13 FREE (or Nearly Free) Family Activities While Social Distancing
Social distancing doesn’t mean you have to stay in your basement 24/7. There are plenty of activities your family can do to stay occupied without compromising fun! Just check out this list of ideas from LearningRx (www.LearningRx.com), the world’s largest personal brain training company.
1. Geocaching. Got a smartphone? Then you’ve already got everything you need for your outdoor hunt for clues—and maybe a prize! (If you don’t own a smartphone but do own a GPS, you’re in luck too.)
Simple go to www.Geocaching.com and create a free account. Type in your address and you’ll see all the nearby geocaches. (There are 2 million geocaches in the world and the U.S. has nearly half.) Just choose the one you want and enter the coordinates into your GPS or smartphone. Once you find the geocache, sign the log book (bring your own pen), return the geocache to its original location and share your stories and photos online.
There are lots of different kinds of geocaches, from traditional to mystery caches (e.g., that make you solve puzzles) to multi-caches that provide a chain of clues to your next stop. Some geocaches encourage you to exchange toys or trinkets, so feel free to bring fun stuff to swap. You may even decide to create your own geocache!
2. Have a Box Bonanza. Give your kids some large empty boxes and let their imaginations go wild! From cars and play kitchen sets to rocket ships and boats, this fun works indoors or out Plus, it’s the perfect time to mop because they’re stuck in their boxes thanks to the floors being hot lava and all.
3. Make a time capsule. Just imagine a family 200 years from now unearthing your family’s time capsule! You can include photos, a newspaper or magazine, a handwritten letter talking about what life is like today, a movie ticket stub, a few inexpensive toys or pieces of memorabilia, and some coins or a dollar bill. Maybe it’s not 200 years before it’s opened. Perhaps your family will open it together 50 years from now!
4. Go on a nature scavenger hunt. Create a list of items they might find in your yard: a red leaf, a dandelion, a stick shaped like the letter Y, a pink rock, a four-leaf clover, etc. You can set a time limit (since not everyone will find a four-leaf clover!) and give everyone a small paper bag to carry their list and hold everything they find.
You can also use a checklist of things to look for, but not touch. This is good for parks or nature hikes where you don’t want nature disturbed.
5. Host your own carnival. Designing the games is half the fun! Stack tin cans in a pyramid and let everyone try to knock them down with a rice-filled sock. Try to get a flying disc in a hamper or hit ping pong balls off the tops of bottles with a Nerf gun. Be creative! There are countless ideas that you can create with things you already have around your home.
6. Play an active game to keep everyone moving. Hide and Seek, Kick the Can, Freeze Tag or even Charades on a rainy day will keep everyone off the couch. Some websites offer printable cards or random idea generators for Charades phrases.
7. Set up a backyard campsite. A tent, s’mores and a (code compliant) campfire—it’s just like the real thing with the convenience of indoor plumbing!
8. Create an indoor treasure hunt. Write some simple rhyming clues. Here’s an example:
“Ready to start? Here’s your first clue:
A bright yellow book holds Clue number 2!”
Depending on your kids’ ages, you can keep it short and simple or make it much harder with more clues. The last clue should help them find a fun treat or prize.
9. Host the Silly Olympics. Create an obstacle course or individual events (like the backwards crab crawl or carrying an egg on a spoon). Unless your kids are about the same age, games of speed don’t often feel as fair as games of balance or accuracy. Feel free to choose events that you know the younger children could win—such as somersaults or making farm animal noises while jumping on the trampoline.
10. Build a massive fort. Use clothespins, chip clips, rubber bands, hair scrunchies or clips as fasteners. Give everyone five minutes to gather every blanket, sheet and tablecloth in the house while you rearrange chairs for maximum awesomeness!
11. Break out the indoor games. From board games and puzzles to card houses and paper airplane competitions, you can create a lasting memory without opening your wallet!
12. Plant a garden. Everyone feels good when they touch soil and even if you live in a tiny apartment you can grow something! Try growing basil, mint or cilantro to use in your cooking, grow a lemon tree or plant your avocado pit and watch it grow into some pre-guacamole yumminess!
13. Create a family video for a faraway loved one. If Grandma is homebound recovering from a fall or cousin Cathy is living abroad, why not make a funny family video to share a slice of life? Take them on a tour of your neighborhood or let your kids pretend to be news reporters.
Social distancing doesn’t have to be boring. There’s plenty of fun to be had without feeling guilty about being over-budget. Your word for the year is “CREATIVE!”
LearningRx, headquartered in Colorado Springs, Colorado, is the largest one-on-one brain training company in the world. Our training programs are administered through more than 100 locations in the U.S. and in 45 countries around the globe (as BrainRx®). LearningRx has helped more than 100,000 individuals and families sharpen their cognitive skills to help them think faster, learn easier, and perform better. In addition to their center-based training programs that partner every client with a personal brain trainer to keep clients engaged, accountable, and on-task—a key advantage over digital brain games—most LearningRx Centers also offer online training through real-time videoconferencing. This expanded delivery method allows clients to work from the comfort of their own home while still receiving the benefits of one-on-one brain training with a personal brain trainer. LearningRx's pioneering methods have been used in clinical settings for over 35 years and have been subjected to peer-review in more than a dozen scientific journals. To learn more visit https://www.learningrx.com/our-programs/online-brain-training/