19 COVID-19 family activity ideas

Activities for families staying at home to enjoy some fun time together.

Rebecca Tortello, Education Specialist
Caregiver playing a game with a child
UNICEF Jamaica/2019/Hunter
24 April 2020

As Jamaica faces the unprecedented challenge of COVID-19, and with families having to stay at home, we want to help you enjoy some fun family time together.

  1. Practice the art of list-making. Begin each day by making a list of what you want to do and share with each other. This helps build logic, sequencing and writing skills.
  2. Make time to read a little every day. Access books online if you need to at the Jamaica Library Service site under their catalogue link, at BookFusion (Code: ATHOME14) or watch videos of teachers reading popular stories at the Early Childhood Commission’s COVID-19 corner.
  3. Cook together. This is a terrific way to add practice in math, reading and following directions. Let your child design the menu and maybe put together a family recipe book by writing the recipes down together.
  4. Plant a garden and help something to grow.  This activity, especially during the current situation, is something your children can control and take pride in as they watch the seeds take root, and perhaps with time can provide food to help with doing activity 3!
  5. Take virtual tours of museums and zoos. Mobile Permissions has created a compilation of these experiences. Discuss what you see. What did you like best? What is one thing you have learned?
  6. Learn a new word a day. Post it on the fridge and use it as many times as you can throughout the week. Have a family challenge to see who uses it the most!
  7. Play together as much as you can. Try out  some of these 19 COVID-19 games we selected for you; or just play cards, dominoes and whatever games your family likes the most.
  8. Take time to look up at the clouds in the day and the stars and moon at night. Do you see shapes in the clouds? In the stars? How many stars can you can count?
  9. Make a thankfulness jar. Pick a jar and have each family member write one thing he/she is thankful for each day and place it in that jar. In time you can look back at them together and reflect.
  10. Dance and sing. Play music and/or listen to the radio each day. Talk, dance and sing together.
  11. Hold a scavenger hunt.  Hide objects around the house and challenge each other to find them within a certain time period – socks, cards, shoes – anything you can find.
  12. Take a walk in your neighbourhood if possible (maintaining social distance from others at all times). Look for shapes, colours, numbers. Play “I Spy” together as you walk.
  13. Make art together using whatever material you can find. Be creative. Leaves make great art. Collect leaves together, place a piece of paper over them, colour them and see the leaves appear in great detail. You can count the veins in each leaf and see how each side is an exact copy of the other.
  14. Family screen time. Pick a family-friendly or educational show that you all want to watch. Watch it together and talk about it afterwards.
  15. Have a picnic at home. It can be outside or inside. Plan it and make it happen.
  16. Fortify. Build a fort at home using cushions and blankets and then read a book together in your family fort.
  17. Show and tell.  Each family member can pick an object and present it or  put the object in a bag and let other family members feel it (no peeking) and guess what it is. Clues are allowed!
  18. Dinner discussions. Pick a family member to start a discussion on a topic he/she finds interesting. Challenge him/her to lead the discussion at dinner.
  19. Balloon time. Blow one up and see how long you can keep it in the air. You can even draw on the balloon with a marker, decorating it before you play.

We hope you enjoy these activities, and if you want to share photos or videos of your family doing any of them, please post to social media and tag @unicefjamaica. We would love to see and share some of them!

For more family resources and to learn more about the National Parenting Support Commission’s (NPSC) parent helpline visit our dedicated COVID-19 website for parents.