Coronavirus: Keep the Kids Busy

Rule #233: Idle hands are the devil’s playground.

What day is it? What month is it? What year is it? I honestly can’t keep track anymore. I think everyone is coping with this pandemic in their own, different ways. That’s exactly the way it should be! I know friends who are straight chillin’ with Netflix, friends who are juggling working full time and somehow teaching their kids the lessons they’re missing from school, friends who are already stay-at-home parents who are adjusting to the confined spaces, friends who are essential who have to keep chugging along in this scary time, and friends who have a combo of all of the above.

coronavirus keep the kids busy

There’s no right or wrong way to handle this insanity, y’all. I know some folks who have to stay off social media because they’re feeling inadequate compared to someone else who’s doing things above-and-beyond. Everyone is just doing what they can to stay sane. I like to think of myself as a “Type A Minus”… maybe even a solid B. I’m all about being productive, but I’m also all about saying, “Screw it!” when things aren’t going according to plan. I think it’s safe to say this virus has made everything NOT go according to plan, ‘m I right?

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I’m blabbing on about not playing the Comparison Game because I want to share some of the things we’ve been doing to stay sane and busy. This is NOT a I’m-a-Pinterest-Mom-so-please-tell-me-how-awesome-I-am Situation, my friends. This is a Here’s-the-crap-we’ve-been-doing-so-everyone-makes-it-through-the-day-alive Situation.

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We’ve instituted a daily checklist for Corey Monday through Friday just to keep things slightly sane. I stole the idea from my sister-in-law, and it’s actually made a huge difference in our day! I don’t want to call it a schedule because he can choose what order he does his activities in. It’s really just a To-Do List with some educational activities sprinkled in. Once he completes the activities, he gets to watch a movie or have free iPad time (and Mommy gets to have some much needed alone time).

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I go along with what his teachers say their theme for the week would have been if he were in school. Last week was all about dinosaurs, and this week we’re talking about springtime and Easter! Each of these is editable, so you can change it to whatever suits your family. I have a cute font on ours, but I know that sadly won’t transfer!

I print the checklists out, throw them on a clipboard, and let him choose his stickers whenever he finishes a task. It’s a great, visual way for him to see how much he’s done. At the end of the week, he likes to go back and see all the sheets with all his stickers on them. I think it gives him a good sense of accomplishment.

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I beg, borrow, and steal the ideas from his teachers, my friends, Pinterest, and from the very dark recesses of what’s left of my former teacher brain. I try to keep it all as simple as possible! Some of the best resources I’ve found:

  • PBS Kids
  • BrainPop
  • YouTube read aloud books
  • Pinterest – games, crafts, and activities galore!

Corey has been struggling with understanding what’s going on, and honestly, I think I’ve done a horrible job explaining it well. It’s hard to know how much and what to say to kids right now. I asked my therapist for her help, and she sent this great article which link to a PBS Kids Video about Coronavirus and a BrainPop Video Explaining Coronavirus.

daniel tiger pbs kids coronavirus
brainpop coronavirus

This was an easy activity from last week that a friend shared with me. Corey absolutely loved it!

coronavirus keep the kids busy

First, grab some toys and throw them in a bowl. Cover with water and freeze!

coronavirus keep the kids busy

When you’re ready for the activity, dump the bowl upside down on a rimmed baking sheet. You may have to run warm water on the bowl to get the ice to loosen.

coronavirus keep the kids busy

Set up your trays with a cup of salt and a cup of water plus some medicine syringes and cups. I’d definitely recommend having one for each kid so no one fights over who gets to do what. Ain’t nobody got time for dat.

coronavirus keep the kids busy

The kids alternate pouring salt on top and then squirting or pouring water over the ice to melt it. Corey got super excited to get his animals free!

coronavirus keep the kids busy

Our neighbors came together and decided we’d write Thank You’s to the delivery drivers who are bringing all our goodies and food. Theirs were both SO cute and… this was all I could manage with Corey. He’s totally not into art, and to be honest, neither am I. It was still good to let the delivery drivers know we’re so appreciative of what they’re doing!

coronavirus keep the kids busy

We talked about patterns a little bit last week, so I thought it would be cute to paint the inside of an egg carton in a pattern. Corey chose his favorite Astros’ colors: orange and blue. The next day, he went and found toys in the playroom that matched those colors. He put them in the egg carton and made another pattern.

coronavirus keep the kids busy

Brooke just got jiggy with her messy self.

coronavirus keep the kids busy

I found this cute chart on Pinterest and had to share! It’s all easy stuff that you can do with things you’ve probably got around the house. I normally HATE this kind of stuff, but if it keeps the kids busy, I’m down.

coronavirus keep the kids busy

One thing both kids have really loved is seeing visitors who drop by with goodies or just to say, “Hi!” from the car. They were very anxiously anticipating seeing their Noni (my mom) when I snapped this picture.

coronavirus keep the kids busy

Outside time = sanity. If we can’t get outside, it’s a ROUGH day. When the weather is bad, it makes me want to curl in a ball and cry! I think fresh air, gorgeous skies, and pretty blooming flowers are what make our day a little easier these days.

coronavirus keep the kids busy

The best thing Jon and I have started doing for our own mental health is to exercise as much as we can. I try to go on a run every day because getting outside by myself for an hour has done miracles for my Mama Soul. It’s so exhausting to be the kids’ sole source of entertainment day-in-and-day-out. It’s draining in ways I would have never thought possible. Sweat is good!

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Hang in there, y’all! Stay home and stay safe! Cheers!

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