The community-wide prevention measures that have been put in place to slow the spread of COVID-19 means that Canadians have a lot of downtime over the next few weeks. Here are a few things that you can do to pass the time while you practice social distancing.
This list of activities is not intended for everyone and is not broken down by age group or developmental stage. Every individual is unique, with their own strengths and interests. Some of these activities may not be suitable or enjoyable for you or your children. Please use discretion when choosing activities from this list.
1. Play a board game
Dust off your favourite board games and have a good, old-fashioned games night. If you have a limited stock of board games, look online for the rules to quick and easy card games like “Go Fish” or “Crazy Eights” or start up a game of charades. If you are home by yourself there are a number of mobile apps you can download that let you play your favourite board games online against other individuals or computers.
Depending on your child’s age and skill level, this can be a solo or assisted activity. If reading books isn’t really your cup of tea, try listening to audiobooks or podcasts instead.
3. Do a science experiment
There are a number of science experiments online that you can replicate in your home. Find experiments that use household items so you don’t have to go shopping. Things like baking soda and vinegar volcanoesand dish soap and milk artare great ways to use the ingredients you have on hand. Remember to follow the safety instructions when doing experiments and never mix household chemicals if you don’t know what will happen.
4. Grow plants
You don’t even need to buy seeds or soil! There are a number of plants that you can grow from food scraps or the seeds found in your kitchen, including avocados, potatoes, peppers, onions, herbs, and more. You can look up how to grow specific plants on the internet, or you can just experiment by putting different seeds in soil (if you have any) or wrapping them in damp paper towel to see what happens.
5. Spring clean
While not necessarily a fun way to spend your time, spring cleaning is definitely practical. Use your extra time to do a thorough clean of your house from top to bottom. Package up those old, no-longer used clothes and toys and store them until they can be sold or donated.
6. Take an online field trip
Have you ever wanted to see the surface of Mars? Or explore a NASA Research Facility? How about wanting to see famous art collections from all around the world or visit the Smithsonian Museum? Many organizations have virtual tours of their facilities available for free online that you can visit from the comfort of your house.
7. Connect with friends and family
There are a number of ways that you and your children can connect with friends and family members, including email, phone, facetime, social media, and text messages. You can even sit down and write a letter, which you can send through the post or you can take a photo of and email to friends and family. Social interaction can reduce boredom and reduce depression, anxiety, and stress during periods of self-isolation.
8. See the opera
The Metropolitan Opera will be streaming a select number of their shows for free online every night this week.
If you have some extra time on your hands and want to do something rewarding, find organizations that you can volunteer with remotely. Help lines like Kids Help Phone are overwhelmed with calls about COVID-19 right now and are looking to hire and train new volunteers. Take a look at local volunteer organizations that speak to your interests and contact them to see if there are any remote opportunities.
10. Try a new recipe
Get out your aprons and try a new recipe in the kitchen. There are tons of recipes that you can find online that can be customized for specific dietary needs and restrictions. Challenge yourself to try recipes that you can make with the ingredients you have in your house so you don’t have to go to the store.
11. Professional Development
Take this opportunity to learn or improve a skill that can help you with future employment. Take our free Foundations in FASD online course or our sector specific courses for professionals. You can also search a number of videos on Youtube that can teach you the basics of important technologies for the workplace, like the Microsoft Office Suite.
12. Get creative
Pull out the paints, crayons, pencils, and markers and let your creativity flow! You can download colouring templates from the Internet or create from your own imagination.
13. Work up a sweat
Exercise improves both physical and mental health and well-being. Make sure you get your body moving throughout the day. Search online for workouts that you can do from home and take the opportunity to try a new activity you’ve never done before. If traditional workouts aren’t for you, turn up some music and start dancing or play a game of tag or hide and go seek with your family, anything to get your blood pumping.
14. Do a craft
There are so many crafts that you can do with the materials you have around your home. You can make stained glass art with crayons, wax paper, and an iron, or you can make a clothespin catapult with a clothespin, glue, and a bottlecap. You can find even more ideas for do it yourself crafts online.
15. Get outdoors
Going outdoors has positive physical and mental health benefits and it can relieve some of the boredom and repetitiveness that comes from social distancing. Find some greenspaces where you are alone or where you can maintain your distance from others. Avoid playgrounds and play structures, as the virus can stay on surfaces for a period of time. Local parks, hiking trails, bike rides, walks around your neighbourhood, playtime in your backyards, and chalk drawings on your driveway are all ways to practice social distancing while getting outdoors. That being said, if you are experiencing even mild symptoms, stay home whenever possible.
What are your favourite social distancing activities?