Creativity is essential for thriving during our new normal.
Here in New Jersey, we’re going on two months of being home during COVID-19 quarantine. For our kids, that’s two months of no school, playdates, dance class, karate, trips to the park, or ice cream outings. There are only so many times you can play Candyland or build castles with Magnatiles before they lose their allure. I’ve had to think of new ways to keep our kids entertained, especially on the weekends.
Here are three new ways to have fun at home with things you already have:
1. Have a Disney Day!
This was a hit! We went to Disney on our first big family vacation this past November and I wanted to re-create the magic and memories at home. One Saturday, we declared it Disney Day!
We dressed as we would for a trip to the theme parks. My daughter changed Disney Princess costumes throughout the day- Elsa, Cinderella, and Belle all made appearances. Of course, we changed hairstyles with each gown!
To kick-off our adventure, we sat on our couch and watched YouTube videos of all our favorite rides, including It’s a Small World, The Little Mermaid, Frozen, and the Tea Cups. We watched the parades, The Lion King shows, toured Animal Kingdom, and laughed at Turtle Talk.
Then, we read Disney books, played with all the Disney Princess dolls, and had a Frozen adventure playing with shaving cream “snow.” We even had a Disney Junior dance party! We asked Amazon Alexa to play the theme songs of Puppy Dog Pals, Vampirina and more, while the kids burned some energy.
To refuel, we indulged in Mickey Mouse pancakes, of course!
2. Play Hide the Toy in the Dark
This is a fun activity for night-time. Turn off the lights (we leave night lights on) and hide objects in your house. Give your kids flash lights and have them go on a hunt to find the hidden toys. Our kids love this game! It makes a great incentive for them to do their school work at night, take baths, and clean up their messes. Once all our tasks are done, they know they can have flashlight fun.
3. Go on a Safari in your Living Room.
We turned our living room into a jungle and then took a virtual trip to the San Diego Zoo on YouTube.
First, we set the wild scene by gathering stuffed animals into the living room. Even our 3-foot tall Melissa and Doug giraffe. Then, my daughter played “zookeeper” and introduced us to each animal. We talked about their names, what they eat, etc. Then, we watched videos of the real animals at the zoo.
Quarantine is what we make of it—and I’m choosing to focus on spending quality time as a family and establishing new activities we can enjoy together. It’s easy to let the kids go off on their own and scroll your phone. But when you look back on this time, will you really remember that status update or scary news stat you read? Or the bedtime kiss and hugs your kids gave you for making the day so fun?