Try these ideas to keep kids happy and learning mid-pandemic

By Morgan Cormack for the City of Overland Park

Going on ten months into this pandemic, you and the kids might be getting tired, bored or itchy to do something fun. If you’re looking for something to do with the family while staying happy and healthy, here’s some options right here in our city.

Take a hike (or a walk)

Did you know Overland Park has 83 parks? All parks and trails in OP are currently open, as well as all playgrounds, restrooms, and outdoor spaces. If the weather isn’t too cold, take the family for a walk or a bike ride on one of the city’s great trails. Follow social distancing guidelines from the CDC and when that’s not possible, wear a mask.

If the weather works out, this is a great time of year to help kids love winter weather. Pick up a sled or cheap snowboard, or just use a lid from one of those large storage bins, and hit the “slopes” when it snows. And by “slopes,” we mean some of our area’s best sledding hills:

  • Cleveland University, 10850 Lowell
  • Grace Church, 8500 W 159th St.
  • Meadowbrook Park, 9101 Nall, Prairie Village

See some holiday lights

This is a great time of year to take the family to Deanna Rose Children’s Farmstead. Even though the farmstead is closed for the season, you can see the annual Holiday Lights on Farmstead Lane from the car. Bring some treats and blankets and tune into 90.5 Rose FM to hear your favorite holiday songs and movie music as you watch the lights change. You can do so every night 5-11 p.m. until January 7. The best part? It’s free. 

Or, take a residential holiday lights tour, featuring the Most Spirited Holiday Home contest submissions. Each year, the City highlights the best of your neighbors’ holiday decorations and compiles them into a Facebook album. Check out the map of each display on the Most Spirited Holiday Home page.

Take a trip to the museum

There’s plenty to explore at the Museum at Prairiefire! The museum is open and masks are required. 

If you have little ones at home, you might consider taking them to the Little Explorer’s Club. It’s for kids ages 3-5. Twice a month, these 45-minute sessions includes storytime, an experiment, and a craft.

Admission is $5 but if you’re a museum member, it’s free. There is still one event in December and several more in January and February. You can check them out on the Museum at Prairiefire website.

Hit the greens

Winter at Overland Park’s two golf courses can be beautiful, and most outdoor activities are COVID-safe. Why not take this time to teach the kids something new? Lessons for kids start as early as age 4. Visit to see which junior lessons are open this season.

Consider taking up a new sport that’s fun for the whole family: pickleball. There are pickleball courts open on a first-come, first-serve basis at Switzer Park and now at Young’s Park. All you need to bring is your ball and paddle.

Create or stream some fun at home

Hearing stories is a great way to spend time with your kids or help them enjoy reading without leaving the house. The Johnson County Library offers online storytime from 10-10:30 every weekday morning. Be sure to visit the library on Facebook so you can watch the livestreams. 

Want to get the kids moving? Create an at-home scavenger hunt. This At-Home Scavenger Hunt from the CDC is for kids ages six years and older, teens, and adults within the same household. It’s a great way to hang out with the family without risking the spreading or contracting COVID.

Remember your COVID best practices

With area schools closed for winter break, hopefully one of these activities can help with boredom or fatigue. As always: wash your hands, don’t gather in big groups, and wear a mask. 

A note from the editor:

Overland Park is working with community writers to bring you important news, information and stories regarding the coronavirus pandemic. Learn more about the City’s response to coronavirus.