These days we’re all facing a new reality and we whether we like it or not, there’s nothing we can do but learn how to adjust to the new situation, and we could all use a distraction. With the new safety instructions, it’s safer to stay at home these days, for the benefit of our physical health – but what about our mental health?
Schools and kindergartens are out, and parents are required to work from home, and while spending some family quality time is always a good idea, too much of it can become overwhelming. Here are some ideas in case you’ve already watched all the content on Netflix and looking for some creative, entertaining and enriching ways to pass the time with the kids.
1. In the kitchen
While some of us know our way in the kitchen like the back of our hands, others can’t tell the difference between a tomato and a potato. This self-isolation is a good opportunity to finally learn how to cook – restaurants are closed, take away and delivery services are suspended, and you have all the time in the world. No more excuses, time to learn how to cook.
This is easier said than done, because some of us really don’t know what we’re doing in the kitchen. That’s why world-renowned chefs have recruited to our aid, and they’re sharing some cooking tips to help us get through this lockdown. You can cook alone (just make sure not to eat alone) or you can make a fun group activity out of this; there are plenty of easy recipes you can make with the little ones.
2. Let your artistic side shine
We’re not all great with our hands, but you don’t have to be good at something in order to enjoy it. Now is the time to get goofy and have fun with the kids – there are plenty of art activities you can do with the kids, and the internet is full of DIY project ideas. Plus, your house will thank you later for the makeover!
This is the time to look back on all those DIY guides you’ve stumbled upon at some point and said you’ll make this pot / this plant-holder / this picture frame / this magnet one day and never got around to it. You can’t say you’re too busy now, because who are you kidding? This is an activity kids can join as well, and unlike us, they don’t mind getting their hands dirty.
3. Plan ahead
If you’re one of those people who lose themselves without a routine, this tip is for you. Create a daily schedule — you don’t have to follow it religiously if you feel like it’s getting outdated or otherwise boring, but it’ll give you a sense of structure, commitment and purpose in these structure-less and purposeless days.
This schedule isn’t only for you, but for the kids as well. Without a plan, you’ll soon run out of ideas, and it won’t be long before you start going crazy. Not to sound too dramatic or anything. Let you kids come up with some of the schedule activities as well, to make them feel included and allow them to have some fun.
4. Explore the internet
You’d be amazed what you can find there. These days, museums, art galleries and other cultural and educational institutions are closing their physical gates, but opening their online gates. They’re offering online tours, classes and lessons of different sorts, including educational lessons for kids in science, art and other fields.
Even the Grammy museum is offering online tours with some of the world’s biggest stars. Another example is the Amazing Educational Resources public Facebook page, that is offering a glimpse into the endless online educational resources for teachers. This is a good option if you want to keep the children not only entertained, but also make up (even a little) for their missing school.
5. Did someone say homeschooling?
Cooking and binge-watching Netflix is great and we completely approve of it, but at some point you’ll find out that neither you nor your kids can watch TV without end. Besides, you probably want to keep your kids educated even during these time of uncertainty, and this is where homeschooling enters the picture.
Once again, our best advice is to search the internet and social media: people are constantly sharing their tips for homeschooling. You can make the extra effort and watch webinars, read guides and become a proper teacher, or you can just go with your instincts and stick with the basic things, such as reading books on a daily basis (at least once a day), doing some math problems or learning a new language.
6. Schedule is key
When it comes to homeschooling, creating a schedule becomes even more critical: with a schedule, you can make sure you touch on all the topics, just like a school day – you can cover all the topics and don’t leave anything out. Planning ahead can also provide you with some routine and order in these messy times.
You can find plenty of math problems online and even allow the kids some time on the iPad or computer to watch online lessons, take online museum tours or listen to educational podcasts. In this case, it’s important to restrict screen time and even go as far as planning a screen-time schedule or routine, just to make sure they don’t spend too much time in front of glowing screens.
7. How about that book?
I’m sure your shelves are stocked with books you’ve always been too busy or too tired to read, and now is just the time. If you want to have some quiet, alone time to read, add a “reading time” to the schedule, where your kids are required to read as well.
