I know, I know, you are emailing me, PM’ing me and even commenting on our social media posts … you’re going crazy being cooped up in your house with your kids. They, like mine, are destroying your house, eating all your food and complaining about “being bored”. I have some Creative Ways to Keep Your Family Sane during this unprecedented crisis, but first things first…
Institute the Never Say “I’m Bored” Rule NOW. You will either be relieved of their assumption that your primary duty is to entertain them, OR, you will have an army of little cleaners. How? Well, you tell them if hey say those two words, they will receive a job, you know, to alleviate them of boredom. Of course, kids are crafty, mine have started coming to me with, “What should I do?” but the minute I respond with, “Clean the bathroom?” they sigh and walk away.
But, I get it. Some of us go stir crazy whether we are under Executive Orders to stay home or not. I figured I could help. I homeschool, so my kids are with me 100% of every day. Granted we go to the pool, the park, we travel, hit the ice rink, go boarding, play tennis, meet up with friends, etc, but since all these things are boarded up, we are in the same boat. I’ve gotten ingenious.
Here are some awesome, fun and Creative Ways to Keep Your Family Sane During the Covid-19 craziness …
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Getting the kids outdoors and keeping them outdoors is the best thing for them, and for you. The sun and fresh air, coupled with exercise is supposed to be amazingly helpful in keeping this virus at bay. Here are some of our favorite outdoor games that you can all play together.
We are addicted to this game. The only thing you need to play Four Square are a piece of chalk, a hard surface, a bouncy kickball, and at least 4 people, if you are short on people, you can play the same way, only with 2 squares.
With the chalk, draw a large square at least 6′ wide and divide this square into four equal parts. Number each of the squares 1 to 4.
How To Play Four Square
- Each player stands in one of the four squares.
- The player in the number one square serves the ball by gently bouncing it in one of the other four squares.
- The receiving player then hits the ball into any of the other squares.
- The ball must bounce in another player’s square, and they must hit it to another square before in bounces a second time.
- A player can hit the ball before it bounces.
- If a player hits the ball so that is misses another player’s square, or fails to hit the ball before a second bounce, they are out.
- When a player is out, the other player move up to take their place, and that player moves to the last square or to the end of the line.
- The object is to move up to and remain in the first square.
We dragged this one out of our bag of tricks from when we were in school. Of course, now this game is too “rough” for American children and has been eliminated from gym classes. It’s a shame, though, really.
How To Play Dodge Ball
- The court is about the size of a small Volleyball court, with a centerline and 2 sidelines.
- Honour rules prevail.
- There are 6 balls, split into 2 even groups near the ends of the centerline. When the game starts, you rush to grab a ball.
- You are out if: 1) you step on or over a sideline or centerline; 2) a thrown ball hits your body; and 3) you throw a ball and it is caught by an opponent.
- A thrown ball can only hit 1 player. Thrown balls that hit the ground, the wall, other balls, or other objects before hitting the opponent are considered dead balls, and are ineligible to hit players out.
- You may block a thrown ball with a held ball. However, if you drop the blocking ball, or if you fail and the thrown ball still ends up hitting or grazing your body, you are out.
- If you are out, line up on the side, in a line with your team in the order you got out. When one of your teammates catches a ball, the player at the start of your team’s line comes back into play.
- You can only hold a ball for 10 seconds, afterwards, it will be considered dead. Dead balls need to be rolled over immediately to the other team.
- If the game comes down to 1 player per side, they have 10 seconds to hit each other out; if not, “Showdown” comes into effect. Each player gets two balls, the centerline is dissolved. The first player to get the other player out wins.
Kick The Can
All you need for the game are at least 3 players and an old metal can!
This game is a combination of tag and hide & seek. One person is “it” and a can is placed in the middle of the playing area. Everyone runs off and hides while the person who is “it” covers his or her eyes and counts to 40. “It” now tries to find everyone and tag them. If a person is tagged by “it”, they sit together on the edge of the playing area. If one of the un-captured players manages to kick the can, the captured players are released. The game is over once all the players are caught.
Capture the Flag
You need at least 8 players and two items to use as “flags”, like white T-shirts.
This game is super fun, and ideal for large families. Split the group into two teams. Each team gets a flag that they hide on their side of the playing area. The object of the game is to run into the other team’s territory, capture their flag and make it safely back to your own territory without getting tagged. You can tag “enemy” players in your territory, sending them to your jail. They can be sprung from jail by a member of their own team running into your territory, tagging them and running back, with the freed person. Only one jail break is allowed per attempt. You win when your team successfully captures the other teams flag!
A friend taught us this game not to long ago, and it is really fun.
