Your (Kids') Guide to Staying On Task

Child coloring while parent is working.

Working from home has benefits, but the challenges of turning your home into an office while your kids are in the room adds distractions to an already hectic day. Whether your kids are six or sixteen, here are ways that they can keep themselves busy in a green and enriching way so you can get back to work.

For Younger Kids

Christy Schwengel, director of major gifts at Green America, is no stranger to balancing her kids’ schedules with hers. As a mother of an 8- and 10-year-old, she says that balancing time during the pandemic is an “exhausting juggle” and requires lots of patience. Here is a list of activities that Schwengel uses to keep her young kids occupied.

Kids' Checklist:

  • Do a free virtual exercise program (ex. Cosmic Kids Yoga on YouTube)
  • Check out Scholastic’s at-home learning guide for independent education‰
  • Find educational TV online, like nature shows or PBS kids ‰
  • Do a puzzle or solo game, or create a puzzle by drawing a picture and cutting it up ‰
  • Try a new STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) activity each week.
  • Find a list at‰
  • Play a board game with family members over a video-chat app‰
  • Have a virtual story time—from stories on Spotify, YouTube, or read aloud over video chat‰
  • Instead of getting rid of recycled materials, let creativity flow by seeing what your kids can create from them‰
  • Involve your kids in daily tasks, like cooking dinner, to teach them how to help around the house ‰
  • Write a card or draw a picture for a family member or friend‰
  • Have journal time to write, draw, and get creative (check out Green Field Paper Company {GBN} for environmentally friendly journals) ‰
  • Get outdoors and blow bubbles and do the messy crafting that can’t be done indoors

For Tweens/Teens

Even if your children are older and more independent, if they are at home, going stir-crazy is almost inevitable. As a parent of a 16-year-old, Fran Teplitz, director of the Green Business Network at Green America, contributed ideas to this checklist of fun ways that a teen could stay busy.

Teens' Checklist:

  • Learn something new, like vocabulary, a fun fact, or even a new language ‰
  • Listen to a podcast by and for teens like Teenager Therapy, or create your own‰
  • Learn how to code with's free lessons‰
  • Take a physically distanced walk or bike ride with a friend ‰
  • Get crafty with adult coloring books (green options include books from Amber Lotus Publishing {GBN})‰
  • Get creative with cooking and tackle trickier recipes with unconventional ingredients.
  • Good Choice Kitchen {GBN} offers cooking classes and tips ‰
  • Depending on age, drive by friends' houses to visit them from a distance.
  • For birthdays, decorate friends' yards or make a craft or sweet to drop off‰
  • Catch up with relatives over video chat and reach out to someone you haven’t spoken to in a while ‰
  • Join a virtual book club for young adults‰
  • Look for online ways to help the community, like talking to seniors, collecting food, or texting to promote voter registration ‰
  • Learn a dance routine on YouTube‰
  • Do a virtual museum tour.
  • Check Dunitz and Company {GBN}, a member of the Museum Store Association, for a list of museums that suit your interests