Entertaining Kids in the Middle of a Pandemic

My husband and I have really been strict with Zayne regarding the use of gadgets. We used to only allow her to watch YouTube on our smart TV every Saturday, and we made sure that she was always supervised. Being a millennial mom, I’ve always believed that technology should not be demonized as it’s now part of this generation’s growth. My husband and I always find the balance between the use of technology and traditional materials in educating Zayne. Zayne grew up playing with toys, doing arts and crafts, reading books and running outside. I guess Zayne was able to read and write even before she started attending school because we make conscious efforts to incorporate plays with learning. Unfortunately, the pandemic changed everything. I mentioned in a previous blog how the pandemic affected my child. Being stuck at home since March 2020, kids needed to adjust, and parents need to adapt and become more creative in entertaining their kids.

We live in a gated community. We allowed Zayne to play outside with other kids. It felt surreal seeing kids running and riding bikes with their face masks on. Sadly, two families in our neighborhood tested positive with COVID-19 around the first week of July. Shortly after, the Delta variant, which is known to affect more kids, was discovered to have already been locally transmitted in the Philippines. And once again, she was forced to strictly stay at home. I knew that sooner or later, she would grow tired of doing arts and crafts, playing with her Lego and dolls, reading books, singing and dancing. My husband and I decided to become a little more lenient. We allowed Zayne to play Roblox and attend virtual play dates with her best friends. My husband and I set rules that she’s not allowed to accept unknown friend requests, and she’s not even allowed to use the chat box in Roblox. Boyet and I even installed it on our phones, so we could play with Zayne and her friends.

Apart from Roblox, I recently stumbled upon plays.org, a site that houses tons of online games. I initially checked out the games to make sure that they are child-friendly. This site has been a really good alternative over how Zayne usually tests out a game – downloading it, playing it for while, and then getting tired of it after a few days. Repeat until the games eat out the space of our phones. Haha! 

Anyway, we all ended up playing the different games! 

After trying out plays.org, here are some of our favorite games.

Defenders of Mathematika

I shared this to two of Zayne’s playmates. Her ten-year-old cousin, Ate Zoe, challenged herself to play it. The goal is to answer at least 7 out of 10 questions correctly per category. The player can earn shields and unlock weapons. It’s actually a very creative and fun way to teach Math to kids!

Tetra Blocks

The first games I tried were from the Arcade Classics category. Tetra Blocks brought so many memories! I remember sharing a Brick Game with my younger brother. Our mom actually got addicted playing with Tetris! Haha! I tried playing this after a ten-hour shift. Call me weird, but I actually felt refreshed after playing it! =)) 

Pac Rat

Another game from the Arcade Classics category is Pac Rat. Players my age surely know how this game works! I was literally jumping off my seat while I was playing it. Haha!

2 Minutes to Escape

Another category I’m pretty sure players my age can also enjoy (and relate to, haha) is the Retro Pixels. I tried playing a couple of games in this category. One of which is 2 Minutes to Escape. The title clearly describes the goal of the game. If you like playing under time pressure, I highly suggest you play this game. Unfortunately because I don’t have the best eye-hand coordination, I kept on dying around the fourth level! Hihi.

Shadoworld Adventure

If you’re like me who grew up playing Super Mario Bros. with your siblings and cousins, then you can also try Shadoworld Adventure. It’s also under the Retro Pixels category. I remember playing Super Mario Bros. with my cousins during the 90s. We would take turns, but I would always have the shortest time to play because my character kept on dying. I never passed level 3. I don’t think I ever got better when I tried Shadoworld, but at least I don’t need to wait for my turn to play! :p

Butterbean’s Cafe Cupcake Creator Game for Toddlers and Dora’s Wonderful Wardrobe Girl Dress Up Game

Zayne utilized the search button of plays.org, and she was able to enjoy these two games. She loved dressing up Dora, and she also had fun doing pretend baking with Butterbean’s CafĂ©, which by the way is one of her favorite TV shows.

Kingdom Defense

Tatay also got to try a few games. When Zayne and I kept on failing at Kingdom Defense, Tatay willingly taught us the game!

Here is Zayne being so amazed when Tatay figured out the game! Hihi.

Our family can’t wait to go back to the time when we can freely go outside to play without worrying that we’ll get the dreaded virus. Almost two years into the pandemic, I bet that parents are already running out of ideas to keep their kids engaged and entertained. (Because I sure am!) But just like what I said earlier in this post, for now, parents like me need to find the balance between using the traditional versus “online” ways of educating and entertaining our kids. We consciously allot time for Zayne to read books, study her lessons, do arts and crafts, exercise, play with her toys, and play traditional games at home like board and card games, charades, bring me and the like. But we also allow her to play online games with supervision and strict guidance. Again, finding balance is the key. :)

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