We have all been inside way more than usual. And while seeing our kids more is in many ways a blessing, we have to admit—staying cooped up has had its challenges. While Nurture Life’s focus may be on meal delivery, we also know food isn’t the only thing we need to stay happy and healthy during this time. Below, you’ll find some of the strategies that Nurture Life parents are using to keep our families well while stuck inside. From exercises for kids to stimulating educational resources, our list gives a nod to a bit of everything your family needs to stay healthy indoors.
Keeping Our Bodies Healthy and Strong
It’s hard to stay active and maintain your family’s nutritional standards when you have limited opportunities for outside exercise or grocery store runs. But with some creative thinking and a few compromises, it is possible.
Get Moving Through Family Exercise
There are lots of fun ways to exercise at home. Choose one that your kids enjoy and give it an official spot on your new daily schedule.
Join an Exercise Livestream.
To encourage social distancing, tons of fitness centers are offering free livestreams (or free pre-recorded videos) that focus on at-home exercises with minimal equipment. Some offer exercises for kids specifically, while some require more supervision and/or creative adaptation:
- YMCA 360 – free on-demand exercise videos, including youth classes
- Cosmic Kids Yoga – free videos combining nursery rhymes, cartoons and yoga
- Disney Family – kid-friendly exercise videos inspired by Mulan, Moana, The Incredibles and more
- Planet Fitness – general exercise classes livestreamed by fitness coaches daily
- Orangetheory – new workout videos uploaded daily
Host a Family Olympics.
Indoor or backyard family tournaments can add some friendly competition to your exercise for kids at home:
- Arthur from PBS Kids suggests entertaining activities for younger kids, including indoor balloon volleyball and one-footed balancing.
- Older kids may enjoy more difficult but still kid-friendly bodyweight exercises, which offer plenty of opportunity for competition. Try “first to 100 sit-ups” or “longest superman pose.” (Capes optional.)
Film a Family TV Show.
Use a phone to film your own version of your kids’ favorite active TV shows. Host a family dance-off a la Dancing with the Stars or create an American Ninja Warrior-style indoor obstacle course for kids. You can film a new episode every week until lockdown ends, creating unique family memories that aren’t centered around the stress and anxiety of coronavirus.
If you have a yard or access to a permitted area while social distancing, take advantage of the sunshine and fresh air to bring some calm to your lives. Take a relaxing walk or go high-intensity with a backyard fitness circuit course that’s easily adapted to kids of all ages.
Support Health Through Nutritious Foods
To keep our bodies and immune systems strong, it’s more important than ever to continue prioritizing healthy meals for kids and for ourselves.
Focus on Healthy Foods for Kids.
If you’re able to go to the grocery store or order your groceries online, here’s a helpful guide to a registered dietitian’s fridge, freezer and pantry essentials. Prioritizing nutritious staples and kid-friendly junk food alternatives will make it easier to keep rumbling tummies happy without the sugar crash or excessive sodium of typical snacks.
Make Your Kitchen Kid-Friendly.
If you’re cleaning and organizing to avoid going stir-crazy, why not spend a few minutes to make your kitchen more kid-friendly? By giving your kids dedicated shelves in the fridge and pantry, you can empower them to choose their own nutritious, pre-approved snacks—which is especially important during self-quarantine, since more time at home often means more mindless snacking for all of us.
For a fun activity to fill the stuck-at-home weekend hours, cooking is a great way to teach your kids about healthy foods and build up their comfort in the kitchen. Try this list of recipes with five ingredients or less or these quick and easy pantry recipes.
Another benefit of cooking as a family is that it’s a natural learning opportunity! You can highlight and practice specific skills to keep your kids sharp while school is out:
- Build math skills while measuring, counting ingredients, calculating cooking time or dividing food into portions.
- Build reading skills by having your little one read aloud every step of the recipe.
- Build writing skills by asking your child to write a review of your dish to publish in the family newspaper.
- Build creative thinking skills by asking your child what they might do differently next time, having them invent a fun recipe name or thinking of substitute ingredients they’d like to try.
- Build science skills by explaining the basics of why ingredients change when they’re mixed, heated or chilled.
Find an Easier Mealtime Option.
