Homeschool & Self Care | 12 Activities To Help You Stay Home Well
You’re probably fed up with seeing Coronavirus this and Covid19 that. And if you’re anything like me, you’ll be flicking through social media in desperate attempt to read anything non virus related, to stay sane. Staying home and staying safe is for our own benefit, if not for our vulnerable loved ones and community – and people’s health is the most important. But let’s be brutally honest here: having to stay home sucks.
In all fairness, I’m used to being home a lot as I don’t go out to work. But that doesn’t mean I stay indoors all the time. To keep on top of my mental health I need to get out often, so that’s what we do – normally, but of course, right now is anything but normality. Now we shouldn’t really be going too far from home, and we don’t have the luxury of visiting spaces like an English Heritage property, so it’s a case of utilising our daily exercise within the safe distancing capacity and spending the long hours at home doing stuff.
This doing stuff doesn’t always come easy (unless you’re a teaching pro, like my friend who nails the lockdown activity rota like a boss.) I am no homeschooler. I need all the inspiration and all the ideas. That’s why I’ve spent some time thinking about, Pinteresting, and collating some wonderful ideas of things to keep our son entertained during this tentative time.
If you’re keen to start a long term project, you could try something insane like potty training your toddler. Yep, we began the mammoth task of potty training our little man when the UK was locked down, putting the weeks we’d be spending at home to good use.
Assuming potty training isn’t on your list of things to do, here’s some ideas what you can spend your long days at home doing.
1.A Time Capsule
As much as this time could easily be hated, you could equally look back on it and treasure, so record what you do. Whether you write a diary or fill a shoe box with things your kids have made, this is about banking personal thoughts and experiences to remember this historical season by. Include photos of your family, your child’s stats and likes and dislikes, and maybe pop your rainbow poster in.
2. Activity Printables
There are dozens of websites and blogs offering free activities at the moment but these are some of my favourites:
Yorkshire Water have put together two age appropriate nature activity packs that young ones from 3up can entertain themselves with at home or during a little walk outdoors.
Baker Ross have a lovely page of craft ideas including colouring in pages and greeting cards to thank the NHS keyworkers and to send to friends and family.
The Entertainer website’s Boredom Busting Hub contains heaps of puzzles and colouring in activity print out sheets.
Orchard Toys (maker of fabulous kids educational puzzles) offer a brilliant supply of worksheets suitable for homeschooling.
The Design Museum have a really cool page for preschoolers like my son who love Hey Duggee. There’s lots of activities to collect “badges” which make a rewarding bit of educational fun.
Royal Mail have some fab posters you can print off to colour in and stick in your window, so you can share some more love alongside your rainbow.
3. Exercise at home
From hula hooping to trampolining, this is something that doesn’t require a huge amount of space, and it’s one for the kids and adults alike. You don’t need a huge trampoline, just a toddler bounce or fitness rebounder will do. Just bring the gym out into the garden for extra fun points.
4.Have a Mindful Mind
Mindfulness doesn’t have to be technical or confusing. It can be as simple as breathing deeply, throwing a window open and listening out for the birds or paying full attention to the touch of the bread you’re kneading. Creative Flow* and Nature Tonic* are two beautiful books by Jocelyn De Kwant (Leaping Hare Press) that gently encourage you to take 365 mindful moments following a journal taking method. (PR gifted)
6.Clear The Wardrobe
Now winter’s long gone, it’s the perfect time to transition your wardrobe into the spring/summer seasons, and that means the chance to declutter and donate to charity. Anything you didn’t wear through winter, or you don’t like anymore from last summer, put it aside to go. With Reuben growing up fast, I have heaps of toddler clothes to pass on, so these have gone in the charity bag too. Of course, we can’t drop off charity bags at the moment, but once the clothing banks and charities are reopened we’ll be good to go.
5.Plant a Seed
There’s something satisfying about growing your own fruit and veg from seed. Watching and waiting for your seedlings to emerge is exciting, and of course there’s no reward like picking your own harvest. You don’t need a huge vegetable patch or allotment to enjoy planting seeds. We’ve planted peas and pepper seeds in a small raised vegetable bed, and we have raspberries and strawberries in pots. For a quicker veggie turnaround, cress is a simple indoor winner.
7.Paint & Upcycle
With more hours in the day to spend, those DIY jobs are calling for attention. If you’re itching for a fresh new look (or you’re insane like my husband), you could redecorate and repaint gloss work around the house. Or if you’re more of an up cycler, you could repurpose some old furniture or give tired outdated pieces new life. Still on my ‘to-do list’, I’m going to update some pine bedroom drawers with a lick of paint and some pretty knobs.
Whether you’re a certified sewing addict or you’ve always wanted to try sewing and never had the time, now’s the opportunity to get stuck in. From hand embroidery to cross stitch, sewing is a great way to relax and feel productive.
You could encourage little ones to try sewing too. (My little man has his own kit now!) Large count aida, known as binca, or plastic canvas, along with a pack of large plastic needles, are great tools for new starters.
And if sewing for fun isn’t your thing, how about learning the basics so you can fix that hole in your favourite jeans? Sewing skills always come in handy.
But back to cross stitch because I am a little bit of a stitchy addict. You could cross stitch this, like me! (See the finished piece in the first photo.) Thanks to SatsumaStreet.com for this cheerful freebie.
9. Make a Photo Book
We don’t always get our photos printed, do we? I know I’m terrible for keeping on top of the countless photos on my phone, even with my marked favourites ready to print off. So this is yours and my own reminder, to get printing some photos off now that we have the time to do it. And in the current climate where we’re at home doing more to occupy our time, a photo book to celebrate our family time during lockdown would make a great memory. It doesn’t even have to be a glamorous photo book – make it fun with the kids (or not) and scrapbook it!
10. Book Swap
Okay, so this isn’t exactly a “stay home” activity but hear me out, it’s a good one. The libraries are shut so what’s the next best thing? Find a local book swap or start one for your own neighbourhood. We took a few of Reuben’s books along to a book swap set up in our town, and he got to take home some lovely new reads for free. So if you’re not shielding and exclusively staying at home, this is a great idea that feels a bit more involved in your community too.
11. Memory maps
This is a lovely craft to do, even with the little ones who are learning to use scissors. Find an old map book or atlas and cut out shapes of places that mean something to you. Reuben and I made pictures of mountains representing our little Lake District holiday last year. We simply cut triangles out of the map and placed them on a sheet of card to look like the Lakeland hills. You could also make a ‘home’ keepsake by cutting out a piece of map around your hometown with a heart cookie cutter.
12. Rock Monsters
A really cute craft that involves plenty mess and silliness, which I think we adults need as much as the kids! For this you need to collect some interesting stones from the garden or from a country walk on your doorstep. Then you just need to get the poster paints out and some googly eyes (yes, I do have a stash of googly eyes – who doesn’t?!) and get making some freaky rock monsters.
And if you’re still stuck for ideas…
For more play time inspiration and to ply the kids away from the ipad, you want to check out the book 101 Things For Kids To Do Screen-Free* by Dawn Isaac. It’s a brilliant resource of simple craft makes, play ideas and good old fashioned family games that’s written in a laid back, easy to read format. (PR gifted)
So – how’s “staying at home” for you?