Activities & Tips

#OPLSummer Week 2: Let's Play! Social Distance Sidewalk Arcade

8 years ago, there was a YouTube video about Caine's Arcade. Remember that? Ever since then, I've wanted to host an arcade program at the library, using all our delivery boxes and regular office supplies.

All these years, I was never able to make that happen at the library, but working from home with a bored child created the perfect situation to finally make this dream a reality. 

Here's how we did it:

STEP 1 - Collect Recycling

Collecting our recycling became a time to brainstorm as well. Should we throw this away? What could we use this for? Anything that sparked an idea was set aside. When the pile took over too much space, we knew it was time to get started. Cardboard boxes, egg cartons, toilet paper rolls, and plastic bottles were our main materials. 

STEP 2 - Gather art supplies and building tools from all over the house. 

As you can see from the pictures above, my kid likes to use bright colorful markers and stickers to decorate. If you don't have many art supplies at home, you can keep it simple. You will at least need to find a marker, pen or other way to label points, if points are a part of your game. Otherwise be ready to do a lot of explaining when you run your game. 

STEP 3 - Watch Caine's Arcade and get inspired. 

No seriously, watch it. Before we watched the YouTube video it was just a fun idea. Caine's enthusiasm was so infectious, that my own kid wanted to start making stuff right away! What I love about the story of Caine's Arcade is he just uses what is available to him - empty boxes from his dad's shop, packing tape, his own toys. 

STEP 4 - MAKE STUFF!

You can see our games are not fancy or professional in any way, but they were fun to make and invent rules for. Almost anything can be a game with the right rules . . . Speaking of rules, that leads us to Step 5. 

STEP 5 - Invent rules and playtest. 

This is a key part of designing any kind of game. Come up with rules, test your game by playing. Change what doesn't work. Keep what does. Add new rules as you see fit. Repeat. We decided that to stay in line with social distancing all of our arcade games would involve throwing 5 pennies (or a ball, that can be wiped down), from far away. We chose pennies, because of the following reasons: 1 - We had a lot for some reason, so if we lost them, it would be okay. 2 - We could wash them beforehand. 3 - The pennies easily fit in the materials we had!

STEP 6 - Gather unwanted toys, books or knick knacks to use as prizes. 

All those little kid's meal toys are perfect for this kind of thing. Two of our games involved winning a prize outright, but most had a ticket system. 10 pts = 1 ticket. We had some prizes that were 2 for 1 ticket, 1 for 2 tickets, 1 for 5 tickets, and our grand prizes were 1 for 10 tickets. You don't have to get this complicated. We're just hella extra. 

Psssst! Parents! This is a good way to get your kid to get rid of all those items they never use.


Safely Inviting Others to Play: Things to Think About

If you are fortunate enough to have a big family, you can have an arcade day with each other! We have one child. Our recent play dates have been shaped by social distancing. They mainly involve Face Time, Zoom dates, bike rides, or shouting at our neighbor friends from the sidewalk as the stay near their porch. All of our in-person interactions with people from other households happen outdoors and with masks on. We have several neighbor friends that we have sidewalk play dates with. We know each other very well, and are all on the same page when it comes to staying a safe distance away, wearing masks, etc. We also know that they practice social distancing with others. If you have family or friends that you feel safe with, those are the ideal people to invite over for something like this. People you know and trust. 

Regarding prizes: We knew we were inviting neighbors. Since we live in different households, we quarantined our prizes in our shed for a week to be safe, as Covid does not survive on plastic or cardboard past 72 hours. We had hand sanitizer near our prize area, and instructed players to point at the prizes they wanted. Clorox wipes were also on hand, if someone wanted to be super safe and wipe down their prize.

When inviting others you will definitely need to figure out logistics of set-up. We made signs with rules for our games. We also had signs telling people to wear masks, stay 6 ft. apart, and use hand sanitizer before playing (and we reminded people to use the hand sanitizer throughout their time at the arcade). Even if you are inviting people you know, if you do this near the sidewalk, you may have a curious little passerby that would like to play. Having assigned monitors (we had 3 grownups tasked with supervising certain stations), as well as established rules, and signs in place make it easy to incorporate a newcomer to join in on the fun. 

If this encourages you to make your own arcade, or if you have other creative ways to play with friends, please email pictures to engagement@oaklandlibrary.org OR tag us using #OPLSummer

 

How do you play from far away?

Bridging the Learning Gap / Cerrando La Brecha de Aprendizaje

Desplácese hacia abajo para leer en Español... 