If finding time to cook together as a family sounds literally impossible, that’s perfectly okay, too! It’s hard enough when life is normal, and life today is anything but.
Nurture Life is one option available to you if you need help feeding your kids well. During COVID-19, we’re working hard to keep our regular delivery schedule so that parents can maintain the same balanced nutrition for kids during these tough times. Our ready-to-eat baby, toddler and kids meals are nutrient-dense and crafted to meet kids’ unique developmental needs. We deliver them fresh, but you can also freeze them for easy meals on hand anytime.
Keeping Our Minds Busy and Active
Although schools and museums are closed, many public institutions, nonprofits and business organizations have really stepped up their online learning for kids. Here 10 fun (and free!) ways to encourage learning, exploration and discovery at home:
- Teach your kids how to wash their hands to the irresistible tune of Baby Shark. Doo doo, doo doo, doo doo…
- Join the National Children’s Museum’s daily STEAMwork classes, live on Facebook at 2:30pm EST. Topics include sensory play, science exploration and building.
- Browse Google’s Arts & Culture platform to go on virtual explorations of hundreds of the world’s most famous museums.
- For kids ages 2–7, Khan Academy offers a free, ad-free kids app called Khan Academy Kids. This app has independent and guided learning activities for social-emotional skills as well as academic skills.
- LeVar Burton, famed host of Reading Rainbow, offers a digital library called Skybrary for kids ages 2–9. With a free 30-day trial, you’ll have access to storytime, interactive reading, games, virtual field trips and other indoor activities for kids.
- Use these kid-friendly creative writing prompts to inspire your children’s imagination and work on their reading and writing skills.
- Watch daily art tutorials from The Kennedy Center’s LUNCH DOODLES with Mo! Mo Willems speaks directly to children and guides them through a daily drawing activity.
- Learn about animals through Cincinnati Zoo’s daily “Home Safari” livestream. Carolina Tiger Rescue is offering daily livestreams as well, and the Museum of the Pacific has 24 hour streams of penguins, stingrays, sharks and more.
- Explore space from home through NASA Kids’ Club, offering printable coloring books, board games and science experiments. If your kids are into astronauts, you can also watch pre-recorded videos of astronauts reading aloud from the International Space Station.
- Watch the Met Opera’s free Nightly Met Opera Streams—and then challenge your kids to write and perform their own opera (silly or serious!).
If you’re worried about screen time during COVID-19 lockdowns, join us in being mindful but not overly concerned. These are extremely unusual times, and it’s perfectly okay if you need the immediate quiet that only the iPad or TV seems to bring. Better to fill the extra screen time with these virtual learning opportunities and educational games for kids!
Keeping Ourselves Connected and Supported
Being cooped up at home with active kids, professional obligations and normal day-to-day responsibilities can make even the most patient parents feel exhausted and stretched thin. The anxiety we’re all feeling can also make it hard to stay emotionally available for our loved ones. Here are a few ideas to recharge so that we can continue to nourish and appreciate the people around us:
- Take advantage of technology to stay connected through regular video chats with family, virtual playdates with friends or online study sessions for older kids.
- Encourage your kids to start gratitude journaling—or better, do it together! Research shows that daily gratitude practice can help reorient the mind to focus on positive things. Here’s a free printable gratitude journal for kids.
- Work with your kids to brainstorm small acts of kindness for others. Maybe your kids could create handmade cards for local nursing homes, write a note of encouragement to display on the window or call an elderly neighbor just to say hi.
- Try meditating as a family to teach your kids the importance of “quiet time” and help them learn to identify negative feelings without being overwhelmed by them. Headspace offers a meditation pack specifically for kids.
- Have periodic check-ins with your kids to ask how they are feeling and what your family could do better to support each other. The Child Mind Institute has a very helpful guide on how to talk to kids about coronavirus.
No matter the size of your family or your current work-from-home situation, the upcoming days and weeks will be hard for all of us. Prioritizing our physical, mental and emotional well-being is one way that we can gain a little more control over our lives at home while looking after the ones we love most.
If there is anything Nurture Life can do to support your family’s well-being as you stay home, please reach out to us. You can read more about what we’re doing to promote health and safety during coronavirus here, or you can contact us directly at firstname.lastname@example.org or 877.988.8851.