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!
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:
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!
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:
Day 1: Dinosaurs
- Dinosaur Exercises for Kids
- Roll a Dinosaur Movement Game (requires you to print, cut out, and glue the dice beforehand)
- Printable Dinosaur Themed Workout for Kids
- Paper Plate Dinosaurs (drop the paint and use markers or crayons to make it less messy!)
- Paper Tube Dinosaur Puppets
- Dinosaur Stamping (warning: very messy!)
- 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!
Day 2: Bears
- JoyBob the Polar Bear – Cosmic Kids Yoga
- Winter Freeze Dance
- 7 Minute HIIT Workout for Kids (Scroll waaaaaaay down the page for the printable!)
- Bread Bears — can use any bread or biscuit dough — Pillsbury is great!
- Teddy Bear Toast
- Banana Bears – this is just a Pinterest image, but it’s good inspiration!
- How to Draw a Bear for Young Kids
- Bear Counting — replace the bear counters with beads, goldfish snacks, or any other small thing you have
- How Do Bears Stay Warm in the Cold?
- Bear Color By Number – for small children, color in the color names so they can match up the numbers
Day 3: Snow
- Snowman Dance
- Snow Ninja Challenge — best for kids who can read
- Winter Gross Motor Activities
- Snowman Guided Relaxation
- Snow Dough – This was my kids’ favorite part of all of this. They played with this dough for days!
- Pipe Cleaner Snowflakes
- Torn Paper Snowflakes
Day 4: Cars
- Car Yoga (you can do this with any chair or seat)
- Car-Themed Workout for Kids
- Red Light Green Light, Dance Party!
- Toilet Paper Roll Cars
- Paper Plate Cars
- Tissue Box Car Wash – just about any box will work for this
- Car Painting (warning: very messy!)
- Apple and Grape (or Banana) Cars
- Dip Sticks
- Stoplight Graham Crackers – Use peanut butter instead of chocolate spread!
Day 5: Bugs
- Grape Caterpillar
- Ants on a Log – This has some variations on the old classic
- Apple Bugs – Simplify by sticking the chocolate chips on with peanut butter
- 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!