Social distancing may be keeping us at home, but it’s also a great opportunity to come closer as a family.

Across the country, schools have temporarily closed, parents are working from home, and most cities are urging people to stay home as much as possible. Getting used to these new changes can feel overwhelming for parents and kids alike.

Rather than focusing on negative feelings like stress, you can help turn your family’s perspective around by taking advantage of this break and coming closer together.

Here are 9 great ideas for things to do with your family while you’re all home from work and school.

1. Try a new board game or a multiplayer video game.

Family game night is always a fantastic idea, but playing the same games over and over can sometimes dull the excitement. If it’s been a while since you all played a new game, check online to see what board games are out that catch your family’s interest. Don’t forget about classic card games as well!

If your kids love video games, you can surprise them with a new multiplayer game that your whole family can get into. You might be a little rusty with your gaming skills, but we bet your children will love beating Mom or Dad in a Mario Kart race!

2. Exercise together with family-friendly online classes.

Right now, exercise is more important than ever. Not only will it keep your family healthy and boost your immune systems, but it’ll also help burn off extra energy from being inside.

Going for a walk or kicking a soccer ball in the backyard is great, but consider taking a family-focused online exercise class. One great resource is NEO Kids on the NEOU website. You can even get a free trial to try it out when you sign up.

3. Have a laugh while practicing your language skills with Mad Libs.

Mad Libs is a blast for all ages. Not only can you create some hilarious stories, but it also gives your family’s brains a workout. Your kids will be improving their reading comprehension, vocabulary, and grammar skills all while laughing and having fun.

You can find Mad Libs books online or in stores, but there are plenty of free, kid-friendly printables online to check out!

4. Follow a guided online painting lesson.

Very young kids can often entertain themselves endlessly with fingerpainting, but school-age kids, teens, and adult family members might like a little more of a challenge. Guided or “step-by-step” painting classes are super popular, and there are tons of video lessons available online.

A quick YouTube search will yield hundreds of wonderful videos. Bob Ross videos can also be found online and on streaming services like Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime.

5. Take turns choosing a new tasty treat to bake.

Right now is a perfect time to cook up some healthy, delicious, home-cooked meals. But it’s also a great time to indulge that sweet tooth with a tasty, comforting baked good. Let each family member take turns picking out a recipe that sounds good to them, then head to the kitchen together and get baking.

Younger kids will really love colorful and creative baked goods, especially if there’s some messy decorating fun involved. This slideshow has a ton of fun ideas for kids!

6. Make bedtime brushing and flossing a family affair.

With everyone at home, it’s a great time to make sure everyone in the family is “brushing up” on their at-home dental care routines. A fun way to make oral care a habit is for everyone in your family to brush and floss together before bedtime.

Every night, a different family member can pick a song to listen to while everyone brushes for the recommended two minutes. You could also tell jokes or practice a silly voice or accent. Brushing together as a family is especially helpful for young kids who look up to their older siblings.

7. Camp out in the backyard or your living room.

Public campgrounds may be out of the question right now, but we still have our backyards and living rooms. Dust off the family tent and pop it up in the backyard. If it’s too chilly outside, you can even set up your tent in your living room.

Don’t forget to roast some hotdogs, make s’mores, and whip up some hot cocoa to complete the urban camping experience. If you have a fire pit, a backyard campfire can be delightful and will keep you warm until you head inside.

8. Build a blanket fort for a cozy movie night.

Nothing beats a blanket fort. You built them as a child, and there’s no doubt your own children will love building them as well.

Gather up extra blankets and sheets, pull some chairs from the dining room table, and let your kids use their imagination. You can also find blanket fort kits online. Combining the blanket fort with a movie night is a great way to relax together as a family. You can leave the front of the fort open to see the TV or play a movie on a laptop.

9. Pick out a fun book and give everyone a character to voice.

Reading together is a wonderful way to pass the time while also helping with your kids’ reading comprehension. Reading isn’t just a quiet-time activity, though! Pick out a fun chapter book with an exciting storyline and multiple characters and read through it out loud like a script. Each family member will have their own character to voice while reading, and you can take turns as the narrator.

Encouraging silly voices and accents is definitely recommended!

The Pediatric Dental Specialists team looks forward to hearing what new family activities you discovered when we get back from our temporary break.

To help keep our little patients and their families safe, Pediatric Dental Specialists is taking a short break as recommended by the CDC. You can read our short letter to our patients and their families by clicking here.

While elective procedures are currently postponed, we are available for emergency dental visits. If your child is experiencing pain, facial swelling, or has experienced tooth trauma, please call your closest Pediatric Dental Specialists office.

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