What’s recommended to read at times like these, if you ask us, are adventure novels, sconce fiction or detective novels, anything that will make you grip your seat with excitement and take you mind off things, even for a little while.
8. Work work work work work
In the words of Rihanna – work! Now we’ve reached the really important part – before it was all nonsense. Staying in shape during self-isolation is probably the biggest challenge for us all – not just for people who’ve never exercised before, but even people who go to the gym or jog might find it hard to adjust to this new reality. And really, the exercise activities are significantly limited indoors.
You can’t jog, swim, play ball, shoot hoops or climb. However, there are plenty of exercises you can do, namely in the aerobics department: Pilates, yoga and many other aerobic exercises. Now is the time to get off the couch and take your mind off things, and there’s no better way to do it than with a painful workout.
If you have no idea where to start (and that’s okay, neither do we), you can probably guess our next advice: go online. There are so many workout guides on YouTube and other social media sources by professional and amateur athletes, personal trainers and just people who enjoy this and have a lot of experience. The hardest part will be choosing the right guide for you, since the selection is really beyond your imagination.
9. An opportunity to grow
Consider this isolation an opportunity to finally learn something you’ve always wanted to learn but never had the chance: learning a new language always comes in handy, learning how to cook, learning how to make origami, learning how to fix broken furniture and toys, and plenty of other ideas – the sky is the limit. You can do all of these with your kids and they’re guaranteed to thank you for it later.
You can also use this as an opportunity to reorganize the house and finally get rid of all the junk you’ve been hoarding the past couple of years (deep inside, we’re all hoarders). It’s time to organize your cabinets, closets and drawers and finally get rid of clothes you haven’t worn for years and probably will never wear again (we both know you’re never going to wear this top).
10. The amazing world of podcasts
Podcasts are becoming more and more popular these days (maybe people are sick of reading, I don’t know), and the world of podcasts is much larger than you’ve ever imagined. They cover any topic you can think of, from math, to science, sports (international and local), art, culture, cooking, stories, religion, current affairs, fun facts, and the list goes on and on. Really.
There are also plenty of podcasts for kids, that touch on different subject and are kid-appropriate. Some examples are Fun Kids Science Weekly, Brains On!, Simon’s Science Adventure Stories, Story Pirates and many others – just look for them on Spotify, Apple Music, YouTube or just online – many will come up instantly.
11. Dance away
Kids need to let out energy, and so do adults. This goes back to the importance of exercise and staying in shape: another great way to exercise, that doesn’t really feel like exercise (or in other words, doesn’t feel like punishment) is dancing. Put on some music, something rhythmic, that your kids can enjoy, and let them dance away.
You can also make a game out of it: it’s not very original, and perhaps you’re familiar with it: one person is in charge of the music, and as long as the music is playing, the kids have to dance. Every few minutes, stop the music, and when it stops, they have to stop dancing immediately. This is a game that all children can enjoy, it doesn’t require any special preparation or equipment, and most importantly – it allows them to move and express their energy.
12. It’s time to dust off those puzzles
If you’re tired after all the dancing, there are plenty of more relaxed games and activities. Board games are always a fun option, and everyone has them lying around in the house – just choose your favorite and enjoy some family time.
Puzzles are a good idea since you can make a challenge out of it, see how long it takes you to solve an extremely intricate puzzle or who can solve it first. It might take days, but you have all the time in the world, and it gives you a purpose and a challenge.
13. Go camping
*Provided you have a backyard. This one is only relevant for those of you who have a backyard, or a really big living room. You can put up a tent in the backyard (again, or the living room) and have some outdoor fun with the kids, indoors. You can prepare camping food and camp stories to tell around the fire – you don’t need an actual fire for that.
The kids will enjoy the change in scenery and the make pretend either way, and living room tents are always fun for the kids. There are plenty of camp stories and camping games available to play at home, all you need is a tent and camping atmosphere.
14. Put on a show
As children, we all enjoyed putting on a show or a play for the adults to watch – we would prepare in the bedroom and then perform in the living room. Ask your kids to put on a show – it’ll keep them busy preparing, coming up with ideas, getting creative and active.
