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At-home Activities for Families to Enjoy

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Looking for ideas to keep the kids entertained at home? Trish McKeough, CDI’s Manager of Therapeutic Recreation Programs, shares her thoughts on a list of safe, fun and engaging activities for families to take part in during these challenging times.

  1. Arts and crafts

Not only is art a great form of self-expression, it is an activity that can be done in a limited space. Colouring, painting, cutting and pasting can also improve your child’s fine motor skills.

Try craft projects such as asking your child to draw pictures for a classmate (these can be sent to their friends by email or text as a form of communicating), or making their favourite animal out of the inside of a toilet paper roll.

  1. Cooking and baking

Empower your child to learn a new skill during this time indoors. Pick an age-appropriate recipe for a healthy, low-cost meal (try this trusty recipe from our Taste of Home program!) and work with them to make it. Be sure to monitor your child and avoid contact with sharp objects or hot surfaces.  


  1. Teach your family pet a new trick

If your family owns a cat, dog or other trainable animal, consider teaching them new skills. This is a great use of time as it will occupy the family’s attention and you will continue to feel the benefits after the self-isolation period ends. You can find some tips from the Ontario SPCA here.


  1. Create a homework routine

Some parents and caregivers may want to spend some time on academics during this period, but it can be very difficult to know where to start.  Ontario’s new Learn at Home program is a good place to start. Click here to access the online portal, which offers access to learning resources for children in kindergarten to Grade 12.

Another option is to review your child’s old homework, quizzes and tests with them.  Do you see any concepts or skills they don’t seem to understand? If so, use constructive language and work through the material with them at a comfortable pace. One-on-one instruction is not always possible in the classroom, so they may relish in the opportunity to spend one-on-one time with you.

A homework routine is only useful if it works for your child and your family.  For some kids, school is already such a source of stress and frustration, that they will really benefit from this time away.  You don’t need to “keep up” with school work or worry about falling behind academically in this time.  It’s OK to not do school work as well.


  1. Stay active

Initiate a dance-off at home with your child’s favourite music or YouTube video. Arrange for early morning walks around your home or spend time in your backyard, if available, to expend energy and keep healthy habits. The fresh air and sunshine helps to improve one’s mood and provides a healthy dose of vitamin D. Remember to avoid playgrounds at this time, and keep your distance from others who are also looking for ways to keep active outdoors. 


  1. Practice Patience and self-compassion

You may feel a certain pressure to make every moment productive during this time, but keep in mind that there’s no blueprint or previous framework for the situation we’re currently in. You can’t pour from an empty cup, so your well-being as a parent, guardian or caregiver is important. Be gentle with yourself and allow for unscheduled downtime and breaks too.  Learning to cope with unscheduled time, in an age-appropriate way, is a valuable skill your child can learn during this time too.