Even though the school year is over, learning doesn’t have to stop.  

Here’s what your Oakland Public Library has available for learning 365 days a year: 

Tutor.com:

The library provides free one-on-one tutoring with live tutors through tutor.com. The site can be accessed directly at www.tutor.com/opl. For instructions on how to connect with a live tutor, check out thivideo. 

Research: 

Completing research has never been easier with the resources available through your library. World Book, Encyclopedia Britannica, and other resources are available every day of the year! You can find these resources at our student research page: https://oaklandlibrary.org/kids/help-students/online-student-encyclopedias-and-resources 

Reading Suggestions: 

Are you looking for the perfect book? OPL’s children’s librarians have worked hard to develop great lists of book recommendations. These lists will soon be updated to reflect our eBook titles too: https://oaklandlibrary.org/kids/great-reads. Stay tuned! 

Connect with a Librarian for Personalized Reading Advice: 

Just because our physical buildings are closed doesn’t mean that you can’t connect with a librarian! Schedule your appointment to speak with a librarian who can help recommend the perfect book for you or your child: https://oaklandlibrary.org/online-services/book-me. 

Kid’s Books Online! 

Electronic books can be a great resource for readers young and old! Our two most popular e-reading platforms are Overdrive and Hoopla. Books on Overdrive can be found here: https://oakland.overdrive.com/library/kids/. The Libby app for Overdrive is a great way to use Overdrive on mobile devices. Instructions for how to use Libby to find kids books can be found in this video created by Ms. Sally from the 81st Library. 

Hoopla’s eBooks and audiobooks are always available, although users are limited to 10 checkouts a month. You can access Hoopla here https://www.hoopladigital.com/browse/ebook/popular?children=1&page=1 online and also as an app through your mobile device. 

Finding eBooks for early readers has never been easier. Check out this video from Ms. Sally on how to search the library’s catalog to find books.  

If you’d like to listen and read a book or story online, try Tumblebooks! 

Online Programs for Kids: 

Your favorite programs for the library are now online!  

Stories, rhymes, and songs provide much-needed stimulation for brain development and language acquisition in young children. They are also a great way for caregiving adults and children to stay connected. Head to the links below to view online storytimes by local librarians! 

Storytimes - 

Play & Learn Rhymes, Songs, and More - 

This year, OPL’s annual summer reading program, will be online. Check our Summer Reading page regularly to learn about this opportunity to read and get free books! 

============================

Aunque el año escolar ha terminado el aprendizaje no tiene que parar. 

Esto es lo que la Biblioteca Pública de Oakland tiene disponible para aprender los 365 días del año: 

Tutor.com: 

La biblioteca ofrece tutoría individual y gratuita con tutores en vivo a través de tutor.com. Se puede acceder al sitio directamente en www.tutor.com/opl  Para obtener instrucciones sobre como conectarte con un tutor en vivo mira este video  

Investigación:  

Completar una investigación nunca ha sido mas fácil con los recursos disponibles a través de su biblioteca. World Book, Encyclopedia Britannica y otros recursos están disponibles todos los días del año. Puedes encontrar estos recursos en nuestra página de investigación para estudiantes: 

Sugerencias de Lectura: 

¿Estas buscando el libro perfecto? Los bibliotecarios infantiles de la Biblioteca de Oakland han trabajado duramente para desarrollar excelentes listas de recomendaciones de libros. Pronto se actualizarán estas listas para reflejar nuestros títulos de libros electrónicos también: 

¡Manténte al tanto!  

Conéctate Con Un Bibliotecario Para Recibir Recomendaciones Personalizadas de Lectura: 

El hecho de que nuestros edificios físicos estén cerrados no significa que no puedas conectarte con un bibliotecario. Programa una cita para hablar con un bibliotecario que pueda recomendarte el libro perfecto para ti o para tu hijo/a:  

Libros Para Niños en Línea: 

Los libros electrónicos pueden ser un gran recurso tanto para lectores jóvenes como para los de mayor edad. Nuestras dos plataformas más populares de lectura electrónica son Overdrive y Hoopla 

Los libros en Overdrive se pueden encontrar aquí: 

https://oakland.overdrive.com/library/kids/ 

La aplicación Libby es una excelente manera de usar Overdrive en dispositivos móviles. Las instrucciones sobre como usar Libby para encontrar libros para niños se puede encontrar en este video creado por la Sra. Sally que trabaja en la Biblioteca de la Avenida 81. 

