'Schools aren’t closing so we can all hang out': Why playdates are a no-no and what to do instead

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On Sunday, 15 March, President Cyril Ramaphosa shared how South Africa would be proceeding in order to reduce the spread of coronavirus, from banning international travel to social distancing to an earlier and longer Easter school holiday period. 

According to the president, schools will close this Wednesday, 18 March and possibly opening again after the Easter weekend on Tuesday 14 April. 

Most parents may be wondering what to do with the kids for this extended holiday time (and we have a few ideas you can try out - see below) one expert says, playdates are a definite no-no. 

Simply put; schools aren't closing "so we could all hang out together anyway," writes US-based MD, Steve Silvestro who shares that since the number one question he's been getting is: "Can other families still come over to play?"

Social distancing isn't about "avoiding people who cough" 

By now, social distancing is becoming a term we're all familiar with, which is basically reducing social interaction as much as possible.  

But according to Silvestro we should be looking at social distancing as more than just staying away from social events. 

"Because many people can be contagious despite having no or mild symptoms, 'social distancing' doesn't just mean avoiding people who cough — it means staying a safe distance away from other people, period."

Here's what Silvestro says he's been telling his community: 

  • No indoor playdates
  • No indoor crowded activities (bounce houses, gymnastics, etc.), even if they're still open
  • No outdoor playdates on playground equipment 
  • No outdoor playdates for kids who are prone to dog-piling and wrestling
  • Avoid crowded outdoor activities (beaches, parks, hiking trails etc.)

But what do we do about boredom? 

Thankfully, there is an upside to boredom. 

Apart from developing positive traits like perseverance, playfulness and curiosity, researchers say being bored helps a child "develop powers of inventiveness, observation and concentration." 

Here are a few links to help you and your family make the best of boredom that won't weigh heavy on your pocket. 

Arts and crafts 

What every craft box needs 

Gather all these goodies together to ensure endless craft fun!

Fun DIY crafts using cardboard boxes

A house, a guitar or a ramp for toy cars - The uses for cardboard boxes are endless!

Busy-body games for toddlers 

It seems that your toddler's energy reserves are endless, so here are a few tailor-made activities that'll keep him busy. 

How to keep kids entertained on a rainy day

Because staying indoors doesn't have to be dull.

Button art: your kid's special creation

Help your little ones create a personalised work of art using those odd buttons you have laying around.

Photo frames

Create some photo frames with bits and pieces you have lying around your house. 

Give an old stained T-shirt a makeover 

Don't know what to do with all your child's stained T-shirts? Have a bit of DIY fun!

Up their reading game 

Parent24's Storytime hub 

Find everything from free audio stories, printable stories and interesting did you know articles in the Parent24's Storytime hub. 

Best reading apps and programmes for children 

Is your child struggling to read? These remedial reading apps are guaranteed to boost your child's confidence. 

Educational apps 

DIY learning games 

Make these simple and clever developmental games for your kids.

Great coding apps for kids 

Children from as young as three can be taught how to code. We give you six recommendations for apps and websites that teach your kids these vital skills.

Three awesome science experiments

It's never too early to introduce your kids to the wonders of science.

Apps to keep kids thinking and learning during holidays

A round-up of creative and fun apps for kids 

What has your experience been like? 

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