Keep Kids Busy During Quarantine (PreK-2nd Grade)

January 19, 2022 Diane Homan

Stuck inside with your 4-8 year old? These five themed quarantine days full of activities built around literature and learning require very little from you to keep your kids busy and moving!

5 Themed Quarantine Days | Homan at Home

It really feels like we’re on our way back to March 2020. My school district closed schools last Friday and Tuesday because we were so short staffed we literally couldn’t provide coverage. My church had to combine all the kid and teenager classes for the same reason. And just about everybody I know has had or is in quarantine with the virus. It just seems like a matter of time, doesn’t it?

With that said, at least this variant’s allegedly more mild. And with vaccination, the odds are you’ll have mild to no symptoms when you do catch it. Which means that you may have COVID-positive kiddos who have to stay home, but are certainly not going to be lying around in bed. Or you or your children may be required to quarantine even when everyone feels good. Either way, having a bunch of easy-on-parents activities and ideas is the difference between interminable days and an enjoyable interlude.

This post has pulled together several activities for a standard 5 day quarantine. Each day has a kid-friendly theme — dinosaurs, bears, cars, snow, and bugs. All of the activities are things you can find online or that require pretty standard household items (toilet paper tubes, masking tape, paper, etc). For each day, there’s a focus on 5 things:

1. Reading

Start each day with a book! I’ve linked to Youtube read-alouds for books on each topic, but feel free to sub with your own read-aloud with books you already have in the house. Or do both! The Youtube videos are a great way to buy yourself 10-15 minutes to get that one thing done, and they still encourage kiddos to develop an interest in books and reading.

2. Movement (Gross Motor Skills)

Each day involves a gross motor skill activity, some in the form of Youtube exercise videos, others in the form of obstacle courses or simple games. Many of these are things kiddos can do by themselves, often over and over. I’ve tested all of them with my two children, and I’ve gotten literal hours of enjoyment for minimal work with each of these.

3. Crafting (Fine Motor Skills)

Super simple crafts still teach a lot! From putting beads on a pipe cleaner to molding playdough or cutting straight lines, each one of these crafts has been chosen due to its easiness on the adult in the equation. A little cutting, some supervision, and of course support might be in order, but for many of these, you can sit back and watch them create!

4. Food

This focus is less developmental, and more just plain fun. Spice the day up with super simple snacks that match the day’s theme. I’ve included multiple ideas for each day, and you can choose which ones match the contents of your pantry and your kiddos’ interests. Sprinkles are very much your friend here!

5. Wild Card

Drawing tutorials, car races, and so on. This section is the place for all those extra activities that get minds and bodies working. I’ve included a few ideas for each day — feel free to do as many or as few as you’d like!

The Quarantine Days:

5 Themed Quarantine Days for Grades PreK-2 | Homan at Home

Day 1: Dinosaurs

Reading:

Movement:

Crafting:

Food:

  • Dino Bones: Stick a mini-marshmallow on either end of a pretzel (or break up the pretzels into different sizes)
  • T-Rex Teeth: Cut watermelon or other food into triangles and call them T-Rex Teeth
  • Dinosaur Track Cookies — use any sugar cookie dough to make these. Packaged is great!

Wild Card:

5 Themed Quarantine Days for Grades PreK-2 | Homan at Home

Day 2: Bears

Reading:

Movement:

Crafting:

Food:

Wild card:

5 Themed Quarantine Days for Grades PreK-2 | Homan at Home

Day 3: Snow

Reading:

Movement:

Crafting:

Food:

Wild card:

5 Themed Quarantine Days for Grades PreK-2 | Homan at Home
Image courtesy of Uplifting Mayhem.

Day 4: Cars

Reading:

Movement:

Crafting:

Food:

Wild card:

5 Themed Quarantine Days for Grades PreK-2 | Homan at Home
Image courtesy of Teaching Mama.

Day 5: Bugs

Reading:

Movement:

Crafting:

Food:

Wild card:

  • Racing Caterpillar Game
  • Bug Hunt: Hide bugs (or pieces of paper with bugs drawn on them) around the house. I have one kid hide the bugs, then the other seeks them. Then we switch!)

A Final Word

Will these themed days last from wake up to bedtime? Almost certainly not. Your kiddo may still end up spending time watching a favorite television show or playing on their tablet. However, you will be able to rest assured that in spite of the fact that you’ve been stuck inside, your child has been able to practice important skills, move their body, and exercise their mind. With the world making a solid attempt at falling down around us for the 2nd time in as many years, that’s a real win. It’s all about perspective!

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