Los libros electrónicos y audiolibros de Hoopla siempre están disponibles, pero hay un límite de 10 prestamos al mes para todos los usuarios. Puedes acceder Hoopla aquí: 

en línea y también como una aplicación a través de su dispositivo móvil.    

Encontrar libros electrónicos para lectores principiantes nunca ha sido mas fácil. Mira este video de la Sra. Sally sobre cómo buscar en el catálogo de la biblioteca para encontrarlos. 

¡Si deseas escuchar y leer un libro o una historia en línea pruebTumblebooks! 

Programas En Línea Para Niños: 

¡Tus programas favoritos de la biblioteca ya están disponibles en línea!  

Historias, rimas y canciones proporcionan la estimulación necesaria para el desarrollo del cerebro y la adquisición del lenguaje en niños pequeños. También son una excelente manera para establecer un vinculos entre los adultos y niños. Dirígete a los enlaces a continuación para ver Las Horas de Cuentos de los bibliotecarios locales. 

Hora de Cuento 

¡Juega y Aprende Rimas, Canciones y Mas!  

Este año el programa anual de lectura de verano de La Biblioteca Pública de Oakland estará en línea. Visita nuestra pagina de Lectura de Verano Summer Reading regularmente para informarte de la oportunidad de leer y obtener libros gratis.  

Storytime You Can Watch From Home

Oakland library locations are closed until further notice, but with today's technology, that doesn't stop storytime! OPL children's librarians are presenting germ-free virtual storytimes weekly on our Facebook page:

  • Mondays 10:30 AM: Play & Learn
  • Wednesdays 11 AM: Bilingual Storytime (Spanish)
  • Saturdays 10:30 AM: Family Storytime

We have gathered a list of free online stories, music, art, and more for kids and families to enjoy while practicing social distancing.

More fun for little ones:

  • Mo Willems teaches you how to draw his favorite characters
  • Mariela (an OPL favorite!) leads Rimas y Canto for toddler and preschoolers in Spanish
  • 123 Andrés plays live concerts in Spanish and English
 
Please note: Oakland Public Library provides access to entertainment and education all year round. Babies and children need words (and music and books) every day, and they have lots of fun while learning with you. We hope to see our storytime friends at the library soon, and also remind you to check out these cool online places anytime:
 

Tutor.com Offers FREE, Live, and One-on-One Homework Help for Students and Parents

Desplácese hacia abajo para leer en Español...

Oakland Public Library is happy to now provide access to tutor.com, a trusted resource for students and adult learners that offers live and FREE one-on-one tutoring in a variety of subjects. Live one-on-one assistance is available everyday from 12pm (noon) until 12am (midnight). 

You will need an Oakland Public Library card and a computer, smartphone, or tablet with internet access to get connected to a tutor 

Help is available from one of 3,500 professional tutors seven days a week, from 12pm (noon) to 12am (midnight), 361 days a year.

(tutor.com does not offer service on January 1, July 4, Thanksgiving Day, or December 25.) 

Connecting with a professional tutor is easy and free and only takes a minute

To connect with a tutor:

  1. Go to www.tutor.com/opl
  2. Log in using your Oakland Public Library card number.
  3. Choose to use the service as a guest or create an account to login*. Creating an account will allow you to unlock extra featuressuch as saving your work and receiving a recording of your tutoring sessions. *Accounts created for users ages 12 or younger are limited to live tutor help only. Parenting adults, you may create and use your own account for your child under the age of 12 if you'd like them to have access to all of the sites features.
  4.  Choose which service you'd like to use:
  • Connect with a live tutor by topic, subject, and grade level
  • Submit a paper for review
  • Drop off a math question
  • Take a practice quiz
  • Choose "Other Tools" to prep for the ACT/SAT, grad school tests, AP exams, or to watch math and English videos.

During tutoring sessions, you can share files, write on an interactive whiteboard, use a graphing calculator, and chat with your tutor using your computer’s audio or by dialing in to a toll-free number. 

tutor.com’s features for K-12 students (and their adult caregivers) include: 

*Live one-on-one tutoring in math, science, social studies, and English with subject matter experts 

*Live one-on-one tutoring in Spanish with bilingual tutors 

*Tutors versed in Common Core standard teaching strategies! 

*Tutoring available in 14 different AP subjects, including Calculus, Statistics, and History 

*Drop-off essay review (Drop off an essay and have it reviewed and returned to you within 12 hours.) 

*Math drop-off help (Drop off a math problem and get a detailed response within 24 hours.)

