Being stuck at home as a family can sometimes get boring, especially if you always stick to the same tried and tested activities like watching movies and playing monopoly. The things you do at home with your family often condition the amount and quality of fun you will experience. If you have an abnormally long amount of time to spend at home with your family, you have to be creative and try new exciting activities.
Here are some fun and innovative ideas to boost your family time:
Origami is an ancient Japanese art that involves folding paper to make different kinds of shapes like animals, plants, etc. It is an engaging form of art that anyone can learn. To learn origami, all you need is some white paper, color pencils, scissors and glue. You can easily follow tutorials on YouTube together as a family. It is fun once you figure out how things are working.
When I was a child, I had a book with more then 50 origami figures, and I did them all. It was very much fun to figure it out, and I had the collection of the figures all around me. And when you do it together as a family it is even more entertaining.
Indoor camping is another fun activity for families. It is easy to set up, and everything you need is usually already available in the house. You can turn the living room into a camp out space, turn off the lights, and take turns telling stories while roasting corn on a portable burner. If you have a backyard, you can even pitch a tent in the garden and put a hammock on the veranda and brave it outside in the protected space of your backyard.
Launch your YouTube Channel
Depending on your expertise, you can teach your skills on YouTube. You can show off do it yourself projects, you can give practical tips, you can show your favorite recipes, you can do something more informative or go for curiosity subjects. There are no limits, whatever you are passionate about, present it to others on YouTube. This can be your personal project, or even a family endeavor. If no other subject comes to your mind, you can show off what your family is doing during the lockdown.
A treasure hunt is another way of having fun as a family. To make it enjoyable, have one person set up the hunting clues and divide the rest of the family into groups. The hunting clues should cater to all different age groups of the family so everyone can actively participate.
Create Your Own Workout
Create your own “high intensity” workout with your family. Each person chooses their favorite exercise, such as lunges, jumping jacks, squats, or even hops. Using a timer, do each exercise for 20 seconds, then take a 10-second break. Do four sets of each exercise, then take a 30-second break. During the break rotate to the next activity. This “interval training” is fun, fast-paced and really gets hearts pumping!
Family Master Chef
Depending on the resources you have in the house, another very fun activity you can engage in is a cook-off. Just like the TV Master Chef, divide into teams and create an entirely new dish using a chosen set of ingredients. To make it more interesting, write down the different ingredients on a spin wheel and take turns to spin the wheel to select the ingredients. Use only the selected ingredients for the cook-off! Or you can get into international recipes, going every day to the culinary delicacies of a different country.
Starting a family project is an excellent idea if you are going to spend a considerable number of days at home together as a family. The choice of a project depends on the family’s interest, but they can range from redecorating the house to making a craft project. You can also start a family garden if you have space. If not, get some plants going in pots.
Learn a New Language
Learning a new language is a fun activity to engage every member of the family. Since it is a new language, everyone will be at par and can start together. Just agree on the language and get it going. There are so many learning apps and free online tutorials available that you cannot miss this opportunity! To get things more exciting, plan a future trip to a country that new language is spoken!
Turn Your Home Into an Art Gallery
Get the inner artist out of every family member by organizing a home art festival. Everyone must participate and use his creativity and imagination to express his artistic side by painting, drawing, googling or making a collage with old newspapers. At the end, stick all the masterpieces on the walls to create your own family art gallery!
Write a Letter
Get out an envelope, stamps, pen and paper and everybody writes up a letter to Grandma or anybody else that you love. And be sure to include the drawings of the kids. Put it in the mail, and they will be up for a treat.
Put a Puzzle Together
Putting together a 5,000 piece puzzle will need some patience, but can involve the entire family. It is fun to figure out where the pieces are going, and it is an activity that will keep you occupied for a while. If you do not dare to tackle such a monstrous project, you can start out with a 1,000 piece puzzle.
While having time, learn to do knitting or crochet. The site Ravelry is a good resource for knitters of all skill levels. Macrame is another interesting hobby that allows you to create a variety of decorative pieces. Another fun activity to involve everybody is to paint your own T-shirts. If you want, you can also do a painting with wax and then dye the shirt. A newspaper and an iron will help you get the wax out after the ink is dry.
Make a Vision Board
Discuss with the family what you want to do this year together. Then get some photos on the internet to illustrate it. Put up the board on a place that everybody will see.
Revamp Your Family Photo Album
Remove the “digital” dust from your old photos kept on your computer and start a fresh family photo album. This can be a fun activity to do with the family as each family member reminisces the good old souvenirs. Revamping your digital photos will also be a good opportunity to clear up duplicates and irrelevant pictures, freeing up valuable space on your computer or cloud storage.
