A healthy living blog from Marshfield Clinic Health System

Caring for kids during COVID-19? This activity planner can help

child painting during COVID-19 times

Looking for a solution to having your kids at home and feeling stress because of COVID-19? Try this children’s activity planner.

Editor’s note: This article was published on May 6, 2020. COVID-19 information and recommendations are subject to change. For the most up-to-date information, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website or view our most recent COVID-19 blog posts.

If you’re a kid right now, you’re probably bored out of your mind and there’s nothing to do and you can’t stand being at home one more minute and want to see your friends – arghhh!

If you’re a parent, you may be looking for a solution to having your kids at home and feeling stressed yourself during this time because of the novel Coronavirus (COVID-19).

Marshfield Children’s and the Center for Community Health Advancement (CCHA) at Marshfield Clinic Health System have a helpful remedy.

Each week, a calendar titled “Marshfield Children’s Cares for Kids,” is compiled and created that contains top-quality, interactive, educational, hands-on activities for elementary school-aged children and shared with families.

View on CCHA website

View on CCHA Facebook page

The calendar suggests daily activities focusing on art; physical education; social and emotional learning; reading and writing; music; and STEM – science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

The calendar project started through a CCHA workgroup brainstorming session. Plans are to continue it past the beginning of school this fall.

“Parents have multiple roles now that kids are at home – parent, teacher, and caregiver – and many are stretched and stressed while working from home, too,” said Denise Brickheimer-Stanek, Operations assistant director, CCHA, who is leading this project.

CCHA was looking for ways to help parents and keep kids active and engaged, since one of its focuses is working to improve the lives of children and families, said Randy Neve, Community Health manager, CCHA. Neve’s team has extensive expertise with afterschool programming for elementary school-aged youth across the Health System service area as well as Wisconsin. They have experience in knowing what children like and positive things for them to do.

It’s a great way to use screens and technology in a positive way, besides having kids play video games or watching television sets sometimes all day, every day.

“Some kids are on social media already so we considered what role we could play to provide fun and interactive activities during this time of quarantining,” he said. “Parents are screaming themselves for help to help their children navigate through school, kids that no longer have the ability to play with their friends.”

That’s where being interactive comes into play, literally.

“And that’s why the calendar is more interactive and engaging, even for short periods of time,” he said.

The team, including Health System AmeriCorps members, helps with logistical parts of the calendar, finding kid-friendly information that’s vetted. It’s then put into one easy format for parents and kids to use. Each weekday features images and titles in boxes that children and parents can click on. That then takes them directly to a site where they can view the activity. “They know by working with kids through our afterschool programs they’re the barometers for what kids want to see,” Neve said.

Variety also is important since all kids don’t have the same interests, “so regardless of the child opening the activity there should be something relevant to them,” Brickheimer-Stanek said.

This calendar project will continue through this period of COVID-19 and into the school year as children transition back into the classroom. “Not all children go to summer school and we don’t want kids to fall behind academically so this information is helpful,” she said.

Also, families are encouraged to post picture/video comments or tag CCHA on social media @MCHS.CCHA. Some comments submitted to these pages will be posted and families will have a chance to see themselves featured on CCHA’s social media accounts. Social media post guidelines to see post(s) featured are:

For CCHA to see public Facebook and Instagram posts, pictures/videos must be submitted as a comment on the weekly calendar post. Or, post on your page and tag @MCHS.CCHA. Use #MarshfieldCaresForKids. Sending via email will keep your account private.

  • Photos/videos do not need to include people. Submit pictures/videos of finished artwork, science projects, books, writing or any other projects.
  • Videos should be no longer than 60 seconds.
  • If you submit a post/video, your submission is considered as permission to share this content.

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