What Do I Do With These Kids?!

What Do I Do With These Kids?!
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels

It’s probably pretty safe to say that if you’re reading this, you have been “trapped” inside during a Shelter in Place and quite possibly running out of things to do with your littlest (and most energetic) family members. The thought of being inside for days has taken my breath away more often than not these last few days and then I have to remind myself that going outside is ok!

I can still sit in my backyard. I can still take Brody out on walks. I can still pull weeds (laugh if you want, but it’s actually pretty peaceful for me). Social Distancing is NOT locking up the doors and windows as if some scary thing is out there waiting to get me.

While walking myself through this reminder and talking myself down from a near panic attack I was, for whatever reason, reminded of a favorite childhood book series of mine. The Boxcar Children tugged at the heartstrings of my imagination when I was a kid. I liked to pretend that I too was living off of the grid, an orphan in this world, just trying to survive on my wits and McGiver-like instincts.

Thankfully my son is too young to understand what is happening right now. I, on the other hand, wish he was bigger so that I was forced to be distracted a bit more from it. I can only imagine the fear and confusion children are facing at this moment in history. The younger they are, the less of a vocabulary they have to explain or describe what they feel- if they can even understand what they’re feeling in the first place. What can you, their parents and caretakers do to alleviate some of it? First, turn the TV off! I had to make myself step away from the “news” because it was only adding to my fears and worry.

Place value on what is edifying and positive. Make light of the situation and focus on this extra time you now have together as a family. Have fun. Play games. Laugh. Work together on puzzles and art projects. Build forts or set up tents in the living room or your backyard. If you have one, light up the fire pit and make s’mores or cook hot dogs over the flames.

The internet has been buzzing with loads of activities for entertaining children. Just look on Facebook and you’ll see multiple groups sharing their ideas. I’ve compiled a couple of my favorites along with links, some of them involving neighborhood/community participation. The neighborhood we live in has a Facebook page and we are connected on the Nextdoor app. Someone suggested putting things on houses and in windows for the kids to find as they were out walking and riding their bikes.

If I had my way, I’d be inside my makeshift couch cushion fortress pretending that it was an old abandoned boxcar that my siblings and I just happened to stumble upon. The possible storylines that could be imagined as we joined forces to survive off of the earth would nearly be limitless. We would play, learn and be able to process a bit of our current state of unknowns within the safety and protection of our home and under the guidance of adults we trust.

I saw someone do this on the sidewalk as an alternative.

Painter’s tape and chalk

Washable paint mixed with some water and little Dawn dish soap for an easier cleanup. Painter’s tape for the shapes.

Stained Glass Windows

This one is pretty cute! Greg & Steve have a Going on a Bear Hunt song that happens to be a favorite of mine.

Going on a Bear Hunt

This was posted in our neighborhood Facebook group and on the Nextdoor app. I’m not sure the source, but its a great example of what can be started and then continued.

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