As people around the world share this very unique time in history, parents and guardians at home with children are faced with the unique task of maintaining structure and educational requirements. Just as importantly, it is also our job to maintain family morale to keep our kids’ spirits bright and reassure them as best we can.
Some of us began this chapter on a high note, armed with energy and a tool kit of ideas for family fun over Spring Break. However if you feel like you’ve reached the bottom of your ‘bag of tricks’, we’ve put together a few ideas that you can try with your kids at home. After all, PLAY is good for souls of all ages… and we can all use a lift in spirits!
1. Cook Up Some Fun Plans
This is a great time to get back into the kitchen so include your kiddos in the process! Invite your children to go through recipe books or scroll through Pinterest for new recipes to try. Let them help you create a meal plan and do the online shopping/online grocery order. Depending on their age, there is a great lesson in budgeting included as well. You could give them a budget per meal or per week and ask them to create the plan. For younger kids (or anyone who loves to use their imagination), you could create a family restaurant! Try embracing theme meals and fancy yourself in various restaurants from evening to evening… from Mexican, to Italian… to Chinese… and more! Or, play the game that your family restaurant is one brand new business in the making. Brainstorm a name, create a logo, and build the menu together! Don’t forget to set the table, decorate, add candles… and maybe even dress up for the occasion!
2. Blast From The Past
A lot of us are digging back through our old gaming gear and picking up where we left off with the games that we used to play when we were young. Include your kids in family gaming nights so that they can play all of our old favourites like Super Mario Brothers, Mario Kart, and more! The key is to build up the excitement around this idea. Set a day or time and give it a name to make it official. Think of something like ‘The Smith Gaming Marathon’ or ‘Smith Arcade Grand Opening – This Friday at 6:30pm. Turn it into an event that the family is counting down to. Create a poster, add a contest element… perhaps even a prize. Don’t forget to plan fun snacks and maybe even a special kid-friendly slushy drink. The same concept can be done with board games. Create these ‘ideas’ as limited, scheduled events to keep everyone looking ahead. The family will feel like they have a place to go for a while and won’t get bored if they have to wait until next week to play again – especially as friendly rivalries grow and prizes are on the line!
3. Drop What You’re Doing And Dance
Great music and epic dance moves stimulate endorphins. In essence, dance is a combination of exercise and a form of mediation that kids and parents can engage in together! Work dance parties into your days as part of the routine or spontaneous outbursts. Perhaps it’s a known surprise that at some point during the day (when they least expect it), mom and/or dad turn up a certain song that triggers everyone to stop what they are doing and DANCE! Or, maybe the music and dance session marks the end of homeschool each day. Have a portable speaker? Take the party on the go into different rooms or even the backyard or patio. Or – have a dedicated ‘Dance Party’ area in the home where there are balloons, streamers and maybe even a flashing party light. Each child can sign up their fave songs on a request sheet for a family playlist. Or, each kid can have their very own playlist!
4. Practice Gratitude
Teach your kids young to practice gratitude by starting individual gratitude journals and dedicate some time each evening to journaling. You can also alternate writing Thank You Notes to send to friends, family, teachers and people in the community. Include what you love about them and/or the reasons whey you are thankful for them. Creating a collection of stationery cards to keep on hand could be an art project in and of itself. You may want to keep the act of writing out the notes as a separate activity (creative time vs. reflective/gratitude time). Send the cards via snail mail or snap photos and create emails or send via text. Another fun way to show gratitude is to decorate your front window with inspirational quotes, imagery and the things you are thankful for in your community.
5. Breakfast (Anytime) In Bed
What is it about breakfast in bed? I feel like as children of the 80’s and 90’s, we were ALL ABOUT the idea of breakfast in bed (along with quicksand!) But as adults, BOTH of those things have dropped off the radar completely! This is it… this is our big time to make those childhood breakfast in bed dreams come true! Best of all – it doesn’t even need to happen in the morning! Don’t have one of those fancy contraptions designed just for the occasion? No problem! Large cutting boards, trays, and storage bin lids work too! So what’s on the menu? Pancakes – obviously!
6. Take It Outside
We thought we loved the sun BEFORE… Ha! We are more grateful than ever for the days that we can get outside for some fresh air and catch some sun rays. (Stay within your backyard or empty local parks of course!) Regardless of age, taking any activity possible outside is a great idea – especially when the temperatures permit. We love the idea of outside fitness… especially with the kids who have an abundance of energy to burn. Rather than send them out to run rampant, organize some sports, obstacle courses, or even scavenger hunts to keep them going. We also love the idea of practicing yoga outside. Luckily there are some great yoga and fitness apps for kids (like Cosmic Kids Yoga) that can go out back with you via smart phone or tablet.