How to Help Kids Adjust to Masks Before School Starts: 16 Activities to Practice Mask-Wearing

With schools scheduled to reopen in fall, and masks part of the new normal, it’s time to make sure your child is comfortable wearing theirs.

So we’ve put together 16 activities to sneak mask practice into summer fun.

Hint: Whatever activity you choose, try enthusiastically announcing to your child ahead of time that you’ll get to wear masks, then build the excitement with a few reminders before you start. While masks are actually on, give plenty of positive reinforcement, from “Great job!” to high fives to selfies.

> Is your child struggling with wearing a mask? Try these tips.

Around the Home

  1. Have a daily “Mask On!” moment. Make a plan to wear masks around the house at certain times of day, like from 10-11 am, or during certain activities, like setting the table for meals. Have your child help you decide when.
  2. Pick an activity with a concrete ending, like building a simple puzzle, and wear masks throughout.
  3. Plan a special event, like a scavenger hunt or playing together with a favorite toy, with one rule: Masks are required.
  4. Work masks into video chats. Does your child have regular video chats with family or friends? Arrange to wear masks next time. (While you’re at it, check out ideas for video chat activities.)
  5. Spend time reading a book, listening to a podcast, or watching a movie together with masks on.
  6. Wear masks during art and creativity time, like drawing, coloring or building with LEGO bricks.
  7. Wear masks while making masks – whether you’re assembling cloth masks for family members or coloring in paper masks for stuffed animals. (This is a great way to make your child more excited about masks in general – here are other strategies.)
  8. Play a game with masks on, whether it’s a classic card game or your child’s favorite video game. (To make sure video games are age-appropriate, try looking them up on commonsensemedia.org.)

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Around Town

  1. Plan a daily walk around the block with masks on. If you see other people on the sidewalk, practice good social distancing – and use it as a chance to talk with your child about why it’s still important to keep their distance, even when everyone’s wearing masks.
  2. Explore hiking trails nearby for nature walks. Practice taking masks on and off: Put masks on whenever you see or hear other hikers, and take them off when the coast is clear.
  3. Take your child for a summertime treat – like to get ice cream, play mini-golf, or visit their favorite playground – with masks on.
  4. Go berry picking with masks on.
  5. Visit the library for curbside book pickup wearing masks.
  6. Head out for a picnic, and wear masks before and after eating.
  7. Visit parks, playgrounds and the beach with masks on, or other places you can safely social distance. Thank your child for being a great role model.
  8. Make a plan with other family members to wear masks while together, and log as much mask time as possible.

The best way to get your child used to masks is to practice – in lots of fun ways, around a variety of places and people. Most activities can be done while wearing a mask, so see what you can add to this list.

Don’t forget to take pictures!

Send photos of your child wearing a mask and having fun to photos@connecticutchildrens.org for the chance to be featured on our social media and website.

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