the flight up from Singapore to London was pretty full

So I’d been wanting to write about the whole COVID/pandemic situation since shit hit the fan for Singapore in January, but things kept changing so quickly that it was hard to put my thoughts coherently – the travel industry has been hit tremendously by this and even as a small fry in the bigger scheme of things, I’ve been feeling the impact as well.
I decided that it made more sense to write this journal as a fluid, evolving record of what’s happening and my own thoughts of the situation in Singapore and the impact I’m feeling on my life and travels which I will update as things unfold.
January 2020: Singapore spike COVID-19 (or what we first knew as the Wuhan Virus as that was one of the first major cities to be hit) became a real concern in late 2019 but here in Singapore where I live, it really only started getting out of hand in January 2020 where tiny Singapore rapidly became one of the countries with the most cases of infection outside of China.
Because of that.

The local disease threat level in Singapore or DORSCON level went from Yellow to Orange

triggering some particularly unpleasant Singaporean traits of kiasu-ism as people decided to stock up supplies like wartime was looming, and disinfectants and masks were wiped off the shelves.
There were insane queues at pharmacies for those that had masks, but at other times normally crowded shopping malls were almost comically empty.
Temperature checks and health declarations were started in most major buildings, but it wasn’t a particularly smooth process – there was a different procedure every morning for the building I worked in in that first week of implementation.
You were often greeted by someone pointing a thermometer gun at your forehead wherever you went, and many companies started implementing Business Continuity Plans – some people rotated shifts to go into office, others worked from home more.
My company gave us the flexibility of working from home depending on our own comfort levels.
The amount of weird news going around on Whatsapp and Facebook was eyeroll-worthy, but I have to say the Singapore government did a great job of setting up official Whatsapp accounts to debunk falsehoods and putting up really detailed information about where potential cases had been to facilitate contact tracing.
If there’s one thing I really appreciate about Singapore is how efficient our healthcare system is and how much trust the people can place in it, which is something I’ve started to realise isn’t the case in a lot of other countries around the world.
The furthest I travelled anywhere in January (actually early Feb) was a weekend exploration of Pulau Ubin February 2020: To travel or not to travel As someone who loves travel, it’s not often I feel apprehensive about a trip.

But as the number of cases in Singapore rose in February

so did my concern about my upcoming trip to London and Rome.
This was a blog/work engagement that had been planned months before that would take me to London for a few days, and I’d also used this opportunity to see the sights and visit family in Rome.
I wasn’t even entirely sure I’d be able to travel to be honest.
Every day saw a barrage of news about isolated cases popping up in different countries and how they’d caught the infection.
A lot of these cases were linked to Singapore because so much testing was underway and we were finding a ton of new cases every day which were causing people to be increasingly concerned about visiting Singapore and Singaporean travellers.
I was most concerned about travel bans against Singaporeans – Singapore had banned Chinese nationals and anyone coming in from China in the last 14 days.
I kept an eye on the news and checked the MFA websites as well as those of the UK Consulate since I was flying into London.
At that point there had only been sporadic infections in the UK.

Though one guy did catch it from a conference in Singapore

but they hadn’t made any bans at that point.
The main notice was a warning to self-quarantine yourself at home if you did travel from Singapore or other affected countries and were feeling flu-ey, but that was it.
Lots of travel was getting cancelled all around me – my mum cancelled a trip to Indochina she was planning around the same period.
Interest in travel around Asia was definitely low as my web stats dropped quite significantly in the month of February, which subsequently the lowest of my ad revenue in the last two years.
I figured since I wasn’t going anywhere with a high infection rate (at that point) and I personally think one of the best ways to manage this is to try and keep a sense of normalcy, so I decided to keep calm and carry on.
Keep in mind this may not be the best idea right now, but given my situation then it seemed ok to keep living life as usual, albeit with more wet wipes.
On the road: Singapore to London and Rome My flight was out of Terminal 2 and Changi Airport was way quieter than it usually is.
I’ve never thought it weird that people hung out at the airport because it’s a pretty common thing for Singaporeans, but the emptiness of the terminal was palpable even as I walked towards immigration.
In February, surgical masks.

