Montana schools are closed statewide for at least the next two weeks, leaving parents scrambling to either a) find someone to watch the kids, or b) stay home with them. The logistics are likely to become overwhelming for single parents of younger children who are not old enough to be left at home unsupervised (I barely trust my 15-year-old to stay home by himself - ha!). I'm extremely fortunate to be able to have my wife be at home. Sometimes I wish she worked, but at times like now I'm very grateful she does not have to.

Watching cartoons all day or playing on their tablet is going to get old fairly quickly. Kids need something to keep them busy and their minds occupied. Depending on how old your kiddos are, here are 5 fun things that are free or inexpensive to do to help curb boredom.

  1. Get outside! With the weather getting more springlike every day, now would be a great time to take a nature walk. Take the dogs to the river. Ride bikes. Go fishing (kids don't need a license). There is minimal risk of running into lots of people and the fresh air might just do them good. Billings has nearly 50 miles of multi-use trails and you can check out the maps HERE.
  2. Make playdough or slime. There are tons of easy recipes for both on the web. This playdough formula claims to be the best. I prefer playdough over slime because it's less messy and doesn't ruin your carpet when the kids forget about the blob on the floor that slowly sinks into the carpet fibers and is a real pain to get out.
  3. Board games. Remember when families use to play games, instead of sticking their faces in their phones all of the time? Now would be a great opportunity to dust off the pile of games in your closet and play something. We played Yahtzee at my house over the weekend and it's a great game for younger kids to work on their math skills. Even my 3-year-old got in on the action. She obviously can't add up the dice, but she really loved shaking the cup.
  4. Involve them in household projects. Depending on their age, now would be a great time to have them help out around the house. Since everyone is stuck at home, have them help go through their closets/dresser and find clothes they've outgrown or no longer wear. Collect items for donation or for Billings Biggest Garage Sale.
  5. Learn something new together. It could be something like teaching your kids to bake bread or learning how to cook a kid-friendly recipe. Have a family art night where everyone has to draw the same thing from their own perspectives.

If you have other fun ideas for kids and would like to share them, let us know with the Message Us button on the free Hawk Mobile App. Get it below.

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