Given our current situation, many of us that are parents or care for children have found ourselves in an unforeseen circumstance that most of us aren't prepared for, by feeling stuck inside.
While the adjustments being made are impacting every person, it’s best to stay as positive as possible throughout this extended family time with these stay at home orders across the globe. Here are fun and healthy snack ideas along with activities to keep the family productively busy and in a lightened atmosphere!
Set a daily schedule that can easily be maintained as a daily routine. If you have school-aged children already, this should be a little less of a struggle. A program set for the day may not fit your needs, but setting times for various activities and free time in between can ease places in the day where stress more prone.
Some districts have implemented distance learning (Virtual Homeschooling with a teacher), which can not only relieve some of the pressure out of your day but keep your child in an academic mentality where they can still interact with their peers, via a virtual classroom. This will also make the transition back to school smoother in the future.
Activities and Games
While technology seems to have overrun our lives in many ways, entertainment does not have to be one of them. Check in the hall closet, or that forgotten cabinet and see what classics are hiding within.
These games are not only great for including the whole family but keep the mind activated and teach the little ones some excellent developmental skills to keep their brains sharp!
- Simon Says is fun, engaging, group activity and keeps all the extra energy in the house under control while still being active. They can dance, run in place, do jumping jacks, you get it!
The possibilities help exert all of that built up energy effectively, along with developing how to follow and give instructions, body awareness, stronger motor skills, and even the use of past tense verbs.
- Connect 4 is a timeless game that’s fun for most ages 4 and up. What’s most fun about this game is it allows competitiveness while keeping both players engaged, because who doesn’t want to yell “Connect 4!” first? The speed of this classic keeps their minds stimulated with problem-solving and basic math. It even helps the brain with pattern development and making calculated predictions.
- Operation allows the little ones to play doctor while practicing focus, patience, and steady eye-hand coordination to remove each organ from the patient. If you’re not successful, vibration and a loud BUZZZZ! It's also an excellent tool for teaching children a lesson on basic anatomy and different parts working inside the body, the ones that belong of course!
- Jenga, a classic game with a simple concept, will definitely keep your little one(s) engaged, focused on building their block stack higher, and hoping not to be the player to topple the blocks stacked down! Also, it great for developing their patience, manual dexterity, hand-eye coordination, and strategic thinking and problem-solving skills.
- Memory Cards (known as the memory game) The memory game has cards paired with matching items on each face and typically can be found in themes or characters the little ones enjoy. Have them mix the cards and let them have fun, setting them out and finding the match to the first card they flip. If it’s not found, flip it back over and try again while taking turns. This is an excellent opportunity to help them, improve concentration, increase short term and visual memory. This classic also increases attention to detail and can help enhance vocabulary by asking them to name each item depending on the theme of the deck.
- Additionally, there are so many options for engaging learning games, arts, crafts, shadow puppets, and projects that spark imaginative ideas while engaging development for children on YouTube KIDz, PBSkids.org, and Pinterest, just to name a few.
Be Healthy AND Entertained
Who says you can’t have fun while eating healthy, especially when you’re a little kid or big kid? HAHA! Instead of just laying out some healthy snacks for you and the little ones to eat, try some fun food activities for simple and quick projects you can make and enjoy together!
- Peanut butter, Nutella, and Toast, not only great taste but can be the base for a great funny face, For Example: Make a funny face or a Teddy Bear using fruit such as Bananas, vegan chocolate chips, or Apples! Get creative with any of your kid’s favorite fruits and veggies.
- Apple Donuts, yes, Apple Donuts! Get an apple, slice it 4 times straight down, and cut out the middle. Now you simply have an apple donut and you can top it with what you want! The fan-favorite has always been peanut butter and apples (graham crackers crushed on top are a great topper for Peanut Butter too!). How else could you get creative and top your apple donut?
- Banana Sushi, and yes, it’s as simple as it sounds! Slice your banana, then put them on a skewer stick, then roll them around in Oatmeal cookie crumbs that’ll taste great and have a little crunch! If you want to give the little ones a wild side, Chocolate drizzle on top is great!
- Smoothie Pops are great when you still want your little ones to get not just their daily dose but a great influx of veggies and still have a tasty treat. Use the amount you feel appropriate, but I definitely use just a little more veggies than fruit to manage the sugar.
- Here's a favorite recipe example: Banana, frozen or fresh Pineapple, frozen or fresh Blueberry, frozen or fresh Mango, 1/2 or Whole lime squeeze, kale, spinach, arugula, and mint.
- One special addition is sparkling water to add as the liquid base. It gives it a crisp taste without adding additional sugar. This smoothie is a great combination of Vitamin C, K, B6, B9, iron, folic acid, fiber, protein, and potassium.
- Tasty Infused Water, is a great alternative to kids having boxed, preserved, sweet juices. Try mixing up these ingredients: 10 to 12 oz cup of Water, Juice from 1/8 lemon or lime wedge, Strawberry, Pineapple, and Mint. I like using fruits in the container after being freshly frozen serve as ice cubes, and after shaking in a shaker, you'll have minty-fresh fruit infused water for your little one.
Hopefully, these small suggestions and tips help with your days ahead at home! After all the fun and delicious fun treats, one other essential is rest, not just for sleep, but for the minds.
Creating a routine helps immensely, but creating the space to sit and make quiet time will benefit everyone's peace of mind, including your own. Set the example, and start with 5 minutes, if you can make it happen, in the morning is best.
Here are some children's mediations to try, and don't forget to be the example; it will do wonders to remember to take a moment and breath in a happy mental space. There are many different ways to practice mindfulness, and sharing them with your children can be a big game-changer for now and later in life.
Even though we are all stuck inside the house while practicing social distancing, it is crucial to remember to stay healthy inside and out. Stay active, appreciate each other and the little things in life, and be well.