Hand sanitiser and antiseptic wipes were still pretty much sold out all around Singapore

and it was no different at the airport.
I popped into a Guardian just to see if I could pick up any last minute antiseptic wipes but wasn’t surprised when I was mostly met with a shrug when I asked if they had any available.
Still, the flight up from Singapore to London was pretty full, and I would say about 30-40% of people in the waiting lounge had surgical masks on.
Some of the mask-wearers were Caucasian folk, it wasn’t solely limited to Asian faces.
I did carry a mask with me just in case, and I attempted masking up for awhile on the plane because the cold was making me sneeze, but the mask just irritated it more, so I decided to go without.
I’m a window seater, and usually I do a simple wipe of the window and the area where I rest my head, but this time I used more sanitiser than I usually do, and also wiped down my hand rests and buttons, head rest, TV screen and foldable table.
I wasn’t the only one doing that – the young Caucasian dude next to me whipped out his own wet wipes to thoroughly clean his chair as well.
What I started doing in recent years as well is to always wear a thin long-sleeved hoodie whenever I’m in the plane (I favour the Uniqlo Airism UV Cut long sleeve mesh hoodie – great for sun protection and when it’s not super cold, and also quite breathable) so I can rest my head and arms on the plane seat with at least a thin barrier.
So this is not from my recent flight but from a Scoot flight to Taiwan previously, but just to illustrate my point – I don’t just wipe down the window, I usually wipe the area beside the window where you lean on, as if the headrest is not fabric I wipe that down too.
And I usually keep my hood up anyway so I don’t put my hair/face on other surfaces Everything else in the plane was pretty normal except that the flight attendants are all masked up as well.
I tried to drink less water and not go to the bathroom as much because all I could think about it is that airplane toilets can get pretty grotty.
I did wash my hands and whip out the hand sanitiser a lot more than usual.
Also I generally avoid putting my belongings in the seat pocket and this time around I left the inflight magazines alone.

London and Rome in February 2020 In London and Rome

life was pretty normal at that point in mid February 2020.
I got lucky as the virus really hit Italy only after I left, and mostly up in the northern region while I was down in the central area.
On hindsight, my time in Rome was probably some of the last few normal days that Italy will enjoy in awhile.
When the Colosseum in Rome was still crowded in Feb 2020 For me, that trip was an escape from the tension of being in Singapore when everyone is high strung about the pandemic – god forbid you clear your throat or even cough in public because you get some serious death glares when you do.
I don’t blame people for being nervous, but it was nice to have a few days without the shadow of the virus looming overhead.
The Pantheon in Rome which has the largest unsupported concrete dome roofs.
Again, a gazillion other visitors as well I enjoyed the trip as I normally did, watching Come From Away on West End in London (excellent!) and seeing the major sights in Rome like the Colosseum and visiting the crowded Vatican City, and even taking a day trip out to nearby Tivoli.
I did wash my hands a lot more than usual and tried not to touch my face (especially hard when the weather is cold and if you’re sinusy like I am).
And yes, I reflexively side-eyed people who were coughing too openly though no one else seemed to care.
Thankfully, no one called me a virus as far as I can tell, and my sibling who I was visiting and living with in Rome concurred that no one there was concerned about the virus whatsoever.
Vatican City Museum en route to the Sistine Chapel –  crowds, crowds and more crowds.
I did like the room of maps with tapestries of Italy’s various regions though The flight back to Singapore was much less crowded than usual, I’d estimate about half-capacity.
I had a whole row of seats to myself in the back half of Economy as did many other people sitting in that zone.
Singapore Airlines had announced that they were cancelling several flights in the coming months as well due to low demand.
I headed back into the office as per usual when I returned from work, but it was around this time cases in Italy had started multiplying exponentially and suddenly I was back under scrutiny because I had just returned from a potentially infectious area, never mind that at that point very little of it seemed to have affected the central and southern region where Rome is.
The Singapore government at this point had declared Northern Italy a cautionary area along with South Korea and Iran and people coming back from these regions had to serve 14 days of Stay at Home time, but I wasn’t affected by this at all.
March 2020: Everywhere else explodes In March 2020, .

The situation in Singapore seems to have calmed down a bit

Singaporeans have started to emerge from their holes

Temperature checks are still the norm for most major buildings that you enter, and many large scale events have been cancelled, but still, life goes on.
Where things have really become crazy is everywhere else in the world.
A lot of western Europe is infected and it’s kinda insane seeing the contrast especially in Italy and UK where I was just a few weeks earlier.
Everything I read about the USA from its incompetent President to their frankly abhorrent healthcare system is depressing.
I feel a little desensitised by everything I see on the news these days about the virus, but also can’t stop scrolling my feed to see what madness descends next.
Singapore’s dropped out of the top infections list and is being sited as a country with good measures to emulate, but we’re starting to pick up more imported cases from people who caught it from their travels.
The government advice now is not to travel unless absolutely necessary – Singapore and other countries have started to close our borders and restricting foreigners, so going overseas is starting to be quite impossible anyway.
I suddenly thought about my epic career break back in 2016-2017 where I travelled to 35 different countries over 15 months, and I am additionally thankful I’m not on the road right now.
I’d have to turn back around and come home, a necessary but disappointing measure.
It’s a personal reminder to never put off dreams for too long if you can help it because look how crazy things can get so quickly.
A virus scare and staying at home voluntarily My sibling in Rome came back home as schools there had been cancelled and it looked like the situation wasn’t going to be any better.
If anything, .

