How to Make the Most out of Coronavirus School Closings

Some Illinois schools are closing due to heightened concern for the novel coronavirus causing COVID- 19. Our Kidlist team has brainstormed the best learning opportunities, fun activities, and ways to come together as a family! We compiled indoor virtual field trips, our favorite crafts and games, and some outdoor activities when the weather agrees.

Whether schools are closed, you are home sick, or just taking precautions, we want to help keep the activities going and fend off boredom. While Kidlist is about bringing local families fun, we are also keeping all those who are affected from the coronavirus in our prayers. On that note, if you are working from home, our friends at GR Kids put together a great guide to how to make the best of working remotely with kids.

Schools are Closing for the Coronavirus. Now What?

Schools may be closed for extended periods of time in order to slow the spread of COVID-19. Kidlist is here to with ways to keep your kids busy, intellectually stimulated, and active during their days off school. We love to help families find fun no matter at home or out in the suburbs.

Groceries and Essentials

If you are concerned about bringing your kids out to the store, check Katie’s list of grocery delivery and pick-up options. One local way to get freshly prepared meals for pick-up or delivery is to order from Entree Kitchen in Wheaton. Another local meal delivery service is Meal Village in Naperville.

(If you do order delivery, now would be a great time to tip generously and thank the delivery person for making the trip out for you!)

Virtual Events

We switched the Kidlist calendar over to virtual events! There are great events, like doodling with Mo Willems, Cincinnati Zoo Home Safari, yoga classes, and more… all with dates and times so you can tune in.

If you know of a virtual event, add it to the Kidlist calendar! Simply go to http://mykidlist.com/events and click on the blue “submit an event button”. If you have any questions, feel free to e-mail Annie at annie@mykidlist.com

Learning Opportunities and Fun Activities at Home

When we are looking for ideas, some of our favorite instagram accounts to follow are: @happytoddlerplaytime, @busytoddler, @dayswithgrey, @1000hoursoutside, and @play_at_home_mummy. Check out our Kidlist ideas for screen-free and tech savvy activities below!

Minute to Win It Games! These games usually require very few supplies and can keep kids engaged for much longer than one minute! Check out this mom’s ideas at Happiness is Homemade.

Baking! When you are running to the store for toilet paper and Clorox wipes, run through the baking aisle. Grab flour, sugar, chocolate chips, baking mixes, etc. My kids love to bake on a rainy day, and I love the tasty outcome!

Crafts! Use your extra Amazon boxes to build a fort, and the next day turn it into a grocery store, or a veterinarian’s office. Up-cycle your recyclables by using your old milk jug to make a bird feeder and your used toilet paper tubes to make musical shakers or confetti poppers. Charlotte is going to try to create this DIY dollhouse! You can make your own play doh with this recipe. Another crafty idea is to learn how to hand knit. Check out this You-Tube Video to learn how! You can also make a smaller version of Annie’s cardboard train.

Creations! Rachel’s 4-year-old loves “small parts play” — aka, building things out of loose odds-n-ends. Raid the recycling, supply tape and glue, and toss some craft supplies like beads on the table if you feel fancy. This open-ended play takes some of the pressure off craft-time. Annie’s kids love to make pictures from dried beans and pasta.

Book Marathon! Start a new book series together. Make it a challenge to read each book in the series. Create a family book club to talk about the stories over dinner. Jill suggested taking a break between the books and watching the corresponding movies. Popcorn time! You can also listen to books on Audible as a family. Comment below with your favorite books to read together!

Spring Cleaning! Use this time off school you weren’t expecting to seize the day and do some deep cleaning and organizing of your home. Sara can’t wait to Tidy Up! Check out Marie Kondo’s ideas for Tidying Up with Kids. Annie and her kids divided their house into quadrants and are deep cleaning in stages- breaking it up into tasks make it more fun and manageable!

Go Outside! As the weather turns warm, you don’t have to go to a busy outdoor space to enjoy the fresh air. Draw with chalk in your drive way, blow bubbles, fly a kite, or go for a walk looking for signs of spring. You can create a giant hop scotch in your driveway or teach your kid how to ride a bike. We can’t wait to get back outside and catch some sunshine!

Take a hike! Want to find the best forest preserve trails for kids? We put a list together of places you are sure to have a great time walking and exploring nature together.

Hunt for geocaches! Geocaching is a real-world, outdoor treasure hunting game that you can do anywhere you are, any day and time using GPS coordinates.

