By Sharon Merkel-Prudhomme ~
Many years from now, our kids will be telling their kids of the 2020 Pandemic and how they had to distance, schools and businesses closed and how much fun they had with mom, dad, brothers & sisters at home while they sheltered as a group. Here are more fun family ideas to do together:
*Lacey “Eggs”- You need: white kitchen string, balloons, white school glue, food dye (optional.) Pour some white school glue into a small dish. Set aside. Blow up a small balloon-wrap string around it repeatedly until it looks like many crisscrosses from top to bottom, remove the string and place it into the dish. Using spoon or chopstick push string into the glue to coat. For spring looking EGGS, add a drop of food color into the glue before coating string. Use rubber gloves when using dyes. Pull the end of the string through two fingers to evenly coat and remove excess glue. Place an end near one end, hold with thumb and smooth string along balloon-continue turning and wrapping balloon with glue coated string crisscrossing as you go. Set on aluminum foil to dry. When dry, pop the balloon and remove. Enjoy your “String Eggs!”
*Garden Starters– a quick pop into the Dollar Tree can offer weeks of fun! Seed packets are available now. Consider starting veggies indoors! Kids can plant, keep a daily journal as growth appears. Transfer to a garden or patio pot later.
*Shoe Polish Leather– needed: masking tape, brown shoe polish: save a mayo jar, beer bottle, wine bottle, canning jar. Tear short 1”-2” pieces of masking tape. Place and smooth onto your jar/bottle. Continue overlapping many ways until the object is completely covered. Using a small piece of cloth, rub brown shoe polish into the tape. Rub and buff off the excess. The result is a “leather-look!” Add a flower, pencils for a desk, crayon holder…
*Tag a Robin’s Nest– rip or cut ½ in. strips of white material 10 in. long. Lay over a few shrubs in plain sight. Robins will grab to weave into their mud packed nests. Later have fun searching for the flapping white “tags”.
*Wildlife Prints– add a little water to a half pail of dirt for a thick pourable mud. In your backyard or nearby woods, pour a mud circle on the ground. In the center, place a piece of leftover meat or peanut butter on bread. Overnight hungry visitors may stop by for a bite. Next day investigate to identify the animal by its print. Draw a picture of the animal and the print. Do a report about the animal, what it eats, etc. Make a cover for the animal booklet with construction paper.
Sewing is almost a thing of the past to most youngsters, but puppets never go out of style! This activity has super side effects!
*Sock Puppets– Needed: several old socks, large blunt “kid-friendly” needle, yarn, assorted buttons, colored felt, ribbon, scissors, white glue. Have the kids pull socks over hands to wrists. Bringing fingers to thumb, have kids determine where the eyes and tongue should go-mark with a marker. Choosing the “eyes”, mouth, hair, etc. is fun and later, a puppet show! Go one step further-make a stage with curtains using a box and T-towels set on a table. Cut the back out of the box, arrange curtain as swags with staples or tape to the front stage. Puppeteers can stand in the back for the performance and maneuvering their characters. One child can be the film director and make a video.
At our house, getting together often for Game Night is something we treasure. The fun and laughter are what it’s all about! Something we all were brought up with, which has carried through to our adult years. Gathering around the table for huge jig-saw puzzles on a wintery night, fire crackling away, the smell of burning oak….memories, ours to keep and review at will.
So….at this uncertain time, we are certain of one thing. THIS IS the time for family to come together, rediscover the real fun of interacting, making and doing things that are really cool and not determined by battery life. For today’s families the cell phones, tablets, computers, laptops, TV’s ALL must be shut off!
A few games should always be on hand for all ages. Yahtzee, Rummikub, Uno, playing cards, checkers, chess, Monopoly, Chutes & Ladders, HI-HO Cherry-O, puzzles & dominos are good starters.