How Kids Can Build Community During Times of Isolation
Sometimes you just have to stay home.. and that can be hard on kids. Here are some great tips on how to build community during isolation.
Whether it is severe weather, an extended illness or injury, or a once in a lifetime pandemic, sometimes kids have to be isolated from their friends. As parents, we spend a ton of time ensuring our family is as safe as possible. We also spend endless hours planning engaging, fun activities to keep kids from crawling up the walls.. and hopefully building fun family memories in the process.
But I have to be honest… the thing that is most difficult for my daughter is the lack of connection to other people.. in particular her friends.
In the wake of our most recent period of extreme social isolation, I polled a number of the best online Mom entrepreneurs for ideas on how kids can build a community during times of isolation.
1. Start a Community Art Project
This was actually our idea… and the reason for this post! If your neighborhood has any community areas (even sidewalks), why not create chalk art for everyone to contribute to and enjoy! Everyone brings their own chalk (to avoid germs) and after a few days the entire community gets the warm fuzzy of creating something beautiful!
2. Community FREE book exchange
Such a fantastic idea from Laura at Sunny Day Family. Check out her post (and FREE Printable) on a realistic schedule for kids during the shutdown!
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POP UP LITTLE FREE LIBRARY 📚 Schools and libraries are closed, so why not give away the books your kids no longer need to neighbors who might love them? All you need is a weather tight bin and some books. Put it outside, and make a sign and let your neighbors know that they can come take (and leave) books as they need. ❤ PS – spray any books you take with Lysol before bringing them home, to be safe. 😷 It’s a super simple way to connect, spread kindness, and keep the kids busy right now. . . . . . . #momlifehacks #momlife101 #todayisabeautifulday #todayisagooddaytohaveagoodday #yougotthismama #time😍 #theydontstaylittleforever #theydontstaylittlelong #thedaysarelongbuttheyearsareshort #nodaybuttoday #todayisabeautifulday #littlefreelibrary #littlefreelibraries #spreadkindness #spreadkindnesslikeconfetti #quarantine #quarantined #bethegood #raisekindhumans #raisekindkids #childrensbooks #kidsbooks #organizedmom #raisingreaders #kidsbookstagram #picturebooks #childrensbook
3. Chalk Your Neighborhood
Kristina at Thriving Parents has this excellent idea! A long time advocate of doing random acts of kindness with kids (here is a great way to start with your kids now!). This social distancing friendly idea is called #chalkyourneighborhood.
Here is how Kristina described it: “On our morning walk, we wrote hi at the bottom of our driveway and wrote hi to our neighbors in the street at the bottom of their driveway. It was so fun to discover someone came and wrote us a message, too!”
4. Neighborhood Window Art Gallery
Brenda from STEAMsational had a fantastic idea for using art to build community too!
“Our neighborhood is putting fun themed pictures in the windows for kids to find when walking.”
Brenda is an expert on all things science and engineering. Check out her excellent ideas for fun science experiments for kids at home.
5. Digital Hygge
Tove from Mama In The Now is my favorite expert on all things hygge. What is hygge? Check out Tove’s excellent resource for how to get started on hygge here.
This is an awesome idea for digital hygge during times of isolation. Reach out to the 12th person in your contact list now.
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DIGITAL HYGGE CHALLENGE: As we are hunkered down, separated by 6’ or more. Worried, stressed and possibly even financially stretched to the max, take a few minutes to embrace this new concept of digital hygge. 🥰 Social distancing doesn’t have to mean complete isolation. I challenge you to grab your phone, find your 12th contact – regardless of who it is, send them a text message to check how they are doing! 📱 I BET you will put a smile on their face… and if the 12th contact landed on an ex partner of yours, you may want to spend a few minutes cleaning your contacts. 😬😂 Spread the hygge – this is our chance to show the world how hygge works! ❤️ (Photo credit: @thesproutingimage)
6. Share an Uplifting Playlist
Kim from Life Over C’s shared a cool idea her teen daughter is doing to keep up with friends. Her daughter created a “Hope” playlist to share on Spotify. She’s gathering songs that inspire her and sharing it with friends and family. This would work for families, church communities, and neighborhoods too!
Kim’s site is a treasure trove of educational activities, ideas, and printables. We love this post on 30+ Toilet Paper Roll Crafts for Kids!
7. Go Fly A Kite
Lena from What Mommy Does has this awesome suggestion. “One way we’ve found that we can get together with friends without all the kids touching one another or the same surfaces is by meeting at the park and flying kites! Everyone brings their own and it’s great fun at a distance.”
Check out her blog for great craft project ideas kids can make from things you already have in your home!
8. Neighborhood walk
Lacy from Catholic Icing started a great new tradition with her kids. We have been taking walks through our neighborhood and talking to the neighbors from their porches and back yards. We just yell from the road. I have talked to more people from my neighborhood this week than in 8 years of living here.
And check out her very helpful tips for setting up homeschooling during times when school is closed.
9. Community distance Celebrations
MaryAnne from Mama Smiles got many of her neighbors to collectively celebrate St. Patrick’s Day without coming into physical contact with each other! “We printed out a Shamrock coloring page on green paper, cut out the shamrocks, and hung it in our window. We sent it on to our neighbors, and soon our entire neighborhood was a four leaf clover hunt!”
Here are the coloring pages she used.
10. social media
And finally, don’t stress if your kids crave social media time right now. It’s hard to know just how much social interaction they typically get every day at school.. but it’s a lot. Give yourself (and your kids) permission to FaceTime or Skype with their friends on a regular basis. Also, Facebook Messenger for Kids is a great (and safe) messaging option where kids can have virtual play dates… that are great for social distancing too!
11. Support the community
And another way your family can build community even during times of isolation is by supporting local businesses. Every area is different, but shop local! Order pizza from the place around the corner. Use that drive through ice cream shoppe option. Pick up a pre-packaged pottery painting kit from your local art studio. Social isolation is hard on small businesses. Show how much you care and have a great experience with your kids at the same time!
12. Music With Nancy
I have to share this awesome resource with you too because sharing an experience with friends, even virtually, can definitely build community! Nancy Kopman is an early childhood educator and a fantastic musician! But here is the best part– she has a FREE YouTube channel for music with actions parents can enjoy along with their kids. So, even if your kids can’t play together, they could also learn the same songs and share music virtually.
13. Neighborhood Easter Egg Hunt
Rachael from Wunder-Mom came up with this super fun idea for celebrating special holidays when you can’t be around people. This idea could be adapted to other holidays as well. This particular post focused on Easter and a community Easter Egg Hunt. You can read more and download the FREE printable coloring page here.
Here are more ideas for fun with kids when you can’t leave the house
- How to Make Crystal Rainbows
- Take the 30-Day LEGO Building Challenge
- 10 Ways to Have a Killer Staycation When You Just Can’t Travel
- Great Science Experiments to Do This Spring