DIY ideas to keep your kids entertained at home during the COVID-19 pandemic

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With most Toronto residents staying at home and indoors, it can be difficult to keep kids entertained during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Many parents, however, are getting creative, including Sepideh Coady, a mother of two young children.

“Right now we’re not going to the playground. We have to accept it,” Coady tells CTV News Toronto. “And we have to use whatever we have at home to keep them engaged and keep them moving.”

Coady is a yoga and pilates instructor, and has found a way to include her kids, ages two and four, in the physical activity. 

“I’m telling you, it’s not easy. It’s challenging,” Coady said. “But I’m getting used to working out with them around me. And sometimes, engaging them. The more I engage them, the happier they are and they learn.”

One of the DIY (do-it-yourself) activities Coady came up with for her kids is an obstacle course in the living room, using items already in the house. 

“I had these leftover cups from their birthday, and yesterday I thought, ‘let’s do some obstacle training!’” Coady said, laughing. “We’re connecting, we’re doing something together, and it’s a successful experience.” 

Coady says that other activities she’s hoping to take on with her children in the coming weeks range from cooking to cleaning together. 

“We have lots of time,” she says. “At the end, they’re happy, they’re entertained and they learn some life skills.”

Quieter DIY activities

When it’s time for some quieter activities, like arts and crafts, DIY expert Denise Wild says parents can make learning tools on their own. 

“You can even have kids help you make these tools, and that way they’re crafting and creating and getting involved with their own education,” Wild said. “Use what you have at home, or search online. Pinterest is a great source for ideas and inspiration, and there are so many learning downloads right now that are available for free to use.”

Wild has the following DIY activity ideas for different age groups:

Pre-schooler: A mindfulness tub

“You create a little bin with lots of little goodies to help your child learn to regulate their emotions, whether you’ve got flash cards, maybe it’s Playdoh, some beads, puzzles and books. Anything that you can either do with your child, or your child can do on their own,” says Wild. 

Kindergartener: A binder of printables 

“If you just go online and even search ‘free learning printables’ or free learning downloads, you’ll find a lot of really great stuff,” says Wild. “If you put them into plastic sleeves, you can use a dry erase marker so that you can do the project over and over again.”

Elementary school student: Creative writing prompts

“So for older kids you can come up with questions and engage them in conversation. Encourage them to be thinking differently,” Wild explains. “I’ve got something that says ‘who do you admire?’, ‘if you could travel in time where would you go?’, and these are great for just discussing as a family or for having your child work on their creative writing.”