There’s nothing more important than family. Our readers know that we already spend a lot of time encouraging families to spend quality time together. And right now, you’re probably getting just about as much family time as you can handle. You might even be running out of ideas to keep the family active and everyone’s spirits up. As a parent, it’s getting more challenging every day to keep the kids engaged in learning and doing something other than playing on their devices when they don’t have schoolwork. So, here are ten things you can do to keep them off the screens and into “living.”
- Cook or bake. Let the kids pick out simple recipes and create a dish from start to finish. For balance, alternate between healthy and indulgent creations. The process of following a recipe develops both reading and math skills, and it can even get kids thinking about the chemical properties of the ingredients. Once they start to get the hang of cooking, they may even start creating recipes of their own.
- Start a collection. Creating a collection of something gives kids a project to focus on, and it gives them a reason to do some research. Have them explore your yard or neighborhood and collect rocks or leaves, then look them up and identify them when you get back inside. You can also wash, then paint the rocks, and use them for mock “Easter Egg hunts” in the yard.
- Start a garden. There’s no better time to start a vegetable garden. When kids have a daily task like watering and weeding their gardens, they learn responsibility and enjoy a sense of accomplishment as their garden grows. Then, when it’s harvest time, you’ll have the added bonus of free veggies!
- Keep a journal. During this time of disruption from their normal schedules, kids need help processing their feelings. Encourage them to keep a daily journal expressing their feelings, hopes and accomplishments. Also ask them to list at least one thing they’re grateful for every day.
- Create magnificent sidewalk art. While there’s probably quite a bit of indoor crafting going on right now, it’s essential to take advantage of any sunny day! When weather permits, take the family outside and release your inner Rembrandts. You can have a competition and ask the neighbors to judge your works of art as they pass by on their own walks, or you can collaborate on a single family masterpiece. Be sure to photograph your art and share it on social media, to brighten other families’ days.
- Build a fort and sleep in it. Remember when WE were kids, and we used to love to haul out sheets and create our own, private oasis in the family room? Do that with your kids tonight. Shake up the routine of bedtime by letting each child collect their essentials and nestle into their sleeping bags. It’s a great bonding experience for everyone in the family.
- Play hide and seek. Get the whole family involved in a game of hide and seek. It’s a good way to get some exercise and break up the day, especially if it’s raining. If you have younger kiddos in your family, try reverse hide and seek (also known as “Sardines”) instead. In Sardines, everyone who finds the “hider” tries to crawl into their hiding place with them, until everyone has found the group.
- Have a dance party. Dancing is not only awesome exercise, it’s also a way to release stress and find some joy! Let every family member pick songs for your playlist, crank up the tunes and cut loose! It’s hard to worry when you’re dancing. Plus, everyone can learn new moves from each other. To amp up the fun, encourage costumes!
- Do a good deed. Doing good things for those who are less fortunate helps all parties involved and puts things into better perspective for your kids. This is a great time to reach out to neighbors on your street who live alone, or a family with parents who are suddenly out of work. If you’ve been cooking, make extra and drop it off for them. If you have some dry goods in the pantry to spare, make a little gift basket and leave it on their porch.
- Go for a swim! If you have a swimming pool, and you haven’t opened it yet, open it now! Getting outside in the sunshine and getting some exercise does everyone in the family good. If you’ve been thinking about getting a pool for years, and it’s within your budget to do so, this might be the year to take the plunge with a new fiberglass inground pool. If staycations are in your future, you might as well make them as amazing as you can.
Stay safe and be kind
These are crazy times we’re living through. The only thing we can do is take care of each other, smile and be kind. Our team at Thursday Pools is committed to taking care of our families, employees and neighbors the best way we can, and we know you’re doing the same.
If you try any of these suggestions with your family, please take a minute to share your photos and thoughts on our Facebook page. We’d love to hear from you.