Make a Virtual Outing
There are several resources online that offer virtual tours. Check out museums, art galleries, national parks, zoos and much more. Get a live cam stream running on your TV and let your kids alert you about their discoveries as they happen in real time. Or you can visit some places on Google Maps and explore in satellite and street view. Tell stories about what you experienced there, tell your family what has changed since you were a child, or just explore some famous sites. Here some listings you can check out for a virtual tour:
Aquarium of the Pacific Online
Whale or Sea Otter webcam of Georgia Aquarium
Los Angeles Zoo – Bringing the Zoo to You – Wild for the Planet
Find your Virtual National Park
Jerusalem Virtual Tour
100 Virtual Tours
Explore.org Nature Livecams
Stuck at Home Science from California ScienCenter
Boston Children’s Museum Virtual Tour
How to Entertain Your Kids
During a pandemic, everyone is affected irrespective of gender or age. People of all walks of life are affected and kids are not spared. By their very nature, kids are hyperactive- they need to move, they need to interact and focus on specific activities. Not being able to go to school, play with other kids or just run outside can have a lasting impact in their lives. It is every parent’s and guardian’s responsibility to minimize the negative impact of the lock down on children. Doing this requires a certain level of creativity to get plenty of ideas throughout the duration of the lockdown.
Play fun group games
There are quite a number of board games that your kids can play to stay distracted during a pandemic. The most important thing to keep in mind is to stick to the kind of games that they love. You can also take part in some of the games to make things more interesting. You could pick the game once in a while but involve the kids in the selection of a game.
Have an Alphabet Day
Have your child choose a letter in the evening — any letter. The next day, create activities surrounding things that begin with that letter. For example, if the letter is “L”, you might include a lemon in something you eat that day and get a lightbulb decorated with color paper. Then think of animals that begin with “L”, and come up with silly phrases where each word begins with “L”, like “Lovely Little Leopard”.
Paint with shaving cream in the shower
Painting with shaving cream can be a lot of fun for kids. If you want to make it more interesting, you can add food dye to the shaving cream. In order to stay safe, do the activity on the tiles of the bathroom or inside the shower, where you can clean up the mess very easily.
Build a Blanket Tent
Get together some blankets and spread them over some small tables, chairs or anything else you find to give the tent the right shape. Kids will have fun to play for hours in their newly formed world.
Let your kids help with the household chores
Household chores are yet another activity, aside of games, you can engage with your kids. Teach them or ask them to give you a hand with the chores and make it interesting. They can help prepare their favorite meal, help set the table, and help clean the house by dusting the furniture. They can also help with washing or folding the laundry. Some kids love it when they do something that their parents encourage or ask them to do. So, give it a try!
Kids love to get involved in baking cookies. Let them prepare their favorite shapes, and the cookies will taste twice as good at the end. Or if you give them a bread dough, they can shape up a character, a house or their favorite animal. And while preparing the dough, you can include some lessons in counting, measuring or even mathematics.
Give them books to read
Books are a great way of keeping your kids’ minds off the pandemic. So, try giving them books to read. You could give every child a different book according to their age and then ask for a 5-minute summary every day before they go to bed. This will not only keep them busy, but it will also develop their intellect as well as feed their curiosity.
Help with their schoolwork
While kids are asked to stay at home while schools are closed, they may be given assignments and homework. You can keep your kids entertained by helping them out with their homework. What children want more than anything else, is to spend some exclusive time just with you, and they will appreciate your attention in helping them out. If the school does not give them any work to do while at home, you can come up with your own assignments. Focus on areas that your child is currently struggling with at school so as to help make the work comprehensible. If you need some educational resources, check out the Scholastic website.
Help cultivate their talents
It is true that every dark cloud has a silver lining. Even during a pandemic your kids’ talent can be improved. You can take advantage of the situation and find ways of improving or even discovering your child’s talent. For example, if your child is an aspiring artist encourage the artist in him or her by buying color books, pencils, and crayons. You could also go the extra mile by visiting some art galleries online and explaining what each photo symbolizes, where and when the painting was made, and what inspired the artist to produce that particular painting. Older kids can start out learning an instrument. Flute is an easy one to start with, but with a certain age you can consider piano or violin. Fender has announced 3 months of free violin lessons on their site.
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Martin Neumann was trained for Lifestyle Interventions in 1998 at Wildwood Lifestyle Center & Hospital. Since then he has lectured in different parts of the world about a healthy lifestyle and natural remedies. He is the founder of the Abundant Health website.