They would be safer back here in Singapore with the access to our healthcare system

But when that sibling came down with a sore throat and decided to be cautious and get it checked out even though she didn’t have a fever, the doctor immediately directed her to the hospital to get properly tested to be safe.
I got the news on a late Wednesday afternoon that she’d gone to get tested for potentially having the virus, and immediately my mind starts to whir with some panic – we live in the same household after all and I had even picked them up from the airport when they returned.
The news that day had just been about having social responsibility and making sure you don’t catch and pass on the virus to other people.
Despite not having any symptoms myself, I informed my boss about it and spent the next two days working from home, and skipped my usual gym and exercise sessions.
I’m gonna distract you with a picture of my cat who’s probably happy to have more attention since I spend more time at home than usual Now I’m no stranger to working at home given that’s what I’d done for the past 2 years of freelancing before I went back to an office job, but there’s something about working at home on your own volition and being ‘forced’ to stay home because you’re potentially infected/infectious that just feels makes you feel more caged somehow.
But here’s one thing I think this pandemic has made very clear – beating the virus is really more than just about you and your life.
I personally don’t believe we should be too paranoid about everything and act like we’re under siege, but I do live with a parent at home of that vulnerable age range who’s particularly nervous about getting infected alongside young school-going children as well.
While I might gripe about the inconveniences of voluntarily quarantining myself, delays and other red tape I have to jump through, I’m not going to unnecessarily risk other people just for the sake of me.
But anyway, the COVID test from the hospital typically takes about 3-4 days to get the results, but the call from the hospital came in on late Friday evening in just 2 days announcing the all clear and there was such palpable relief from everyone at home, me included.
To be safe, my sibling would still limit going out and meeting up with friends until the 14-day notice was over, though I was happy to have my usual freedom again.
I’m still washing my hands diligently and avoiding touching stuff and my face, and generally limiting exposure while still going about activities that are still ongoing.
Obviously my spontaneous Epic Birthday activity didn’t pan out – I spent the day at home with the family who did get me a cake and a nice dinner, and I channeled those travel funds into a donation to the Community Chest in the fight against COVID.
April 2020: Circuit Breaker Mode Things seemed to be under control for awhile, but then many overseas Singaporeans brought the virus home with them and from from late March, my work transitioned into full-time work from home so I didn’t even have to go into the office anymore.
This wasn’t actually that difficult for me – when I freelanced in the two years prior to this full-time job, I mostly worked from home anyway so it didn’t feel too different from that.
A week into April and my third week of working from home, Singapore announced its ‘Circuit Breaker month’ which would basically shut down most businesses and movement to try and contain the disease.
Every passing day saw a further tightening of measures because many people basically just want to beat the system for their own convenience.
Also, the virus hit the foreign worker dormitories leading to a massive uptick in infected cases in the past week.
That first circuit breaker week was also pretty tension-filled as my start-up company announced some layoffs which thankfully didn’t affect me, but included fellow colleagues I’ve worked with over the past year.
These layoffs kinda came out of left field, right after the government pledged 75% payment support for all workers, so that was a pretty unproductive week as we tried to make sense of everything that was going on.
I’m starting to figure out how life goes on through this whole circuit breaker lifestyle and remote connections.
I did a couple of group chats with colleagues and friends and realised that while I’m pretty much an introvert, I do miss being in contact with my friends.
I’m also pretty glad I get along with my whole family as we figure out how to work, study and live together practically 24/7 – upgrading the internet was necessary, and I caved and got on a Netflix trial too.
I’m pretty shitty at exercising on my own accord but I tried out a couple of online tutorials and lessons this week which I might try to make a regular thing, both to support small businesses and get my own fitness back on track.
It’s only mid April right now, and it simultaneously feels like it’s been forever and no time at all.
It’s hard to say what the rest of April holds and whether the circuit breaker will actually end in May or be extended.
May 2020: Keep on keeping on We’re into May now and as many of my friends predicted, they’ve extended circuit breaker measures for an additional month till June.
Singapore was doing pretty decently managing the virus at first until it hit the foreign worker dormitories, exposing an ugly truth we’ve always ignored – that the conditions they live in are less than ideal and perfectly ripe for the virus to go absolutely nuts.
Right now we’re at over 20k+ infected, .

