5 tips for family fun time from Fran DeWine, Ohio’s first lady

Last Wednesday’s COVID-19 press conference started out in what some might consider an unorthodox way.

Instead of updates on closures, Ohio Department of Health stats, new orders and requirements for workplaces, details on testing capacity or unemployment claims, Ohio First Lady Fran DeWine took the stage to offer advice for families that are unexpectedly at home with kids, with schools across the state now closed.

>>Take a virtual tour of the Air Force Museum

As Gov. Mike DeWine introduced her, he said, “As we enter a time that we have never experienced in Ohio … we wanted to share with Ohio families what we are doing with our family.”

Here was the first lady’s advice:

Read to your kids

“This past year, one of the main things that I’ve been concentrating on is setting up the Imagination Library in Ohio. … This is a free book in the mail to every child every single month from the time they’re born until they turn five years old,” Mrs. DeWine said.

>>A mom and teacher's guide to school at home

Visit OhioImaginationLibrary.org to sign up and get started on the journey to early childhood literacy for your little one.

Cook with your kids

“This is a great opportunity now since we all have to eat,” said Mrs. DeWine, who shared she soon would be making her grandmother’s noodle recipe with her grandchildren. She said that cooking with kids can help bring families together.

Use technology to keep in touch

The first lady points out that older people like her 93-year-old mother may feel more lonely or alienated due to the restrictions that are in place. She urged considering Facetime with family members who may feel isolated.

Use this time wisely

“Maybe you were waiting for a snow day to do some project like create an album or organize your pictures. We can use this time to do it with everyone who is in the house with us,” said Mrs. DeWine. “Use this time to become closer together and share fun things.”

>>'Home safari' keeps kids entertained 

She mentioned gardening, learning an instrument and playing outdoors among other ideas.

Consider enlisting some online educational help

Mrs. DeWine pointed out that Scholastic is offering free online courses through its digital learning hub.

The Scholastic Learn At Home program offers three hours of learning per day with up to four weeks of instruction. Users are asked to choose a grade level, separated into Pre-K and kindergarten, first and second grade, third through fifth grade, and sixth grade and above.

Every day includes four separate learning experiences, each built around a thrilling, meaningful story or video. Kids can do them on their own or with a family member. Just find the right grade level and let the learning begin.

Visit here to learn more.

Follow Fran

The first lady said she would be posting different recipes and ideas on her Facebook and Twitter accounts. Search @FranDeWine if you want to learn more.

About the Author