By: Martianne Stanger
When you’ve got kids that are used to being out and about and active more than they are at home, the staying mostly at home, social distancing thing can be tough. However, when you allow kids freedom to work and play, following interests and taking care of needs around the house, a sense of being stir crazy can be kept at bay. In the past weeks, these six things have helped keep my kiddos content and engaged:
1. Kitchen Creativity
I have asked each of my children to make at least one family meal a week and given them free reign to create in the kitchen as long as they eat what they create and don’t waste food. We’ve had some delicious meals and fun concoctions – and teamwork has developed, too.
2. Fort Making
What fun the kids have had some days building forts in the woods behind us, even in wet and cloudy weather. Doing so provides exercise and encourages problem solving and creativity. (And never fear, the BB gun was not loaded. That only gets used with Daddy and safety glasses.)
3. Tarzan Training
The kids discovered some strong vines in the woods and have taken to what we call “Tarzan training”. Jumping off the small hillside and swinging on the vine provides a thrill and helps get the stir crazy spirit out!
4. Home Projects
A water issue caused a disaster in one of the kids’ bedrooms earlier in the year. After a lot of DIY work done by Mom and Dad – and some work done by friends and professionals, it was finally time to paint the walls and do the floors. The kids helped – learning some helpful practical life skills.
5. Paper Airplane Designing
My youngest rarely goes a day without testing out a new paper airplane design these days! Sometimes, he sits down amongst the mess created in a given day, looks up some new inspiration, and then gets to work tweaking designs that fly all over our home and yard. The joy and problem solving a piece of folded paper can bring a child is amazing!
6. Creative Writing!
During bad weather days, evening hours, or just times when being still is more necessary and I declare Youtube, movies, and video game moratoriums, creative writing has taken hold! Granted, not all of my children like to write by hand, so screens are still involved with writing more often than not. But I am okay with that as the screen becomes a tool for my kids to tell stories! Each of my children has been taking turns with our laptop writing their own short stories and novels, and as I have time, I have been helping to edit their work. I am seeing such growth in their writing – and am delighted to see their imaginations at work. I love it!
Every family is, of course, different – as is every home and yard. The interests my kids have… the skills they entered into this season with and the ones that they need to grow in… the resources we have in our home and yard… They are a unique mix. What is true for mine, may be different than for yours, but, hopefully, by sharing some of the ways my children have been curtailing COVID-19 stir craziness can inspire you and yours in practical life, creative, and purposeful pursuits.
Let’s let this season gift us, not bind us.