Life continues to be trying for many families as we all navigate the challenges of working and learning from home while in isolation. Without normal outlets and distractions, the monotony of homeschooling can become difficult for many. Use this resource guide to combat boredom and come up with some fun ‘staycation’ ideas for your family. If you need more ideas for fun things to do with your kids, American SPCC presents some ideas that can help.
The art of the ‘staycation’
With your family travel plans crossed off the calendar due to the pandemic, it’s important to find other ways to enjoy downtime with your family. This is where the staycation becomes vital: a stay-home vacation can be just as rewarding as a trip to Disney World — if you do it right.
For families that want to encourage learning outside traditional lesson plans and homework, an educational staycation is a great option. The key is planning your staycation around your children’s interests. For example, if you have a budding biologist or environmentalist at home, consider planning your staycation to a local park or national forest to learn about the flora and fauna in your region.
If your child has an interest in birds, go on a walk around your neighborhood and take pictures of every bird you see. You can help your kid start a journal with all the various bird species you encounter for an ornithological report of your neighborhood. This can work with other animals, too, so if your child loves squirrels or other woodland creatures, go on a hike to help them learn about local wildlife.
You can also take your staycation farther afield and opt for a vacation rental right in your hometown. For example, if you live in the Carlsbad area and could use a break from the norm, why not pack up the kids for a long weekend at a beachfront rental? You can safely get away and enjoy oceanside nature like watching crabs, birds and even fish.
Tools for home education
As you help your kids adapt to learning at home, consider getting new tools to help make their remote learning run smoothly. One helpful item is a new tablet or desktop computer: you can get great deals on equipment if you take advantage of online promotions.
A new desktop computer will also allow your child to learn far more than standard lesson plans. They’ll also be able to use it for video games, which have shown to help promote cognitive skills and help with problem-solving. Video games can help improve hand-eye coordination, enhance memory, and even improve attention. Gaming has also been shown to improve learning, so you could also use video games to help your child with difficult school subjects. Another great piece of equipment to consider buying is a new mouse. A responsive mouse will make gaming much easier for your kids and will allow them to more easily use their new computer.
When school is done for the day, it’s important to have fun activities for your kids to break up the monotony of learning from home. While gaming is great, it’s also important to get outside. In winter, this might mean going for a midday walk to add to their bird journal or heading to a wilderness park to learn about tree species. Honing the art of the staycation may take some getting used to, but once you have some go-to activities that your child genuinely enjoys, you won’t even miss your annual travel plans.
Jenna Sherman of Parent Leaders