For some reason, children have no stage fright (at least not in front of family) and they enjoy the attention and the praise. It’ll also give you some alone time while the kids are preparing for the show. so it’s a win-win situation.
15. You’re not alone
You’re not alone in this self-isolation, but the whole world is currently in the same boat. Don’t forget that your friends, family and neighbors are also home all day, and if you get lonely, bored or scared, you can always reach out to them for some moral support and sympathy.
At least this happens at a time when technology is at its best, and we have endless virtual ways of communication. You can meet your family or friends through a video chat – there are different platforms for online meetings, and it feels as if you’re all in the same room!
16. Staying in shape #3
Another way to stay in shape during lockdown and keep the kids entertained is to create you very own Ninja competition: make a ninja obstacles course around the house and see who can pass it – make a competition out of it. You can use any toy you have in the house, small or large, as obstacles for the course.
This one’s for the kids mostly (adults are welcomed to give it a try, but I doubt if the course can be appropriate for your size). This is another way of exercising that doesn’t feel like a workout, but more of a game. And hey, what kid doesn’t love ninjas?
17. Become a proper Ninja
Take your ninja skills to the next level (or your kid’s skills, in this case) and learn the martial arts! Again, the answers are all found online: there are plenty of virtual classes for the different martial arts, Karate, Taekwondo and others, less popular forms.
Make time every day (15 to 30 minutes are more than enough) to watch online tutorials on the different martial arts or the one you wish to learn, and then spend a little more time practicing what you’ve learned that day.
18. You can finally learn how to play an instrument
Learning how to play an instrument has been a lifelong dream for so many of us – almost every other person buys a guitar at a certain point in life, with the false hope that one day he’d learn how to use it. We’ve all had this dream growing up of playing the guitar, the piano or any other instrument. Choose the one you want to focus on, and, as Nike says, just do it.
Playing the guitar will also come in super handy at your camping events (we’re talking about the indoors camping). Knowing how to play an instrument is bound to make your lockdown a lot more enjoyable, since music always makes thing a little better.
19. Work on your photography skills
You don’t have to be outside or travel to exotic places in order to take beautiful photos. If you have a good camera, you can take beautiful pictures anywhere, and even if you don’t, no worries – smartphones these days have surprisingly professional cameras in them, which allow you to take impressive photos, as long as you know how to use them properly.
If you have a backyard – even better. Go online and read some instruction manuals (yes, there are plenty of those online, like anything else), and the most important thing – just practice. Our parents always said that practice makes perfect, and they weren’t kidding.
20. Learn how to sew and knit
These skills will be useful long after this lockdown is finally over and behind us. Knitting and sewing can come in very handy in life: they allow you to fix every outfit and garment for yourself without having to spend time and money running to the seamstress, and they allow you to make beautiful, one-of-a-kind clothes.
The best part about knitting, however, is that it’s a perfect way to pass the time: you can do it while listening to a podcast, watching a movie or pretty much anything else, since once you get the hang of it, it requires very little concentration, and yet it feels as if your actually doing something useful rather than just watching a movie and wasting your time. Last but not least, it’s a lot easier than it looks.
21. Make your own jewelry
This one’s mostly for the kids (not only girls, we’re in 2020 people). You don’t need super sophisticated equipment, and most if not all of the supplies can be ordered online. This can be a fun activity for children and adults alike, and it’s incredibly soothing as well. It encourages the kids to be creative and use their imagination as well as their hands.
This activity is not just fun, but prolific, as afterwards the children have brand new, one-of-a-kind jewelry. This activity requires your children (and yourself) to be creative, but the best part is that it doesn’t even have to come out nice, since you’re only doing this for fun. It’s a great way to experiment with things that otherwise you wouldn’t even think of.
22. Enjoy a live concert from your home
That’s right, at these hard times you can enjoy a live concert from the comfort of your living room – this is basically a dream come true. World-renowned artists including Pink, Chris Martin (Coldplay), John Legend, Neil Young and even cellist Yo-Yo Ma are live-streaming live concerts from their living room to yours.
These artists recruited to the special situation, and figured we could all use some music during this time, and since music concerts aren’t allowed (they were among the very first restrictions, for obvious reasons), they’ve decided to deliver the concert right to your house. All you need to do is search their social media outlets – Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or Tik-Tok, and you’ll find the details there.
