year – and even those that are still open will be closing soon for the summer.

Social distancing means that the normal outlets available to children – play dates, sports, camps, even just going to a park or zoo has been shut off at least for the near term.  That has meant a lot of kids are spending a lot of time indoor and online.   

The challenge for all of us is to help use this time productively and creatively while still keeping things fun for kids of all ages that don’t mean playing video games 24×7.  Fortunately organizations around the world have stepped up to create innovative content and experiences online to help with that.  Here are a few suggestions.

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Visit a museum

Many great museums around the world are offering virtual museum tours.  Spend an afternoon with your kids exploring the British Museum, the National Gallery of Art, the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum,  or The Louvre without ever leaving your couch.

See the animals

Lions and tigers and bears, oh my!  If animals are more aligned to your child’s interests, take a virtual trip to the San Diego Zoo with live action wildlife cams and interactive programs.   Tune into zoo programs offered daily from the Cleveland Metroparks.  Or check out the changing programs from your favorite zoos and aquariums around the world.

Challenge them with science

Regardless of your kids age, home science projects can be fun, entertaining and educational for the whole family.  Check out this list of websites for teachers and parents.

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Or maybe you want to challenge them with math problems to solve.  Find a resource appropriate to their age group among this list.

Take an Art lesson

Find free art lessons, drawing tutorials, or interactive games to challenge your budding Picasso.

Join the Theater

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Disney now offers an interactive experience for your budding thespians.  LionKingExperience offers an introduction to theater for kids 8-11 and 12-15 free of charge and from the comfort of your own home.

Of course not everything has s to come through the WiFi connection.  There are some great activities you can enjoy together that can be both educational and fun for the family.

Get outdoors

Many places you can still get outdoors, so take a walk, go on a hike, ride a bike, or do whatever is available in your area to get some fresh air and exercise.  Can’t get outside?  Google “virtual forest walk” for a list of beautiful and soothing communes with the great outdoors.

Cook at home

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The need to cook nourishing meals doesn’t change with our lack of social interactions.   Bring the kids in the kitchen and let them help with getting the meals ready.  Or look for kid friendly recipes and take the night off yourself.

Create a Garden

And for most of us, the weather is just turning it’s thoughts to spring, which means there is plenty we can do in the garden.  Have the kids help out raking out last years leaves, trimming old growth off bushes, and planting flowers and vegetables they can help tend to as these weeks stretch on until we all get back to normal.  Even if you don’t have a garden or yard, start an indoor herb or vegetable garden.  It will not only give them something to do, but it may spur a love of gardening in the future.

Use this time in productive and entertaining ways to help ease the strain of these challenging times for you and your kids.