So we’ve all been stuck at home for a really long time now, and for those of you who don’t know by now, I am a stay at home mom. I feel weird saying that, because I have never actually “stayed home” all day for an entire week before all this started. I’m the type of person who has to do something every day, even if it’s just going to Target to walk around. I have to keep busy and I have to keep out of the house. So to make a long story short social distancing has been hard, but there has been a couple things I’ve been doing to make it a little easier on me as a mom and on Juniper who is obviously getting just as bored as I am.
Obviously I’ve already talked to you about what I’ve been doing personally to cope and keep busy during this pandemic (Self Care In A Crisis), but it’s just not us we have to think about. Our kids are just as bored and frustrated with this whole situation as we are, and in many cases they don’t totally understand what’s going on or why everything’s closed up. In just an instant their whole world changed, and it’s our job as parents to help them get through this too.
I said all that to say this, the main thing I’ve been doing to help not only myself but Juniper as well is finding something “new” to do everyday. It doesn’t matter if it’s something big like water day or something small like coloring, every single day I’m doing something different with Juniper. By doing this it gives us something to look forward to and something to break up the monotony of social distancing. So today I’m going to be sharing some of Juniper and I’s favorite activities thus far.
Let’s start with the obvious, outside activities. I don’t know a single parent who doesn’t love the summer so you can let your kids run around and burn off all that pent up energy from being trapped inside during the winter months. If you live in a warmer environment you may not understand what I mean by this, but I live in Iowa, and it gets cold. When I say cold I mean -20’s cold, and sometimes even colder. When you have a baby or young children your options for entertainment are super limited in small town Iowa, USA. Normally I’d take her to a park and let her run around, but unfortunately in my town they have closed all the parks too, so now it’s time to get creative.
DUH. Right? This one is obviously a classic but I wanted to mention it because it is something we try to do as often as possible. It’s also something I try to let HER do as often as possible. Sure, I could load her up in a stroller and cruise our neighborhood or a local nature trail. Lord knows it’d be faster and we’d be able to cover more ground. How does that benefit her any, though? In that case if she sits there for an hour or so she will then still have all this energy but now I’m the one ready for a nap. I will mention real quick that I do take her on stroller walks too but not very often. The majority of the time when I take her for a walk I set her down on the sidewalk and let her run. She chases birds, picks up rocks/leaves/pine cones, and sometimes plays with her shadow. I also let her lead as long as she’s not going into the street. Sometimes that means walking back and forth a lot, but that’s okay. The main idea is she’s having fun being a kid and burning some energy.
I know some people don’t have the luxury of a backyard but for those of you who do take advantage of it! You don’t need to go buy a playset worth hundreds of dollars. You just need to let them explore. The backyard allows her to burn energy just like walking, but she gets a whole new area to explore.
If you don’t have a lot of room in your yard, I understand how frustrating that can be, but there are still things you can do to utilize that space. There have been multiple occasions where all we do is sit down on a blanket or in the grass to read books and sing songs outside. This takes very little room to accomplish and gives you something new to do together.
This most recent Monday was the first day I deemed it warm enough to pull out the swimming pool, the water table, and the mini sprinkler to have a party. So after she ate lunch I bathed her in sunscreen, loaded her all up, and spent the day in the driveway playing with water. She had a blast. We were outside for the majority of the afternoon/evening besides for nap times and at no point did she ever act bored. She’s always loved playing in water so this was a no brainer for me. One thing I will say though, is to remember to put sunscreen on yourself too, not just your kids. I forgot and all I have to say is. Ouch.
Incase you didn’t catch it up above, I live in a very cold climate. As a result, even as we approach May there are some days we just can’t go outside for one reason or another. Whether it be winds, rains, or low temperatures we have to have back up plans on the extremely high chance that the weather doesn’t cooperate. So here are some of our favorite indoor ideas!
This one is super simple set up. All you need is a sandwich bag that seals and some paint to get started. After you have materials, just squeeze some paint into the bag and seal it so it’s mostly airtight. I like to use different colors of paint so she can see how they mix together, but if you only have one color it also acts as a fun and clean sensory activity.
This is a super affordable way to entertain your kids for a little while and like I said my one year old does this but in all honesty even older kids can have fun with this idea.
Golf Ball Painting
This idea I stole from my days working at daycares. All you need is a semi large tupperware container, a piece of paper, a golf ball, and some paint. You don’t have to worry either, at least in my experience, all the paint washes off everything easily. First you are going to lay the piece of paper in the tupperware container, then put some drops of paint on the paper, throw the golf ball in, seal the lid and let them shake it as much as their heart desires.
I was really skeptical of this activity, because when I’ve done this in the past a good amount of the children weren’t interested in this activity. I kid you not though, this activity entertained her for a good forty-five minutes to an hour. She shook it. She danced with it. She slid it down her slide. She slammed it on the ground. She got the biggest kick out of this activity. I would highly recommend trying this out. Also, don’t worry if you don’t have any golf balls, we didn’t either, just any ball that size will work!
Wait. Did she just say water table? Yes I did. A water table inside? Yes, just without any water in it. We bought this water table for Juniper’s first birthday from Target for only $40. We’re almost three weeks out and we’ve already gotten our money’s worth out of it.
Let’s state the obvious, you can put water in them. If you think I was going to let my crazy one year old splash a watery mess inside my home though, you’re wrong. I’m not about that life. Messes are good but I wasn’t about to spend all day cleaning up the watery mess she made in my living room.
So I’ve been able to come up with a couple ideas that are just as fun for her. The first idea is ice. Yes, ice. Ice actually doesn’t get as mess as water and is great for another sensory activity. Also if you have a teething baby, it’s great for numbing that mouth too. The second idea is rice. This is another great sensory activity for little ones and if you have a bigger child you can dye the rice and make a color sorting game out of it! Don’t be limited by the name, water tables can be used for so much more!
I have so many other ideas I could share with you but these are just some of my families favorites. I hope these are helpful to occupy your little one until things get back to normal. If you have some favorite activities for your family, please feel free to share them below or send me an email in the “Connect” tab. We all can help each other get through this together.
Also my newsletter is coming out tomorrow, so make sure to get on my email list. You do not want to miss this one. This months email will including a mom’s must have coffee recipe, a budget friendly Mother’s Day craft, and if I have room one additional activity you can try with you kids! I look forward to connecting with you all! See you next time.