If you live on planet earth, chances are that you are currently sheltered at home, trying to stay healthy, safe and sane. Who ever thought this would be such an impossible balance?!
My family is extremely grateful to be at home, healthy, and together at this time, and I don’t want to take away from what is going on in the front lines of this battle, AT ALL. I am extremely worried about family and loved ones, and know this isolation period is essential for the safety for those we love AND the ones caring for them. I pray for the safety of healthcare workers; I pray for everyone.
Let me side step and be real though… two parents working from home with two kids under 5 who have not seen the light of day in a month is really freaking difficult! Okay, yes I am exaggerating a little. My 5 year old has not been to school since February 28th (she is an asthma kid so we are being extra careful), and as a family we have been self-isolating since we returned from our Disney trip in early March, so we are about 3 weeks ahead of when the rest of Washington was ordered to stay home. We go for our walks and we play games and try to make the best of this, but the stir-craziness is REAL.
My 5-year-old has the BEST imagination you could come up with, and my goal while being at home is to allow it to thrive and really have fun together as a family. So, I have called on her for this blog post, and we brain-stormed a list of fun ideas to bust out of the mundane, contained, routine we are all sloughing through right now.
Here are 20 fun ideas we brainstormed to have a little fun while staying safe at home… we hope you enjoy!
1. Celebrate everyone’s birthdays this month, just based off the date (forget the month!). My hubs and kiddo are the 5th, I am the 12th, and Vienna is the 22nd. On each person’s birthday, they get to pick what is for dinner, dessert, and we sing “Happy Birthday” to them with a candle. Because, why not?
2. Have a onesie party! Forget pajama parties, lets take this to the next level!! As a family we have a matching set of onesies we wear around Christmas time, because we are extra and it’s fun. If you are an adult and don’t have a onesie, you are not living your best life and I suggest you get one ASAP. Ours are buffalo plaid and fun for the holidays, but this unicorn one is calling me…
3. Re-celebrate Halloween! For a day, pretend it is October 31st. Pull out the costumes, bake something festive, tell a scary story, watch a scary movie. My daughter told me she wants to go trick-or-treating… we agreed that since I don’t have any additional candy, we can take her existing candy stash and distribute it around the house, and she can trick-or-treat for it again, haha!
4. Bake something easy and delicious that brings you comfort. I highly suggest either these pumpkin muffins, or this sour cream coffee cake. Both are a total YES and can be eaten as a breakfast sweet or dessert.
5. Participate in what we are calling, “Fancy Fridays”. Pretend like the family is going out to dinner – everyone has to dress up, you eat in your formal dining room (or set your regular table up fancy with place settings), and cook a special dinner that is out of the norm. For our “Fancy Friday” this week, we plan to tune in to the Canlis dining room, where their piano player is so generouslylive-streaming performances on weekdays from 6-9pm.
6. Go “camping” in your home! Head to the garage and dust off that camping gear. Set up a spot in your house where you can lay down your sleeping bags, maybe take the portable stove to the porch and cook a simple campsite meal for dinner. NO TECHNOLOGY ALLOWED for this one – pretend you have no cell service and result to the basics of listening to music and enjoying each-other’s company. Roast some marshmallows and make s’mores over the grill, or even the stove if you don’t have one!
7. Bake and decorate some cookies. I love this recipe because you literally make it in your food processor. A really easy, quick one. Add some Royal Icing, sprinkles you have in your pantry, and you are all set!
8. Pretend you are at a drive-in movie. I have already seen this one happen successfully a few ways. If you have a projector and a sheet, take your setup somewhere different to create a feeling of fun… the back yard, the garage, the bonus room… get creative! If you don’t have a projector, you can still re-arrange furniture and pillows to make you feel like you are at a drive-in. Be sure to pop some popcorn, grab sodas, and turn out all the lights! Watching a nostalgic movie is an extra win.
9. Re-create your favorite theme park ride! Having just returned from Disneyland, the Disney magic is strong in this household. My kid cannot stop talking about her favorite ride – “Smuggler’s Run” on the Millenium Falcon (Galaxy’s Edge)! She has already created a cardboard spaceship and some rebel alliance logos to paste around the house… a reenactment is coming soon. Any theme park ride or experience works!
10. Live stream a concert! There are musicians galore trying to bring the people some comfort through the gift of free music. I mentioned Canlis above as one example, but they are truly everywhere. Here in Seattle, the Seattle Symphony has been releasing daily live keynotes with their principal performers. Many celebrities are tuning in live to provide you entertainment too.
11. Write a travel bucket list, and do it in detail. Where exactly do you want to go? What resort do you want to stay at? What is the exact experience you want to have while you are there? One thing we all have a lot of right now is extra time, and using it to dream is more than permissible. For us, it is essential! We are not a family of homebodies and enjoy variety, culture, and discovery. Our second week of lock-down, my 5 year old literally asked me why we couldn’t head to the beach in California to wait things out (dead serious). If you have a vagabond soul and thrive off of travel, don’t let this get you down! Look at it as some extra time to research and plan instead, and make sure that once things return to normal, your plans are legit. We are counting down the days until we can return to Oahu!
