With schools closed for the next three weeks and most daycare centers shut beginning Monday, many parents are struggling to figure out what to do with kids who are suddenly without a place to go every day.

On a sunny afternoon in Worcester’s Green Hill Park, kids who would usually be in school were at the playground. Mary Jo Kulig, of Leicester, was there with her four children. She said she’s constantly thinking about how to keep them busy.

“To be honest, I go hour by hour,” she said.

“I was actually excited the first day I heard it,” said Jo Kulig’s daughter, Savannah, 12, the oldest. “But then, I realized being cooped up in that house for three weeks and having to do, like, help my siblings and listen to them complain about every little thing.”

Another parent at the park, Caroline Regelous, of Worcester, said her three daughters are doing school lessons at home, including math, science, reading, and art. Regelous and her husband are both nurses and they alternate their schedules so one parent’s always home with the kids. They’re both careful not to bring home the virus.

Regelous said they are letting their girls get together with friends.

“We're leaving it up to the other parents comfort zone and, you know, one friend at a time sort of a thing,” she said.

“I want to go back to school," said her 6-year-old daughter, Josephine.

Many parents around the state are wishing the same thing. The closing of schools threw normal family dynamics into turmoil across Massachusetts.

For those parents who are home with their kids and don’t know what to do with them, Marina Bers, chair of the child study and human development department at Tufts University, had advice.

“So first thing is, don't stress out because although children are not going to be able to continue with their academic formal learning, there's a lot of wonderful learning, informal learning experiences at home,” Bers said.

For example, Bers said, it’s a great time to teach kids life skills like how to cook. She also recommended a free online program calledScratch Jr., developed by Tufts and MIT, which teaches kids aged 5-7 basic computer programming skills.

Parents around the state are coming up with their own ways to keep kids busy and engaged. Some recommend scavenger hunts or hikes. Also, online programming is popping up specifically for kids at home right now — including from the New England Aquarium, Boston Children’s Museum, and Massachusetts artists like children’s book author and illustrator Mo Willems and children’s singer Matt Heaton.

But even if kids are online for some of the day, most need a good amount of supervision, Bers said, which isn’t easy for parents who now find themselves trying to work from home.

“Probably it’s not realistic that you're going to be able to spend two hours uninterrupted on your computer,” she said. “It's just not going to work. So, try to chunk your work schedule into small portions of time and make it visible to the child so they know what to expect and try to think of activities, of things they can do on their own and activities where they need you.”

For other parents, working from home isn’t an option. Boston Mayor Marty Walsh said he was thinking about them when he made the decision last week to cancel schools.

“I think that's one of the situations," Walsh said. "One of the concerns I have is about working parents and who's gonna be watching their kids, and that's something the parents are trying to figure out."

With kids not able to safely congregate in big groups, there’s not much the city can do to solve that problem. It’s up to parents to figure it out for themselves. In some families, grandparents can watch kids while parents work. But with older people being the most vulnerable to the Coronavirus, that’s risky. Some parents are just opting to leave kids home, unattended.

Aida Degrassa, of Taunton, said she made the difficult decision to leave her jobs for now.

“I don’t have much choice,” she said.

Degrassa is a Certified Nurse Assistant with a 9-year old and 5-year old at home. And she’s seven months pregnant. She said going without pay is going to be hard, but it’s not just that that she needs to watch her kids. She said she also wants to limit exposure to the virus.

“I want to be healthy and I want the kids to be healthy,” she said. “I think that is my priority right now.”

Unions and advocates for hourly workers say employers should really be providing paid time off, to help their families get through this. For parents working in jobs where they absolutely have to show up for work — in healthcare, security, transportation, sanitation, and so many other fields — this is going to be an especially challenging time.