23. Yoda does Yoga
We’ve mentioned Yoga before, but this seems like a good place to bring it up again and discuss some of its benefits in greater length. Yoga is good both for adults and children, and it have plenty of physical as well as mental benefits: it increases your flexibility, which is important for children – are extremely flexible by nature – if they want to maintain this flexibility growing up.
Despite common belief, Yoga is a sport like anything else, and it can be very challenging. It helps you build muscle strength as well as any other form of aerobics, as if you were lifting weights, but at the same time, it’s balanced with improving your flexibility, so that it’s not one or the other.
24. Watch documentaries
Netflix has developed a fondness of documentary recently, and you wouldn’t believe how many of them they have, and the range of topics is even more surprising. From nature shows, to biology, eating habits, criminal documentaries – you name it – they have it all. Some of them are even child-friendly.
The reason why we love documentaries so much is that they’re educational and provide a great way to expand your horizons, but it’s also watching T.V – your actually learning something new from your couch snacking popcorn. If feels nothing like homework or any kind of work – because it isn’t – and yet, you’re learning new things. Can you beat that?
25. Spend some quality time with your pet
Whether you have a dog, a cat, a bird or a turtle (well, maybe not the second two), this is a great opportunity to spend some lost quality time with our furry friends we don’t really get around to during our busy routine. Your dog will surely appreciate the extra attention, and your cat, well, maybe not so much.
Some of us that have pets don’t really have too much time for them during the week, and they end up staying home alone most of the time. This is a great opportunity to finally give them the attention they deserve, not to mention wash them and groom them – everything you’ve been putting aside for so long.
26. You can become the next Marie Kondo
From now on you don’t need to pay for someone to organize your closet, your house and your life, you can learn how to do it for yourself. Now that you have all the time in the world, nothing stands in your way of becoming an organization guru. You already have everything you need, which is a messy house, a full closet and a willingness to get rid of things.
If your house is so messy, you don’t even know how to approach this challenge, you can always look up guides and instructions online, or you could just improvise – how hard is it throwing away a bunch of junk? Shouldn’t be too hard. That’s the next step. After you’ve done cleaning your house from things you don’t really need and never intend on using, the next step – reorganizing – might be a little more challenging, and this is where the online guides come in handy. Good luck!
27. Throwback Thursday
It doesn’t have to be on a Thursday, but this lockdown is a great opportunity to go through old photo albums. We all have too many of them lying around the house, and we never get a chance to look at them, so this is the time to dust off these family photo albums and look at what our parent/children/ourselves used to look like way back when.
This can be a fun family activity as well – pass around old photos and let the children guess who’s in the picture, and when they were taken. Kids love seeing old photos, but it’s not something they’d do on their own – they need encouragement.
28. Devise a scavenger’s hunt
Hide something of value (to the kids) somewhere around the house, create a map with hints and let them search for the treasure. This will allow you some time to relax while the kids are busy looking for the treasure.
You’re probably thinking you’re not creative enough to come up with the treasure map and the right hints, but it doesn’t take a lot of effort- children don’t really care what the map looks like, as long as they have a fun adventure and at the end of it they find a treasure.
29. Trash is the new treasure
If you’re a hoarder and you insist on keeping useless items such as toilet paper rolls and wine corks, you’d be happy to learn they might not be so useless after all. DIY guides online will teach you how to easily transform these corks into unique place-mats, saucers and coasters.
This is an artistic activity you can do with the kids – it’s not dangerous in any way – all you need are a lot of wine corks and glue. If you don’t usually keep these corks, now you have an excuse to drink wine.
30. don’t let go of the Lego
It’s so simple, yet so sophisticated: children can play with Lego for hours on end – just think of yourself as a kid and how much you’ve enjoyed it (Lego has been around for so long, hasn’t it?)
With Lego, the sky is the limit; all you need is your imagination, and you can create a whole alternative world. It comes in different shapes and sizes, and when the kids star playing with it and ask for help, you’ll find that within minutes you’re drawn in, and you can’t help but play with them for hours.
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