So many things to say and I don’t really know what to do or where to start. Yes, by now everyone should be in isolation for at least a week- which means staying at home and only venturing out for emergency food and your one daily bit of exercise. The boys and I have been venturing out into the woods near our house at around 3:30pm (after school hours) – when it tends to be more quiet.
When you read this, we have would have been in quarantine for 14 days. Monday – Friday I find manageable. I am on my own with boys kids all day and even though it can be challenging I have to change my tone and to be honest – I have to be upbeat, happy and positive all day long. For me, I don’t want the kids to be scared or notice a big difference. I want them to have fun and learn, play, explore and just try to embrace this change as much as they can. Khillian might remember this when he is older and I want him to think ‘Mummy that time was awesome’ – I don’t want him to remember me stressing out, telling him off, crying or just generally me being a grump. So I learnt to adapt and I think we all have by now. I wanted to share some things we do that help past the time and just make it fun. Some things we have already done and some things we plan to do. I don’t want to peak to soon and so all activities yet as we do not know how long we are going to be in isolation for.
The first thing I have to say is keep ALL recycle bits and bobs. Everything from big cardboard boxes to yogurt pots, the plastic containers your meat come in, ice cream sticks (we have collected lots of them already). I have saved all packaging from Amazon (again there has been a lot), paper from my husband’s Friday takeaway sessions and much more. You will be surprised how amazing this all can be used for arts and crafts and even projects – Khillian has been sent lots of projects to do and instead of doing it on classic A4 paper I am encouraging him to be creative and think outside the box and do it on the recyclable materials we have lying around the house. So here goes…
- Make spaceships and aliens.
Perfect for boys and girls and it allows them to be creative and choose what they want to design and why. You will need things like paper and a glue gun (all mums should have a glue gun. They are £10 from amazon). My kids are not great with paint so doing something that allows them to glue and build I feel makes them, well all of us, more happy and a lot less stressed.
It did not take long at all. I used an old Forrero Rocher box, pipe clearners for the fire, napkins and paper for the inside decoraton, a yogurt pot for the top section and spare felt letters for the side which read out Mum. My alien fit perfectly inside and it was made from a toilet roll. We made a crown for the alien, added pipe cleaners for the arms and then lots of eye stickers. Easy! When we made the kids’ spaceship they pic ked the materials they wanted, the paint everything and they play with them everyday.
2. Painting Rocks
If you watched my Instagram stories you would know that I have a memory box that I am filling up with items we are using, making and anything that reminds us of this strange and unique time. I decided a few days ago that when we go for a walk we would pick rocks, clean and disinfect them and then paint them. Everyone has to do their own designs and then we put them in a bag and save in our memory box. Such fun and allows the kids to paint something with a different texture and shape. I love doing this because its really therapeutic. I have painted my rocks daily so the paint lasts and makes the rock pop. I take inspiration from Pinterest and at the end when I have finished I cover my rocks in a thick layer of PVA glue. It seals all the paint in and it doesn’t chip.
3. Go for a long walk
Seems so simple and easy – but the best things are. We like to go in the afternoon as it knackers the kids out (and I can basically cook dinner in piece). But fresh air does wonders. You get to be outside, stretch your muscles, get some clean air into your lungs, explore new places, kids use their imagination more and everyone is happier outside. The best thing to do is to find a find a woods or forest near where you live by click on Woodland Trust – Find Woods. You add in your address and it lists all the woods you can go to that are near your area. So easy and perfect for this time – as you will not be near a lot of people and the whole family can enjoy walking somewhere new, near home and absolutely beautiful. We walk for an hour and do a new route every time. I love getting lost in the woods with my kids. And so do they!
