Get out of a rut with ideas for learning & fun

Teaching children how to sew is a great way to keep the learning fun. Contributed photo

As a parent working from home right now, I’ve found my typical 8-hour shift is now a 12-hour one, with lots of breaks for taking care of kid problems in between. Is this the week I hide in a closet to get some work done? How else do you stay sane?

One idea a friend suggested is to share with friends on Facebook what your kids are doing, but refer to them as your coworkers. It does add some levity to the situation to read, “My co-worker just ran down the hall in his underwear.”

I think everyone, kids included, are getting a bit stir-crazy stuck at the house, so we are trying to come up with ideas to keep things interesting.

If you’re in the same situation, here are some ideas to change things up.

Get more books (for free!)

Little Free Library

If you are running out of books to read to your little one while larger libraries are closed, now is the perfect time to stop by a Little Free Library location. You may know where one is, but if not, check out the to see where the nearest one to you is. You can also take the time drop off some books you’ve already read to help others.


Audible is offering free streaming audiobooks for children up through teen years right now. You can listen to “Winnie-the-Pooh” by A.A. Milne or “Brave New World” by Aldous Huxley and tons of stuff in between. Visit to browse their selection.


This is an application by OverDrive that is utilized by many libraries, including the ones in the north country. Even if you can’t visit the physical location, the library has thousands of e-books for you to browse and borrow. You can get books for Kindle or to read on your phone or computer. They also have audiobooks for all ages. The best part, your books will be returned automatically (no late fees!).


The website offers free e-books for children to view online. They can listen as the narrator reads the story with added audio elements. Or turn the sound off and read on your own.

Hands-on ideas for learning

Write a letter

This can be a good way to connect to others while helping children practice handwriting and self-narratives. Write one thing you learned or something fun you did. Tell your recipient something you like about them. Or have them share an interesting fact they picked up.

Learn to sew

This project can help improve fine motor skills, math, organization and attention to detail. One reader, Jessica Patrzyk, and her 7-year-old daughter made over 200 face masks to donate to those who need them. You can find free patterns at several places online including

Record a show

Have your child research an animal, a planet or something else of interest and record them telling others about it on your phone. You can give it a fun name or let them wear a silly costume while they perform. Kids love watching themselves on camera, and you can share it with family members curious to see what you are up to.

Photo scavenger hunt

Hand over your old iPhone and let your kids take pictures of things that start with different letters of the alphabet. Kids love taking pictures and showing them off. It’s neat to see things from their perspective.

Online library services

The Nioga and Pioneer Library systems have plenty of free resources aside from books. You will need a valid library card to access the resources, which are available through many local library websites.

Libraries in Genesee and Orleans counties are affiliated with the Nioga Library System, where materials are available at

Livingston and Wyoming county libraries are served by the Pioneer Library System, which offers digital materials through OWWL2Go, which is available at and through member library websites.

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