9 ways to keep your kids occupied during the coronavirus pandemic

Keeping your kids’ skills sharp when schools are closed due to coronavirus

If you have kids stuck at home during the coronavirus outbreak, you’ve probably already heard complaints of “I’m bored” as no one is sure how long our new version of normal will last.

Now’s the time to try some new activities to keep the kids occupied. Try these nine fun things to do to help make the most of your family time:

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Check out online library activities

Atlanta-area library branches are closed, but that doesn’t mean that all its services are unavailable. Many offer online access to services such as BookFlix, which provides video storybooks for kids, and Hoopla, which lets you stream or download a wide variety of digital movies, music, comics and more. Check your local library’s website to see what digital services are available.

Libraries are also offering some special online activities during this time of social distancing, such as DeKalb County Public Library's bedtime stories on Facebook Live every Monday at 7:15 p.m. and Storytime Live on the library's Facebook page at 4 p.m. on Monday-Friday.

Get outside

It’s easy to feel as though you’re completely stuck inside your home, but you’re really not. Get the kids outside in the yard for playing or join them on a walk through your neighborhood, as long as you don’t live in a very busy area that doesn’t allow for enough social distancing.

Some neighborhoods are also starting a scavenger hunt based on the book and song, "We're Going on a Bear Hunt." Neighbors contact each other by phone, text or online and agree to put stuffed bears in a street-facing window for young kids to spot on a scavenger hunt.

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Watch a free puppet show or participate in a workshop

Atlanta's Center for Puppetry Arts is hosting curriculum-based workshops, downloadable guides and interactive puppet shows. The activities are free and are available on the Center's Facebook page.

(Virtually) visit the animals

You can't take the kids to the Georgia Aquarium or Zoo Atlanta at the moment, but you can still let them check on some of their favorite animals. The Zoo is maintaining its popular PandaCam, and Georgia Aquarium has several webcams that include views from its Ocean Voyager Gallery as well as an underwater puffin cam and a beluga whale one.

Make a ‘boredom buster’ jar

Theguardian.com suggests writing various activities that everyone can do on a small square of paper and putting it into a boredom buster jar. When anyone says they're bored, take out a piece of paper and get everyone to do it before choosing another. Suggestions include making a milkshake or playing a game.

Have a board game night

Most families have a variety of board games, most of which haven't been played in a while. Now's the time to dig them out of the closet and rediscover some old favorites. Popsugar.com suggests holding a board game night, encouraging a little friendly competition to keep the boredom away.

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Get artsy

Let the kids learn how to draw, doodle, explore new ways to write and more with Lunch Doodle, hosted by Kennedy Center Artist-In-Residence Mo Willems. A new segment airs each weekday at 1 p.m. and remains online afterward. Or try Draw Every Day With JJK, which is hosted by author and illustrator Jarrett J. Krosoczka.

Take a virtual field trip

Use Google Arts & Culture to virtually visit art museums throughout the world, including The Museum of Modern Art in New York and the Van Gogh museum in Amsterdam. Or visit thechinaguide.com to take a virtual visit to the Great Wall of China.

Go old school

For younger kids, time.com suggests activities as building a box road with flattened boxes, markers, blocks and toy cars, or setting up a washing station for small toys with a basin of tear-free bubbles as well as sponges and towels.