But I’ve stopped really following the numbers in Singapore

I have no idea how most other countries are doing because I’m not looking it up either.
Ignorance really is bliss some times, but I’m still doing my part and staying at home.
It turns out I’m really, really good at quarantine – I think I stepped out of my home once during the entire month of April.
This month is a bit sadder because I had planned to be in Taiwan during the long Labour day and Vesak Day holiday period.
Even had my leave sorted (which I have since cancelled), but I really have no idea when anyone will be able to freely travel for holidays again.
June 2020: Cautiously Reopening Singapore’s circuit breaker is coming to a close and gradually opening up, but at 37,000+ cases as of the first week of June, I feel so desensitised at this point.
It looks like I’ll be continuing to work from home for a few more weeks or so since I don’t really need the office facilities.
The office has implemented a ton of social distancing rules and unfortunately, I’ve had colleagues leave the company as well, so there really isn’t much incentive for me to go back into the office other than having a proper chair (my back, ow) and a large monitor for staring at those excel sheets.
I’ve finally started getting better with exercising on my own, though I still miss being able to go into a studio or gym.
I feel like I’m putting on weight and getting too sedentary so I’ve started being a bit more consistent with the HIIT classes and doing online classes.
It’s been about 3 months since my last trip – the last time I had such a long break between travels was back in 2015.
Since I started travelling solo in 2011, the longest stretch without a single trip was about 4 months… What happens next.
I wonder when things will take a turn for the better.
It will probably take awhile before overseas travel opens up so I’m probably end up exploring more of my home land Singapore and maybe go see the nooks and crannies I’ve overlooked in favour of travelling overseas.
Many countries are loosening or thinking about loosening measures which I think is great, .

One can only hope the situation in Singapore gets better sooner rather than later as well

How about taking this time to explore more of Singapore’s outdoors

Like this nice open space in Kranji Countryside As an occasional traveller and erstwhile travel blogger, I’ve never been particularly prolific or dependent on my blog for income – anything I make from display ads or travel writing work is extra money that goes towards my travels – but man, it has been depressing looking at my page stats and ad earnings these past few weeks.
I really feel for the people who blog full-time because they have definitely been hard hit.
Do your favourite travel bloggers a service by going to their websites and reading their stuff – it might not be the right time to physically travel anywhere now but you can travel safely with online stories and be inspired to plan your next vacation when this all blows over (hopefully sooner rather than later!).
I’m probably going to keep writing sporadically and finally work on those old drafts that have been sitting around from past trips, and dust off and update some of my old posts as well so you guys have more good stuff to read even if you’re stuck at home.
So to give you a sense of what I mean when I say my stats have dropped since I started putting display ads on my blog, monthly earnings have been generally steady with highs towards the year end.
Never before have I seen my sessions and revenue drop SO LOW.
Granted Dec 2019 was a high in terms of revenue, but the plunge in Jan and Feb was way harsh and lower than my average month’s takings.
Feb tends to be a low month because it is shorter and there is a bit of a lull after year end, but my Feb 2020 earnings were literally HALF of what I got in Feb 2019 if you want to compare similar time periods.
My Mar 2020 earnings were even more dismal – down 80% from my average takings.
In the meantime, I’ll keep this mini journal going for as long as I think it’s necessary.
It’s a way for me to reflect and process what’s happening right now, and in future years a way to look back and remember what life was like when pandemic madness descended.
Stay safe everyone – let’s all be good non-travellers now and keep working towards the day we can properly embrace travel again.
The post Diary of a Singaporean traveller in the time of a pandemic appeared first on The Occasional Traveller.


