The words “fun” and “educational” are mutually exclusive where kids are concerned, especially when they’re used to describe playtime activities. But when the weather turns ugly and playing outside isn’t an option, you can help your children burn off some of that pent-up energy with online games that they’ll enjoy as they learn new skills.
No need for resorting to virtual multiplication tables or Latin verb conjugation drills: the Internet is chock full of sites that’ll engage and enthrall your children for hours. Many websites are portals to fun and infectious exercise programs, while others are geared to more individualized activities aimed at introducing new skills, such as drawing or music. Whatever your kids’ play preferences might be, a little research and creative thought can help you turn a bleak and boring day into one that’s full of exciting possibilities.
If your kids are frustrated at being stuck inside, hook them up with some interactive online videos that encourage involvement and get them jumping up and down – literally. Animal Exercise for Kids is a Youtube video in which kids pretend to be animals while they do a series of exercises. Videos of actual animals play in the background while your little ones stretch out and try to walk like a giraffe, bend over and sway their arms back and forth like an elephant’s tusk, and more. It’s not too vigorous and at just over 6 minutes it isn’t too long. If your kids love to dance, check out Kids Dance & Fitness, an energetic workout session that combines exercise with a series of dance moves.
Kids these days spend hours at a time playing online games. Many are great ways to develop cognitive abilities as well as hand-eye coordination. Knowledge Adventure features an extensive list of games, some of which are instantly recognizable, while others present kids with new and different challenges. If your kids are Disney fans (what kid isn’t?), check out Disney LOL, a site with hundreds of free games, many of which feature your favorite Disney cartoon characters and game scenarios from popular movies, such as Star Wars. Fun Brain allows you to pair your child with games that are age-specific.
Drawing and doodling:
Drawing is an excellent creative outlet for children of all ages, no expertise or skill required. Toupty.com lets young kids color, do freehand drawing and add new elements to existing designs, all right on your computer (requires Flashplayer). Butterflies, castles, boats, robots and Halloween figures are just a few of the images kids can draw and design however they’d like. If you’d like to do some looking around for suitable drawing websites but aren’t sure where to start, try Kidsites.com, an online clearinghouse for over a dozen art and drawing resources.
Toot your own horn:
The great thing about learning music is that there are so many instruments and genres to choose from. You can find kid-friendly sites that feature individualized lessons. There’s online guitar, piano and violin lessons. You can even find online singing lessons. If your child is interested in learning how to play an instrument, it’s important to pick out the right one for him. Finding the right instrument, whether it’s a clarinet or saxophone, is about meeting a young learner’s needs and skill level. Check out this saxophone buying guide when looking for a saxophone for your budding musician.
An opportunity for growth:
Kids who can’t get outside can be a real challenge for adults, particularly when there is work or chores to do. But if you find the right online resources, a day inside can become a great opportunity for growth. Your kid may learn something or find a new skill that could lead to a fun new hobby. Maybe even a career.
Thanks to Jenny W. for submitting this guest post!