Keeping kids busy

A Worthington teen rollerblades Thursday afternoon along Lake Okabena a day after the trail had been decorated in this spot with chalk art. (Submitted photo by Elizabeth Spiegelhoff)

WORTHINGTON — In the wake of schools instructing via distance learning for the rest of the year, both parents and students alike are searching for new ways for kids to stay occupied while they spend so much time at home.

Kara Damm, District 518's Trojan Digital Learning Hub manager, is continually updating a list of free things students and families can do. It's found on the Trojan Digital Learning Hub under "Students" > "Family/Student List of Free Resources During COVID-19 Distance Learning."

Damm's list includes suggestions like audiobook providers, at-home science projects and virtual field trips. Other ideas provided to The Globe span a wide range of interests and investments.

Homemade play dough. Younger kids might enjoy play dough made from ingredients already on hand at home. The Domestic Superhero has come up with a pretty easy recipe, only requiring 1 cup flour, 1 cup water, 2 teaspoons cream of tartar, 1/3 cup salt, 1 tablespoon vegetable oil and food coloring as desired.

All one has to do is mix together all the ingredients except food coloring in a saucepan and cook over low to medium heat, stirring the whole time. When the mixture starts to thicken, add food coloring, and then keep stirring until the dough is no longer wet. Remove it from the pan and let it cool on wax paper for at least 30 minutes. Store in an airtight container in the fridge.


Household chores. While kids are home more than usual, some parents are taking the opportunity to include their children more in household chores. Kids can collect all the dirty clothes in the house and bring them to the laundry room, unload the dishwasher or hold the dustpan while a parent sweeps.

Many children like to cook, experimenting with new foods and learning new techniques. Parents will have to decide which kitchen tasks are age-appropriate, but all kids can help in some way.

Outside adventure. Although city playgrounds are closed, there is plenty for kids to discover outside. Many Worthington businesses have placed positive, colorful messages in their storefronts. Kids may enjoy walking around downtown and looking at these scenes.

Green space is still open, so kids may run and play as much as they'd like, as long as they aren't on the playground equipment. If a child hasn't yet learned to ride a bike, perhaps now is good time to teach them. Worthington's miles of bike paths can keep a kid busy for a long time.

With summer on its way, area families will need a lot of ideas in their arsenal once the school year is finished and kids have even more down time.

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