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  • Writer's pictureThe Bone Guys

How To Entertain and Enrich a Child at Home for 14 Hours Straight

The playgrounds are closed. Camp is cancelled. Kiddie pools are all sold out.

So how on earth are you possibly going to survive summer with your children, what with their constant need for diversion and enrichment?

The Bone Guys, who have become verified experts in taking care of energetic children during a pandemic, are here to help.

Enjoy our itinerary to taking care of bored children, featuring a rich cache of activities, games and crafts you can employ from the time these little monsters wake up to the time they return to their angelic state in a deep slumber.

6:20am (and possibly even earlier): You awake to the familiar sensation of a tiny human jumping on your head. Your child(ren) is/are awake and demand attention.

6:30am: Breakfast for them. Coffee for you. Prepare to not remember this part once you regain consciousness.

7:00am: If your kids have any ability to play unassisted, this is a good time to start awakening their brains by pulling out some of their favorite “smart toys” that only require you to play alongside them, as opposed to teach them anything of great value. We mean Legos, Magna-Tiles, Play-Doh ice cream sets, puzzles, board games, Etch-a-Sketches, action figures and dolls that engage their imagination and storytelling abilities, and for the littler ones, basic blocks and finger paints. Supervise these activities for as long as your child sits somewhat silently.

7:45am: An ad hoc art class. We’ve watched our kids’ drawing abilities greatly enhanced by short YouTube drawing videos. Let your kids pick their favorite cartoon character, say Nemo for example, then look up “draw Nemo kids” in the search bar. Or, if you’re feeling screen-adverse this early in the morning, print out a Google Image picture of the same character and join your child in trying to recreate the curves and shapes you see before you.

Similarly, we enjoy the Lunch Doodle classes of Mo Willems, though he can get overly wordy for little ones, as well as the drawing and coloring pages offered through the educational site Hello Kids.

For younger children, just gaining confidence and strength in holding a pencil is greatly valuable for catching up with school whenever that will resume. So go heavy on the coloring, Colorforms, sticker and activity books that engage them and get their tiny digits working. These basic cutting sheets also help with scissor skills.

We’re also big fans of books like Ed Emberley’s Complete FunPrint Drawing Book and The Great Big Search and Find Activity Book, which embrace creativity and reward those who pay close attention.

8:30am: School. Ack. The “S” Word. But as you well know, it hasn’t existed for a few months. And you’ve probably been teaching it. Along the way, you may have found your kids not listening to you at homeschool as much as they don’t listen to you at home.

Fortunately, Kumon offers a series of Numbers and Letters books that guide your children through their grade-specific basics while allowing your light participation, and we’ve had great success with the grade-based books made by Thinking Kids. Free online worksheets like these and these can also help replicate the ones they are usually handed at school.

For older kids, consider exploring topics in coding, kids’ TED Talks, science, social studies, math, or foreign languages through these great online resources. For more ideas, check out this link of more than 350 learning websites.

9:40am: Story break. If your kid can already read, congratulations. We’re jealous. Go ahead and have them read a book and tell them not to bother you until they’ve read to a certain pre-determined point. But if you’re child is still yet to join the literate, you’ll make a short stack of the books that annoy you the least and read them together.

10am: Music class. Like every family with kids, you no doubt have an entire orchestra of kazoos, tambourines, shakers, and drums clogging up your nursery/play room. Time to pull everything out and pile them up in the middle of the room. Next, you’ll put on your kid’s favorite soundtrack and play along with whatever instrument is calling to you. When that gets old, you’ll sing a few songs together. If your kids are young, choose nursery rhymes and children’s songs with light choreography like “I’m a Little Teapot” and “Itsy Bitsy Spider” to get their bodies engaged.

If they’re older, activate your kids’ inner DJ by visiting Citizen DJ, which allows users free access to thousands of cleared and archived samples so they can create their own songs on virtual 808s and Oberheim DMXs. Vegas here they come.

10:30am: Snack time. Hope you have peanut butter.

10:40am: Gym class. If you have any outdoor space, you’ll be blessed enough to be able to let them run/slide/jump/hide-and-seek and cavort through some form of greenery or open-air.

If you’re currently indoor cats, you’ll need to get creative. We’re big fans of Cosmic Kids’ yoga classes, which transplant yoga moves into the familiar adventures of characters from Alice in Wonderland, Star Wars, Trolls and the Marvel Universe, moving at the nice and easy pace we personally prefer yoga at.

If you’re still warding off screen time, we’ve had great success simply blowing up balloons for impromptu games of indoor tennis using our hands or anything else you can find that goes “thwack.” Young ones even enjoy the balloons simply being inflated then released to go whizzing and farting around the room. We enjoy it, too.

Another simple exercise that kids seems to like is to have them lay flat on their backs, then use their feet to pick up toys and convey them over their own heads into a basket sitting at their crown. That’s, like, the most exercise we’ve gotten since March, by the way.

11:15am: Build a fort. Just build a fort. That’s all. Ikea has some good ideas to get you started.

12pm: For your next problem... now that your kids are all smart-like, they’ve got crazy ideas about requiring nutrition to survive. Oh, kids...

