You can have fun at home. You just need to create your own fun. No, not with computer games or by sitting in front of the TV. Get active. Use your creativity.
- If you’re able to get out in the yard, a backyard scavenger hunt can be a fun family activity. Scavenger hunts can range from very simple—find something red…. Scavenger hunts can be fun as well as educational—find a plant that is green, identify the plant, and tell three things about it. Each team can go around with a camera (phone), take pictures of each item they find, and then when it’s time to go into the shade or back inside the house, each team can look up items they found, identify and label each picture, and then read and learn something about the plant. Learning really can be fun. You can finish off by planting some seeds or transplanting established plants in the garden to a new location. The idea is to be active, outside, and working together as a family.
- Even if we can’t go for a hike or to the gardening store this weekend for new plants, you might try growing a new plant from a cutting from one of your established yard plants. The children will enjoy looking at the changes that occur each day. Sweet potatoes and a jar of water are an all-time standard because the trick works every time. I’m presently trying to grow a rose cutting in a potato. I’m not sure that it will work, but I’m giving it a try. There are all kinds of suggestions online. Find a plant in your yard. Look up online to see if it can be transplanted. Then, follow the directions. Have fun.
- If you are looking for indoor activities when the weather is not cooperating for going outside, nursing homes all across the country are asking people to make homemade cards to send to residents. During the coronavirus, most nursing homes have closed their doors to visitors; therefore, they are seeking children and people of all ages who are willing to make colorful cards and/or even write letters to those who are confined in the nursing home. This is a wonderful service project that all ages can participate in. Children from one of my groups have adopted this project and even invited their friends to participate. Very young children can color bright pictures with crayons or markers. If you’re brave enough to try paints, tempera or watercolor paint can be a fabulous activity and make wonderful cards. As the attached pictures show, your cards may be very simple. Some of the children I work with were kind enough to send me examples of the cards they are sending out this week. You may also get creative and make pop-up cards. Don’t be intimidated; simple pop up cards are really not that difficult to make. My children at the reading clinic make pop-up cards and pictures all the time. There are many online videos showing how to make pop-up cards.
- If you like virtual tours, there’s a new list. Some have been listed before, but many are new. Check out the national parks. No, we can’t go right now, but you can always plan ahead. Plan a family trip for the future.
- Plan a family gameboard evening. Drag out old deserted game boards and have fun. You don’t have a gameboard? Create your own game. The children will enjoy drawing a gameboard and making up the rules to play the game.
- Yes, I know, summer camp has been canceled because of the coronavirus. So, create your own summer camp at home. My grandson and I are both outer space enthusiasts. We have spent most of the month of June reading and learning about rockets that have taken astronauts into outer space. Yes, we’ve also made models for each of the rockets. No, we didn’t buy kits; we found everything in the recycling bin. Next, we are looking at rockets of the future for going back to the moon and on to Mars. We’re also building a moon base. Let your imagination go wild. As I said before, the NASA websites are a fabulous resource. Check these NASA sites. There’s even a Lunar Lander online. We will, naturally, need to try that one as soon as we finish our moon base.
Find something new and learn all about it. Yes, we’re stuck at home, but home can be a fun place to be.
Helping others and giving to others is one of the best ways we can help our children reduce their stress levels and feel happier during these difficult days. Thinking of the needs of others is always a good idea.
Yes, I know that some children also need to be working on getting ready to go back to school in the fall. In my next blog post, I’ll explore some fun ways to incorporate learning into your summer activities.