Partnering with Parents to Create a Lifetime of Healthy Dental Habits

Making the Best of Quarantine Quality Time


My fondest childhood memories were often the result of boredom, taking place back in a time that would be alien to our own children. We had fewer options and spent more time outside and creating our own adventures (especially if our parents kicked us out of the house all day).


Under such conditions, we would use our imaginations (gasp!), engage in sport, and play such exciting games as hopscotch, tag, and hide-and-seek. With the right amount of cardboard and duct tape, I could become Saint George and slay the ferocious dragon (a.k.a. the tomato planter) that threatened our kingdom. Sorry, Mom!


It’s been great to have more quality time with our kids, but some opportunities might be lacking. But by staying at home, they are missing out on education and experience. Even if they did want to go outside and make their own fun, they can’t go far or share the adventure with their friends.


And since social distancing means that families are being forced to become acquainted with each other again, I thought this a great time to share suggestions for activities and games you can enjoy with yours.


Get Smart


  1. Each family member chooses a topic to learn about. Each day someone gets to teach the rest of the family about a new subject.
  2. Inventory the plants and wildlife in your yard. Challenge your kids to create a nature book that includes drawings, photos, or samples as they identify each species.
  3. Coding is one of the most valuable skills that our children can acquire. This is a great time to learn how to code!
  4. Have your own family science fair.
  5. Pass down your skills to the next generation. There’s never been a better time for kids to learn to sew, crochet, cook, or do woodwork.


Get Moving


  1. Bring back one of these classic outdoor games.
  2. Create a scavenger hunt or create your own map with clues for an indoor treasure hunt!
  3. Design your own Olympics — bonus points for making a family trophy and medals!
  4. Have your own dance party. Motion-controlled gaming has made dancing games extremely popular with kids over the last year, and it’s a great way to get everyone off the couch and moving.
  5. With a small amount of duct tape and a little bit of elbow grease, you can make these great DIY lawn games.


Get Creative


  1. Introduce your kids to stop-motion photography to make their own Lego or claymation movies! Kid-friendly software will make your new project easy peasy, lemon squeezy. You can even get Lego Movie Maker for free!
  2. Book-binding allows everyone to put their own twist on a simple project while learning useful skills.
  3. Use all of your Lego bricks and other building toys to build a megastructure.
  4. Create a herb garden or terrarium. Kids can be responsible for their own plants and will, in time, see the fruits of their labor.
  5. Create your own board game.


Tips for Family Maintenance


Setting a few ground rules will help everyone make it to the next chapter unscathed. They might not realize it, but kids love consistency. I recommend keeping a regular schedule that includes bedtimes, family meals, and chores. (Everyone needs to have some responsibility!)


Include a digital quarantine, which is a set time each day where screens are off and phones or tablets are put away. Encourage the family to use this time for unstructured activities such as reading, writing, or drawing.


And of course, don’t forget to enforce good hygiene. Brushing, flossing, and hand washing are a must — especially now.


Stay healthy!


Dr. Randy

American Board of Pediatric Dentistry logo
American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry logo


Randall J. Pagenkopf, DMD, PA

Partnering with Parents to Create a Lifetime of Healthy Dental Habits