12. Support a local restaurant by planning one night where you order in! #TheGreatAmericanTakeout is currently trending, and the idea is that by ordering from local restaurants who are closed (aside from take-out orders), we can provide them a little bit of business to help them stay afloat in these difficult times. At first I thought this to be too expensive for our recession budget, but after looking into it found that many restaurants are thinking far outside the box with new, different, and affordable options. Not to mention, UberEats is offering $0 – that’s right – FREE delivery right now to help keep things going. We ordered Chinese for delivery last week and honestly it was a huge relief from all the cooking and dishes I have been doing, plus it felt good to support a local restaurant here in our city. Think of your favorite local restaurant. News flash – they are suffering. If they are open in any form, support them if you can! Copine in Ballard and Ascend in Bellevue are two fantastic local restaurants offering totally reasonable carry-out dinners so you can feel fancy at home.
13. Re-celebrate Christmas!!! This is one I have promised my husband WILL HAPPEN if the closure gets extended more than a month – let’s bring out the decor, the festivities, the fun! Haha okay, well if you aren’t ready to commit to this idea on the level I am, you can still have a little fun with it. Bake Christmas cookies, watch Christmas movies, hang stockings… who cares?! Just have fun with it, and use the cheer Christmas brings to lift up your spirits.
14. Write your local bucket list – who can you NOT WAIT to visit when things re-open?! We miss the zoo! We miss Seattle Center! We miss our favorite parks, restaurants, ice cream shops, boutiques, and more! The list goes on forever. Write a list of the places you so can’t wait to get back to, so when life returns to normal they are fresh in your mind and you can pay them a visit! Again, LOCAL BUSINESSES NEED YOU!!! I could tag A MILLION local wineries and restaurants here but just don’t have the space. If you want some ideas just go to my right-side menu bar and I have TONS of PNW stuff saved there!
15. Host your own kitchen episode of “Chopped”! Pick one person in your household to cook. Pick 3 mystery basket items to surprise them with, and make them cook you dinner! You can re-create this one often, having a different person in the house cook, or even simply providing different mystery basket ingredients!
16. Pick a night of the week to be family game night. Bust out those old dusty board games, teach your kids a card game you loved when you were little, play Jenga, or build a puzzle together! Make it the same night once a week so it is a scheduled activity your kids can plan for and look forward to. My daughter feels slighted that we don’t have UNO in our household since her bestie told her she has been playing it daily, haha!
Mattel Games UNO: Classic (Tin Box) [Amazon Exclusive]
17. Attend a virtual ‘paint night’! If you are in a similar age bracket to me, I am sure you have see the bars that host a night where you come get drinks and someone guides you through creating a painting – a creative and more artistic alternative to the regular happy hour. Well, lots of these local creators are now hosting these events on Facebook Live! In Snohomish County I would suggest checking out Wine and Design Snohomish… in King County I would look for remote events with Paint Nite and Corks and Canvas!
18. Throw a good, old-fashioned, backyard BBQ! For simply you and the ones in isolation in your immediate household, of course (haha). On your next essentials run,grab a meat to BBQ on the grill, some potato salad (or hello, make your own it’s easy), and host a cookout like it is 4th of July weekend! Let me tell you that if the sun shines even a little, we are in our back yard soaking it up, and a BBQ is a fun way to look forward to summer and hopefully more normal times.
19. Create a treasure hunt! Create a box of something that can be treasure. Have someone hide it in your house, and that person creates a map with clues leading you to it. Bonus – if you have some pirate type costumes at home already that you can incorporate! My kid has been having a great time with this one.
20. Throw a pool party – indoors! My kids put on their bathing suits, grabbed their beach towels, and hopped into the bathtub, haha! It was our makeshift pool party, and just being in their suits alone, the kids had way more fun with their bath that usual. Toss in a beach ball and some sunglasses and the possibilities are endless!!
Did this list give you any inspiration? Any new ideas on passing time with your kiddos that you hadn’t thought of before? Truly with some creativity, the possibilities are endless! I saw Tina Fey’s daughter pretending to be an airline stewardess providing airplane meals this week, and my 5-year-old daughter told me she wants to play our waitress at dinner and serve us one of these nights.
Times are hard, and they are strange, but with some creative minds and open hearts, we can try to have a little fun with it! How have you been passing the extra time? What are your kids favorite activities right now? I would love to hear! Drop me a line below!
X.O. – Abbey Co.
Also, if you are looking for any other learning activities at home right now for your littles, I have linked some STEM activities we really enjoy in my Amazon shop. Let me be the first to say I am NOT a teacher, so having some creative things to make together has been awesome! (The Pepper Mint ones are my #1 pick).
Abbey Co. Seattle is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites. I am not sponsored by any of these products, but am bringing you info on how to purchase them because I LOVE THEM!!!