Tips on keeping kids safe, but active, while schooling from home during the pandemic


Before the pandemic, parents were urged to limit their children’s screen time to no more than one to three hours per day. They were advised to get them moving, to play with friends. Since the arrival of COVID-19, however, group activities have become strongly discouraged, in an effort to limit the spread of the novel coronavirus.

Now, with most children starting the school year learning remotely, it’s becoming even more of a challenge to keep kits active. Read on to learn why it remains important, however, and get ideas for safe and healthy activities children can do now.

Why Keeping Kids Active Is Important

When children move their bodies through exercise and play, it improves their physical, mental and emotional health. Active kids are more fit and less likely to become obese, which can lead to health problems such as diabetes and high cholesterol. Exercise also boosts mood and helps kids focus and retain information better.

Guidelines from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recommend children ages six to 17 get at least one hour of moderate to vigorous exercise a day.

Activity Ideas for Kids

Since organized activities are mostly on pause right now, you may be at a loss for how to meet your child’s physical activity needs. Consider these ideas:

Outdoor activities

Spending time outside and getting fresh air is good for you. Consider encouraging your child to:

  • Jump rope
  • Twirl a Hula Hoop
  • Play hopscotch or hide-and-seek
  • Go on family walks or bike rides
  • Conduct a nature scavenger hunt
  • Play with bubbles or chalk

Indoor activities

You can find free dance and exercise classes for children online. You can also take hopscotch inside, using painter’s tape to create lines on the floor, or play a game of hide-and-seek around the house. Some families enjoy setting up indoor obstacle courses and then playing a game of parents versus kids.

Don’t forget that chores count as activity, too. Choose age-appropriate tasks. For example, preschoolers can separate laundry while tweens can run their own wash and fold and put away clothes. Cleaning the home keeps kids moving, teaches them life skills and contributes to the household.

Get more tips and the latest coronavirus information from UCLA Health.