Snow Days: Engage in Educational Online Activities with Your Kids
When it’s too cold to play outside, kids need an outlet for their energy. Letting them blow off steam indoors can have negative consequences for your belongings, not to mention your peace of mind. This winter, instead of yelling, threatening and imposing timeouts, why not channel all that pent-up frustration into something more positive and productive? There are lots of fun activities online that can keep kids occupied for hours (no, not an all-day Grand Theft Auto marathon).
A judicious use of your computer’s online search function can lead you to educational games and interactive tutorials that expose children to music, drawing, dancing and many other healthy and instructive pursuits. There’s nothing like a little online creativity for keeping your children from turning the entire house into their personal rec room. Take the time to find something that’ll pique their interest and tweak their curiosity. Here are a few ideas to get you started.
Dance it out
What youngster doesn’t enjoy jumping up and down and flailing their arms around to some hot dance music? Dance videos are easy to find and come with an unlimited selection of musical genres. Some of the best ones combine dance with exercise routines, making it easy to get a good workout while allowing your kids to improve their coordination and agility. YouTube is an inexhaustible repository of online videos that’ll keep kids dancing ‘til they drop. If you need a new home theater system, don’t shop until you’ve done your research.
Hip Hop for Kids uses modern dance moves and works every muscle group with an upbeat exercise routine led by an adult fitness expert. Just Dance Kids features a series of interactive dance contests that lets kids dance along with to a variety of musical selections and thematic settings. Small icons passing across the screen indicate the proper moves for each dance routine.
There are lots of interactive online opportunities that can teach your kids about music and allow them to express themselves in a variety of ways. Piano lessons 4children.com is a free source of piano and vocal lessons that parents can get involved with too. Piano lessons begin with the basics, such as how to sit at the piano and the names of the black and white keys, progressing to songs that teach about melody and rhythm (the karaoke singing lessons are fun for the whole family). Music with Lindsey (another YouTube video) shows young children the relationship between individual notes and harmonies, inviting them to dance and sing along.
Kids love to draw things their parents can proudly display on the refrigerator. Usually, they’re school or church Sunday school projects. Online drawing tutorials let your children go a bit more in-depth, sharing secrets of the professionals and showing the relationship between shapes and objects. Hello Kids.com offers a library of video drawing lessons for kids from kindergarten to 8th grade. Each lesson features a video presentation showing how to draw subjects of interest to kids at different stages of development. Thoughtco.com connects you to an extensive list of online art lessons, including everything from pencil sketches to full-color painting instruction. If your child is into working with his or her hands, check out the list of fun projects at Earth Science Jr., where they can learn to make Duct Tape magnets and create bright, glittery art that sharpens motor skills.
A rewarding experience
Don’t despair when the snow begins to pile up this winter. Look at it as an opportunity to expose your children to activities that could set them on the path to a rewarding educational experience. You might be surprised how far their creativity can take them.
By Danial Sherwin