Each player gets a number and stands around the person who is “it” for that round. “It” then tosses the ball straight up and the other players run away. As the ball reaches the top of its toss, “it” calls out the number of one of the other players and then runs away. The player whose number was called has to run back and catch the ball (or chase after it if it hit the ground). Once that person has the ball, they yell, “Spud!” Then everyone running must freeze. The person with the ball must try to hit one of the players with it. If they do, the person that was hit gets a letter (first S, then P, then U, then D) and is now “it.” If they miss, the person who threw the ball is “it” for the next round.
This game is super fun at the beach. All you need for this game are at least 3 people, although more is better, and a football.
One person is “it” and he stands apart from the group. “It” throws the ball up and in the air, toward the group. If someone catches the ball, he/she is now “it”. If not, “It” continues to throw the ball until someone catches the ball and then he/she is “It”.
Sharks and Minnows
We play this all the time in the deep end of pools, just we modified it for land and stay at home orders. Basically, one player is the shark and everyone else are the minnows. The minnows need to get from one end of the play area to the other without being tagged. Once tagged, minnows become sharks and have to try to tag others as they pass. The more people, the more fun.
Ghost in the Graveyard
All summer long. We played Ghost in the Graveyard every summer night growing up. One player is the ghost and he hides while the rest of the players count to 60. Everyone walks around looking for the ghost, until he is found or until he pops out. At that point, it is a straight game of tag. Once he is spotted, the player(s) who see him Yell, “Ghost in the Graveyard” and it become a straight up game of tag. The ghost has to try to tag someone before they make it back to safety. The first person tagged or the last to safety is the next ghost.
Another old school game we played a ton when we were kids. It’s hide and seek basically, but the opposite. One person is the original sardine and run to hide while everyone else counts to whatever number. They yell, “Ready or not, here we come!” and spread out in search of the original sardine. When a player finds him, they join him in the hiding place until everyone has found the hiding place. The last player to join the group becomes the next person to hide.
Maybe I was super easy to entertain as a kid, but running through the sprinkler was one of my favorite childhood memories. It’s a two for one, you get your lawn watered and your kids happy. All the new age sprinkler systems can’t compete with the old oscillating sprinkler!
Despite being on a stay at home order, most municipalities acknowledge the need for people to get out and exercise. Plus Vit D is a necessary part of everyone’s immune systems. So, why not dust off those hiking boots, pull out those bikes and head out into the great unknown. Even a walk or leisure ride around your neighborhood will do y’all some good.
Get Your Art On
Study after study show that outdoor time for kids is of paramount importance. Being outside is better for their health, both mentally and physically. Below are a few outdoor art activities for your budding Picasso …
I don’t know why, but even I, with no talent, love to play alongside my kids with sidewalk chalk. Try tracing each other as you lie on the ground! Practice handwriting, I dunno … the sky’s the limit in terms of imagination.
Another awesome activity that really anyone can do. You just need paint, everything from finger paint to actual wall paint will do – they even have cool paint pens -, and some rocks. Many many painted rocks have made their way into our home and in our garden. They are really a cute way to decorate with keepsakes!
We keep a compost pile in our backyard and in the Spring, when we aren’t planning on traveling, we grow tomatoes (cherry and grape), onion, basil, mint, sunflowers, potatoes, etc. You know the super easy plants to grow … we like results. In Colorado, we typically plant in May, but we are starting now, given the circumstances and keeping the plant inside. My big project this Spring/Summer will be lemons. Since spending a large amount of time in California a few summers ago, I’ve wanted to plant lemons … the smell is incomparable!!
I doubt there is an adult alive that hasn’t done a crayon rubbing at some point in their life! It’s easy. You need crayons and a surface with a cool texture. Just strip the crayon of the paper wrapper, set a piece of paper on a cool textured surface, and rub. Done.
- Learn to Play Canasta (Card Game)
- Make lunch/dinner for the homeless
- Learn To Sew Masks
- Read One Book/Week
- Keep a Covid-19 Journal
- Work on a Puzzle
- Learn to Cook
- Play Spoons
- Start a Vlog
- Start a Blog
- Tye Dye Shirts
- Go climbing (locally)
- Plant flowers
- Clean out your room
- Paint your room
- Make a documentary about Covid 19
- Make a Covid 19 scrapbook
- Write a book
- Exercise/Strength Train
- Finish houehold projects
- Play board games/card games
- Learn to Code
- Redecorate/Organize Your Home
- Have a Family Sleepover
So, so many opportunities to take advantage of during this time of uncertainty. Keeping our mind and bodies occupied with lessen anxiety and worry and will, in terms of exercise, help us fight illness. Kids are incredibly adaptable, and most, if not all, are making the most of these slower days, reconnecting with their families.
If you know of any resources, or would like to add to this growing list of activities, please end us an email or leave a comment below.
Stay safe and healthy friends!