While we all think of ways to keep the kids amused as well as stay in contact with the outside world how about trying to combine the two? After seeing the drawings of rainbows done by Italian children during lockdown I was inspired to think of creative ways to use these spaces in our communities. So here are a few ideas that are as yet untested, but could maybe work with a few adjustments depending on the layout of your street & type of housing. If your household has binoculars these could come in useful or otherwise look at your neighbours windows when you take some daily exercise. For most of these ideas you would need to set up some sort of street communication through WhatsApp, Facebook, Next-door or similar to play together.
Each day a different household could draw a picture to represent either a film, book or song for the other side of the street to guess and put it up in their window. Take it in turns and alternate between each side of the street each day. The drawing can have the theme written at the top, but should not otherwise have any letters, numbers or symbols. At the end of the week or allowed time, the side of the street with the most pictures guessed right wins.
Each household takes turns to choose a word and draw the hangman that they out in their window. Maybe start one end of the street and alternate between sides each day. The chosen word is represented with dashes for each letter. Anyone on the street who can see the household drawing can suggest letters for the mystery word. If the letter is correct the drawing household puts it into the space it appears. If it is wrong the first part of the hangman is drawn. The others on the street must guess the word before the hangman is fully drawn because of wrong letters guessed.
This one has to be done from the confines of your house rather than when passing by outside for it to work better. A house at one end of the street (no. 1) chooses a phrase and writes large enough to read and places in a visible window. The house opposite (no. 2) has to write what they think they can read and write that on paper and place in their window. The next house opposite them (no. 3) then does the same. By the time it gets to the end of street it will hopefully be beyond recognition to the starting phrase and hilariously funny.
Take a word, scramble it up and write it out in large letters to put up in a window. The first neighbour to guess what it is wins. Take it in turns and increase the length of the words to increase the difficulty.
Take in turns to draw up a 4 x 4 grid of randomly chosen letters. You could pick these out of a bag of scrabble letters or from a real boggle game if that helps. Put up the grid in a window and make sure it is large enough for all to read it. Set a time period for people to view it from 10 minutes to an hour or more if necessary. Houses that can see the boggle grid must come up with as many words from the grid as they can. The letters must connect to form the word and not repeat and no plurals, abbreviation or slang allowed. To simplify the point scoring award a point for each letter each word contains. The household with the highest scores wins the round. Take turns and alternate the side of the street so that different houses get the chance to see the boggle grid.
Choose a daily theme and get the kids to set their imaginations free! Encourage use of different media; paints, pastels, collage etc. and the bigger the better. Place them proudly in upstairs windows for all to see. Then each household on the street could vote on a winner and a chocolate prize could be awarded.
I'm sure there are hundreds of other well known games or activities that could be adapted in a similar way so let me know if you think of any more. I hope you will all try some and get playing with your neighbours to help strengthen your community and get through these hard times.
#lockdowngames #coronvirus #covid19
How to Survive Lockdown with Kids
Hello dear readers,
As my son and I go into self isolation due to my son's medical risk, I thought it might be useful to share with others my ideas on how to cope with it. As a widow and a home worker I am used to spending long periods on my own, so am maybe more well equipped than others to cope, and some of these strategies have been key to me surviving the dark times after my husband's death. Keeping the kids amused in different ways rather than just the telly should help maintain a happy (isolated) household (although TV is still definitely essential!)
This is so important, because as parents we put our kids needs before our own, but if we burn out we will be no good to anyone. Make sure you have some space & time to yourself each day doing something that helps you to unwind, switch off or escape. Having a relaxing bath, doing some meditation, getting lots of sleep, reading a good book, and maybe putting ear plugs in to block out everything else for a few minutes will go a long way in keeping you sane. Dads may want to escape to their 'man cave' or shed perhaps for a bit of time out.
Books, magazines & comics.
You can access your library online and download e-books, e-magazines, e-comics and digital audiobooks onto phones and tablets. E-books can also be downloaded from Amazon onto Kindles. Download digital audiobooks onto your phone or an old handset and kids will happily listen with headphones giving you precious peace and quiet!
Films & TV
Why not have a movie night? Dig out an old favourite DVD, stream or download one from the internet or order for delivery online. Get out the popcorn out and cuddle up - bliss! You could even host a watch party with Netflix or do your own by choosing to watch a film simultaneously with someone else you know. Parents can look forward to an evening treat of a boxset binge after the kids are in bed.
Board games and card games area great way to bring the family together for a bit of fun. There are also some online table games you can play with friends. Video games with online multi-player options are great for older kids so they can still play with their friends. Sticking to a screen time limit is good and this may be helped by pre-arranging a 'digital playtime' with their friends, which you may need to help with unless they have their own phones.
Combating boredom while being stuck inside for long periods of time will help reduce tensions. We use a family time jar with different activities in to be picked out a random when the dreaded words 'I'm bored' get uttered. There are so many things you could put in here from treasure hunts, hide and seek, colouring, jigsaws and crafting. Setting aside a regular time slot for playing with your kids, perhaps when you would usually home after work, will help give a structure to the days. There are more ideas here.
Phone or video calling friends and family regularly and not relying on just social media will help us feel connected to the real world. Kids might want to chat to friends too or maybe email each other like pen-pals. If you live close enough to your neighbours to see their windows your kids could create a game involving poster messages or similar putting their inventiveness to the test. For people's birthdays you could make cards together and photo, scan or post them (in a remote post box) or even sing a song and video it to send to them instead.
