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  • Writer's pictureThe West End Mom

Tips for Children at Home

Since schools are closed, our elementary students need learning opportunities and safe activities to keep them busy over the next few months. My top tip would be to get outside every day: to play outside, to have a picnic, or to read.

Here are a few ideas easy activities:

1. New Chores: Give your child new responsibilities around the house such as being in charge of dinner once a week, helping an adult with yard work, or helping sort and wash clothes. This is the perfect time to let them learn life skills and help out the family.

2. Hikes: As a family, you could enjoy hiking around our local parks and trails. There are so many places to walk around Richmond: The Tyler Potterfield Bridge, Belle Isle, Deep Run Park, The Capital Trail, Pony Pasture, Maymont, and Pocahontas State Park. 3. Bike Rides: Your family can rent bikes from local company River Side Cycling and cycle The Capital Trail. This trail is 51.7 miles of paved trail between Richmond and Williamsburg. Make sure to check out their IG or website for updates on the trail's conditions.

4. Geocaching: This is a real life treasure hunt that takes participants around their neighborhood, their city, and even historical landmarks. It's really easy: you create an account, find a geocache, and share your experience. Make sure to stay up to date on the geocaching blog.

5. The Libby App: This free app gives you access to audio books and ebooks. Once you download it, use your Henrico County Library Card or another local library card to log in.

6. Richmond Stories from Richmond Kids: The Valentine Museum launched this project as a platform for to share students' perspectives on this historic moment. Students in grages K-12 can submit audio, video, photographs, drawings and journal entries. The Valentine will share submissions on social media, and they may also be added to the Valentine’s collection and could be used in future exhibitions and programming.

7. Crestview Reads: Mrs. Cross the librarian for Crestview Elementary School in Henrico is doing an amazing job of providing resources to the community. She shares activities on line as well as story times with the Crestview teachers. Follow her on IG for educational activities.

8. Blue Sky Fund: Blue Sky Fund is a nonprofit that provides transformational experiences for youth through outdoor education. They provide daily outdoor lessons for children on their IG ( @blueskyfund ), and these activities are easy to recreate at home. The topics range from science experiments (floating feathers) to art ( sun print pictures).

9. Math with Mr. K: Richmond City Public School's Superintendent does a daily math lesson each day at 2 pm. Superintendent Kamras posts his 30 minutes of math lessons on Zoom. Follow along on @rvaschools to get the zoom link and password.

A few local companies are also providing activities and learning opportunities that teenagers would enjoy. 1. River City Roll: River City Roll has DIY pizza kits and cupcake decorating. Making the pizzas have been really fun for our family - it's an activity and a meal! Bonus: if you share pictures on social media of your creations, you will be entered in a free bowling giveaway! 2. The Mixing Bowl: This local bakery offers DIY cookie and cupcake decorating kits. 3. Rise: Rise in Short Pump offers DIY donut decorating kits. Place your order ahead of time and an employee will bring them to your car. 4. AR Workshop: AR Workshop offers DIY to-go kits for all ages. You can pick from letter tiles, bags, wooden signs, blankets and more on the website. Kits are available for pickup or drop off.

5. Ayla James: Ayla James offers DIY Tie Dye Kits. The complete kit, including t-shirts, is $30.00. There are four different themes, too!

So many nationwide professionals and companies are providing learning tools for children. Here are a few that look really fun. 1. Kahn Academy: Kahn Academy is a nonprofit with the mission to provide a free, world-class education for anyone, anywhere. There are free resources like schedules, games and lessons for children in Pre-K through high school. There are also two really interesting units on Disney's Imagineering and computer programming.

2. Art Hub for Kids: Art Hub is a family YouTube channel that is perfect for any age. They have drawing activities daily and you can watch any video on YouTube. All you need are the supplies!

3. Homegrown Friends: Miss Meredith offers virtual art classes on zoom for children 2-6 years old. This virtual class would be good for kindergartners and first graders, and the art activities are open ended so they fit a wide range of abilities. Book Art Play @ Home meets three times a week on Monday, Wednesday and Friday, and there are two time options: 11 and 1. We've taken this class and really like it: Miss Meredith chats with us, reads us books, and walks us through art projects. Follow her on IG ( @homegrownfriends) .

4. Julie's Library: Julie Andrews and her daughter have a podcast that starts on Wednesday, April 29. Meeting each Wednesday, Julie and her daughter will read their favorite children's book with sound, music and activities.


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