Great fun.Grades Pre-K – – Free until July

Since schools in our district (Howard County, MD) are closed, I put together a list of online learning / distance education resources, plus other ideas for things to do during the break/quarantine.
If anyone has any additional ideas for activities or other resources, please send them my way and I will add to this list – comment below.
The list is divided into eight topic areas: Educational video classes and other learning opportunities – Online courses and virtual field trips that are either prerecorded or live.Games and online fun – Great ways to pass the time and have fun, possibly while doing some learning.Random fun ideas – Just random fun ideas for things to do.Worksheets – I’ve tried to find some decent packets you can download to keep your kids on focused learning.Do science – Science experiments and ideas.Music – Learn to play and instrument and quarantine music activities.Physical activities – Get some exercise.Baking and cooking ideasArts and Crafts – Fun do-at-home art ideas to do with your childVirtual field trips – Great places you can visit.
Even better with virtual reality I hope all of us who are well, but home, can all use this unexpected time together wisely.
If you’re sick, get well soon.
[Looking for virtual birthday party ideas?] Educational video classes and other learning fun learning opportunities This break in school is definitely an opportunity for parents to get to know their kids’ academic strengths and weaknesses, in case they don’t already.The good news is that there are loads of fantastic educational websites — many of which are normally for pay, but are free for now.
Some include video lessons and classes, distance learning, others are paid courses.
Here are a few popular sites.
I have selected them by hand, so I hope you’ll find something that will engage your child in the list below: Khan Academy – This is very helpful, free website with loads of educational videos on all sorts of topics.
It’s “gamified” so your child can earn points and badges as they progress through lessons.
The videos are broken down into very specific how-to’s so you can zero right in on what you want to learn, or just follow along a given course.
I very highly recommend this site.
Here is a daily schedule for various grade levels using Khan resources.Grades Pre-K and above.Khan Academy (again!) – This is a special mention because I really like this activity – Imagineering in a box.
“Designed to pull back the curtain to show you how artists, designers and engineers work together to create theme parks.”Outschool – For a VERY limited time FREE $100 credit for classes (Sign up here) I think this is a great opportunity for kids to learn.
They have classes that are prerecorded, and others that have a live teacher that teaches your child along with classmates via video lessons.
One of my children is currently taking a language class from this site and it’s really working well.
I just signed the other up for an American Sign Language class.Grades Pre-K and above.You may also want to have a look at Unschool.School because it also offers a wide range of resources for different ways for kids to learn.Varsity Tutors – Free live online classes for K-12.
Wide variety of courses.Learn At Home with YouTube – Great list of educational channels on YouTube.
I like Crash Courses and It’s Okay to Be Smart.Kids Discover – This website is normally a paid resource, but they’re offering free access to families with kids in districts that have closed schools.
Click here to request a free account.
Here is a list a librarian created with some other resources.
Grades 1 and above.Coding schools – Ok, now would be a good idea for kids who may have some interest in learning computer programming to take some courses or improve their skills with practice.
There are some wonderful options for kids of all ages to get started.
Here are three popular choices:Code Kingdoms – Very good choice to get started coding!HourofCode is a great example, and it is very well done.
Honestly, great for any age.

Grades Pre-K and above.Scratch very good for kids age 6 to 12

Fun, entertaining.Grades 1 and also a great option for learning to code.
Grades 3 and above.CodeAcademy – another great resource with free and paid lessons.Scholastic – This resource goes up to 6th grade.
Lots of great materials to keep kids learning.National Geographic Explorer Classroom has some excellent webinars.
Definitely check it out.EdX, Coursera, and MIT OpenCourseWare – This could be an option for older kids – free online courses from major universities including Harvard, Yale, MIT, and probably most of the colleges you can think of.
(There is even a course about cat and dog behavior from the University of Edinburgh) The classes are on just about any imaginable topic.
Some are self-guided, others are “live” in that if you pay a fee, you can submit work for grading and you have to complete work in a given time frame.
Grades 8 and above.Linked In Learning/ – Lynda offers a huge collection of online classes, mostly aimed at adults, but older kids/teens would benefit from many of them.
For example, they have courses in Photoshop and other digital art tools that kids could benefit from.
(Moms or dads would probably also find a worthwhile topic) Howard County Library offers it for free to their patrons, but if your library system doesn’t, the cost to join Lynda is not very expensive and is month to month.
Grades 6 and above.Instructables – I love this website.
Loads of crafts, and other how-to’s on a wide variety of topics.
Most kids are likely to find something that interests them–these would be good for parents and children to do together.
(Thanks to Milanjali for the suggestion to add this one!)Acheive3000’s Actively Learn Platform – I really like Achieve 3000’s ELA current events platform.
I have used it with students for two years when I taught school and thought it was excellent.
They are offering their Actively Learn remote learning platform for free for the time being.
CommonLit – Reading and writing program.
Parents have to go through a verification process, but this is a worthwhile platform with guides for teachers and parents.
Grades 3 to 12.Learn a language with Duolingo.
This is a fun, easy way for your child to learn a language or learn more of a language they already know.
You may also check with your local library to see if they have any other online language learning resources.
For example, .

