The coronavirus (Covid-19) has made a very real impact on families across the United States. As schools close, students are spending the days and coming weeks at home, oftentimes with the whole family.

So what do you, as a parent, do during all of this extra time?

At Shepherd’s Hill Academy, our goal is to offer hands-on, experiential options and opportunities for your family during this time. While digital technology has its place as an educational tool during this time, our mission is to provide an alternative to “Binge-watching” and settling in with the iPad and iPhone.

We wish to challenge you and your family to engage in tech-free fun as a family unit! Below you will find 25 ideas to spend time during the days at home. Can you complete all 25? What would you add to the list?

25 Tech-Free Activities for Families Practicing Social Distancing During Coronavirus

1. Complete a Puzzle

It’s time to break the puzzles out of the back closet, dust off the box, and bring out your competitive side. For young children, small puzzles with shapes or cartoons are a lot of fun! For older children and teens, try larger puzzles. Have you ever finished that 1000 piece puzzle you bought years ago?

Rubix Cubes are fun “personal puzzles” to keep little hands busy and minds engaged. See who in your family can complete the cube, and who can do it the fastest!

Don’t have a stash of puzzles? Make your own! Take a sheet from a coloring book (or start from scratch with a blank piece of paper), complete the design, and cut it into wacky shapes! This is a great option for younger children to engage and learn.

2. Plan a Family Menu

Go through your pantry and create a family menu for the week. Write down your meals for Breakfasts, Lunches and Dinner. Assign a “head chef” for each meal. Allow your older children to plan and cook a meal themselves and then serve the family. Help the littlest members of the family out with small tasks, setting the table and more!

3. Learn/Play an Instrument

Does your family have a talent for musical instruments? Dust off the old instruments and practice. Maybe even start a family band!

Don’t have any musical instruments? Make one! Use Tissue Boxes and rubber bands for guitars, toilet paper rolls or a plastic easter egg, beads/beans/other noisemakers, and paper to make a shaker.

Learn a song together.

4. Family Art Project

Do you have a craft room? Craft closet? Or a stash of random craft supplies? Break out your arts and crafts supplies and set up a craft station in your home.

Give your family members a prompt or challenge of something to create. Or let your creativity run wild!

Display your art in the craft space like a museum and show off your work.

5. Treat Yourself to a Spa Day

Do you have face masks, moisturizers, cleansing bars, and more lying around the house? Treat yourself to a multi-step skincare routine that you wouldn’t normally have time for. Enjoy a time of relaxation as a family in your in-home spa!

6. Start a Journal

Engage your child’s creative side. Encourage a time of journaling for the entire family. Have a daily writing prompt, or make it open-ended. Allow for time for your family to share what they have written (if desired) or what they learned about themselves during their writing time.

7. Organize the Tupperware Cabinet

Do you always seem to have more lids than containers to match? Challenge your teens to design a Tupperware cabinet that will keep everything in line! Provide tools or supplies for them to build and design a new space inside your cabinet.

8. Spring Cleaning

Get a jump start on spring cleaning!

Dedicate each day to a particular area of the home that you want to tidy up. Go through old clothes, toys and items that are no longer needed and bag them up to donate. Work together as a family to determine what is useful and what has become clutter. Assign members of the family different areas of the home or tasks.

9. Change a Tire

What a perfect time to teach your child/teen life skills! Teach your child how to change their own tire. It will come in handy later in life, and will give you some great educational and quality time with your teen.

10. Don’t forget the Oil!

While you’re outside learning to change a flat, be sure to also discuss car maintenance and keeping your vehicle safe. Show your child how to change the car oil, filter, and more, allowing them to help with the process.

11. Plant an Herb Garden

Using small pots or even plastic cups, set out to create an herb garden. Choose between hanging the potted herbs, placing them on shelving, or another unique idea you and your family decide. Decorate the pots and labels for each herb. Let your creativity soar!

12. Plant a Raised Bed Garden

Enjoy the fresh air this week by creating a raised bed garden. Work together to determine what you will plant and where you will plant it. Then, work as a team to build the garden you’ve mapped out and created. Assign tasks and gardener duties to continue to care for the garden. Switch off tasks of watering, weeding, and even reading or singing to your plants.

13. Bird/Animal Watching

Grab your binoculars and see how many wildlife creatures you can identify near your home. Sit on your porch, deck, or next to a window and discover the beauty of God’s creation. Can you identify the birds you see? Does your neighborhood have squirrels? Rabbits? A cat or two?

14. Fly a Kite

Bonus points if you build a kite from scratch! Enjoy some fresh air and a cool breeze with a kite. Teach younger children how to fly the kite as you learn both patience and kite flying skills.

15. Scavenger Hunt

Go on a scavenger hunt. This can be done indoors or outdoors. Assign your children a list of specific items or give general descriptions— like “find something as big as your hand,” “find something both green and blue,” etc. Set a timer and have everyone meet at a central location to show off their finds. The person with the most items gets bragging rights!

16. Slow-Motion

Play a game as a family where everyone tries to move in slow motion. Try to perform regular, daily tasks at half-speed and get a good laugh in!

17. Pig Latin

Learn Pig Latin. Then proceed to speak it for the rest of the day as a family.

18. Olde English

Have you mastered Pig Latin? What about Olde English? Try thy hand at it!

19. Use the Other Hand

Are you right-handed? Try using your Left hand as your dominant hand today. Can you write? Brush your teeth? Use a fork? Left-handers- switch it up to using your right hand today. Share your experiences with your family.

20. Write a Short Story with Your Family

Allow each member of your family to create a character. Create a theme for your story and have each member of the family write a chapter about their character’s adventure. Read the story aloud as a group.

21. Put on a Family Play

Write a short play together as a family. Give each member of your family a part. Put on costumes and practice your script. Perform your play together.

22. Interview Your Grandparents

Create interview questions for your grandparents. Call them up and record the audio. Ask them the questions and learn more about their stories. Save the audio as a memory keepsake to keep forever.

23. Create a Grateful List

What are you thankful for? Create a list of everything in your life for which you are grateful. Be creative! You can write out the list or use old magazines to create a grateful collage! Share your list with your family.

24. Exercise Together

Does your family do an exercise routine? Spend some time doing yoga, pilates, hand weights or just some fun cardio together as a family. Young children LOVE fun animal moves and poses. Do a crab walk race or leap like a frog for interactive family fun.

25. Self-Portrait

Look at yourself in the mirror and then draw what you see! Share your portraits as a family or lay out all of the designs and guess who is who!

The sky is the limit in tech-free family fun. Modify the list, add to it, and share it with your friends. We can’t wait to hear what you and your family are doing to bond, make memories and enjoy time together.