Indoor Exercise! Too cold to head outside for exercise? No problem! Charlotte has shared her favorite free yoga program and Zumba Kids workout.

Board Games! Head to your basement and bring up every board game you own. Make it a challenge to play every single game in the pile! Here are Annie’s suggestions for board games to play with big families.

Virtual Field Trips! Many museums local to Chicago and nationwide offers online virtual tours and e-learning experiences. The Field Museum in Chicago has video episodes called The Brain Scoop. The Museum of Science and Industry offers experiment ideas to try at home. The Brookfield Zoo has a virtual field trip guide for your personal viewing. If you have a future astronaut at home, check out the NASA virtual tour! Our country’s national museums offer virtual field trips: The Guggenheim, National Gallery of Art, National Museum of Natural History- Smithsonian, National Museum of the Air Force. (Find more here.) Check out international exhibits such as The Louvre and then create some artwork of your own.

Local Library at Home! Check your local library’s website for all of the online offerings you qualify for with your library card. Our library has e-books, audio books, and subscriptions to educational websites.

Watch a movie… in a fort! Movies are a sure bet, but why not combine it with an activity? You can build the fort together with cushions, blankets, chairs, and tables. Eating popcorn and watching something together in a homemade fort makes it even more fun!

Podcasts! There are many kid friendly podcasts that your family can listen to together. Charlotte’s favorites are Wow in the World and But Why!

Fun Videos from Local Businesses! We are working with local businesses to curate a virtual library of video tutorials, game ideas, sports, and more. Videos are being added daily!

Bucket List! We created an at-home bucket list to keep everyone motivated (including ourselves!). Click here for the Kidlist At Home Bucket List or head to the end of this article.

Teaching Your Children about the Spread of Viruses

Teaching children proper hand washing and about the speed of germs and diseases is an important lesson today and every day. The CDC shares great information about preventing the spread of COVID-19 in communities for home and school. PBS has great information for parents and kids along with videos, songs, and episodes about germs and hygiene.

How to Help During This Unprecedented Time

It’s difficult to feel connected to people during a time when we are keeping our distance. But there are many ways we can help each other, our community, our country, and the world right now! Rachel put together an amazing resource of how we can spread kindness and ways to reach out to help.

Keeping Clean at Home

To help prevent the spread of the virus, many of us are taking extra steps sanitize, especially after coming home from school or work. Here are Rachel’s tips for keepin’ clean:

  • When you wash your hands, be sure to scrub with soap for at least 20 seconds. My 4-year-old enjoys counting aloud during this time, while my 2-year-old enjoys wailing loudly.
  • In order for hand sanitizer (look for an alcohol-based one) to be effective against the virus, your hands must be visibly wet while you rub for at least 30 seconds . . . aka, an entire eternity. Count together or sing “Happy Birthday” to everyone in your family.
  • You can find a list of cleaning products effective against the coronavirus on the EPA’s website. Most require that the surface be visibly wet with disinfectant for five minutes to kill the virus, so this is a good naptime or bedtime activity. Spots like doorknobs, counter tops, and light switches are good candidates for a deep clean.

Follow us on Facebook for lots of ideas for fun at home in the coming days!

Click on the image below for the printer-friendly version of the bucket list.

About the Author

Nicole Majewski
Nicole and her family live in Bloomingdale. She is a former teacher and now stay at home mom of three adorable kids. Her family loves to be outside, exploring nature and getting dirty. In the winter months, you will find them at the local library or an indoor play place.

1 Comment on "How to Make the Most out of Coronavirus School Closings"

  1. Hello,
    Thank you so much for this post and the helpful information you’ve put together!
    I am a mother and a special education teacher in the western suburbs. Over these past several days I have seen how people have come together to help one another. A personal example, yesterday a neighbor put some craft activities in my mailbox for my own kids to do because they thought they might be bored inside. It is the compassion and kindness of others that is truly demonstrated in times like these.
    On that note, I’ve been following all the necessary social distancing protocols recommended by the experts and I would just like to extend my hand to anyone who may need it. If you or someone you know needs groceries or necessary errands to be run (e.g., required medication, etc.), I’d like to help. If you have a child with special needs and you need resources or ideas to help with keeping their routine as stable as possible during this very fluid time, please reach out and I will try and help with the resources I have available. If you are just feeling isolated and would like a drawing or a joke to cheer you up, I know a couple kids who would love to create one for you (sent via text or email)! Please reach out if you need it: jcgottman@yahoo.com

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