Howard County Library offers Rosetta Stone for free

I like Rosetta Stone for a few reasons, but top among them is the fact that it can listen to your pronunciation and tell you if you have it right.I would also mention that one of my kids is taking live online language lessons on
It’s working great even though the teachers and all of the students are in different states.
Grades 4 and above.Prodigy Math – Math activities for grades 1 – 8.
Grades 1 – 8.Delta Math – My kids are using this now.
Lots of great activities.
Create a free account as a teacher to get started.First in Math – This is a great math resource with entertaining games and world-wide competitions.
Paid subscription ($20 for 6 months) – Great stuff on this site — this is a link to some excellent social studies games…including a game where you have to get the votes in a run for president.Get out your library card and check to see what kind of electronic learning resources your local library has.
(Note that in many places, you can get a access to libraries anywhere in your state and beyond).
Here are some examples from the Howard County, Maryland library system (click to see them all – You need to go back to the library website and start there to login with your library card and Pin.
Forgot your PIN.
Reset it here):Kids Infobits Grades Pre-K and above.LearningExpress – Practice tests for AP exams and the SATs.
Library card needed to register.MuzzyScienceFlixTons of electronic books for all ages to download to your phone, Kindle, or tablet.Bookflix Do a project.
This is one of the best ways to learn.
Here is an article about project based learning–at the end of it are 15 ideas for projects including things like redesigning your city’s public transport system and solve your parents’ problem of being too busy.Watch and compare/contrast movie versions of Romeo & Juliet and Westside Story.
Take it deeper by adding in Rent (The Musical) and La Boheme (Thanks Debra T)StarFall – This is a venerable, popular website for younger kids.
Great fun.Grades Pre-K – – Free until July.
Help for different learners including Orton-Gillingham.This Way Up – Great mental health resource.
This is a link to their Covid page, but be sure and look at all of their offerings.Johns Hopkins Center for Talented Youth – Very well reputed online courses.
This one is here because it’s a great option for some kids.
The courses definitely aren’t free (quite the opposite), and you have to get accepted into the program.
This could be a problem under quarantine since you have to test into the program.MobyMax and ListenWise – These two are suggestions for schools and school districts rather than individual families: MobyMax helps your child catch up to grade level.
This is great for different learners or learners struggling with school.
It’s free for the rest of the school year.
Call 888-793-8331 to get started.
Listenwise offers articles and podcasts about a variety of subjects, and can be effective for different learners.

Random fun Watch an Educational TV Show

There are so many, and they can be entertaining and worthwhile.

Here is my list of educational shows for kids of all ages (Mostly on YouTube

Netflix, and Hulu)Grades Pre-K – 8.Plan an end of break “dream” party.
“Money is no object” for this activity.
Organize lists of needed materials, budgets, etc.
What would the party look like.
Who would be invited.
Make invitations.Where would it be held.
What kind of music would be played?Use a Google Doc or Google Sheet to keep track of everything.
Find photos of needed items online and paste them into your document.
Share with a friend.Write a book.
For younger kids, one great option is the blank books they sell on Amazon.
Google Docs is a great way for kids who are less concerned about drawing illustrations to do the same.
There are also social story sharing websites where kids could share their writing with others.
I’d recommend adult supervision, but for example, Wattpad is very popular and Underlined is also a good option for teen writers.Play an epic game of Monopoly, Jenga, or Scrabble.
Hold a tournament.
For something a more unusual and different, try Melissa and Doug “Suspend.”Work on creating (or improving) a family tree/genealogy.
There are so many great resources for this, but start by scheduling some interviews with older relatives who can help your kids to understand your family history (Example interview questions here).
You can then look up relatives on Ancestry, Heritage Quest (free access from the Howard County library and many others), Ellis Island passenger search, or a movie.
Watch a movie series.
Watch all of the Star Wars movies in order.Watch all of the Star Trek movies in order.To say the least, .

YouTube is filled with amazing how-to videos for free

Here are some suggestions:Some kids might enjoy taking drawing courses.
Here is a playlist of drawing courses.
Grades K and above.Piano lessons.
Oh yes.