If you have a garden, getting outside as much as you can will help boost vitamin D levels and prevent cabin fever. If the weather is good try a lawn picnic, camping, den building or an assault course. Get the kids involved with planting spring bulbs and watching them grow will give you joy during the hard times in the coming months. A walk in a remote or un-busy place should be fairly safe too, if you keep your distance from other people or go out at night. A drive just to escape the house could also help and cycling and jogging would be low risk too if you avoid contact. Take the time to appreciate the peace and quiet on our streets, less pollution and listen to the birds sing. Remember to get everyone to wash hands their hands when they are back inside though as the virus can stay on hard surfaces for some time.
Why not take a virtual tour of a museum from the safety of self isolation? 12 famous museums have virtual tours including the British Museum, the Guggenheim and Musee D'Orsay and they are free too!
Getting regular exercise will really help you not only stay well and fight off any infection, but keep your spirits up due to the endorphins released. Yoga can be particularly beneficial as it is also calming. I highly recommend Yoga with Adrienne which is available free to watch on YouTube. Here are some other online suggestions. Keep the kids active too to burn off all the pent up energy from being stuck inside with 'PE with Joe' on YouTube.
Food & drink
Frozen and tinned fruit and veg will provide you with you with much needed nutrients if you can't get out to stock up on fresh food. Eating healthily and avoiding too much alcohol will keep your immune system strong, but a glass or two of wine at the weekend could be a good way to mark time and have something to look forward to. Why not try baking bread or cakes with the kids too? If you have to go out for supplies try to use small local businesses as many of these will struggle to stay afloat and there will most likely be less people in them than the big supermarkets, but use masks and gloves where possible and wash or sanitize hands as soon as you get home.
If you end up doing everything for everyone resentment and tension will soon build up, so it might be an idea to divide up the chores and work as a family team. Kids learn good life skills and responsibility too from doing chores, so get them involved with clearing away meals, cooking, laundry and looking after pets.
This is an emergency situation, so although it's tempting try not to bury your head in work. It will be important for kids to know that you are there for them and you will get through it together. They will need to be able to spend time with you so they can express their worries and feel reassured. It's a good opportunity to slow down, rethink your priorities and consider your work/life balance. Setting specific times to work, in a separate room if possible, will let kids know when they can have family time and when to leave you alone.
Schools may well at some point set up online classrooms or homework, but there are also other ways to keep them learning. Some schools have subscriptions to apps like Times Table Rockstars and Reading Eggs and there are many maths websites, free scholastic and Twinkl learning resources and educational TV programmes like Horrible Histories and Number Jacks. Why not also engage in some other skills by teaching or learning together things like knitting or cooking? You can also download language and learning apps like Duolingo onto phones or laptops. You could also learn something yourself through an online short course with FutureLearn.
There are always jobs that we never get round to as we are so busy, so why not take the opportunity and tidy that cupboard, sort out that paperwork or write that email to an old friend. It will give you a sense of much needed purpose & achievement as well as being able to tick something off that never-ending 'to do' list.
If any of you are ill then quarantine should be set up in a isolated room and the patient should use a separate bathroom and towels if possible. Keep well people out of the room and wash hands for 20 seconds whenever you have been in it to prevent spreading the virus. Use a mask, apron and gloves if you have them and get the patient to 'catch it kill it bin it' with coughs and sneezes. Use separate crockery and cutlery, keep their fluids up and use paracetamol rather than ibuprofen based medicated to bring down the fever. Once they are well and after 7 days they can come out of quarantine and you will need to do a deep clean. Wash bed linen with laundry cleanser or at a high temperature and wipe sides down with a sanitising spray or wipes containing 60% alcohol.
Helping each other by supporting those in our communities will be how we get through this - together. Set up a Facebook or WhatsApp group for your street so people can check on elderly, vulnerable or isolated neighbours, leave provisions outside their door or just be there for a chat on the phone. Be grateful and thankful to those on the front line and doing the jobs that keep the country going, such as bin men and posties etc. Donate to homeless charities and food banks, as the most vulnerable people in our societies will be the ones most affected.
Having been through bereavement, I know this is the most important thing of all. Talk to each other and listen to your kids. Get them to write or draw about their worries. Keep the news away from them as much as you can and switch off yourself from it too when it gets too much. If someone you know gets ill or dies, be honest about it and try not to panic. There are professional services out there with free support too. Draw pictures or write letters and photograph and email or WhatsApp them to sick friends and relatives. Give yourself to time and space to grieve, even if you don't lose loved ones, as we will all be surrounded by death and be traumatised by it to some extent. It's normal to feel angry, sad and scared. Express those feelings in a safe way while also trying to remember good things. Be silly, listen to your favourite music and have a dance with your kids. Make the most of your time together as none of us know when it could be cut short.
I hope these help you all over the this difficult time. Please pass on any other ideas as I would love to hear them.
Stay well everyone.
#coronavirus #selfisolation #covid19
Window Games for Lockdown
Since seeing the shocking footage of plastic in our oceans in Blue Planet II, we have all become much aware of the problems of recycling. Consuming less stuff is always the better option over recycling more, but recycling well rather than increasing landfill also needs to be done until we have a more circular system.
With this in mind I did a little research and discovered lots of things that I hadn’t realised could be recycled. The Terracycle website has a whole lot of recycling options. Hopefully these will help you to cut down on your household waste too.
Always check on the packaging to see as it will often say if it can be recycled, for instance most poly bag type packaging like bread bags can be recycled at large supermarkets along with shopping bags.
There are of course lots of things that you can't recycle, but it might be worth mentioning some of these as some were a surprise to me: shiny paper receipts, toilet roll tubes, brightly dyed paper, napkins and paper towels, cotton wool, pizza boxes, shredded paper, post-it notes, tissues. However, items that are biodegradable on this list can be composted instead.
Let me know if you come across any other unusual or handy things that can be recycled so I can add them to the list.
#zerowaste #recycling #lowimpactliving
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