*Preparation for the ACT or SAT by taking a practice test from The Princeton Review

*safe online environment: 

  • No personal information is exchanged between students and tutors.  
  • Work completed in classrooms is monitored by management staff. 
  • Parents and guardians of children under the age of 13 are welcome to call Tutor.com at 1-800-2REVIEW to review policies and procedures with respect to their 
    accounts.  

Want to learn more? Watch this video
 
Need a library card? While the library is closed, please complete an online application and email eanswers@oaklandlibrary.org to set up your account.
 

You can also contact tutor.com for frequently asked questions and technical support.
 
How do you plan to use tutor.com?
 
---
Tutor.com ofrece ayuda con la tarea GRATUITA, en vivo y personalizada para estudiantes y padres
Publicado por Mahasin Aleem
 
Tutor.com ofrece tutoría en línea gratuita, ayuda con la tarea y preparación de exámenes para estudiantes el kínder, (jardín de infanciaa 12º grado. El apoyo en vivo en español también está disponible para  matemáticas, ciencias y estudios sociales.
 
La Biblioteca Pública de Oakland se complace en proporcionar acceso a tutor.com, un recurso confiable para estudiantes y estudiantes adultos que ofrece tutoría individual en vivo y GRATUITA en una variedad de materias. La asistencia personalizada en vivo está disponible todos los días desde las 12 p.m. (mediodía) hasta las 12 a.m. (medianoche).
 
Necesitará una tarjeta de la Biblioteca Pública de Oakland y una computadora, teléfono inteligente o tableta con acceso a Internet para conectarse a un tutor.
 
Hay ayuda disponible de uno de los 3,500 tutores profesionales los siete días de la semana, de 12 p.m. (mediodía) a 12 a.m. (medianoche), 361 días al año. (tutor.com no ofrece servicio el 1 de enero, el 4 de julio, el Día de Acción de Gracias o el 25 de diciembre).
 
Conectarse con un tutor profesional es fácil y gratuito y solo lleva un minuto.
 

Para conectarse con un tutor:

1. Vaya a www.tutor.com/opl

2. Inicie sesión con su número de tarjeta de la Biblioteca Pública de Oakland. 

3. Elija usar el servicio como invitado o cree una cuenta para iniciar sesión *. Crear una cuenta le permitirá desbloquear funciones adicionales, como guardar su trabajo y recibir una grabación de sus sesiones de tutoría. * Las cuentas creadas para usuarios de 12 años o menos se limitan a la ayuda de un tutor en vivo únicamente. Padres adultos, puede crear y usar su propia cuenta para su hijo menor de 12 años si desea que tengan acceso a todas las funciones del sitio. 

4. Elija qué servicio le gustaría usar: 

  • Conéctese con un tutor en vivo por tema, materia y grado. 

  • Enviar un documento para su revisión 

  • Dejar una pregunta matemática 

  • Haz un examen de práctica 

  • Elija "Otras herramientas" para prepararse para el ACT / SAT, exámenes de posgrado, exámenes AP o para ver videos de matemáticas e inglés.

Durante las sesiones de tutoría, puede compartir archivos, escribir en una pizarra interactiva, usar una calculadora gráfica y chatear con su tutor usando el audio de su computadora o marcando un número gratuito. 

Las características de tutor.com para estudiantes de K-12 (y sus cuidadores adultos) incluyen: 

* Tutoría en vivo de uno-a-uno en matemáticas, ciencias, estudios sociales, y de inglés con expertos en la materia 

* Tutoría individual en vivo en español con tutores bilingües 

* Tutores capacitados en las estrategias de enseñanza estándar de Common Core. 

* Tutoría disponible en 14 diferentes temas de AP, incluyendo cálculo, estadística, y la Historia 

* Revisión de ensayo (deje un ensayo te lo revisaran y te lo devuelven dentro de 12 horas). 

Ayuda con las matemáticas (deje un problema matemático y obtenga una respuesta detallada en 24 horas). 

* Preparación para el ACT o SAT tomando un examen de práctica de The Princeton Review 

* Un ambiente seguro en línea: 

  • No se intercambia información personal entre estudiantes y tutores. 
  • El trabajo realizado en el salón de clases es monitoreado por el personal administrativo. 
  • Los padres y tutores de niños menores de 13 años pueden llamar a Tutor.com al 1-800-2REVIEW para revisar las políticas y procedimientos con respecto a sus cuestas. 

¿Querer aprender más? Mira este video. 

 ¿Necesita una tarjeta de la biblioteca? Mientras la biblioteca está cerrada, complete una solicitud en línea y envíe un correo electrónico a eanswers@oaklandlibrary.org para configurar su cuenta. 