Check out the YouTube lessons from Hoffman Academy

Grades 1 and above.Learn calligraphy You may have a calligraphy pen or marker to get you started, or you could order brush pens or a calligraphy set from Amazon.Slime is banned from my house, but if it’s not banned from yours (or you are desperate for a fun activity and have the ingredients) here is a video tutorial.
(Also see the “Do Science” section below!) Grades 1 and above.Upcycle old crayons.Grades pre-K and above.Make Homemade playdoughGrades pre-K – 2.Make a bird feeder – Here is one design using a toilet paper roll.
Obviously you’re going need some kind of bird seed.Go on a scavenger hunt outside.
There are loads of suggest lists of things to find on various sites (eg – Find something that starts with “M”, find something purple…) Hold a photo contest.
This could be between family members or friends.
Pick a theme.
If you want to have judges (not necessarily recommended), upload the photos to Facebook without credit or explanation and see which one gets the most likes.
If a contest is too much or you don’t have enough people to compete, just do a funny photo shoot and take the silliest photos of each other possible.Watch Lunch Doodles – Mo Willems.
Great stuff!Give your mom a make-over.
(Or some other family member)Teach your kids to sew a button or a hem.
Don’t know how.
See this tutorial on YouTube.
(Thanks Kate M)Write a play – You and your child can work together to create a script for a skit or play.
How about working with a friend via video call to brainstorm the plot together.
Some kids will need some help getting started.
Check out these writing prompts for ideas.Find a free story on Audible.Make a Rube Goldberg machine or a paper plate marble track.Do origami – find some fun origami projects here.Read.
Here is a reading list if your child or teen isn’t sure what to read.
If we’re lucky, those of us who aren’t quarantined could still go to the local library.
But if not, your local library probably has a great collection of electronic books that you can access online or download to your Kindle/e-Reader.

The Howard County Library has a few options including “Overdrive.”In the worst case

you could purchase Kindle books from Amazon (If you have Amazon Prime, you may get free books to borrow.) Games and online fun Here are some ideas for some ideas for fun, some of the suggestions may even be educational.

If you have a Amazon Alexa or Google Home

there are loads of fun, interactive games you could play.
Here are some suggestions of things you can do with the Google Home (and Google Assistant on your Android phone).
Here are some suggestions for games on Amazon Alexa.There are many great educational apps for iPads, iPhones, and Android tablets.
This post is about apps for the popular Kindle Fire tablet, but you’ll find the same apps on any Android tablet.
Here is a list of educational iPad apps.One of my kid’s teachers suggested the Plague Incorporated simulation game.
It’s actually really good, and you can consider it topical, if not possibly touchy.
The goal is to create a super-virus to decimate the Earth’s population.
Rather than directly link to the game, I am linking to the Common Sense Media reviews of it, so you, the parent can decide if this is a good idea.
They recently added a mode that let’s players try to prevent the spread of a disease.
This might also be a good time to go back to SimCity.
See other science games in my list below under “Do science.”Hello Kids – Online coloring for kids.
You may also want to print out a free Disney coloring page.Attend a children’s author “read aloud.”ABCYa.
The learning kind of sneaks up on you.
Great for younger kids, but there are definitely some fun opportunities for older kids up to 6th grade on this site.
Grades Pre-K – 6.Microsoft has made Minecraft Education Edition free for those with Office 365 education accounts through their schools.
Here is the form to request access.Learn and play chess with other kids on ChessKid.I have created a list of educational gift ideas.
These are really for any kid, depending on where their interests lie.
Worksheets and Learning Packets Although I am not the biggest fan of worksheets, these free downloads will be helpful for parents who need something quick and easy for their kids to do.
Worksheets have their place, but parents who have additional time may want to consider the idea of working on a project with their student instead (or in addition).
Preschool letter tracing worksheetsPhonics worksheetsHandwriting worksheetsMath worksheetsGeneral packets for grades K – 5General packets for middle schoolMiddle school math packetsReading packets for grades 1 – 9 Easter Seals School Closure Toolkit for young students with autism More advanced kids might take advantage of these algebra, geometry, and calculus worksheet packets with answer sheets.More worksheets on this Google Drive from KES, and more from and Curriculum Associates.
Do science Wonderful ideas for STEM Activities from NASA JPL.Extract Banana DNA and other great experiment ideas from Arizona State University.More science experiment ideas from Science Bob.Try the iNaturalist app – Take a photo of a creature or plant and get help identifying it.
Grades 4 and above.Make bath bombsBuild a terrarium.
You will need plants, but otherwise, you probably already have what you need at home.
See this link from AlphaMom.
For those that don’t have the supplies, or need a simpler option, this kit is decent and not expensive.
Grades pre-K and above.Start a garden.
A great reason to get outside, clean up the yard, and get the soil in shape for planting.
View HGTV’s gallery of plants for kids to grow.
If you don’t have a place for a garden, consider creating a container garden.Grades pre-K and above.Learn science with video games.
(Thanks Kate C)Grades 3 – 8.Make some squishy circuits Music activities Fender Guitar Lessons – Fender has opened up its Playthrough guitar lessons to anyone for free.Piano lessons.
Oh yes.
Check out the YouTube lessons from Hoffman Academy.
You may also want to have a look at these free courses from Udemy: Piano Basics and Learn to Play the Top 10 Classical Piano Pieces Grades 1 and above.
Have a family sing along or a home karaoke session.
Use YouTube for karaoke or try one of the a cappella apps to create your own cool arrangements.
Look up rounds on the internet and try singing them together.
(Thanks Debra T)Take turns playing your favorite songs for each other – the things you used to listen to as a young person, and the things they like to listen to now.
Notice similarities and differences in style and production.
Then check out a style you don’t usually listen to and try to figure out what people enjoy about it.(Thanks Debra T)Learn to play the Ukulele – Great lessons on YouTube for how to play the uke.
Don’t have a ukulele handy.
You can get one that’s decent at a low cost on Amazon.
Have an iPad or iPhone.
Now would be a great time to learn how to use Garage Band.
So much fun.
Why not have your child come up with a new ring tone for you to use when they call you or a family theme song.
Garage Band is free from Apple.

