Activities that make screen time interactive and educational

All parents know that dreaded feeling when kids are stuck inside due to rainy weather. Or when it’s the school holidays and there is nothing planned.  When they start to get cabin fever, it’s easy to let them hop on a device for entertainment, but what you really want is to keep them active and engaged, not zoned out. If you feel like you’re in a rainy-day rut, these online activities are sure to help you break out of it. These ideas get kids wiggling, creating, and having lots of fun all while learning at the same time.

Interactive Art

When kids are bored, they usually just need some inspiration to spark their imagination. Break out the art supplies and use the internet as a source of inspiration for new ways of creating. The Artful Parent helps you take art to another level, from lessons on technique to drawing prompts and activity sheets. Another great way to get their creative juices flowing that’s interactive is to play a drawing game. Art games are perfect for engaging multiple children, and they encourage bonding when mom and dad join in. For kids who want to explore different forms of art, art history, and art from around the world, check out the resources at Incredible Art.

Creative Movement and Music

One of the most difficult things about rainy days is getting kids to be active without running wild in the house. Online videos are the ideal solution to get kids off the couch and moving. Try an exercise video to build strength and balance while getting their energy out. Or your kids can groove to a variety of dance instruction videos, including classics like ballet and tap, along with some different ideas like hip hop or cultural dances from around the world.

Another fun option is to combine movement and music with imagination, all wrapped into one activity. That’s what Let’s Play Music does with classical music that’s perfect for fairy dancing (complete with dress-up costumes, of course!). This unique idea exposes kids to classical music, helping them develop an appreciation for it early by bringing it to life in your living room. You can also use the internet as a resource for free music lessons where kids can learn about rhythm and pitch and even learn to play an instrument.

High-Tech Pretend Play

Kids love pretend-playing grown-up jobs, whether it’s playing house, school, firefighter, or doctor. Pretend play is how kids explore their world, and it sows the seeds for dreaming of what they want to be when they grow up. Take their pretend play up a notch with interactive online games for exploring careers. For older kids, real estate lesson plans are great for bringing school subjects to life in real-world applications. According to Redfin, “Real estate is a complex field that requires skills in math, science, English, social studies and home economics. By incorporating real estate-based lessons into your curriculum, you can help students gain valuable skills in practical math application, presentation giving, forming a persuasive argument, earth science and so much more.”

Explore Cause and Effect

When kids want to do something fun and exciting, and you want them to do something educational, you can’t go wrong with a science activity. Set up your own science experiment, such as making a glass of “lava” from Earth Science Jr. These activities are easy to do with ingredients you probably already have in your kitchen, and they’re perfect for fostering an interest in science. Another idea for older kids is to use a rainy day as an opportunity to study weather. These Weather Watch activities from Scholastic walk you through weather tracking using the steps of the scientific method.

 

What kids may not know (it can be our secret!) is that these activities are as educational as they are fun. We sometimes think of screen time as being just TV shows or video games, but when you think outside the box, screen time can be a way to jump-start new ideas and exploration. Try these online tools the next time you need to shake things up.

Photo credit: Pixabay

Thanks to Jenny Wise

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