Staying home with a toddler 24/7 is definitely nothing new for me. Emmy is 4 and I’ve been quarantined with her since she was born. Ok quarantine sounds drastic since we could technically go places, but lets be honest- when you’ve got a little one always on you and are in money saving mode, how much can you really do besides the normal errands and occasional trip to the zoo thats 2 hours away? Yeah not a ton. Therefore we’ve been home most of the time and although her and I did take a 2 week trip out west together once to visit friends we’ve stuck close to home when it’s just the two of us.
But you know what I’m not used to? Family time. Meaning all three of us together at the same time for longer that an hour every evening and then on Sundays when my husband is off. (Obviously apart from an occasional 3 days together if we take a trip.)
And this week we’ve got all 3 of us together non-stop for 8 days! I’m excited but also trying to remain realistic… my child is still 4, my husband is still hyperactive, and 1,500 square feet can get really small, really quickly when you can’t leave it.
Another thing to mention is we don’t want to waste this time together. Sitting around getting even fatter, watching TV and not bettering ourselves is definitely off the table. We are going to take the time to get some nit-noid things done around the house, like pressure washing, mowing, fertilizing the lawn… basic things like that but nothing major. Sometimes you have to keep adulting, ya know.
So how are we going to have FUN???
Here’s a list of a bunch of fun stuff for just you and your spouse, just your kids, or for you and the entire family!
For Just The Kids
- Send them outside to play a traditional game of freeze tag or capture the flag. Don’t forget the classics, man!
- Pack them a picnic and they can eat outside or have an indoor picnic with siblings or their plush friends.
- Break out puzzles! Emmy is only 4 but she can do a 50 piece puzzle by herself and it entertains her for quite a while.
- Dig out special school work/ educational toys, or craft books that you buried/ stored. Don’t discount the novelty of different or new! (A la toy rotation.)
- For little girls, a simple tea party brings more fun and smiles than you’d think!
- Quiet time! Give the house a chance in the middle of the day to sit and chill and enjoy books with some relaxing music in the background.
- Have them color pictures or cards for friends and family. Maybe someone has a birthday or anniversary coming up? Is there someone they’ve been talking about and would like a “Thinking of You” picture? Or a thank you note for something random? So many options on this one. Let them have all the stickers, glitter, glue, do dads, and whatchamahuzits to get super inventive!
Just for Mom and Dad
- Pick a movie series to watch throughout the evenings the whole week. We’ve done the Pitch Perfect series, Bourne, Fast and Furious, the list goes on! Too many options- you do you, sweetheart.
- Play PubG Mobile!!! One of our favorite things to do together is seriously to play PubG (he does it on his phone and I do it on my iPad) and win ourselves a chicken dinner! Okay its a virtual chicken dinner but we get it about 75% of the time.
- Take a YouTube Dance class together. It will either be a complete disaster or the most fun you’ve ever had. Who’s to say? But there are free classes for Ballroom, Salsa, Country Line Dance, or even how to bust some HipHop moves. Do what would be the most fun for you as a couple!
- Pick a marriage book or course to go through together. Just because you read a book or go through a video conference on marriage doesn’t mean you have a bad marriage or things to fix. It means you want to learn more about growing even closer as a couple and know your spouse. I highly recommend the “5 Love Languages“. An oldie but goodie.
- Have a running game of Monopoly going! So in the evening or throughout the day if you stop for a coffee break or whatevs, play a little bit and keep a spark of friendly competition there.
- Kind of along the same line as Monopoly but break out a big puzzle! put it on a piece of foam board and you can work on it while watching that movie series you’re marathoning while munching on some pop corn.
- The Obvious.
For the Whole Fam
- Go nuts playing around with SnapChat filters! Send snaps back and forth or if nothing else, annoy the crap out of your other quarantined friends and family and show them how much fun you’re having!
- Build the biggest, baddest blanket fort you possibly can- AND SLEEP IN IT! Grab all the blankets, the furniture, the sheets and comforters! Rip those curta… ok maybe leave the curtains but you catch my drift. Make it extra fun by incorporating the TV and having family movie night before dozing off.
- Get outside together! Go for a walk down the road, grab the bikes and pedal your little hearts out. Make it a nature/ adventure walk and look for a certain number of birds, pick a wild flower, find a bug or two- keep it fun!
- Maybe while you’re outside you could do a parents vs. kids, boys vs. girls, or however you divvy it up, relay race. Put a balloon between your legs and you can’t pop it. Put an egg on a spoon (remember- respect the classics). Balance a book on your head. Ready? Set. GO!
- Get the kids in the kitchen with you! Whether you’re throwing together some PBJ’s or going all out with fancy sugar cookies, having them help keeps them entertained and is a great bonding opportunity.
- Have fun making individual pizzas. Bring out all the crazy toppings or just give ’em some cheese and sauce but either way, who doesn’t love a personal pizza?
- Have the dad and kids work together to do mom’s make up! Obviously you don’t want to break out the Sephora or Two Faced brands you prize, but sit still (maybe chug a quick glass of wine first) and see what they come up with. You might be surprised!
- Hide and Seek- yes, everyone! If you have a family dog like we do, you probably will want to go ahead and hide them somewhere for this one, but this is sure to get some laughs and is a big time killer!
- Do a photo booth using whatever funky clothes and accessories you can find around the house -OR- take family photos in coordinated garbs. Smart phones have timers on their cameras so yes, mom, even you can be in it! You can make it silly or make it sweet. Regardless, you’ll have snapshots to remember the great quarantine of 2020.
- Everybody curl up on the couch or mommy and daddy’s bed together for a nap. Play some relaxing music, read a story first, put on a light hearted, family friendly show in the background on a low volume… whatever sounds the most relaxing. Worst case, it is allergy season and a little dose of Benadryl never hurt anybody. 😉
- Did someone say scavenger hunt? Yep! and you could even turn it into a clean up game if you’re super sneaky. “Go find 3 pink things that belong to you. Now put them away.” “Collect 10 crayons from inside the couch cushions then go hide them in the crayon box.” Trust me- this could be a blast for everyone. 😀
- Don’t deny the kid in you. Break out those legos, building blocks, Barbie dolls, or the dollhouse and sit a play with your little ones. They’ll love it. You’ll love it. E’rbody wins!
- Each person gets to pick a music video that everyone has to sing a long with and dance to. Kick it up a notch and turn it into a crazy dance off!
- Have a full fledged backyard camp out! If the weather is nice enough you don’t even need a tent or you can build a tent out of all those sheets we talked about earlier and maybe a tarp or random painters plastic laying around. have a small little campfire and roast some hot dogs, marshmallows. Enjoy the morning air, the sunrise and the rekindled campfire the next morning while sipping on your coffee and listening to the birds chirp.
No matter how you spend your time together as a family, just remember that this isn’t just being shut in your house, not being able to go anywhere. This is a golden opportunity to spend quality together as a family even if you still have to do some homework and keep the house running. You’ll look back on this time in a few months and as the years pass and so will your kids.
Make it memorable. Keep it simple. Don’t stress the extra mess or the extra noise or craziness. (Take it from a recovering perfectionist.)
As always, stay fun, stay positive, and keep plugging away, one day at a time!