Here’s an introduction on YouTube…bonus: the presenter sounds like Shrek

Physical activities The Nation’s PE Teacher – PE with Joe on YouTubePlanet Fitness – “Starting Monday, tune in to Facebook Live for FREE at-home workouts for anyone and everyone.
Get moving with our trainers and even some surprise celebrity guests for a 20 minute workout to relieve stress and stay healthy.” (Thank you Kathy H)Yoga – Great yoga sessions on YouTube.
Here is Cosmic Kids yoga.
You might also try Yoga with Adriene.GoNoodle – Get your kids moving and improve mindfulness.
Free breakdancing course from UdemyHere are some other great ideas for staying active from MedStar Health Baking and cooking ideas Get out that old bread maker.
Everyone loves fresh bread, and your kids will enjoy helping to make something the whole family will enjoy.
Of course you’ll need to have yeast on hand, but there’s a good chance you have the rest of the needed ingredients.
There are loads of great recipes out there…Our challenge this break will be to make rolls that are most similar to Subway Italian bread.
TIP: If you don’t have a bread maker, just visit your local thrift shop, there’s a strong chance of finding one there.Make ice cream in a bagCooking contests.
If you have more than one child, hold a cooking contest.
Think Kids Baking Championship or Cutthroat Kitchen.
Or see who can come up with the lowest cost recipe using staple items from your pantry.
Grades Pre-K and up.
Make a pizza…from scratch.
Here is a link to my daughter’s favorite recipe.
It’s Rosanna Pansino making an “Avengers Pizza” but you can just make it “regular.” You’re going to need yeast.Make cookies.
Have the kids help you adjust the recipe by doubling or tripling.
Arts and crafts Make a pet rock.
Great reason to get outdoors and find a rock.

Take a drawing course on YouTube

Here is a list of drawing courses.
Also, learn to draw a face on Udemy.Grades K and above.Learn to do calligraphy You may have a calligraphy pen or marker to get you started, or you could order brush pens or a calligraphy set from Amazon.
Virtual field trips Go on a virtual field trip.
For example, this Madden Football by the Numbers field trip is great.
Here are some others: Field trip to Ford Motor CompanyField trip to John DeereStanley Black and Decker virtual field tripVirtual field trips for early learnersVirtual field trips for kids of all agesPeople Magazine’s list of museum virtual field tripsI know this suggestion will not be possible for most people, but if you’re one of the lucky people with access to any type of high-end or low-end virtual reality gear, there are some really cool virtual field trips that really make you feel like you’re “there.”For an over-the-top, absolutely amazing experience, I’ve heard great things about the Oculus Quest and Oculus Go (which is the cheaper of the two).
That’s the higher-end, but you and your kids can definitely get a feel for this with much cheaper options.
For example, Google Cardboard or items like this from Amazon that use your smartphone to power the experience.If you do have access to this technology, then I’d suggestion you have a look at the Expeditions app from Google.
It definitely works fine with cheaper options–and really it’s meant for use with Google Cardboard (a $15 investment).If you haven’t tried virtual reality yet, I’d just say it can be surprisingly good.
Side note is that I believe this is the future of the future for many aspects of school.
Didn’t find any activities you liked.
Here is another list that someone posted on Facebook with more quarantine activities for kids.
Definitely has some great ideas for things to do.
The post Educational activities and fun things to do with your kids when schools are closed under quarantine appeared first on Tips for Parents in Howard County Maryland.