If it’s not the virus, it’s the haze, pollution or the rain! Although many find that being out in nature is the safer option, globally many cannot or are worried to exit their house and choose to stay indoors. Having no other choice than to keep our children indoors, means finding ways to get them occupied and entertained, all while keeping our keep our sanity as a family!
So, what do we do then? Believe it or not, the possibilities are endless and obviously vary depending on what you like to do.
Let me share some of the things that have helped us go through the long weekends indoor, at home. To maintain a nice balance, while keeping the peace, we need to provide activities in three main areas:
No doubt, the most challenging is the physical area!
Indoor playgrounds and kid’s gym are always a great way to burn some energy and get to move (however, not advised during the coronavirus). There are many options in Singapore, and depending on the age of your child, you can choose from multiple indoor playgrounds in malls, trampoline parks, and children’s gyms. However, expect those places to be pretty crowded on weekends especially in periods of haze!
But what if you can’t do those activities or it’s not enough to burn out all the energy? You’ll have no choice but to provide some kind of physical outlet for your child at home.
Here are my suggestions:
- Put some music on and dance! Kids love music, and combining music and movement is great to get their motor impulse satisfied while engaging the emotional side of their brain. They’ll improve on coordination and following a rhythm, they’ll develop an interest in music and refine their taste, and will no doubt develop killer moves that will provide entertaining too! Dancing and singing together with your child are great moments of connection where both child and parent enjoy and release tension through movements and physical expression.
- Have some ready pieces of equipment that you agree to use indoor in a space that you have set and allowed beforehand. For instance, my daughter is allowed to skip rope in the living room providing that she minds people passing by. Anything from small mattresses and yoga mats to roll on, jump on and fall on are great to take out now. We also have a climbing frame with a small ladder/slide that provides some physical activity and fun when needed. When they get tired of the jumping, rolling and climbing, make them centre their attention and improve on their focussing skills throwing a ball in small basket net attached on a door for the occasion: it will get them busy – and possibly noisy – for a while!
- Wrestling and tickling sessions are wonderful to release any physical and emotional tensions stuck in the body and mind! My daughter is a huge fan of those moments as it makes her feel good and so relaxed afterwards It’s also great moments of physical and emotional connection between parents and children, that we, unfortunately, tend to do less and less as children grow.
When we are stuck at home for any reason – haze, heavy rains, illnesses – we always plan some family time together playing board games and cards’ games such as UNO or puzzles making while listening to audio stories or calming music. We make friendship bracelets (much greener than rainbow looms!), play with homemade playdough or build anything with Legos, Kaplas, and Magna tiles.
Another great activity is arts & crafts projects using recycled materials that have been kept for those special occasions, like plastic bottles to make sensory bottles, loo roll to build something with, or shoeboxes to paint and decorate to create the best treasure boxes ever. Coloring books, drawing papers, markers, crayons, paints of all kinds are also our go-to materials to keep busy.
Finally, an activity that is fabulous to do as a family when stuck at home for hours is baking! Thanks to lots of stores delivering groceries to your doorstep, you don’t have to step outside to get what you need to bake the perfects cookies – only your imagination and taste are the limits! It’s also a great time to experiment and try new recipes.
AKA quiet time, this is the moment parents particularly enjoy when their children can entertain themselves calmly, leaving them some time of their own. Indeed, when your kids have moved enough and have had their bucket filled with love thanks to entertaining family activities, this can be time for an individual activity. This is usually when they are happy to just sit down and read a book, play peacefully by themselves or do a meditation. To support that moment when it (finally!)) comes, we have plenty of books to look at thanks to our memberships to several libraries.
I hope this can be an inspiration to keep your kids healthy in body and mind during haze or rain periods without relying much on screens and emphasizing instead on family bonding while keeping – mostly – your sanity. A win-win situation!
Those moments remind me of wintertime in my home country, when it was too cold and too dark to go play outside, and we had to keep busy at home instead. It created wonderful family memories for me, as I hope it will too for my kids and yours.