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How to keep kids busy and engaged while you work from home

Oculus Go is great for kids
Oculus Go is great for kids (Image credit: Android Central)

The current public health scare sucks, and we all hate how it's disrupted our lives. While getting sick is the worst thing that can happen — and we all here at Android Central wish anyone that's been infected with this horrible disease the best and a speedy recovery — doing what's needed so you don't get sick can be difficult, too.

After you've figured out how to work from home if you can or have done whatever you need so some money keeps coming in while you're stuck at home, you have to micro-manage everything else. Getting groceries is now a serious task, and all the places we usually go for fun and to socialize have been shuttered for the time being. The fight against this pandemic has become a war, and our homes are now the trenches.

Who knew sitting at home could be this difficult?

At the end of the day, all of us need some serious downtime. Take an hour or two to step away from Twitter and Facebook, where it seems like both sides are mostly interested in arguing with each other and wind down. We're adults, and we can do this. But what about the little ones in your life who might not even realize what's going on? They need some extra love and nurturing just like we do. Scratch that; they need even more.

Source: Jerry Hildenbrand / Android Central (Image credit: Source: Jerry Hildenbrand / Android Central)

If you have kids, you know exactly what I mean. If you don't have kids, it might be a little harder to understand. Regardless, even the most well-behaved toddler (or teenager) can get pretty darn fussy when they are stuck inside, and not everyone is lucky enough to have a yard where kids can get outside and burn off the energy. That means it's up to the parents and caregivers to help. It's a chore that's done out of love, but it can still be a chore.

Luckily, some companies realize this and have offered what little help they can, so kids of all ages have a bit of inside entertainment and might even learn something. Amazon Freetime Unlimited has opened up with plenty of videos, apps, and games for kids, and all you need is an Android device to let your kids escape the boredom. Audible (opens in new tab) has also made a long list of titles free so that storytime can be a family event.

Audible offering hundreds of kids audiobooks for free during coronavirus outbreak

Of course, Google Play is chock full of games and apps for kids, too, and we've got a list of the best compiled so you can save a bit of time searching through them all. If the kids have a Chromebook, there are also websites like Kongregate or Armor Games that have hundreds of free browser-based games to keep kids (and adults) occupied.

Have some fun: The Best Android Games of 2020

The tech in your life can go a long way towards helping your kids keep it together during these trying times. Whether it's the latest and greatest, or something with a few more miles on it, chances are you can find something for the kids to do with it. That's important for their mental health, and it's important for yours as well.

An old phone or tablet is great for letting the kids unwind.

Just don't let tech take over completely, because what the kids need now more than ever is love and understanding. Little ones don't process why they can't go to the park and play with the other kids, and older ones might think the whole mess is just silly and that they are invincible. It's our job as their caretakers to do what's best for them. A few hours a day with a phone or tablet in their hands can help.

Just don't forget the hugs.

Jerry Hildenbrand
Senior Editor — Google Ecosystem

Jerry is an amateur woodworker and struggling shade tree mechanic. There's nothing he can't take apart, but many things he can't reassemble. You'll find him writing and speaking his loud opinion on Android Central and occasionally on Twitter.

1 Comment
  • Here's an idea: CHORES!!!
    Keep them busy with cleaning, organizing, gathering donations for when this BS is over. Another idea: READ SOME BOOKS!!!
    Grab some classic books, maybe some from your childhood, and have them read them. Another idea: LEARN TO COOK!!!
    Start simple, with boiling eggs, making a simple bread, preparing vegetables. Another idea: LEARN BASIC FINANCES!!!
    People don't use checkbooks much anymore, but you still have to gather your receipts and check against your statements. Make sure they know how credit cards work, how car loans work, how home loans work, how various insurances work. Another idea: LEARN BASIC VEHICLE MAINTENANCE!!!
    Checking tire pressure, checking fluids, checking wipers, cleaning it. Another idea: LEARN SOME GEOGRAPHY!!!
    Go through the states in the US, countries if in the EU, etc. Then learn the neighboring provinces, like Canada and Mexico, if in the US. Then jump across an ocean and learn about countries on another continent. Learn the capitol cities, historic highlights, languages spoken, major industries, tourist destinations. Another idea: LEARN ANOTHER LANGUAGE!!!
    Pick one. Maybe your child wants to go to a particular country after high school. Start learning the language now! Don't use the excuse that "Most places speak English." You'll get further if you understand and can speak and read a little of the native language. Duolingo is free, and has a long list of languages, including Hawaiian, Latin, High Valerian, and Klingon! Duolingo makes a game of learning a language, so it can be fun for siblings to compete. Another idea: START A GARDEN!!!
    This can be cheaply done, if you harvest seeds from your vegetables. Even buying seeds is inexpensive, and you can start the seeds indoors if the frost hasn't melted in your area. Have the kid(s) start seeds, and chart their growth. Tracking progress can be done via a spreadsheet. They can use it for a project when they get back to school. Bonus: Nothing brings a sense of pride and accomplishment like feeding your family the vegetables you have grown. There you go. That should keep them busy.