Isolation ideas: Keeping Kids Connected During COVID-19
Learning| By Amy Vagne | May 15, 2020
Boost spirits with these isolation ideas for keeping kids happy and connected and keeping families in touch during COVID-19 (coronavirus) quarantine measures.
The outbreak of COVID-19 (coronavirus) and the resulting periods of social distancing have left us feeling sad, stressed and lonely. It’s a lot for families to deal with – just imagine how little people are feeling right now! While you may not be able to cheer them up with a trip to the toy store or a playdate with peers, you can ensure you're keeping kids connected with family and friends. Experts say this is especially essential right now for maintaining good mental health. The following coronavirus isolation ideas will boost spirits and are ideal for keeping in touch with the community from the safety of your home.
Use Group Chat Apps
Social media is not just a fun distraction from the world’s worries, it’s also the perfect way to stay connected and start conversations with friends and family members, especially during isolation. A WhatsApp chat, Skype call or Facebook Messenger are always good ideas for keeping in touch, but there are plenty of emerging apps that allow for fun interactions online.
Houseparty lets users keep in touch via group video chat and play games in a ‘party’ of up to eight people. Zoom is a video-conferencing app that allows a large number of users to chat in an online ‘meeting’. Marco Polo and Snapchat are designed for sharing quick recorded video and picture messages between friends. Google Hangouts is a chat and video-call platform accessible on desktop or via the mobile app that’s perfect for those with Google Accounts. Or download Just Dance Now and set up a virtual dance party for all of their pals.
Think outside the square with online interactions as kids might need some icebreakers to get the conversation flowing. You could do a fancy dress parade, a Zoom talent show or a paper plane challenge with each user launching their very own DIY flyer.
Tech Devices to Try
Create Street Art
Get your kiddos to flex their creative muscles while they take in some much-needed fresh air and sunshine. The aim here is to leave messages of hope, inspire positive thinking, boost spirits and spread a little cheer in your local community. Let the kids decorate your driveway, or doodle on the footpath using chalk or washable paint. Plan an afternoon painting sesh and create cheerful signs to hang on your front fence. Or decorate a tree or a street sign with pom poms and the like. Let their imaginations run wild. Added bonus: this can double as an art class for homeschool.
Art Supplies to Try
Playing Outdoors Can Benefit Mental Health and Development
We love this old-school idea. Encourage little ones to help you make cards, write letters or curate care packages for family members or VIPs (grandparents or aunts/uncles would be ideal recipients). A fun way to pass the day, plus you can easily turn this into a teachable moment – letter writing is brilliant for practising handwriting and increasing vocabulary. Care packages can be full of home-baked goodies, drawings, stickers, photos, notes and essentials like toilet paper and hand soap. The kids can help you put everything together. A special delivery could brighten someone’s day… and you may just inspire your friends and family to follow suit and send you something in return.
Stationery to Try
- Faber-Castell Triangular Grip Graphite Pencils HB 3 Pack
- Texta Jumbo Zoom Twistable Crayons 20 Pack
- Kadink A4 Construction Pad 25 Sheets
- Otto Washi Tape Green 3 Pack
- Kadink Merit Stickers Smile Stars 20 Pack
- Fujifilm Instax Share Mini Link Smartphone Printer Ash White
- J.Burrows Multipurpose Crate Medium
- PPS Mailing Box 220 x 160 x 77mm
Start a Junior Book/Movie Club
Consuming culture is twice as much fun when you’ve got someone to share it with. Arrange for your kids and a few of their friends to simultaneously read a book, listen to a podcast or watch a film and then schedule a video call catch-up afterwards: let the lively discussion commence. Another option: Netflix Party is a new Google Chrome extension that allows you to watch a movie in sync with friends while you chat and comment at the same time. The only thing missing is the big bucket of communal popcorn.
Accessories and Snacks to Try
Join a Community Scavenger Hunt
Alongside the scariness and uncertainty of the coronavirus pandemic, there’s a heartwarming trend that’s evolved in many communities both here in Australia and around the world. While families take their daily walk around the block, many home owners are placing a teddy bear or two in their windows, inspired by the popular children’s book We’re Going on a Bear Hunt by Michael Rosen. The idea: to distract and entertain kids as they get some exercise, as well as boosting spirits. Other communities have created a ‘Quarantine Rainbow Connection’, a neighbourhood-wide game of ‘I Spy’ with rainbow pictures and paintings hung in windows and doorways. Look out for rainbows and teddies in your area, or draw and display your own to join the movement!
Toolkit to Try
Engage With the School Community
Homeschooling is not easy, but don’t fret or freak out. Your child’s wellbeing should be your top priority, so ensure school assignments come second to establishing those feelings of confidence and security. While the tasks set by teachers are educational and engaging, there’s an added benefit to systems like Google Hangouts and Microsoft Teams – they’re a top tool for allowing communication among kids and their classmates.
Encourage your tribe to complete their work and then share it with their teachers and peers. Help them to leave comments and send feedback, as a means of fortifying those significant school relationships that are currently being neglected. You can even spread the love a little wider, by using your social media channels to #ThankYourTeacher and show your support for our classroom heroes.
Plan a Virtual Tour
The internet is brimming with endless resources, so get clicking! Explore the world and expand their horizons without leaving your lounge room. There are so many museums, science institutes and animal sanctuaries around the globe offering free content, live video streams and virtual tours right now.
Spend a day at the Smithsonian Learning Lab, or take a field trip to see the grand collection of Egyptian statues at the British Museum. Enjoy a day at Taronga Zoo, thanks to the 24/7 live streaming of Taronga TV or a virtual excursion to the National Museum of Australia. Traverse the surface of Mars on the Curiosity rover, or tour Yellowstone National Park. Do a deep dive into pictorial archives, find interesting TED Talks, play games and print off worksheets. Built-in to all of this digital discovery is a soothing reminder: the Earth is an amazing place, people are smart and good and we’re all in this thing together.