Whether you're on school break or it's just the weekend, your family is probably spending more time at home than ever. If you've had enough movie nights to program an entire film festival and are hungry for something (anything!) different, we hear you.
There are lots of tips out there about how to get through all this extra time at home unscathed, but we’d rather you get through it smiling with a ton of fun new memories and experiences under your belt. Here’s how to make it work.
Create a Go-To Fun Kit
If you’re working and need to concentrate on deadlines and meetings, you’ll need your girl to take initiative and create her own fun from time to time. Make it easy for her by putting together a box or large tote bag full of supplies that can spark her imagination or that she can use for specific projects on her own. For instance, you might include individual items, like sidewalk chalk, bubbles, a jump rope, and a magnifying glass, but then also include a DIY sock puppet kit (markers, yarn, glue, spare buttons if you have them, and a few old white socks) in its own bag.
Start a Book Club
If your girl and her friends love reading, coordinate with other parents and have the girls all read the same book. When they’re finished, host a special playdate over video chat where the girls dress up like their favorite characters and share art they’ve made inspired by their favorite scenes. It’s worth reaching out to the book’s author as well to see if she’d be interested in popping into the girls’ meeting to say hi and answer any questions. You might not get a yes, but you definitely won’t if you don’t try!
Pick a Theme for Each Week
Have your kids help choose fun themes for each week, and then ask her to suggest ways to incorporate the themes into meals, activities, and even the movies you might watch in the evenings. The most important thing about this idea is to let your girl take the lead. If she’s busy making posters to hang around your home or decorating sugar cookies with icing whiskers for “cat week,” she’ll feel more ownership and excitement over these projects and she’ll be less likely to complain that she’s bored while you’re on an important conference call.
See Nature Through Her Eyes
Whether you have access to a local park, your backyard, or even just a tree or two on your street, give her a small notebook and have her fill it with drawings, notes, or even poems about what she sees outside. What colors does she notice? Are there birds or squirrels around? What about people and pets? Does she notice any bugs? What does the air smell like? How do things look close up versus far away?
Learn a Whole Dance Routine Together
Have your girl pick a music video she loves and then learn the dance routine together as a family. Who cares if you look a little silly or can’t do every move perfectly—that’s not the point. This activity will get everyone moving, which can boost your mood and improve sleep, and probably get you laughing, which is never a bad thing. When you’ve finally got the whole routine memorized and can do it from start to finish, record yourselves doing the dance. There’s no need to share on social media unless everyone agrees that’s a good idea (and definitely don’t share if anyone doesn’t feel good about it!), but you’ll be so glad to have it as a sweet family memory to look back on in years to come.
Swap Screens for Sundaes
If you’re like many families, you’ve been spending more time on screens than ever. Give your eyes a break by trading your phones, tablets, laptops, and even the TV for a yummy sundae bar once a week. You might hear a grumble or two at first when your kids (or even your partner!) hear that you’re setting aside some screen-free time, but once they realize it comes with the benefit of a big scoop of ice cream and DIY toppings, we doubt you’ll hear many complaints.
There’s no doubt the world has thrown us a few lemons this year. For our kids’ sake and our own sanity, though, it’s time we start making some lemonade. You might be surprised by how sweet it is.