 También puede contactar a tutor.com para preguntas frecuentes y soporte técnico. 

 ¿Cómo planeas usar tutor.com? 

 


 
 

Screen-Free Activities for Family Fun

Sheltering in place (while perhaps working from home with kids out of school/daycare) can lead to a lot of screen time. Don't feel guilty about that; these are difficult times and parents need to do what they need to do. When you're ready to cut down on the screens for a bit, visit the links below for recommended activities. 

What you decide to do will depend on the age of your child(ren), the supplies you have on hand, and how much time you can spend supervising. But don't stop here -- go with whatever you're inspired to do! If you discover an especially fun game, share it with us in the comments.

Screen-Free Activities for Kids : Rest

Sheltering in place (while perhaps working from home with kids out of school/daycare) can lead to a lot of screen time. Don't feel guilty about that; these are difficult times and parents need to do what they need to do. Let us help! We're posting suggestions each day this week for how to get away from the screens for a little while.

You've been working hard! Don't forget the importance of downtime. While cooped up unexpectedly, tempers can run short and anxieties high. Both kids and adults need time without screens to recharge.

  • Try meditation. If you (or your kids) haven't done this before, no sweat. Find a comfortable position, close your eyes, and think of a place where you feel completely comfortable or safe. Imagine what it looks like, what you can hear, touch, smell, and taste. Sit with that experience as long as you like. (For kids, try setting a timer for one minute, then five minutes, and longer as this becomes more familiar.) If you get distracted, don't tense up or quit; just acknowledge it in your mind and keep trying.
  • Honor naptime. You might want to use a schedule -- or, since you no longer have anywhere to be, maybe it's okay to just nap when they're tired.
  • For older kids who no longer nap, offer them the option of trying to sleep or just having quiet resting time by themselves. This will give them -- and you! -- a break.
  • Anytime you begin to feel stressed or anxious, try taking a deep breath through your nose and breathing out through your mouth. Do it a few times if you can. Your body can use the extra oxygen. 
  • At bedtime, lie down comfortably, then close your eyes and tighten your toes. Squeeze them tight and then relax. Move to your ankles and lower legs. If you can't physically tighten parts of the body, focus on them mentally for about ten seconds before relaxing and moving on. Go all the way up your body to the top of your head.
  • Remember: You're awesome. You're doing a really good job.

Screen-Free Activities for Kids : Experiment

Sheltering in place (while perhaps working from home with kids out of school/daycare) can lead to a lot of screen time. Don't feel guilty about that; these are difficult times and parents need to do what they need to do. Let us help! We're posting suggestions each day this week for how to get away from the screens for a little while.

Children, especially under age 5 or so, learn SO much from the world around them. As they get older, you can add some formal structure to everyday exploration, such as first making a hypothesis and then observing closely to see what happens. Try something slightly different, and record the results. You can get as detailed as your child wants to, and use digital technology only when you choose. It's so rewarding seeing them learn! 

Experiment.

  • Start sprouting some beans in a plastic bag with a damp paper towel. Once they're several days along, you can plant them in a cup of dirt or outside, or even eat them right away. Water regularly and take notes about what's happening.
  • Make cookies, fruit salad, or a snack together. Have a birthday coming up? Maybe you can bake a cake or another favorite food. If you use a recipe, kids can practice reading instructions, planning ahead, and measuring ingredients. How did people find recipes or learn how to cook before the Internet? Talk about the different kinds of food and how they help our bodies do important things. If you are using substitutes or different foods during self-isolation than you might typically, explain why.
  • Try regrowing an onion, celery, or lettuce from one you have in the kitchen. (These go much more quickly than an avocado pit!) Think about where and how you can plant it if you're successful. What do plants need to grow? What do humans and other animals need?
  • Fill a sensory bin with sand, gravel, rice, or shaving cream. Pour material from one cup to another. Bury small toys. Squish material between your fingers and try to make it into shapes. You can do the same with water -- or just enjoy at bathtime!

Got an experiment to suggest? Share it with us in the comments.

Screen-Free Activities for Kids : Around the House

Sheltering in place (while perhaps working from home with kids out of school/daycare) can lead to a lot of screen time. Don't feel guilty about that; these are difficult times and parents need to do what they need to do. Let us help! We're posting suggestions each day this week for how to get away from the screens for a little while.

