COVID-19 is forcing millions of children all over the world to stay inside as spring 2020 kicks off. Parents will need all the help they can get to keep their kids entertained indoors.
Stretching its reach across Asia, Europe, the Americas, and Africa, COVID-19 is about to play another dirty trick on parents across the globe.
Having already spent at least a month under lock and key with confused and frustrated kids, moms and dads are now staring down the barrel of another month indoors.
Buying new toys, craft supplies, or expensive gadgets may be off the table, but there is a solution and it is easier than you might think–your kitchen cupboards hold the answers.
While being stuck inside is hard on adults, going outside to experience the warm weather and blossoming trees of spring will be even more tempting for children. With this educational activity you can bring nature indoors and kids can watch science in action with a simple experiment that lasts for weeks.
All you need is:
- An empty glass jar
- A few paper towel sheets
- A handful of “magic” beans (hydrated kidney beans work well)
The children can take it from here: Start by lining the glass jar with a sheet of paper towel and then fill the jar with more scrunched up paper towels. Carefully place the beans between the glass and the first paper towel layer. Now fill the jar halfway with water, place it on the window sill, and wait.
Kids can watch the beans slowly sprout roots and enjoy checking the beans’ progress every day or once a week.
You can check out an example of the experiment here: https://youtu.be/RTRW2Cf9U2U
Make your own paint
Since getting to the shops to buy art supplies is not possible right now, many kids will be running low on materials for crafting. Fear not, your kids can still get creative and colorful at home. From toddlers to teens, non-toxic paint could be the answer to a stress-free afternoon of fun.
Check your cupboards for:
- Plain white flour
- Food coloring
Making the paint is very easy, simply mix flour with tap water until it is thick enough to stick to a paint brush or a little hand. Once the consistency is right, divide the flour mixture into two or three containers and add food coloring.
Little kids can make hand or foot prints or create art by dropping or flicking the paint, while older children can enjoy experimenting with the colors and textures and get creative.
Because the paint is made with flour and water, toddlers still in the eat-everything-they-see phase can use it too. The best part, however, is the cleaning. The paint will come out of clothes with a simple wash and can be wiped off most surfaces with just warm water.
Experiment with lava lamps
Have you ever wanted your very own 1960s style lava lamp? Have your kids make you one using kitchen staples. Another science experiment–your children can even write a report on the activity afterwards and research why the “lava” floats.
Make sure you have:
- A transparent bottle or beaker
- Half a cup of vegetable oil
- Food coloring (optional)
The kids can take over from here. The first step is to pour cold water into the bottle or beaker, leaving about a quarter of the receptacle empty. Now mix the coloring with the oil. Once the oil is ready, add it to the cup or bottle. Now sprinkle a teaspoon of salt over the mixture and watch the oil bubbles move up and down. Once the oil settles, you can add more salt to keep the bubbles moving.
Build your own parachute
The airplanes may be grounded for the foreseeable future but that does not mean your kids have to stop reaching for the skies. Using basic household items, your children can learn to fly in a day.
Get your plane parts ready:
- A plastic cup
- String or wool
- A paper or plastic bag
The pint-size aeronautic engineers can take it from here. Start by making four small, equidistant holes in around the rim of the cup. Cut four lengths of wool or string (around 20 centimeters long). Tie the lengths of wool to the holes in the cup. Now cut the handles off the bag and make four equidistant holes around the opening. Attach the cups to the bag by tying your four strings to the holes in the bag. Now it is time to decorate the parachute and make sure it is unique.
Find a safe place to fly from (ask mom or dad first!), drop the parachute, and watch it glide to land!
Opportunities to jump in puddles or get clean clothes covered in mud will be low on the ground for the next few months, but adventurous kids can still get messy indoors with slime! Slime is strangely fascinating for little ones and making a small batch may provide some much needed respite for parents. Although lots of slime recipes require borax or liquid starch, this method is much less harsh on tiny hands.
First thing’s first:
- Food coloring and glitter (optional)
Making slime is a job for mom or dad as it involves very hot water. First heat a pan of water, but take it off the stove before the water boils. Pour the water into a bowl and add coloring–the more food coloring you use, the stronger the pigment will be. If you are using glitter, mix it in now. Now add the cornstarch little by little until you reach a slimy, stretchy consistency. Adding more cornstarch will make the slime more solid.
Once the slime is ready, little monsters can play to their hearts’ content. If the slime gets a bit dry, just add more water. Store your slime in a zip-lock bag or resealable plastic box.