To keep us safe during the coronavirus pandemic, many families with kids have a new normal. Many of our everyday activities and go-to places, such as museums, schools, playgrounds, and sports are closed or canceled. Make Believe family fun center is also not an exception.
Between completing schoolwork, playing outside and screen time. What else can we do? Check out our list of fun tips to keep your child busy and having fun during all the uncertainty and changes we are all facing.
Create a Time Capsule!
Our children are living through history, why not make a time capsule with them?
- Have them write a letter to themselves. Have them describe their life right now and ask what they would tell their future self about how they feel. Talk about what they want to be like when they grow up and include some things they look forward to doing as an adult. Don’t forget to have them include a bio about themselves; their age, their friends, favorite TV shows, books, songs, etc.
- Draw pictures of your family, pets and favorite activities!
- Take pictures of your family and life as it is today.
- If safe, get a newspaper and include articles about current events.
- Decorate your box. Paint, color, stickers, craft supplies, go wild! Put everything together in your time capsule and put it in a safe place for years to come.
Put Teddy Bears in your windows for a neighborhood ‘Safari’!
Based on the book, “We’re Going on a Bear Hunt” by Michael Rosen and Helen Oxenbury. Neighbors are placing teddy bears in street-facing windows so children can ‘hunt’ them out on walks and bicycle rides through their neighborhood.
Spread the word to other local parents and residents on Facebook.
Enjoy the outdoors and take your kids on a safari this week in search of teddy bears & other animals!
CHALK YOUR WALK!
Send the kids outside to do some chalk art! Ask them to create beautiful, inspiring pictures on sidewalks and driveways (you can even make drawings of teddy bears for the bear hunt!). Uplifting phrases, suns shining and smiley faces go a long way. Take a walk around your neighborhood and look for other artists!
CREATE STAINED GLASS WINDOWS
Tape angular lines all over one of your large windows to create lots of shapes. Mix Kids Crayola Washable Paint with a bit of water and a drop of dawn soap. (Be sure to test a corner to make sure it will wipe off easily – use a wet cloth to clean up)
Let the kids paint each individual shape a different color to create a stained glass effect.
GET INTO THE KITCHEN
Check out a new recipe and let the kids help! Make sure you are washing your hands consistently!
We like this easy 4 ingredient-or-less Bagel recipe!
• 1 cup nonfat plain Greek Yogurt (you can substitute Sour Cream if you don’t have greek yogurt!)
• 1 cup self-rising flour or mix 1 cup all purpose flour + 1 1/2 tsp baking powder + 1/2 tsp table salt
FOR THE TOPPINGS
• 1 egg whisked (for egg wash finish)
• Bagel Toppings (cinnamon sugar, cheese, sesame seeds, everything bagel seasoning)
Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper or silicone baking mat.
In a large bowl, add yogurt and flour. When measuring out the yogurt, make sure that you strain out any liquid. Any extra liquid sitting in your yogurt will cause the dough to be too wet.
Using a large spoon or spatula, mix together flour and yogurt until it begins to form a crumbly dough. Use your hands to push the dough together into one ball. The dough will be very sticky.
Add your dough to a stand mixer with a dough hook attachment. Knead the dough until it comes together in one ball and has pulled away from the sides of the mixing bowl. As soon as it reaches this stage, it is ready and you should stop the mixer immediately. (You can view my video above for reference). If you continue to let it knead, the dough will actually become sticky again. If you do not have a stand mixer, you can knead the dough by hand. You will need to cover your kneading surface with flour and knead the dough by hand until it is tacky and no longer sticky. I prefer using the stand mixer because it is faster and the dough comes together without the extra flour which results in a lighter bagel.
Divide dough into four equal balls. Roll out a ball on a lightly floured surface until it becomes a rope about 3/4 inch thick. Try to make the rope as even and smooth as possible. Pinch ends shut to form a round circle. Repeat with remaining dough.
Place bagels onto a baking sheet. Brush tops with egg wash. Sprinkle tops with whichever seasonings you prefer.
Bake bagels for about 23-25 minutes or until bagels are cooked all the way through. Remove bagels from the oven and turn heat up to 500°F. Place bagels back in the oven and bake about 2-3 minutes until the surface is browned. (If you are making plain bagels without toppings, you can also set your oven to low broil for 2-3 minutes to brown the bagels but I don’t recommend this if you have toppings as the toppings will start to burn before the bagels finish browning.) Let bagels cool a few minutes before eating.
We may be ordered to ‘stay at home’ but the order does NOT prohibit essential activities like going outside or taking your pet for a walk. “Families will still be able to go outside, including parks and outdoor spaces that remain open. Take a walk, run, or bike ride but should continue to practice social distancing by remaining 6 feet away from other people. Playgrounds are closed because they pose a high risk of increased transmission.”
Spending time outside can help you reduce stress, lower your blood pressure, and be more mindful. Studies have even shown that getting outside can help reduce fatigue, making it a great way to overcome symptoms of depression or burnout. Getting outside can also help you sleep better at night, especially if you do some physical activity, like hiking or walking, while you are outside.
Check out this list of Cleveland Metroparks locations to explore.
GET MOVING INSIDE
Stuck inside? Try these entertaining ways to get moving.
• Create an obstacle course throughout your house! (You can always take this outside! Use sidewalk chalk and make a course outside)
• Crab Races or 3 legged races! (Try other animal walks like frogs, ducks, penguins and bunnies!)
• Use those Balloons! Set up Balloon Tennis or Don’t let the Balloon hit the ground game! See who can pop the balloon the fastest by sitting and bouncing on it. Or give each player three balloons to ‘juggle’. They have to keep all three balloons up in the air for a minute!
• Bob for Apples! This fall classic is fun and a great way to use up that fruit on your counter
• The floor is Lava! Create a path to get across your room with pillows! Don’t forget to Pillow Fight when you’re done!
• Simon Says or Freeze Game! When the music stops, you freeze until it starts again!
• Dance Party! Show off those moves!
• Send them on a Scavenger hunt – Create clues and hide items around the house! You can also do this outdoors in your neighborhood.
• Bed Sheet Parachute Recreate this gym class classic at home with sheets! Have everyone grab an end of the ‘parachute’ while one person runs under!
• Bottle Bowling Fill up empty bottles with water and use a soft plush or small plastic ball to bowl!
• Find the Ball! Show the ball to your player, put it under a cup and switch the cups around. The player tries to follow the cup that has the ball underneath. When you’re done moving the cups around, the player taps the top of the cup they think the ball is in. You only need three plastic cups and a small ball to play!
• Face the Cookie! Place a cookie on someone’s forehead. They have to use only their face muscles (no hands) to get it into their mouth.
• Shake it out with Bottle 2 Bottle! Fill one 2 LTR bottle with something (Lucky Charms, Jelly Beans, etc.) then tape to another 2-liter bottle – players have to transfer all from one bottle to the other.
• Stack it up! Use chopsticks to stack items on top of each other (think candy, legos, goldfish crackers, etc)
• Hot Potato! Deem a stuffed animal or actual potato as the ‘hot potato’ and pass it around in this classic game. Have someone use music to stop and start the game to eliminate players caught with the potato!