There’s a big difference between choosing to be home and getting stuck there more than you’d like. Here are a few things I’ve been turning to when we need a distraction, some direction, more room, or just a little bit of fun. On any given day there are many things that just don’t work. Here are few things I’ve found that are usually well-received or have actually helped the flow of our days.
- Repeating fun the to anticipate. Early on in this “stay at home” cycle I declared Fridays ‘Tea Party Day’ and I’m guessing it will stick even when normalness returns. Other things on our repeating weekly schedule: reading stories with Nana over facebook messenger, chatting with cousins, movie nights, and PBS Kids instead of learning apps on Saturdays. It’s made the days fly by and the kids like keeping track of days and waiting for the next bit of fun.
- Audio books from the library – Before this we were frequent librarying visitors routinely checking out bags of books at a time. I’ve had to pivot my book picking energy to finding good audiobooks for younger kids. Some hits have been Igraine the Brave by Cornelia Funke, Ballet Shoes, and Ellie’s Story (A Dog’s Purpose novel).
- Perler beads, bubbles, chalk, glittler glue, scissors, hole punches, old magazines, yarn, circle looms. Things that can get used up are a little harder to keep in stock, but my mom dropped off a big bucket of perler beads at the beginning of this. As much as I hate ironing them after the kids make them it’s been so much fun to see their designs, color choice, and focus with each new creation. Side Note: One big bucket has lasted about a month. That’s a lot of Ironing. Haha.
- Blanket Forts – You can help them make something sturdy and big enough for a few kids to help suppress the fighting or just see what they manage on their own. We have a couple rules for my sanity: Ask before you make one, leave a path, and only make forts in designated areas. :D
- Learning on Youtube (applied sparingly) – Before this I was kind of a youtube hater. I still am really, but there is so much there if you just have a little direction. We have enjoyed Zoo Safari from the Cincinnati Zoo, the ISSET Space to Learn chats with astronauts, Science Class with Mark Rober, and the instagram channel SaveWithStories for picture books read by celebrities. Also Mo Willems Lunch Doodles if you haven’t watched those yet. :)
- Snacks – Keeping these easy granola bars in the freezer has been a life-saver. Beyond that? Apples, string cheese, boiled eggs, baby carrots, tortillas. My kids are snack food vacuums… I have no more answers. :D
- Messenger for Kids has been great for letting my bigger two feel a little more connected. There was a slight learning curve about how maybe you shouldn’t send the same sticker to someone 60x in a row, but I had a good laugh over that one and now they are happily messaging (through voice messages, pictures, and sometimes spelling independently) cousins, a couple aunts, me, Israel, and Nana. It’s so cute.
- Non-Park Green Space (empty!) – last week we went on a run and happened on a small patch of green with lots of trees, an parking lot, and no people. We have already been back a time or two. We’ve been avoiding official parks because there are so many people right now, but this relaxing empty green spot is perfect if we need a little escape from our backyard and I don’t want to play the annoying neighbor insisting on 6ft between all neighbor kids in our front yard…sigh.. It has been a relief to find an alternative where my kids can ride their bikes, get some imaginative play in, and just explore freely.
If you need a laugh, go follow HowJessReads on Instagram for her weekly memes. Fantastic. :D
What has been working well for you and your kids these days? Tell me! :)