Prepping for a Coronavirus Quarantine :: Activities for Kids


I’ll admit it. I’m a prepper. But not in the way you might think. Regrettably, I didn’t think to buy hand sanitizer (now sold out nationwide). Instead, I was busy freaking out about how to entertain my little ones if school closes or if we need to quarantine ourselves. Looking back, I probably should’ve made a better decision there! 

Spring break is coming up, and I’d already been squirreling away fun activities for the week. But now that MIT, Harvard, and other colleges are shutting down for coronavirus, I decided to kick my kid activity stash up a notch. Couldn’t hurt, right?!

I stocked up Dollar Tree, Aldi, and Hobby Lobby this week, but many items can also be shipped from Amazon or Target. In case you need inspiration and want to prep yourself, I’ve included my list below.

Kid (and Mom!) Approved Activities for a Coronavirus Quarantine

Pipe Cleaners and Magnets

My kids love this one. Trim pipe cleaners into 1/4″ to 1/2″ pieces and place in an empty cola or water bottle. Tape a magnet to a dowel (or stick of any kind) to make a wand. Wave your “magic wand” up and down beside the bottle and watch the pipe cleaner pieces follow along!

Fruit Loops Rainbows

Pipe cleaners come in handy here, too. Thanks, Aldi, for your extremely affordable version of the fruity cereal. An entire large box only cost me $1.19. String fruit loops in rainbow order through the pipe cleaner, shape into an arc, and push each of the pipe cleaner ends into large marshmallows (for clouds).
You can also set out construction paper and let your kids glue down fruit loop rainbows. Don’t forget that glued down cotton balls make fun fluffy clouds!

Sensory Bin with Rice

My kids love the rice bins at school, and I thought, why not? I’ll take rice over sand tables any day. Take a plastic food storage bin (I got two at Dollar Tree), fill it with rice, and let your kids have at it. You can bury small toys, marbles, paper clips–really anything–and let them have a scavenger hunt.

Sensory Bin with “Snow” Baking Soda 

We did this awhile back, and it was a hit! Fill a plastic food storage bin with baking soda, sprinkle in a little glitter (if you’re brave), and pop it in the freezer for a few hours. Pull out the cold “snow” bin, fill it with your tiny Frozen dolls (you know you’ve got them somewhere), and let your kids play in Arendelle. I also like to put in a small mirror so the dolls can “ice skate.” Tiny marshmallows make a fun addition as snowballs.

Washable Paint

This stuff is every mom’s dream come true! My oldest loves to take old pieces of wood my husband has discarded from various home projects and create masterpieces. The fact that it’s washable makes this mama happy! I got this set at Hobby Lobby. When you use the 40% off coupon on your phone, the set goes down to about $4.00. I also bought some stencils and stencil brushes at Dollar Tree that I think they’ll enjoy.

Washable paint for the win if we need to quarantine!

Bake Cookies

Don’t overthink this one. Buy a bagged cookie mix, let the kids add fun mix-ins (like chocolate chips, mini M&M’s, or nuts), and let them pretend they’re bakers in a bakery. I also like to buy refrigerated sugar cookie dough and let them cut out shapes with cookie cutters. I’ll take real dough over play dough any day. Which leads me to . . .

Play Dough

Play dough: the bane of my existence. But desperate quarantine times call for desperate measures, right? I usually only let them pull out play dough on special occasions (like rainy days), so it’s a bit of a treat for them. Buy a few extra play dough cups to have on hand for this very purpose.

New Puzzles

These puzzles are currently on lightning deal on Amazon, and I figured they may as well learn something constructive while they’re playing!
New puzzles to prepare for a possible quarantine!

Easter Church Craft

Another Hobby Lobby score! I bought this craft set of milk carton shaped Easter churches. I bought the similar craft set of gingerbread houses at Christmas, and my kids had a blast. It helps if an adult sets up the actual structure for them, and the set of 12 churches comes with stickers for kids to decorate. 

Easter Egg Hunt in Your Own Yard

Plan an Easter egg hunt in your own backyard, or better yet, set one up indoors like this one!

Popsicle or Lollipop Bath

Sometimes you have to make bathtime fun! A sticky, drippy popsicle or lollipop is just the thing to make an ordinary chore extraordinary. One of my mom friends also suggested throwing in toys like Legos to play with just for fun. The Legos probably need a nice little bath, too, who are we kidding?!

New Educational Apps

We love Endless Alphabet and Khan Academy Kids at our house. I’ve heard good things about Sight Word Adventure and Quick Math, Jr., so I plan to download those to add in the mix.

Movies and Popcorn

Since we won’t want to get out to the movie theater if we get sick, I bought some microwaveable popcorn that we can pop and watch Disney+ while snuggled on the pull-out sofa. We rarely pull it out, so when we do, the kids view it as a treat.

More Dollar Tree Ideas

The Dollar Tree is bursting with creative items like craft sticks, stickers, glue, colorful pom poms, feathers, and beads. I don’t know about your kids, but for some reason, my kids love cutting, glueing, and making messes creating works of art. They could do it for hours on end! It’s also a great place to stock up on bubbles and sidewalk chalk–essentials for fun outdoor play during a quarantine.
The Dollar Tree has many crafts perfect to do during a quarantine!

Don’t Panic, Just Prepare!

We’ve heard people say over and over not to panic but to be smart. While my immediate family is not considered to be in the high risk zone, we have lots of extended family and friends who are. We are happy to do our part to help “flatten the curve” by staying home to quarantine when necessary.

How about you? Do you have any kid activities to add to our quarantine activity list? If so, please let us know in the comments below!

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After graduating from college, Julie worked for ten years as a paralegal and as a medical software programmer before becoming a SAHM to her and her husband's two children. Life is crazy for her these days, but a lot of Jesus and a little exercise and painting keeps her sane! When she's not editing for Birmingham Mom Collective, you can find Julie illustrating wedding gowns and heirloom keepsakes--check out her Instagram page @bridal_illustration_by_julie for more information!