Virtual after school activities to keep kids engaged during Covid-19
The year 2020 is difficult for everyone due to Coronavirus or Covid-19 situation, but it has impacted the kids most. Kids are not able to attend schools physically. They are spending around 2 to 5 hrs in front of the screen to participate in their classes, but due to teachers; limited experience with online teaching, they are not enjoying these classes that much. They also cannot join any after school activities or spend time outdoors in the evenings due to Covid-19.
Staying at home for the full day isn’t easy for them. Once the online classes are over, they need to be engaged to keep their boredom away and stay active. So, it is vital to keep them busy in stimulating activities for their development. There are so many virtual activities that kids can do after their online classes, which will engage and invigorate them the whole day.
Let us explore seven virtual after school activities to keep kids involved during Covid-19:
1. Start a YouTube Channel
Kids can start an online YouTube channel with their friends to showcase their dancing, singing, art and craft, or any talent. They can also use this to teach their skills to other kids across the globe. This will help them develop their hobbies and share their passion with others. It essential that a parent is involved in such activities to guide them and limit unwanted exposure. YouTube channel initiations instructions are also available as YouTube videos and the process is easy to follow and implement.
2. Virtual Visit to Zoo or Aquarium or Jungle
Zoos and Aquariums are a perfect way to inspire and educate kids. Visiting Zoo, aquariums, and wildlife sanctuaries help kids understand and appreciate the importance of conservation, animal care, and the environment. Few organisations worldwide offer free or at nominal charges live feed of Aquarium, Zoo, or wildlife sanctuaries/park. Kids can visit the Vancouver Aquarium site, Monterey Bay Aquarium site, Aquarium of the Pacific site, or African Wildlife on Explore site to see what is happening.
3. Gardening and Virtual gardening
Not being able to go outdoors or having a real garden should not stop kids from enjoying gardening fun. Gardening in a limited space such as a balcony can be fun for kids of all ages. It will not only keep them busy but will also help them in developing essential plants related science concepts. This will help them in understanding how fruits/vegetables grow just by planting seeds. Putting some seeds in a small pot and putting that pot under an inverted glass in light can teach a complete self-sustainable ecosystem to kids. Kids can use recycled bottles to serve as wall or hanging pot to grow vegetables. They can also use eggshell or coconut shell or juice boxes to grow plants. Some of the easiest vegetables that kids can grow in the balcony are Carrots, Radish, beans, chilies, celery, cherry tomatoes, and ladyfinger. My personal favourites are carrot and cherry tomatoes. Parents can make kid water these plants as their daily routine. Gardening can also be done virtually with websites like Marshalls Garden Visualiser. This enables the imagination to not be constrained by space availability or climatic / seasonal vagaries.
4. Learn to code
Yes, your kid can very easily learn coding while just sitting at home. There are many online tools that make it easier for kids to learn to code and develop logic skills. Scratch is one such tool that kids can use to create their own games and animations. MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology), one of the world’s best computers, engineering, and the physical sciences universities, developed this tool for kids and it is available for free.
5. Virtual Performing Arts Classes
If you have a young kid, you can check out the virtual theatre, dance, and music classes online. Performing arts are a good way for kids to develop emotional and cognitive skills. Kids can learn Zumba or classical dance or learn to play instruments like the piano or guitar. You can easily find a lot of free apps for kids with interactive video lessons to learn instruments. Due to Covid, many organisers in India are also providing dance and music classes online as individual and group sessions.
6. Online Art and crafts Lessons
Art and craft is the best way to enhance the creativity of kids. It is immensely helpful in keeping energy and imagination on a high level. Through this, they can learn to recycle old objects available at home. Kids can check out easy creative drawing ideas and 5 minutes of easy DIY crafts on various online websites. Kids can also learn art and craft online through YouTube channels or online workshops that teach particular art to kids.
7. Online Book Club
Books enrich our lives in many ways. Kids can start or join an online book club with their friends. The reading books will not only develop their language skills but will also help them unwind and recharge. They can pick any book read it among their audience, or all of them can read the same book and discuss it.
(Author Kiran Meena is a Co-Founder and Head of Content at School My Kids. Views expressed here are personal.)