The days are longer, the weather is warmer and the flowers are blooming. Spring has arrived in Arkansas and along with it, the coronavirus. So, amid schools and workplaces closing, gatherings and events cancelling and the majority of the public being advised to stay home, what are families to do for fun?
Although social distancing keeps us from traveling and playing to an extent, there are still ways for families to stay active, strengthen connections and enjoy each other’s company. In fact, consider this a golden opportunity to focus on health and happiness while creating precious memories.
On rainy days—of which there seem to be a lot of lately—take advantage of all that the web has to offer, like virtual tours of museums, live videos from zoos and digital holdings at your local library.
Be creative. There are plenty of ideas online to make crafts using items you already have around the house, or even in your trash! Repurposing not only teaches kids the importance of recycling but also encourages innovation.
You can also use repurposed containers to plant vegetables or flowers. Simply order some seeds and plant them indoors in plastic cups, on the porch in containers or make a garden plot in the backyard.
If you’re missing friends and extended family members, organize a game night via Facetime or Skype. Choose board games that work for communicating digitally, with one household physically responsible for the game while the others “play remotely.”
If you have teens that may be planning to leave home in the near future, use this time to teach them some basic skills like cooking, ironing or changing a tire.
On days when the weather is nice, get outside. Your family may be missing out on sports this spring, so play some in the yard or driveway. You can go with the usual baseball, basketball or soccer, or you could try something different like croquet, cornhole and ladder golf. Better yet, let the kids create a new sport.
With travel plans cancelled or postponed for the next few weeks, plan a backyard picnic or camping trip—it’s the best of both worlds. You can enjoy the outdoors with your family while never leaving the comforts of home behind!
Depending on where you live, go for a walk or hike. Make it interesting by looking for birds and wildlife along the way or identifying trees and flowers. You could also pick up unique rocks to take home and paint—design them with cheery, encouraging words or phrases and leave them for your neighbors to find on their porches or in their flower beds.
Other ways to teach your children about caring for others include arranging for meals to be delivered to elderly family members or neighbors and making cards to send to the area nursing homes. Call ahead to make sure the facility will allow such outside gifts at this time. If not, make artwork to share on the facility’s Facebook page or build something like birdfeeders or flower boxes to place outside the windows in common areas. Older children might enjoy learning to sew, so your family could make masks to donate to local healthcare workers.
Regardless of the social distancing orders, families can still have fun and stay connected this spring. Doing so may be a bit challenging at times, but just think of all the wonderful memories to be made with those you hold dear. Most importantly, you have the chance to show your children what can be accomplished by combining creativity and innovation with caring and positive attitudes!