We've all learned that we can't sit on the couch and watch TV all of the time -- there is plenty that needs to get done to keep everyone going. Involve your kids in the daily activity of your household. Depending on their ages, they can help:

  • make meals
  • set and clear the table
  • wash dishes
  • empty the trash
  • clean and tidy
  • do laundry (or a part of it, like sorting colors or folding)
  • entertain siblings
  • care for pets
  • with a big project like inventorying the freezer or organizing a closet

Little kids like to feel like big kids: independent, responsible, and helpful. Big kids like to have their efforts noticed and appreciated -- and they can really do a lot! If you're asking your older child to do something new -- maybe managing the laundry for the first time alone while you are on an important call or minding younger siblings -- set them up to succeed. Teach them how to do it, explicitly, including all those things that you automatically just know to do from long experience. Don't assume that they know! When the results are less than perfect, praise the effort and encourage them to try again another time. Truth of the ages: There will always be more laundry.

Screen-Free Activities for Kids : Making Connections

Sheltering in place (while perhaps working from home with kids out of school/daycare) can lead to a lot of screen time. Don't feel guilty about that; these are difficult times and parents need to do what they need to do. Let us help! We're posting suggestions each day this week for how to get away from the screens for a little while.

It's hard on humans to be away from groups of other humans, and to handle the genuine fear that might accompany interpersonal interactions right now. One way to feel more human is to make connections with people who live outside your household.

  • Write a letter or postcard to a relative. Talk about the postal system, how to address mail, and the format of snail mail versus email. Why is it important to include a date? A return address? Do you have any old mail to examine the postmark and stamps?
  • Make a card for someone who might not be getting lots of personal contact right now -- like residents of a senior community or assisted living facility -- and then take a picture and email it to them (okay, that uses a screen, but it reduces germ spread).
  • Post a picture in your window to cheer up anyone passing by.
  • Get the chalk out again and write or draw something on the sidewalk to share with your neighbors.
  • Share stories about family members. What did Mom and Uncle Al do for fun when they were kids? How is it different from what we do today? If Great-Aunt Margaret is 84, when was she born? When was she your kids' age? What was happening then in the world and where she lived?
  • Cheer the garbage truck, mail carrier, or any other people you see going by as they do essential work.

Screen-Free Activities for Kids : Play

Sheltering in place (while perhaps working from home with kids out of school/daycare) can lead to a lot of screen time. Don't feel guilty about that; these are difficult times and parents need to do what they need to do. Let us help! We're posting suggestions each day this week for how to get away from the screens for a little while.

Do you have any toys or games on hand? Check the garage or back of the closet for...

  • board games
  • puzzles
  • old newspapers with crosswords or comics
  • beach balls or sand toys
  • jacks, Hula Hoop, string for cat's cradle
  • jump rope
  • exercise bands
  • play-dough or clay
  • dice, dominoes, playing cards
  • blocks or LEGO

No interest in toys? Nothing turned up under the bed?

Get creative.

  • Raid the closet for dress-up clothes. Rehearse and perform a song and dance -- it can be as choreographed as you want.
  • If you're willing to use a screen briefly, gather props and make an impromptu photobooth.
  • Retell a favorite story or fairytale. Everyone may need to play different characters -- or maybe a stuffed animal friend can stand in! Puppet shows highly recommended, too.
  • "I'm thinking of a [category] that starts with [letter]..." Optional: guessers can ask yes/no questions to narrow down the answer.
  • If you have a pocketful of loose change, count how many coins you have and how many cents they add up to. Then hide coins around the house for kids to find. You'll know how many are missing and can make an educated guess as to what denominations they are.
  • Make a blanket fort and have an indoor picnic.
  • How many knock-knock jokes can you remember? This may be just the time to introduce the Interrupting Cow. 
  • Pick any object in the house and make up a story about it. Or have Show and Tell at home, where a child explains what an object means to them and what memories they have relating to it.
  • Read a story aloud! Picturebooks are the obvious choice, but a chapter or two of a longer book can be great for a family with a mix of ages. Maybe you have a good book for taking turns -- every reader plays a character like a play. Make sure to "do the voices"!
  • Tell stories -- scary, funny, real or made-up. Tell the story of what you did yesterday. Tell a story from last summer. You can tell a group story where you all take turns saying what comes next. Toss in a "Uh-oh! But THEN..." or "Ta-daaaaaa!" to help younger narrators.

What you decide to do will depend on the age of your child(ren), the supplies you have on hand, and how much time you can spend supervising. But don't stop here -- go with whatever you're inspired to do! If you discover an especially fun game, share it with us in the comments.