If you're anything like us, you might be going a little stir-crazy inside during these weird times of isolation! It appears we will be inside for a bit longer, so I thought I'd share ten things we've found that have brought some joy and broken up the mundane a little bit.
Remember, stay home, stay safe and breathe...everything will be ok. One day at a time...you're not alone.
1. Treasure hunt
I'm not sure if this was more fun for the kids or the adults! Create a simple treasure map (no burning needed for it to still be cool) either of the inside of your house or around the outside with a red X where the treasure will be "buried" and hide the map somewhere.
Create clues that will lead the kids to the map. Ours were all part of the big final clue when put together like a puzzle. The map revealed where the treasure was and then the kids got to digging in the sand for the box, which revealed another box inside filled with gold chocolate coins.
Props to Jon for putting together an epic treasure hunt!
2. Go on a walk or physical activity
We live in the middle of nowhere, surrounded by woods, so we go on a daily walk through the woods. Finding new trails. Luckily we can do proper social distancing because there is no one around us, and when we say hi to the neighbors, it's usually from the road. Our lovely neighbors have a lake that they let us throw rocks in, too.
It's also fun to run around the kitchen island, chasing each other, or running around outside in the yard. Now that it's finally getting warmer out, it's easier to spend the time outside, because there is nothing wrong with that as long as you're practicing proper social distancing. Even if its raining, get out and jump in puddles! Everything is washable!
If you're fortunate enough to own a horse, the kids have been loving spending time on Luna, just walking up and down the driveway. No matter where you live, there is still opportunity to get exercise and take walks as long as you're careful!
3. Create an obstacle course
Think dog agility, but take it up a notch. Get those kids moving and get out that energy. Take sofa cushions and pillows and things that won't break or cause harm, and create a fun course for them to run around. They can jump over things, crawl under things, crawl through things...use your imagination and let them use theirs, too.
There should me much laughter all around. See who can do it the fastest, who can knock over the least amount of things, just make it fun.
4. Make a skittles rainbow
If you have skittles at home (please don't make a special trip just for this activity) then this cool experiment is simple and fun and worth taking photos of! All you need is a plate, skittles and hot water.
Place the skittles in a circle around the rim of the plate, preferably in a nice color pattern or repeating rainbow. Pour hot water into the middle of the plate and wait! In a few seconds the color from the skittles should run to the middle, creating a fun color design. Take photos!!
5. Plant seeds
This is a fun activity that the kids can be part of every day! Take an old egg carton or old pots and some potting soil and help the kids place grass seed or other seeds you have available in the soil. Read the growing instructions carefully and tell the kids that it can be their job to water them when they need to be watered.
If you plant grass, they can help cut it with scissors when it gets too long. If it's flowers, they can wait in anticipation for them to bloom.
6. Paint on the window
If you just happen to have acrylic paint in your house, and some brushes, you're in for some fun. Pour a selection of colors onto separate parts of a plate and mix a tiny bit of dish soap with each color.
I used my slider door in the kitchen, but you can use any window in your house. Wash it first so there isn't any grime, and make sure to think what picture you're going to paint. We did a rainbow because that's the #LetsAllBeWell thing that is sweeping across Europe. Our rainbow on our window is a sign of hope for all of us as we are staying inside, and staying well.
Paint a simple rainbow, or go ahead an paint a whole mural...either way, paint! And have fun! Let the kids dip their hands in the mixed paint and have them put their handprints all over the windows. Get creative, the dishsoap will allow an easier removal when you want to wash it off later.
7. Make a blanket fort
Growing up, one of my favorite things to do with my younger brother was to make forts. Either out of stools/chairs and blankets, or sofa cushions and blankets. Then we would watch movies and eat popcorn while we laid inside, or we filled it with pillows and blankets and read books or told stories...or we even played house.
I think no matter what age you are, forts are fun for all. Again, bring out your creative side and have fun. It doesn't have to look perfect. You can tell the kids it's a castle and they are the king and queen and their imaginations will just run wild. That's what it's all about.
8. Handprints on canvases
If you happen to have small canvases, use those, otherwise paper works well. Take some paint, acrylic or finger paint works best, and put small amounts around the canvas/paper and give the kids a brush. Tell them they can use their hands or their fingers and you want them to create a painting for you.
Mine decided to just use their hands and shmear it everywhere, and then I used their painted hands on a blank canvas where I put my own handprint and theirs overlapping mine. I’m going to probably write: "They add color into my world." over it in cursive.
9. Random act of kindness
I know the 6 foot social distancing rule is in play right now, but you can still do random acts of kindness for others. You can paint your window with a happy picture for people to see as they walk by your house, or tape a note to your mailbox to thank your postman for working so hard, or leave fresh cut flowers on your neighbors deck. You can also video a friend or family member just to say hi and check in, or send someone a prayer or a "just thinking of you" text, maybe even a photo.
Anything simple that won't pass possible germs to another person, that will make someone else smile, do it. A lot of people need smiles and kindness and joy these days.
10. Be creative in the kitchen
Cooking and baking are essential, because we all still have to eat. So why not get creative? Find new recipes or make an old one you used to love. Call up grandma and ask her for that one cookie recipe that's been passed down through generations. Experiment with the ingredients you have in your cupboard and you might be surprised when you create a new staple dish for your family.
The kids really love it when I spend extra time in the morning making them "fun food"...sometimes it's teddy bear toast or a sea-life scene. Use whatever you have in the house that could resemble something the kids would think is fun, using waffles or pancakes or toast as the main "body" part.
And we happen to have a stash of boxed cake mixes and brownie mixes and tons of freezer food we haven't used yet. Now is the time. Make a cake just because or celebrate someone's birthday even though you can't be with them. Use up that ground beef in a few different dishes. Teach the kids to cook nice meals.
These times are hard, but don't forget to be grateful for what you still have.
And don't forget that mental health is so important, so make sure to look after yours by practicing self-care everyday, even if that just means being still and taking deep breaths and letting go of things you can't control.
We will all get through this together, by staying home, staying kind, staying safe and staying sane.