In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s a strange time in our world. Many schools have moved to e-learning, large-scale events like March Madness have been canceled, and people are encouraged to stay in to avoid spreading the virus, especially to those with immunodeficiencies and those in vulnerable age groups.
Since novel-coronavirus just recently hit the U.S., it’s hard to wrap our brains around the gravity of this new situation, especially if we’re lucky enough to feel healthy. While it’s important not to panic, it’s also important to follow recommendations about hygiene and social distancing to protect our friends, family members, and communities: wash your hands often, avoid touching your face, and limit time spent in public places.
Dr. Steve Silvestro wrote an especially informative article about the importance of social distancing among children, but his message easily translates to all age groups. In addition, Washington Post writer Harry Stevens uses fascinating simulations to explain the benefits of social distancing. Given that many of us will be kickin’ it at home in the coming weeks, we've compiled a list of 10 activities to help you and your family make the most of your free time:
1. Get literary.
In other words, read a good book, or participate in a virtual book club. Former Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck has his very own book club that offers a fantastic option for both kids and adults.
2. Trade in boredom for boardom.
Dust off those board games! Now is a great time to take a break from technology and laugh over some friendly competition. Catch Phrase anyone?
3. Channel your inner Martha Stewart.
Michael’s and Hobby Lobby are magical places with everything from cake decorating supplies to scrapbooks, so you have all your bases covered. Especially with Easter coming up, a great activity for kids of all ages is painting or dyeing craft eggs by the dozen. The best part? They never spoil! You can also buy mini birdhouses to paint for just $1. By the time Easter rolls around, you’ll be ready to roll!
4. Bake it ‘til you make it!
Baked goods aren’t just fun to eat—they’re fun to make too! Make a family recipe, or find one in an old cookbook. If you want to get fancy, you can even take a cookie decorating class online. Flour Box Bakery is offering tutorials on how to decorate beautiful cut-out cookies. Until March 31, you can purchase a class on sale for $19.99.
5. Grab the popcorn and make it a movie night!
Parents, bring back some of the classics from your childhood to indoctrinate your kids.
6. Get organized!
We all have clutter and cleaning to manage, right? If you search the internet for “30-Day Declutter Challenge,” you’ll find several calendars to choose from that list one project per day. Involve your kids in the declutter mission. It makes for good study breaks! If you bite off tasks in small chunks, it’s not so overwhelming. You might even finish your spring cleaning before spring!
7. Get outside.
With warmer weather on its way, take advantage of the sunshine, and go for a run, a walk, a hike, or a bike ride around your neighborhood. Maybe shoot some baskets or do some yard work. A little dose of dopamine, sunshine, and Vitamin D are all good for the mind, body and soul.
8. Make e-learning fun.
Your kiddos will be home for a month. Everyone’s bound to get a little stir crazy. Keep kids on task during school hours, and get creative with short study breaks throughout the day so they’re free in the evenings for family time.
9. Eat meals together.
Involve the family in meal prep, and sit down to eat together. What better way to spend quality time together than over a nice, home-cooked meal? Then, blast some tunes while you’re doing the dishes, and time will fly!
10. Let your fingers do the shopping.
Thanks to technology, you can shop from home for just about anything you might need in the next few weeks: food, clothing, gifts, etc. And in the midst of social distancing, gifting is a wonderful way to stay connected with friends and family when you can’t be together face-to-face. We’re here to help you through it!
Health is a gift. While we’re all taking the necessary precautions to maintain our own health and that of our communities, we can use this extra time to slow down a bit, spend more time with our families, and possibly discover a new hobby along the way. We also want to extend a very warm thank you to all of the grocery store workers, medical professionals, pharmacists, and others who are putting their own health at risk to help provide care and resources for the rest of us. Stay informed, take care of yourselves, take care of each other, and stay healthy, my friends!