4. Get out the old toys
I have said so many times how we ‘recycle ‘toys every 6 or so months in our house. So we basically save toys from birthdays and Christmas and then give them to the boys a few months later when they have stopped playing with the toys that are currently in the house. Then a few months later we swap again. It stops the kids being spoiled but it also reminds them of the toys they used to play with and encourages them to play with them again. We have so many toys from when Khillian was a baby because we keep them all and a lot of them we have had for 3/4 years and not even opened yet! I also love seeing them as they bring back so many memories. I knew I had this art easel in the garage so when we began our time in isolation I got it out for Lorenzo. It was to help him colour in, play with chalk, magnets and also to help him learn letters and numbers. He loves it and when Khillian is getting on with his school work – Lorenzo always is nearby colouring or writing.
5. Join TikTok…
My kids love it! They love learning the new dance moves, watching the funny pranks, seeing people do silly things and so much more. It is fun, so imaginative and it also gets them to sit down for 20 minutes laughing their heads off – when they are not learning the dance sequences of course. See so much fun!
6. Do some school work.
I know it can be hard, stressful and boring but a little reading every day, some art making and drawing, spellings or just some work sheets from the school every day reminds your kids and gets their brain working. We do a quite a bit as I know what Khillian is like and when he relaxes too much he will forget and become lazy. So what we did at the beginning of isolation was I got Khillian to help me design a timetable / schedule of how the day will run so he knows what to do and when throughout the day. We also use Alexa a lot to set reminders for break time, time to wash our teeth and lunch. The kids love when that happens.
7. Encourage outdoor play
I know its hard as not everyone has a garden and during this time you cannot really go to a park – due to isolation but spending time in outdoor space is so important. Whether its drawing on the patio with chalk, letting them go wild on on a trampoline, riding their scooter or even letting the kids play with their favourite toys – – – my kids love sand so when I let them play outside with it they feel like its Christmas. They can also make as much mess as possible outside which is a bonus!
8. Make something different and fun.
I asked Lorenzo what would he like me to make with all the boxes we had lying around? I said did you want a dolls house or a castle? He picked the first option (I knew he would) – I tried to decorate it too but it was taking far too long so I cut pieces up and glued pieces together with masking tape and my glue gun and voila – the dolls house is ready and they do really like it. There is two rules – its only for toys and the ghost stays in the attic!
9. Paint rainbows
Such an easy task and we did ours at the beginning of isolation to show people that we are staying at home and there are kids in this house having fun and staying safe. It is so lovely when we go for a walk and we see all the lovely rainbows in the windows. It cheers me up and shows just how lovely and happy it can be at this difficult time. We painted 3 – my one and the kids did one each and we placed them at the front of the house for everyone to see. Then we will put them in the isolation memory box and keep that in the attic for safe keeping.
10. Writing little notes and posting them.
This one I have not done yet as I wanted to save it when Khillian was on his Easter break and did not have a lot of work set for him. We are going to write little notes for people who are elderly and who have kids – sweet little notes like ‘Remember to just smile’ ‘Inside is safer and fun’ ‘Unicorns are so sweet’ ‘See if mummy can play hide and seek’ ‘This is so much fun’ and place them in people’s letter boxes when we go for our walks. It is just a little pick me up for those who might be finding it hard staying at home. It helps Khillian’s handwriting and the kids get fresh air at the same time. Win, win!
11. Design them a friend
Khillian loved the idea of having his own robot. I asked him to pick the body pieces he would like, he painted them and I glued them together for him on his instruction of where to put them. It was so much fun and he plays with him every day. It took up a lot of my glue but also a few hours! His name is Sammi.
12. Turn the house into a hair salon
We haven’t done this yet and really do not want to but if the kid’s hair start to become too wild I will have no option but to ‘trim’ their hair. Of course I will make it as fun as possible and ask them ‘Are they are going on holiday soon?’ and ‘If they would like a coffee while they are waiting?’
The most important thing is to make sure you keep them safe and that you are all having fun. If you are getting stressed, shouting and making a mess take a breather and maybe do it another day when you are all in a better mood. Enjoy these tasks – the more fun you have together as a family the more the kids will laugh and remember these memories and for all the right reasons.
I hope you enjoyed this blog post and remember to be safe and stay at home!
P.s Khillian was happy just didn’t want to be in the photo.