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April 03, 2020 6 min read
Trust us: You're not the only one who's feeling the anxiety, stress, and restlessness in the middle of the coronavirus/COVID-19 pandemic. With entire cities and countries locked down, many of us are sensing the tangible threat not only to our physical health but also to our mental and emotional wellness. And if you're staying home with your family -- perhaps with your kids or teens -- the emotional tumult can be even greater.
Now more than ever is a time to be calm, prudent, and strong. Here are 15 free or almost-free activities that you can enjoy with your family while in quarantine. These activities fight off boredom and restlessness, keep our minds and bodies healthy, and help us slow down to a calmer head space. Try them today.
A classic way to shake off stress and stay healthy? Exercising, of course! Outline a quick and simple routine to do with your kids daily, whether it's aerobics, Zumba, or even yoga. To make it more appealing to little ones, set up a mini-gym at home with kiddie equipment such as colorful dumbbells and personalized mats.
Perhaps now is the time for your children to be introduced to cooking or basic home repairs or playing an instrument. As you teach your kids a skill, you'll want to emphasize the value of patience, discipline, and perseverance in learning. The big bonus to this is, we as adults can also brush up on our own skills and values while teaching.
Letter-writing can be a beautiful and calming activity -- especially if you choose to write by hand. Take out some lovely stationery and pens, and encourage your kids to jot down kind letters to people they care about, to be mailed at an opportune time. Alternatively, you can also get some plain card stock and some art supplies, and create your very own family postcards!
Bonus tip: Did you know that some hospitals now welcome get-well-soon cards for their patients? This is a great inclusion in your family letter-writing. Look around social media, hospital websites, and non-profit announcements to see if anyone in your area is organizing a get-well-soon drive.
Like many families, your household has probably stocked up on food and supplies to minimize going out during this time. Some savvy parents have taken this as a chance to teach basic economy to their children. How? By putting up a play-pretend snack store at home! You can craft a little store shelf, fill it with snacks, and 'do business' with your kids using pretend money, which they can earn via chores and good deeds.
One smart mom (above) even teaches her kids to practice social distancing and sanitizing while 'buying' food!
Reading books is always a good way to pass time, but we recommend making it a lot more interactive for your children. Let them choose a "Book of the Week" and when they're done reading, celebrate with a little book-themed costume party (just among family members, of course). You can even agree on roles and commit to acting like your respective characters -- for one evening only!
Who doesn't love some good old family games? Whether it's a tabletop game like Monopoly or Jenga, or a party game like Charades or Taboo, it's a guaranteed way to have wholesome fun, relieving everyone's stress. Along the way, be a model of sportsmanship and honesty to your children, even if they're just simple games.
Quarantine doesn't mean being stuck indoors. You can still catch some healthy sunlight in your own backyard, balcony, or even patio. Lay down a picnic basket, munch on some sandwiches, and let the afternoon pass by as you exchange stories and laughter with your family.
On nights when the sky is clear, you can also camp out in your yard with the kids! Set up a little tent or fort, take some 'adventure gear,' and lay down watching the stars.
Kids are intrinsically artistic, and now's a good time to channel their creative energy to positivity. Try this laid-back but creative activity: Help them pick out some inspiring quotes and task them to turn these passages into artworks. It can be a picture that they draw, a colorful scene made of play dough, a symbolic craft, a word collage -- anything goes. Let them know you're going to display their works as a reminder for everyone to stay strong throughout the quarantine.
Need some art inspiration? We have great motivational wall art prints on Gear Den. See some examples here!
Various hospitals across the country and around the world are now seeking donations of personal protective equipment (PPE), including face masks. It sounds sad, but many civilian groups have taken this as an opportunity to show kindness: they have started sewing homemade face masks to donate to hospitals in need. Some families have joined in, too! Check your local news, hospitals, and non-profits to see if you and your family can contribute to this worthy cause. (Needless to say, make sure your children are old enough to participate in any sewing or crafting activity!)
The coronavirus pandemic is something big that's unfolding right now in human history, even as we remain in our homes. Journaling about this ongoing event is a way to release our emotions, make sense of what's in our heads, and at the same time, record our own experience of history. Start a journal with your family, detailing your sentiments and reflections, as well as what's happening in your vicinity.
Don't let physical distancing get in the way of your social relationships. Do a FaceTime or Skype call with grandma and grandpa, with good friends, and even with teachers and other people from school or work. Catch up on each other, highlighting the good things that happened recently. For extra fun, go all-out on phone filters and take screenshots! The kids will have a blast wearing bunny ears or wacky eyes on screen.
Feeling the itch to go sightseeing in public? It's only natural, but as we all want to ensure safety, let's just keep our sightseeing within the virtual space for now. Thankfully, plenty of real-life museums provide free online tours that you and your family can access anytime on a computer. You can 'visit' the most famous of them all, the Louvre, or check out this list of other free virtual museum tours.
When the world feels dark and desperate, one of the purest remaining pleasures is dancing. On top of the modern 'bops' that kids do these days, engage them in some classic social dances like waltz, cha-cha, or even the conga line dance. Put on some dancing music and turn your living room into a dance floor! (Remember to keep the steps easy though.)
Many families do movie nights, but how about jazzing yours up by setting up a little cinema experience? Put up some curtains, turn off the lights, hand out tickets, and distribute snack trays. If you have a projector to provide large-screen display, the better. Don't forget to pick family-friendly and inspirational movies.
We saved the best for last. Our most recommended family activity during the quarantine is spending a few minutes each day to say a heartfelt prayer. Pray for your own personal health as well as others'. Pray for the doctors and nurses who are risking their lives attending to the sick. Pray for strength of spirit to outlast the pandemic. During your prayer session, guide your children to also praise God for blessings, whether they're little things such as a fun day of games, a phone call from a friend, or a blooming flower; or big things such as being with family and having a home.
Hope these family activity ideas make quarantine period much easier for you and your family! If you would like more tips on improving your home, browse through our interior decor blog with tons of helpful ideas.
From all of us here at Gear Den, may you and your family stay safe, healthy, and gracefully united.
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