During the COVID-19 pandemic, our lives have undoubtedly slowed down. While this is a stressful time, there is a positive in that many of us are able to take a step back and spend more time with our families due to stay at home orders and quarantining. Especially given that the news runs rampant with disheartening news and stories, quarantine can also be a great time to focus on family activities that don’t involve screen time. Below, we’ve highlighted ten of our favorite family friendly quarantine activities.
Puzzles and Brain Games
Board games and puzzles can be a great way to come together as a family and get some brain exercise while you stay at home. Puzzles have proven scientific benefits for both adults and children. Solving puzzles improves short term memory as well as visualization. They also develop problem solving skills as there is a lot of trial and error involved with completing a puzzle. They also improve visual spatial reasoning. Games and puzzles are also particularly beneficial during quarantine because they can help us take a step back from screen time where we’re bombarded with complicated information. In a time where we’re usually tempted to play games on our phones individually, we can all benefit from working on a puzzle or game as a family.
Harness Creativity While You Stay at Home with Art Projects
It is also the perfect time for families to encourage creativity through art. Art can be particularly therapeutic during crisis times and is proven to help us process and express complicated emotions. Whether it comes in the form of drawing, painting, or collaging, art is used as therapy during crisis times.
Tackle a New Recipe
Now is a great time to bake your own bread, make your own pizzas, or tackle a recipe that you’ve been meaning to as a family. Cooking brings families together, and involving kids in the process of making a meal gives them ownership and appreciation of what they’re eating. You can also give each family member a specific night to choose or make the meal, making it a fun way to turn dinnertime into a regular stay at home activity and give days a sense of structure.
Journal about this time
Writing about your thoughts and feelings while you stay at home can be very valuable, especially as time passes on and we will likely want to harness the complicated feelings we’re experiencing right now. Everyday is different so whether you find yourself writing two sentences or two pages, writing is a powerful outlet and can be a wonderful way to write your own version of history that you can look back on one day.
Make Your Own Family Card Game
Creating your own card game is another way to use your brain creatively while making a new family memory. Make your family’s own version of Kings or Go Fish to create a new family tradition that will always remind you of this complicated time.
Learn Something New and Teach Each Other
While you may want to use the internet for this one, each family member can take something that they know/have learned and teach the others. Encourage your kids to think outside of the box on this one; nothing is too big or too small. Whether they can teach a few words in a new language or how to play a few notes on the piano, this is a great way to encourage non traditional learning, especially since traditional schooling has most likely been halted.
Going for a walk, taking a bike ride, or taking a swim have proven psychological benefits for easing stress during this time. While it can be tempting to curl up on the couch at home, going outside stimulates the body and brain to keep you both physically and mentally healthy. Getting just 30 minutes of fresh air a day can keep your brain clear and ready to tackle what the day has in store. It’s also a great time to try new outdoor workouts, as many brands such as Nike are offering their workout apps for free!
Hike and Have a Picnic
This is an activity that you likely have always thought about doing but have never taken the time to. Hiking can be daunting, but there are plenty of options for every skill level. Hiking in the outdoors also comes with sets of challenges and frustrations that you can address as a family. As mentioned previously, the exercise will also help clear your mind and ease stress levels during this time.
Zoom with Family Members
Social distancing doesn’t have to mean a loss of social connection. You can use this time through Zoom to reconnect with old friends and family members, particularly those who may be isolating alone and need to feel social connection as well. Taking the time to celebrate life’s events that are happening can help us maintain some sense of normalcy, and video calling with those who we don’t live with is the perfect way to feel that we’re maintaining some element of social connections while we’re here in our homes.
Help Others; Write Thank You Cards or Make Masks
This is our favorite stay at home activity. This is the perfect time to explore ways to thank the healthcare workers who are on the front line fighting this virus so that we are able to stay at home. You can send thank you notes, homemade masks, pre event food donations to many care centers and hospitals all over the country. Chances are, you can find a hospital in your area that can accept thank you gifts and notes, and this can help your family feel that you are really making a difference. It also sets a great example for children to see how to give back during crisis times and understand the importance of thanking those around us.