What a crazy few weeks we have all had! The feeling these days is absolutely rare. No one saw this coming, nobody prepared us for this, and here we are.
In Australia, the schools are still open, but since last Monday many of us have decided to keep our children home, and I can tell you, it's been a challenging week full of adjustments!
As most of us are spending more time home with the kids, I though I would share some ideas that came in handy during rainy London days,, specially to keep our toddlers happy and entertained :).
1. Start saving as much recycling materials as you can! They can create musical instruments, robots, houses, anything they want! Or simply use the cardboad for painting.
2. Put together an Arts & Crafts kit and keep it handy for them. Some ideas: brushes, water paints, scissors, stick and liquid glue, brown paper roll, colors and markers, watercolors, pens, pieces of color paper, googly eyes, sticky tape, chenille stems. 3. Re-organize their toys! (it helps the kids to re-discover them!). You can also suggest things they have never done before, like combining cars and train tracks and make a lego city, a duplex farm with all the dinosaurs and animals inside, or a parking lot with the cars by colours and sizes. 4. Playdough! This is a good and easy homemade recipe: 1 cup all-purpose flour, 1/4 cup salt, 1 tablespoon cream of cordial (or 2 tablespoons lemon or vinegar), enough coloring gel, 2 tablespoons of oil and 3/4 cup boiling water (mix everything and add the water at the end, let it rest in the fridge until the next day) - Create "an invitation to play", set everything on a table and wait for them to discover it (this works for me a lot better than asking them to come and play haha!)
5. Hide & Seek around the house. A classic that never fails in this house - and it relaxes me a lot for some reason!
6. Gardening! They can do the watering or help re-potting plants around (there is an app called "PictureThis" where they take photos of the plants or flowers and the name appears! My kids love it!) Or they can do treasure hunting! Matias enjoys drawing the map and hiding things around there.
7. Wash the toys. They love whenever I give them a responsibility and even more if it involves water. If you have a garden they can clean them with the hose and if not in the bathtub! And they can spend hours there! - (Of course as with any activity with water, always stay close, and remember not to include any toys with batteries :)
8. The Snack Trays! An idea from MamaPapaBubba that I love and always put into practice! You basically put together a tray with a mixture of vegetables, fruits and some less-healthy snack and leave it ready for them for a mid-morning or afternoon snack - self-service, they won't be asking for food every 5 minutes, and they eat all when they see it served nicely - BOOM. 9. Yoga! With normal YouTube videos or with the flow that you know. There's also Cosmic Kids, which they used to use at my son's London school for PE on rainy days and he loves it!
10. Cook with them! For those days when we have an extra level of patience to deal with the messiness, it's a great afternoon plan for when they finish the school stuff. To make recipes healthier, we convert the oats into flour by blending them before starting to cook and we use ripe bananas and / or honey or maple syrup to sweeten.
11. Dance! Another one from my son's school in London that always puts everyone in a good mood! You can check GoNoodle or Just Dance on YouTube.
12. Nature Project! I don't know if it happens to you like me that practically every day I return home with many "gifts" that they gave me on the way: stones, feathers, leaves... a good idea if you have some of this (or if they can go out nearby to collect) is to ask them to do a project and stick everything on cardboard, they can combine with paint and then put it on the wall of their room :) Finally, don't forget that everything is better with music! Put something on early, even if you are not in the best mood, and you will see how the energy of the house changes :).
I will finish with the poem from Kitty O'Meara that has stuck in my head sinc the moment I read it...
And the people stayed home. And read books, and listened, and rested, and exercised, and made art, and played games, and learned new ways of being, and were still. And listened more deeply. Some meditated, some prayed, some danced. Some met their shadows. And the people began to think differently.
And the people healed. And, in the absence of people living in ignorant, dangerous, mindless, and heartless ways, the earth began to heal.
And when the danger passed, and the people joined together again, they grieved their losses, and made new choices, and dreamed new images, and created new ways to live and heal the earth fully, as they had been healed.
A few instagram accounts with great ideas: