HOUSTON – With schools and universities across Texas extending breaks or making students take online classes after the break, kids will be at home longer than parents expected.
We gathered some tips from Houston experts and from people who homeschool their kids or work remotely on a regular basis to help parents get through this time of social distancing.
The tips below apply whether your kids are in daycare, elementary, high school or college.
What are some activities we can do during and after the break?
Local mom blogger Laura M. from Houston Moms Blog put together 10 ways you can entertain your kids during this long break. She covered the following:
- Painters tape roadway
- Nature scavenger hunts
- Build your own zoo
- Create your own binoculars
- Bowling with blocks
- Toy car wash
- A-B-C search
- Treasure hunt
- Obstacle course
- Blanket fort
Here are some recommendations from the Mommy Poppins blog:
- Sensory activities for babies. Dad blogger Scott Edwards shares 12 easy DIY sensory activities to entertain babies.
- The best kid jokes. Click here, for 40 jokes for kids that will keep the whole family in giggles.
- Family movie night. Mom blogger Ally Noel created a list of the 50 best kids’ movies for family movie night.
- Science experiments. Mom blogger Karyn Marciniak shares 63 easy science experiments for kids using household stuff.
- Virtual learning. Keep kids engaged with 21 online learning resources, apps, and games for kids, most of them are free!
Here are some recommendations from healthychildren.org:
- Read books with your child. Reading together strengthens your bond with your child and helps their development.
- Make time for active play. Bring out the blocks, balls, jump ropes and buckets and let the creativity go. Play games that kids of all ages can play, like tag or duck duck goose. Let your kids make up new games. Encourage older kids to make up a workout or dance to keep them moving.
- Keep an eye on media time. Whenever possible, play video games or go online with your child to keep that time structured and limited. If kids are missing their school friends or other family, try video chats to stay in touch.
I still have to go to work, who will take care of my kids?
Working parents can be prepared by having alternative childcare plans or talking with their employers about work from home options during school closings, healthychildren.org recommends.
How will I feed my kids during and after spring break?
Several local school districts will offer free take-home meals to kids from elementary through high school who rely on free or reduced meals, as well as to those who are not part of the federal meal program.
To view a list with all of the Houston-area school districts offering free curbside meals, click here.
Can my kids still have play dates?
Many experts say playdates are OK, as long as there aren’t too many kids in one space at one time and family members aren’t at high risk, according to the New York Times.
For more advice on play dates, and indoor play spaces, click here.
What about my college kids?
Some Texas universities have decided to hold online classes and resume in-person classes when it is safe to do so. While others have decided to have the remainder of the semester’s classes held online.
This means some students will have to move out of their dorms and return home, while others will have to stay at their university’s dorm in the meantime.
Some institutions will maintain residence halls, designated dining facilities, libraries and computer labs open for those who stay.
To view a full list of the announcements made by Texas universities with class changes, click here.
If you’re wondering how this will affect your kids’ education, this article will answer some of the questions you might have.