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Creative Ways to Keep Kids Engaged While Sheltering in Place

If you experienced bouts of cabin fever during the COVID-19 pandemic, you are not alone. Whether you are contending with a quarantine, shelter in place orders, or "Stay Healthy at Home" regulations, being confined to a home during a pandemic like the Coronavirus has proved to be difficult for most people across the globe.

But home confinement has been especially challenging for children — especially those with ADHD. While they may have difficulty expressing themselves, isolation and disruption to their routines can be scary and may impede their psychosocial development. Below are fun ways to keep children engaged and help them socialize safely during coronavirus.

Schedule a Virtual Play Date

Using one of the many websites that host virtual sessions, you can schedule a virtual play date for one or more children. Before moving forward, check with school administrators to see if they currently use a particular platform. Here are some suggested ideas to socialize with classmates using this platform:

  • Play "Guess the Animal"
    • In this game, children can take turns writing down the name of an animal and giving their classmate clues one by one.
  • Storytelling
    • In this game, two students take turns telling an imaginary story. One student begins telling the story and the second student finishes.
  • Arts and crafts
    • Students can draw pictures, make jewelry or build cars at the same time, sharing their final product with their peers.

Host a Classroom Car Parade

Teachers play a critical role in encouraging socialization between children while they are at school. With their routines and socialization opportunities disrupted by COVID-19, children with ADHD may find themselves missing the interaction, structure and security provided by their teachers.

A great way to engage students during COVID-19 is for teachers and school personnel to host a "Car Parade." There are many ways to plan a car parade, but the key is to actively involve students in the planning process. In addition to crafting a fun, memorable event, students will learn valuable life and planning skills in the process. Here are some suggestions to plan an unforgettable car parade.

  • Set the date - Choose a Saturday afternoon or Sunday for your car parade. Choose a primary date and a rain date in case severe weather strikes.
  • Assemble the parade participants - In addition to teachers and aides, you can invite counselors, principals, and local celebrities to drive cars.
  • Involve students in the parade design - Students can work together online to help dress up the cars and give them names.
  • Promote the parade - Establish a phone tree students can use to send reminders to each other and invite people on their streets to watch.
  • Cheer on the participants - Students can wear their favorite parade outfits on the day of the parade and cheer on the cars as they drive by.

Plan a Drive-in Movie Night

After weeks of being confined to their homes during COVID-19, most children have watched a lot of television. And likely many movies. But watching a movie alone at home is not nearly as much fun for a child as watching a good movie on the big screen with friends. With many traditional movie theaters being closed around America, you may think that this treat is out of reach. But that is not the case!

With just a little advanced planning, an LCD projector, and enough space to park several cars side by side, children and their classmates can get out of the house and watch the latest movie at the "drive-in". Here are a few more ways to make this activity fun and educational.

  • Work in some drive-in trivia. For example, ask children when drive-ins originated and how many drive-ins are open in Florida.
  • Bring some treats. Bring along some individual bags of popcorn, pretzels, candy, and some healthy snacks for children to enjoy during the movie.
  • Designate a "cameraman" to take photos of the event. You can then distribute the images or share them online.
With so many things being uncertain right now, the kids needed to be shown that the adults they used to see every day miss them just as much or maybe more than they miss us. It was just a great mental health boost for everyone involved.
Hali Cartee Hali Cartee

The Bottom Line on Socializing During COVID-19

Socialization is a key part of every child's psychosocial development. To discover more innovative ways to keep children with ADHD engaged with their peers and school staff during the coronavirus, we invite you to contact us at Kentwood Preparatory School. Our team of skilled educators and support staff is dedicated to enriching the lives of our students - even during these challenging times. We welcome your feedback and look forward to hearing from you!

Call (561) 649-6141 to ask how we can help.


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