Now that we have been stuck in our house for approximately 5,000 days...
I mean almost a month, I feel like I can help you on the tips to keep your kids busy. So you can take my nonprofessional/professional opinions and see what you think. We are all here to help each other out!
1. Get Outside
It seems so SIMPLE.
And it is simple, but during the days it has been a little wild in our household since the weather in Idaho has no idea what it wants to do... we have found ourselves staying inside for way too many days. Even if you can get outside for 15 minutes that fresh air changes everything, and keeps my sanity. Get out and play, garden, go for a walk/hike, do a family scavenger hunt, or blow some bubbles.
I never expected to be in our house this much with our kids. Art has been a game changer for our family. We bought a massive wall poster, 160 color pencils, and let the creativity juices flow. It has been a lot of fun having a common thing to do as a whole family. Also, if you haven't taken art outside- it might just be the best ever. I would like to thank whoever decided making sidewalk mosaic chalk art a thing because my kids thought it was the coolest thing ever. We are going to try this sidewalk paint next.
3. Free Play
I was reading an article on free play, and wish I would have saved it so you could read. It really opened my eyes to the whole let kids get bored. I guess I started doing this at an early age with them, but I but constantly battle the thoughts of, "am I doing enough" that go through my head. Ask my husband. He is always tells me they are fine, and reminds me that I don't have to have something planned for them every second of the day. I have loved seeing what my kids come up with during this free time. Minus Emery cutting her own hair. After a few days of non stop play I asked Parker and Emery what their favorite part of the day was... PLAYING has been the answer every night.
The space has allowed them to create with their imaginations, and it has been shocking to see what toys they actually reach for, which makes me feel a little better when we finally have to get rid of extra stuff to move into our Airstream. My one note I would like to make about free time is that you can prompt your kids with ideas to get them going, and then let the fun begin.
Who knew we would play so many games?! Thank goodness Ben decided to stock up on games this past winter because has been a great way to spend family time together, and keep the kids busy. I guess those age suggestions on the box really do make a difference. Parker loves Trouble, Sorry, and Mouse Trap. Emery likes Pretty Pretty Princess (anyone else still have the original) + Chutes and Ladders best. We left the games out all day on Sunday, and I came out to Parker and Emery playing a Frozen II Surprise Slides by themselves. One WARNING: Chutes and ladders may cause some serious child anger issues.. I always wondered where my anger came from, and now I know.
I said it. No shame in the electronics game in our house. Shows are a must for parts of the day. It helps them to just take a moment to settle down, and how do you think I am getting this post done?!? There have been days filled with electronics, and there have been 3 day periods without it. Every day is different, and we are currently going with the flow. We also have days where they watch their favorite shows and movies, and days with more educational programming. There are some amazing apps out there for the Ipad like Khan Academy Kids and ABCmouse, which I believe is still doing a great offer due to Corona. After talking with Parker's teacher today we have a whole new list of resources that will help while they are not in the classroom. So ask what other resources are available.
Want cookies? Bake them. Want banana bread? Bake it. Want brownies? Bake them.
I am pretty sure baking goodies has kept the cheer around here. I mean who doesn't love a little treat. But this has been a great way to keep Parker and Emery going, and if I am being honest, it keeps Ben and I going as well. Our kids love being in the kitchen, and making something they get to eat in the end. It creates time together, and can be great tool for learning. My kids are learning how to share the spoon. I would like to say it is parenting at its finest. I am noticing they seem to be eating more at dinner when they help make what we are eating. Maybe it is a coincidence?! But invite them in since we aren't rushing to get it done, and enjoy the time together.
And just a reminder
To all the moms out there. We are all doing the best we can. This is my reminder to you to keep just doing the best you can. There is no need to look at what susie is doing for her kids. Teaching her kids at home might be her calling in life. Just because your kids are running around the house naked asking you for snacks 500 times a day does not make you a bad mom. We all are taking what tools we have during this time, and doing the best we can. You are doing a great freaking job. Your kids are alive, and they are living their best life with free time. I was also reminded by our wonderful homeroom teacher today that teachers take the time to get kids excited about school. If we are getting upset and frustrated feeling like we aren't doing enough it might put a bad taste in our kids mouth. Nobody wants that.