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Innovative Activities to Engage Kids During Lockdown Holidays: Insights from a Happiness Researcher

Innovative Activities to Engage Kids During Lockdown Holidays: Insights from a Happiness Researcher

The school holidays are here once again, a time when parents and caregivers typically plan various outings and activities. However, with the ongoing pandemic, many are navigating lockdowns, restrictions, and the challenge of balancing work with children’s remote learning.

As an education researcher focused on integrating creativity into children’s learning experiences, I understand the struggle to keep children engaged during these challenging times.

If you’re searching for fresh ideas to spend quality time with your children and seek opportunities to reconnect after a difficult school term, here are several suggestions to consider.

Initiate Meaningful Conversations

Reflect on your own childhood memories. Often, the most cherished memories are not grand gestures but simple moments of connection.

While it might be challenging to foster these connections during lockdown, it’s certainly achievable. One approach is to use “conversation starters” during daily activities like walks, playtime, or mealtimes.

Provide your children with the vocabulary to express their experiences and develop their sense of self.

Here are some sentence starters to get the conversation flowing:

  • I enjoyed …
  • In the future, I’d like to try …
  • Wouldn’t it be cool if we could …
  • I look forward to …
  • When such-and-such happened, I felt …

Though it may feel awkward initially, you might be surprised by the depth of conversation that unfolds.

Cultivate Positive Emotions Together

Positive emotions are contagious. Seek out new methods to share positivity, such as:

  • Each family member sharing three things they’re grateful for during dinner or on a walk
  • Compiling a list of small joys and displaying it prominently
  • Engaging in a random act of kindness
  • Celebrating everyday achievements and milestones

It’s important to acknowledge that it’s okay not to be positive all the time. Allow space for children to express a range of emotions, including sadness and stress.

Embrace Nature, Even in Urban Settings

Even brief encounters with nature can enhance well-being. While a national park visit might not be feasible, nature can be found in any environment:

  • Practice mindful walking, focusing on your surroundings without electronic distractions
  • Engage in a sensory “scavenger hunt” based on a meditation exercise
  • Explore local parks or undiscovered streets within your lockdown radius
  • If you have a backyard, create art, arrange flowers, or set up a garden bed
  • Plant herbs or flowers in pots or indoors and document their growth

Bond Through Shared Interests

Connect with your children by taking an interest in their hobbies, even if they’re outside your usual leisure activities:

  • Host regular game nights and let your child choose the games
  • Cook a favorite dish from scratch
  • Teach your children new ways to interact with pets
  • Create a time capsule or participate in a community art project

Practice Self-Compassion

If the above suggestions seem overwhelming, remember to be kind to yourself. You’re not obligated to execute every activity. The goal is not to fill every moment but to have a few meaningful experiences during the holidays.

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