Things to keep you and the kids entertained during the Covid-19 shutdown.
Let me just say, you can survive this.
Again, WE can survive this. Yes, things are scary and most people do not know what to do in an emergency situation like we find ourselves in.
Do not panic.
Panic does no one any good. It just sends you spiraling down into fear. Fear is an extremely bad place in which to make decisions.
But don’t treat this lightly either. Many people are at risk and I guarantee you know at least one even if you don’t realize it. This is not a snow day - it is not an excuse to go to the mall or have a play date. Social distancing is just that - distancing yourself from others to prevent a disaster. You can still run to the grocery store or pick up some construction supplies, or some takeout from your favorite restaurant - but just you, or one person from your household - it is not an excuse to have a field trip for the entire family.
And if you think “it’s just as cold or allergies” - STAY HOME!
Now, with that out fo the way, I thought I could offer some ideas on ways to survive being “stuck at home” for the next 14 days. I have already been witness to people complaining online about their kids being bored - the shutdowns just happened YESTERDAY people! Seriously. I would expect at least a few weekdays to go by before kids started losing interest in their screens. I think we, as a culture, have lost our ability to entertain ourselves. With that in mind, here a few ideas to keep busy and maybe learn something over the next two weeks.
1. Libraries might be closed, but they still have books available online to check out. Read. I cannot stress this enough - kids need to be reading. A lot. If they don’t like reading, try an audiobook - also available through the library.
2. E-books. If your library doesn’t have the book you are looking for online, they are always available for download online. There are even sites that allow you to download classics for free. Sites like https://www.gutenberg.org and https://openlibrary.org have tons of books to download for free.
3. Audible. I have been an huge Audible fan for years. You can ”read” and entire book in a couple of hours.
4. Podcasts. Turn down the lights, pour a glass of something and sit back and pretend you’re living in a time before TV. BBC World service has an excellent selection on their Sounds page.
5. YouTube. There are so many fascinating people out there doing amazing things and you get to follow along. It’s not just for cat videos. A few to check out are Pick Up Limes, Sampson Boat Company, Mr. Chickadee, Rainfall Projects and The Minimalists.
6. SkillShare or Masterclass. We subscribe to both and while the pricing is high for Masterclass, it is well worth it. There are classes for just about every interest, taught by some of the most interesting people alive today. You can learn a new skill and be entertained - win!
7. Get out the art supplies and get to creating! If you have kids, you have at the very least a million crayons and a stack of paper. It gets your mind off Covid and gives you some fun time with the kiddos. Bonus points if you melt down some of those broken bits and make new swirly crayons.
8. Bake or cook. We have been trying new recipes and enjoying delicious treats all while spending time together and learning new skills. Cook something new using all those new canned goods you picked up at the store. Try a new cuisine or ingredient. Make something you always make using new spices - a meatloaf with cumin and chili powder suddenly becomes a taco meatloaf! Bake your meatloafs in cupcake tins, top them with mashed potatoes, sprinkle them with corn and VOILA! Meatloaf cupcakes! I have seen the most picky kiddo snarf these down because they’re a “cupcake”.
9. Learn to sew. Almost everyone has one of those little sewing kits from the hotel laying around. Find some clothes to mend or make some sock puppets from the orphan sock pile. Pajama pants and skirts are ridiculously easy to make from old sheets and blankets. There are plenty of sites online that show you how.
10. Learn a new hobby - woodworking, knitting, amateur engine repair, boat building - whatever it is, there is a channel on YouTube or a blog out there to show you how. Now’s you chance - you can always consider it “resume building” - because, let’s be honest, if you can repair a two stroke motor AND understand the intricacies of accrual-based accounting, you are the multi-faceted human any employer is dying to hire.
11. Organize. Kon-Mari your spice drawer, turn your garage into a minimalist paradise. Clear out those weird-smelling boxes from the attic. File all those random papers piling up under the cat. Use this “time out of time” to get your ducks and/or home in a row.
12. Plant seeds. Order up some trays and seeds. Give your kids a “pet plant” and give yourself the satisfaction of knowing your kids will know where food comes from. Keep it simple - herbs and greens are ridiculously easy and quick to grow. Bonus points if you cook with your bounty. Double bonus points if you involve the kids.
13. Exercise. Seriously. You ARE allowed outside, just stay away from people. If you don’t have a yard, find a park that’s empty. Start that routine you’re always determined to do on January 1. Stretch, do body weight exercises, bench the dog (if they will let you). Whatever. Just move! Again, YouTube has a great selection of exercise videos. Yoga with Adrienne is a great resource - she has everything from high-impact stuff to beginner and even restorative yoga on her channel. If you or your kids have always wanted to learn Karate, Shotokan Sensei is a great channel.
14. Learn something new. Always wanted to know more about stinkbugs? Now’s your chance! Everyone is curious about something. Find a book or a video or a website about and geek out! You could write a poem or draw or create an interpretive dance about what you learned. Some suggestions of some things to research: medieval foods, average foot size in North America, Japanese temples, endangered wood species around the world, why sea turtles eat plastic...the list is endless.
15. Learn a foreign language. Ok, so you’re not going to master Japanese in 14 days, but you can at least learn how to count, say hello and ask where the bathroom is. Who knows, you might be able to use your new skill when you’re able to travel again.
The important thing is to find something that keeps you entertained, your mind off the chaos, and your kids engaged in something that doesn’t involve memes or shooting their way through a simulated dystopian city. While times are stressful and uncertain right now, you can either give in to panic or see this time as an opportunity to give yourself some self-care. Here at Lazy Dog Farm, we’re trying to make the best of a bad situation and using this time to nurture not just our bodies, but our brains and our relationships with one another. If there is a silver lining in this whole situation, it’s that maybe, just maybe we’ll all realize that we’re in this together as people. We might just discover our shared humanity and our relationships with one another are what are most important. We might just start to care for one another instead of just trying to get through the day looking out for “me” or “mine”. We might just realize that we are all in this together - not just in this virus, but in this life.