To keep them busy, healthy and engaged, we recommend trying something we make called “Junkyard Smoothies.” That means using any safe and edible form of produce you need to get rid of from the fridge. Let your child help you pick and help you add ingredients to a Magic Bullet or blender. Blend it into a delicious, colorful smoothie and serve it up to them. It helps to have some oats or dairy on hand to make it filling. And if a little spinach should fall into the final result, they’ll probably never know. If they find out, we will say that we’ve never met you.

12:45pm: While it is unfortunately way too early for you to justify a drink at this point, your child may have earned a small reward. So supervise them on the laptop and pad for some learning games for a while. We love the games offered on PBS Kids, which include characters from shows like Sesame Street, Daniel Tiger and Wild Kratts. A dedicated learning path meant to recreate the one kids would be learning in their respective grades is also available through the paid app ABC Mouse, which is available for $9.99 a month.

With screen time, it’s important that you reinforce your kids’ process by talking to them about what they’re learning. As well as staying true to the amount of time you’ve allotted for screens. As tempting as it might be to use their distraction to catch up on social media. Or work. Remember work?

1:25pm: By now, you’ve both had a long day. If your kid still naps, we are too insanely jealous to have anything to say. But we hope they have a good one.

If they don’t, it’s a good time to take on a craft project. For little ones who are bemoaning their chance to go to a theme park this summer, tape together three pieces of blank paper and encourage them to draw their own theme park ride using the characters they’re currently crushing on.

For older kids, consider a craft that will lead to further play, such as making their own bubbles, Play-Doh, stamps using found objects, paper airplanes, kites, cardboard racecars, and avocado boats. After the work of making them, you can then find a place to play with them, which should hopefully keep the kids invested for a while.

For resources, we love the book Screen-Free Fun, which has over 400 activities for kids, though it’s mostly geared for kids over 5. For pre-schoolers, we stick to this list of 100 Arts Projects for Kids from

2:30pm: Clean up. But never, ever call it that. Basically, you’ll make a game of making things neat and organized again. A race to pick up all the toys on the floor can work to motivate them. Prizes seem to work better.

3:15pm: You’ve finally caved in to the demands and are allowing a little screen time. Common Sense Media is the nation’s leading advocate for quality kids programming. If the show your child wants to watch is in question, a visit to this site will tell you how appropriate it might be for your little one. Other helpful resources include this list of Netflix’s 30 Best Kids Films.

If you only allow for educational screen time, this would be a perfect opportunity to try a virtual museum or zoo. We like the views from The Louvre, the Mars Rover and The San Diego Zoo. Better yet, just use this handy Google Doc of “virtual field trips” and list of virtual libraries to find what suits your budding scholar the best.

Older kids will get a kick out of My 70’s TV, My 80’s TV and My 90’s TV, which recreates the programming and commercials you grew up in your respective decade (down to the clunky dials). We all know cartoons were better then, anyway, right?

4pm: You don’t want your child growing up into someone who survives on Hot Pockets. Now is the time to engage them in a cooking project. If they’re capable of helping with dinner, go ahead and give them specific jobs. If they’re younger but eager, baking is a safer way for them to help out. Measure out the ingredients you’ll need to bake cookies or brownies and let them dump each one into the mixing bowl. Not only will they get to lick the spoon, letting them watch the product bake through the oven’s little window will give you time to get dinner together.

5pm: Dance party! They get to pick the music. Which will probably be from Trolls. But hey, it could always be worse. Also, and perhaps more importantly, this is now the time when it’s acceptable for you to have a drink of your own. Which will help you join in with the jumping and shaking and moving and grooving and whatnot.

5:30pm: Family dinner. Hopefully they’re still at the age where setting the table is fun. Either way, they’re setting the table.

6pm: Bath time. With plenty of time to let them marinate. One thing that can help prolong the fun is bath crayons. Yes, bath crayons.

6:45pm: You’re almost there. Don’t give up now. Mainly because that would probably bring child protective services into your life. Anyway, if you want an activity that will help mellow out your child while keeping the family together, a board game can be a huge plus right now.

Or you can always try gathering as a clan and trying a free audio book, story or poem from StoryNory, Project Gutenberg, Lit2Go, or ICDL that will engage your child’s imagination, improve their concentration and listening abilities, and help wind their energy down for bedtime.

7pm/8pm/whenever: We would never use the word “bedtime” without having one closely on hand. This is the culmination of all your hard work. When you can breathe a little and read a book (or three) to your little one before goodnight kisses, hugs and lullabies. First we recommend trying a simple, light meditation technique of having your child follow you through three deep, slow breaths through the nose and released through the mouth, which often helps seal the sandman’s deal.

Do this so that they can get some sleep, you can watch 30 minutes of Netflix before passing out, and be ready to do all of it all over again tomorrow starting at 6:20am.

Good luck!

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1 Comment

Zuha Shah
Zuha Shah
Oct 06, 2021

Time table is important for kids' learning. Kids learn and need some relaxation. Thanks for sharing a appropriate schedule for little children.

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