No doubt by now you’ve heard something about the global coronavirus(COVID-19) pandemic. At first you, like me, may have dismissed it as silly, something that people were overreacting about. But now, in the midst of the major sports leagues like the NHL postponing their seasons indefinitely, all of Italy being in lockdown, and COVID-19 deaths piling up, it doesn’t seem as silly anymore.
Especially when I heard yesterday that all publicly funded schools in Ontario would remain closed for two weeks following the March Break. For me, a teenager who likes school, this is devastating, but also very scary. The only reason that schools would be forced to close was if it was no longer safe for all students to be there.
With the addition of the first confirmed COVID-19 case in my county, this closure makes the whole outbreak hit much closer to home. Already, the community centre has closed, and I’m sure that many other public locations will follow suit.
Regardless of all of the closures and cancellations, I’m still going to be stuck at home for the next 24 days. Unlike during most other school breaks, there are going to be very limited options of things to do around town, and the rest of the province. So, me and my family have had to come up with some creative solutions to keep ourselves occupied around the house during this extended March Break.
If you’re stuck at home with kids, or just need ideas of things you can do, I highly encourage you to check out some of the solutions we came up with below:
- Write Something Every Day.
Getting an extended March Break means that we can be more relaxed about doing things. But relaxation can soon lead to boredom.
One of my favourite ways to bust boredom is to write something every day. It could be in a diary, a dream journal, or even on a scrap piece of paper outlining the schedule for the following week. Finding the right words may come slowly at first. However, once you get on a roll, you might end up writing for hours.
Not only is writing each day fun, it adds a bit of structure to a day otherwise spent lounging around the house watching tv.
I’ll definitely be using these three weeks to write more blog posts, but also to write letters. With all this extra time, I can get back in touch with friends and family that I haven’t seen in a while. Yes, I could do that on my phone, but there’s just something special about writing letters that communicating through a cell phone could never capture.
Besides my friends, I might write to a celebrity, just for the sake of it. Writing a letter to a celebrity could be great idea for your kids, too. They can choose to write to whichever celebrity they want, and depending on who they chose, they might even get a response back.
With recess and gym class no longer an option, your kids will start to get restless. To combat this, go for daily walks. This is a great way to stretch their muscles, and to explore new places.
On colder or wetter days, yoga is a good alternative. Doing yoga helps to burn off energy, while also calming your body down.
Finally, encourage outdoor play. Outside, kids have the freedom to play almost anything they want, and will be tired out by the time they come in. And if someone else is watching them, you can get some well-needed me time. As an added bonus, playing outside will not result in the inside of your house becoming a mess of discarded toys!
3. Game Day/Night
Everyone loves using technology. It’s hard not to! But spending hour after hour staring at a screen will not do wonders for your health, or for your family dynamic. So pull out the board games and have a game day or game night. Playing board games is a great way to reconnect with your family. It forces people to talk to each other, and offers the temptation of being crowned victor of a chosen game. Plus, it gets the whole family off of their devices!
4. Learn New Things
Since schools are closed, not much traditional learning is going to be taking place. So, despite what I said in the last suggestion, you might want to turn to technology to find a solution.
For example, my sister and I are going to be continuing our education online via a website called Duolingo. Duolingo is a language-learning site that we’ve been using for years to help us learn French. The site teaches us new words and phrases, gives us help if we are struggling with a translation, and reminds us to practice daily so as to not forget what we’ve learned. Besides that, other online resources like Youtube and Google can help teach you whatever you desire to learn.
But sometimes, it’s better to learn with a pencil and paper instead of a device. Ironically, it’s online where you’ll find the perfect solution: printable worksheets.
Lots of websites online like Worksheet Fun and Education.com have worksheets on practically any topic, and most are free to download and print. Because of this, there is no longer any need to create elaborate lesson plans for your children. Simply print off a worksheet suited to their learning level, and they’re good to go!
Now, this is just a small sampling of things you can do to keep busy during the break from the comfort of your own home. In fact, there are so many things you could possibly do that I could never list them all! However, I will tell you that technology can be your friend, and your foe. On one hand, it’s full of great education resources. But on the other, it is ridiculously easy to get distracted by a Youtube video or video game and forget what you were looking for in the first place.
Just remember: There is no need to panic about the COVID-19 outbreak. Check the news for updates, don’t venture into crowded areas, wash your hands frequently, and take a few deep breaths to calm yourself. Then think “Only __ more days until the kids hopefully go back to school!”