Warmer weather usually provides kids with many outlets for physical activity. Of course, with spring comes rain, and some summer days are too hot for outdoor play. When the weather drives them inside, most children will just take the day off from physical exercise, opting instead to spend time in front of the television or their phones/tablets. A day indoors doesn't have to end up as a lost day, though. There are many opportunities indoors to flex muscles and stimulate brains. And to help with the bargain, your kids can still use their devices for these activities. Here are some budget-minded ways to put those devices to good use.
Get Them Dancing
One way to get kids active inside is through online exercise and dance videos. YouTube is filled with exercise content. There are also apps for the Apple TV that include fitness classes and lessons, and there are also streaming programs on exercises, including yoga, tai chi and more. Since YouTube is mostly free — there are ad-free options with YouTube Red — you will have to endure some ads before you can watch some videos.
Another way to get your kids moving is with dance. YouTube music videos can keep your kids moving and off the couch. Many parents are concerned about adult content in popular music, but luckily there are radio-friendly versions of most popular songs on YouTube. If not, you can always navigate to KidzBop for appropriate content. The best part: Unless you subscribe to YouTube Red, these videos won’t cost you a dime.
Music can also be appreciated without dancing. There are countless resources for online music appreciation and instrument lessons. Again, YouTube is an excellent resource for these lessons, but so are many of the paid programs. Fender Play is a guitar-centric, subscription-based learning tool that costs a lot less than private lessons. Kids can tap into this program to get a feel for whether they are interested in a particular instrument.
Introduce the Kids to Art
In addition to music, visual arts are easy to incorporate into indoor activities. From drawing to painting, jewelry making to crafting, kids can learn how to tap into their creative side through online portals. Your entire family can become involved in artistic expression. Art is an activity that is educational without seeming school-like or boring. In addition to viewing and participating in art lessons, kids can also learn to appreciate art through online fine art museum websites. If your child wants to try their hand at drawing or painting, you can stock up on some affordable supplies by shopping online from retailers like Kohl’s.
Online learning can also cross into subjects that are more serious, such as math and science. Numerous online lesson plans incorporate science technology engineering and math or STEM. Some of these activities are fun ways to make a mess and learn about chemistry, and others teach practical applications of math and science; for example, children are fascinated by creating a glass of lava that produces eye-popping colors, and you can create many of these nifty experiments with ingredients you already have around the house.
Beyond free YouTube and online lessons, there are numerous programs on Netflix and other streaming services that provide fun math and science learning through observation. One program that shows the power of math and science is Brain Games. This show features odd and interesting quirks about how our minds work, often featuring brain teasers that include counting and perception.
Another online skill that can be developed through fun activities is coding. Kids are more adept at computer programming than ever before thanks to the pervasiveness of technology in their lives. Encourage them to explore coding to take a step deeper into technology. A few years ago, Minecraft became all the rage with kids around the world, and it encouraged a type of basic coding. Today, kids are playing new games that incorporate the ability to create worlds and objects. Ask them about their favorite games and interact with those that are beneficial to their learning.
If you intend to use the internet to help keep your kids entertained and educated during their time indoors, you’ll need a connection that doesn’t come crashing down at the worst possible time. This is especially true if you allow your children to play games online with their friends. Many providers offer packages that are specifically designed with gamers in mind, providing them with the bandwidth and connectivity they need. Even if you’re not a gamer, these packages are great for people who rely on the internet for streaming and business.
Next time your kids are bored and tempted to spend the day playing video games, seize the opportunity to infuse your kids with some budget-friendly indoor learning. When done the right way, you and your kids won’t dread your days indoors.
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