It's borderline miraculous that every child-centered activity we deemed normal three months ago is now being normalized by technology and staying connected through a screen. But the truth is, all of this virtual stuff with kids is actually a lot more work for moms than sending your kid to camp, school, ballet class or anywhere that provides outlets for our kids creativity, intellectuality and ENERGY.
Staying In For The Summer
These places and classes IRL have provided us with the much needed BREAKS that virtual activities don’t do for more than ten minutes for most kids. What this virtual boom is also creating is the idea that we are expected to do ALL the things we did before because ALL the things are being offered virtually. And this idea can lead to every mother’s kryptonite: Guilt, guilt, and more guilt.
The good news is I have come up with a solution for a summer in quarantine that covers all the bases. No costly virtual camp and summer school, no guilt for not spending enough of this special (mandatory) time with our children, and all at very little cost both monetarily and emotionally.
Here it is:
Do ONE cool thing with your kids ONCE a week for 8 weeks. This one thing will be something you plan and look forward to as you lead up to it each week. This doesn’t mean don’t pay attention to your kids the other days of the week but owning and committing to this one activity will let your poor busy self off the hook of always trying to think of something creative to do under quarantine. These 8 things for 8 weeks will also get you through almost the entire summer and your kids get to spend time with you and you get to feel good about yourself and everybody wins!
Even though it feels like it, you don’t have to do EVERYTHING, Mama’s. In fact, you don’t even have to think about what to do for those 8 weeks, because I have thought of it for you.
WEEK ONE: Become a Balloon Animal Professional
Come on, you know you’ve always wanted to. When you’re at a Mexican restaurant and a waitress comes by and blows your kids mind by building a bear out of balloons in two minutes – you have thought to yourself how cool it would be to make your kids' jaw drop like that, right? And just think, you’ll be a hit a birthday parties long after quarantine and for years to come.
Click here to become a balloon animal-making machine for just $20!
WEEK TWO: Build a Lemonade Stand
My friend Erica and her 5 year-old Regina had the brilliant idea of building a lemonade stand out of boxes and they made honey lemonade to sell to Regina’s stuffed animal friends.
You can do this for no cost by using your own boxes and some duct tape and whatever art crafts you have laying around but for more ideas, check out some DIY ideas on Pinterest:
And here is a refreshing and easy honey lemonade recipe: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/609956343263121414/
WEEK THREE: At-Home Escape Rooms
If you have older kids, Below is a link for a ton of super cool digital escape room ideas for you and your kids to have a blast with, including Escaping from Hogwarts and from Star Killer Base, Pete the Cat’s Mystery Bday party and tons more!
WEEK FOUR: Science Projects You Don’t Have to be a Scientist For
KiwiCo is as close as you’ll get to school or camp without actually going to school or camp. Crates are delivered monthly (or less depending on what package you purchase) right to your doorstep that are filled with fun, creative, multi-sensory and enriching projects that will keep your kids entertained and stimulated for hours (hopefully). The packages come with kid-friendly instructions and will teach them how to become creative little problem solvers. You can also craft personalized crates that are appropriate for your kids specific age and interests.
Click here for more details: https://www.kiwico.com
WEEK FIVE: Tye-Dye Shirts
Whether it’s a tank, a T or a onesie, Tye-Dyeing is always a fun for the whole family activity – especially if it’s nice outside, you can set up a blanket and do it right in your backyard or patio.
This one-step dye kit is less messy than most so you won’t be afraid to let your toddlers play, too.
WEEK SIX: Camping Without the Woods
Whether it’s in your living room or backyard, camping out in a tent without leaving your house is almost a rite of passage for any growing family. Break out the flashlights, ghost stories and S’Mores and you’re almost ready for the campout of the summer. Just a few fun things to do beforehand:
Pinterest provides lots of great DIY ideas for crafting the coziest campfire with your kiddos – check them out at: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/53409945568708826/
WEEK SEVEN: Homemade Popsicles
As the scorching summer sun hits all of us right around July, spending the day making refreshing popsicles is a fun activity to do with your kids and you get a fun treat in the end to boot.
I love turning smoothies into popsicles by throwing a ton of frozen fruit into the blender, tossing in some chia seeds, greek yogurt, a teaspoon of honey, maybe a scoop of peanut or almond butter, perhaps a smidge of milk to loosen things up and voila! I think finding ingredients in the house to make popsicles is the most fun part, but if you’re strapped for time and your pantry is limited, here is a good one-ingredient pop that will have you melting in no time:
Side note: These taste better when your kiddo wears a chefs hat and an apron while helping you make them.
WEEK EIGHT: Embrace your Inner-Witch!
By Week 8 it’s possible we have had it with summer, whether we’re still stuck indoors by then or not – so this is a super creative, collaborative and cute way of channeling that inner witch that could be brewing around this time by making your own potion! As fun as this will be for you it will be twice as fun for your kids.
DISCLAIMER: This is a tad messy but that is the best part.
Click here to get stirring on your very own witch’s brew: https://www.thecrafttrain.com/bubbling-brew-for-pretend-play/
I hope this eases any guilt or pain in thinking about what to do next with our homebound babies and with a computer we don’t want to be on all day every day. And please use these ideas to have fun and then to give yourself a break. We’re moms, not monkeys. Not teachers. Not camp counselors. We’re not benches or slides or swings or human jungle gyms just because the ones at the park are taped off. You’re doing great, Mama. And when life gives you a lemon, make lemonade for your kids balloon animal friends and then pat yourself on the back and take a nice long bubble bath.
Enjoy your summer in at home and in real life, Mama’s!