"This is called family bonding" my mom would joke as we traveled cross-country in the car with 3 kids in the back seat, dad driving and mom trying to keep the peace in the car. "Someday you'll back on this and have happy memories." she would say. (Now as a mom myself, I'm sure she said that more for her own peace of mind than ours at the time as we were often arguing or fighting in the back seat.) But I can't help but recall those memories, mostly happy, as we are now on day 4 of quarantine here at our house.
Coronavirus has taken the world by storm and we are doing what we can to flatten the curve and stay put inside our house, although much of Mexico unfortunately is not yet taking it seriously.....which concerns the rest of us trying to do what we can to help.
For all of us with little ones at home, with school having just been cancelled for 5 weeks there are many memes going around on the mom chats about buying all the wine and ear plugs to survive 5 weeks inside our home with not only our babies, but our husbands as well.
It shall definitely be a period of growth, patience, love and grace as we do what we can to keep ourselves from going crazy.
For anybody else looking for ideas, besides good margarita recipes and where to go to find toilet paper, I thought I'd share a top 10 list of some fun activities that have kept us busy over the last few days.
10 Ideas For Your Toddlers & You During Quarantine
1. Indoor Hopscotch
This idea was born after a parent-teacher conference last week when Max's teacher recommended he play hopscotch at home. Not having a cement driveway where we could use chalk on the ground, I had a moment of brilliance and thought about the blue tape that was leftover from our indoor painting and we made a hopscotch game in our toy room. It's a huge hit! (And great for number practice too as we practice counting and using even and odd numbers.)
Materials: Masking Tape
2. Homemade playdough
Who doesn't love some good playdough fun? We followed this recipe and the kids had fun with the accidental tie-dye playdough as we forgot to put in the food coloring right away.
Materials: Flour, Salt, Cream of Tartar, water, coconut oil (you can add essential oils too like lavender for calming down your kids!)
3. Painting the Wall (with water)
My mom sent me this idea from a pin she found on pinterest. It's the simplest thing, give your kids a bucket of water and some paintbrushes and ask them to paint the walls. We chose to do this outside for obvious reasons and they loved it!
Materials: Paintbrushes and Water
Zoe, our 2 year old, has always loved painting all the things. She's enjoyed having her big brother sit down with her for artistic time as well. We've been doing watercolor, acrylic (only because that's all we had on hand) and all sorts of drawing. We're practicing our letters and numbers as we paint and draw as well. I've also been eyeing several recycled materials art projects, specifically those with toilet paper rolls (for obvious reasons).
4. Playing outside
All you need is patience and imagination. We take our cars out of the garage and let the kids run wild in our driveway (it's an open air garage). We've been "taking trips to Nana's house, going to the store", doing relays and more. It's also a nice time for them to just run around while Mommy reads a bit. Because it's getting warmer where we live, the kids are also really into watering the grass or playing with the water table outside.
5. Rotating Toys
Thanks to my mom coming a month ago, we got some help organizing our toy closet and everything has its own bin, this has been brilliant for keeping the toy room clean and organized as they can only have one bin out at a time and it's perfect for rotating toys to switch things up each day.
6. I Spy
As we're still allowed to go outside, take walks and go to the parks we've been doing a lot of exploring. One of the things we're doing while we walk is playing "I Spy". The kids look for numbers and then tell us what they are. For Zoe, she knows when she sees numbers yet doesn't recognize them all. This is perfect for Max, who is 4 and needs to practice number recognition. (You could easily do this with letters or colors too!)
7. Baking and Cooking
We're spending a lot of time indoors, obviously and I've been letting the kids help me make things like cookies, playdough, and dinner. Yes, it takes longer. Yes, it makes more of a mess. But it's been good for them to take turns and practice measuring and counting in the process.
8. Quiet Time
This is something we work on everyday, quarantine or not. But given the extra time we have during the day now, I've let the kids dress themselves, for better or worse (as seen in some of these photos). And we all have quiet time during the day, whether they nap or just read or play quietly. As I'm still working from home, I need at least an hour to myself during the day to do tutorial videos for teachers or to wash the dishes, just some sort of break.
Putting on shows is the kid's favorite spontaneous activity these days, "Max, do you want to do a show?" Zoe will ask and they invent all sorts of songs, dances and find all sorts of musical instruments from the toy room or the kitchen cupboard. This has been hilarious for Walter and I to witness as it's definitely their creativity running the show. (They do normally wear clothes, however they'd just finished painting before this show.)
10. Magnet Wall
I swear, being stuck at home, forces you to be more creative in all sorts of ways. This morning as took out our magnet tiles to sort them into colors in the muffin tin, I realized they stick to the muffin tin and as I looked outside at our metal staircase up to the rooftop patio I knew I had a stroke of genius. We made our stairways into a magnetic wall! It's been the highlight of the day and it came from simply looking around at what we already had and seeing new ways to use things.
So best of luck mama's and dad's out there doing your best to keep the family alive and happy. Trust me, we are still watching Netflix and doing what we can to get work done throughout the day. You do you and we'll keep doing us, bonding throughout the process.