Practically every parent is struggling to keep their kids busy during the pandemic. However, those with just one child have the added challenge of being their little one’s only playmate. Without brothers and sisters to play games or keep them company, parents of only children must come up with their own activities to both entertain and connect with them.
Luckily, there are plenty of fun ideas out there to infuse your home with playfulness and creativity. So turn off the tube, put away the tablets and try one of the following activities.
1. Share Old Family Photos
Kids love seeing photos from before they were born. Even snapshots of when they were babies are often enough to pique their interest. If you have them handy, pull out some photo albums and show your little one what mom and dad were like in the good old days. Perhaps you can find a few from when you were their age, too. Does your little one notice any similarities between you two? Snap a few more pics to add to your collection.
2. Color the Neighborhood
Spring is in the air, which means it’s the perfect time to get outside and paint the town — or, in this case, color the neighborhood! Grab your sidewalk chalk and set to work decorating your block. Draw hopscotch or play games like chalk bullseye to help your little one with their math skills at the same time. Of course, this activity does require some supervision, but chalk is just as fun for adults, so you’re bound to have a good time.
3. Organize a Scavenger Hunt
You don’t have to be parent of the year to create a stellar scavenger hunt. In fact, it can be as simple as spotting mushrooms or collecting leaves on the playground. All you have to do is create a series of clues or a list of items for your child to find. Then, set them free in the backyard or playroom to hunt for each one. While this game is enjoyable with other kiddos, your little one will have just as much fun finding everything themselves.
4. Start a Vlog
No, this activity isn’t technically screen-free. However, it can easily help your little one sharpen their communication skills. Start a vlog and make your own YouTube channel to post and share them. Whether it’s clips of you both getting ready in the morning or chatting with viewers on the way to school, filming content is sure to be both entertaining and engaging. If they’re old enough, let them edit the vlog to hone their computer editing skills, too.
5. Make a Bucket List
Let your imaginations run wild and make the ultimate bucket list. This activity could entertain any kid for at least a good few minutes and, if you join in, you could make it last even longer. Talk about everything from hot air ballooning to deep-sea diving. What does your family want to do and see together in your lifetime? Maybe you can check a few must-dos off your bucket list in the coming weeks, months and years.
6. Learn to Cook Together
If you have some extra time on your hands and don’t mind mussing up the kitchen, learn to cook together. Don matching aprons if you have them and find a yummy recipe the whole family will enjoy. Whether it’s a full meal or a small, tasty treat for dessert, there’ll be plenty for your child to do and learn along the way. Chop veggies, mix batter and lick spoons. Taste-testing is the best part!
7. Complete a Spring Craft
There are plenty of fun crafts that kids can complete independently, especially during the springtime. Collect leaves, twigs and flower petals to glue together into different shapes and patterns. Paint butterfly handprints with watercolors or have fun with different mediums like yarn or metal wire. Glue, stickers, twine, pipe cleaners, felt and other similar materials are safe and kid-friendly so they can craft without supervision if need be.
8. Play Pretend
When all else fails, play pretend together. This activity is a staple for young kids because it encourages free play, creativity and lots of memory-making. Play classics like cops and robbers or the floor is lava and let your little one lead the way. Perhaps fairies or firefighters are more their thing. Use your imagination and whatever you have on hand to transform yourselves into anything or anyone you want. There are no rules when you’re playing pretend!
Staying Connected While Playing Solo
The activities above offer loads of fun for all ages, and some of them don’t even require supervision. Even so, it’s important to connect with your little one, especially because they are an only child. Just because you’ve found ways to entertain them doesn’t mean you should ignore them. If anything, the ideas above give you even more opportunities to bond with your child and make memories to last a lifetime.