Coronavirus outbreak: Keeping the kids productive and busy while schools are closed

Connecticut Families

WALLINGFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — The Wallingford mom is getting creative to pass the time at home while school is off during the coronavirus scare.

Caitlin Houston is keeping her girls busy by making slime, a scientific project.

“It’s definitely a little nerve-racking because I bet we’ll run out of steam and things to do,” she says.

It’s a concern weighing on many parents. How will we keep our kids structured and productive?

Houston, a blogger and former teacher created a schedule for Ailey and Annabelle, with time carved out for math, free play, and rest.

“I thought back to when I was a teacher. I taught first grade, so, I thought, ‘I’m going to do short little blocks like I used to do,'” she says.

She stocked-up on academic materials.

“This morning we talked about the letter ‘A’ for Aisley and Annabelle worked on sight words then we read a book, and I had them tell me about the book and draw a picture,” she says.

Houston is also leaning on Mother Nature as she gets the girls outside in the fresh air for a scavenger hunt. They’re using their brains and bodies, too.

“I feel like this is going to bring us closer together – it’s going to test our patience – we’re all going to see a lot of each other – and there’s going to be no escaping,” she says.

Houston has professional flexibility so she’s looking forward to enjoying her daughters during this break from school. But, she’s worried about friends who don’t know how they’ll handle it all.

“One of my very close friends is an actuary and she needs eight hours of silence,” says Houston. “She said, if her daycare closes, she’ll be working through the night and taking care of her kids during the day.”

So many questions. That’s why Houston is taking this crisis one day at a time. “When I start having that catastrophic thinking, I have to say, ‘Stop, look at today. The sun is out. We’ll play and have fun, we’ll make cupcakes later and hopefully, tomorrow will be just as good of a day,'” she says.

We want to know how you are keeping the kids busy at home. Snap a picture and send it to . We’ll share some of your activities to inspire other parents during this challenging time.

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