Locked down (again)?! Things to do on the cheap!

With yet another stay-at-home order upon us, it's starting to look like the COVID-19 pandemic will never end. This new order is even more strict than the previous ones as they prevent big box stores from selling things aside from essentials. Mainly groceries. I wonder if deodorant is considered essential? Anyway, with the new variants of concern taking over the original strain and being more contagious and deadly, that's cause for concern.

As for keeping your little ones entertained all day, what can you do on the cheap?

Here's a list of five helpful things.

Riding in a park

1) Take walks outside. Little Girl has taken a liking towards her balance bike. As a result, she's been riding her bike when we go for walks. It's a little difficult riding uphill for her as it's easier to walk without a balance bike, but she's been doing well. She does take a lot of breaks, so the key is to get a balance bike that is extremely light to make it easier to lug around. No bikes because your little one has outgrown her old ones and the bicycle stores are all experiencing inventory shortages? Well, the little one just needs to walk. There are pros and cons to living downtown. While it's a different walk every time (due to the many directions and things to see along the way), there are also a lot of people trying to get their exercise as well. During a pandemic, it's something to be mindful of especially since not everyone is mindful about the rules of the pandemic (social distancing by staying at least 2m from other people, wearing masks, etc.)

Taking a break on a pier.

2) If walks aren't your style, then you can print off some colouring pages from the Internet. Just search images and type "coloring pages" (US spelling) and whatever your little one wants to colour like "Abby Hatcher" or "Black Widow" or "Twilight Sparkle". It doesn't take a lot of time to colour in everything, but the fun is trying to colour in the picture with all sorts of colour or taking your time to get the image pop out. Or you can do what LG did here and make Scarlet Witch mostly all red.

The Scarlet Witch colouring page.

3) If you don't have a printer or cannot print at work, then what? Well, you can always draw on magazines and empty shipping boxes from Amazon (or where ever). As a Zoomer Wireless subscriber, we get a free magazine subscription to the Zoomer magazine. As we don't really read the magazine, it doesn't really matter if we colour it up. In the below example, the actress (Sharon Stone, I guess...) was showing a little side boob, so we coloured in a red top, and then turned her into She-Hulk. Or I suppose it could be the Wicked Witch of the West. Not sure why she's missing the tooth, though. Probably She-Hulk then.

Sorry Sharon Stone.

4) Review the school lessons. I know this one sounds boring. However, it's hard to keep a little one engaged in virtual school for 6 straight hours. Sure, they have lunch breaks and recess. However, they also have independent learning time and it is during this time LG will open new tabs and watch some videos or something. Previously, she would play read-along books, but now that she's discovered TVO Kids, I don't know what I can do to stop her short of quitting my job and monitor her during her class. What I do is switch it up from time to time. As LG is in kindergarten, We practice writing her letters or sounding out words. She's pretty good at sounding out letters, but she does get confused with b, d, and p, so I try to put an emphasis on learning to recognize those differences. The words don't have to make sense either. Just put the ending together like "it" and then put letters in front to sound out the word like "fit", "git", "hit". Personally, I try to avoid the "bad" words. So for the "it" example, I avoided using the "t". There is also focus on some math. Mainly adding and subtracting. I did go over some division, but only because she asked me what the division symbol was. For all these activities, it needs to be done in a fun way. Either with number magnets (or paper and marker) for the counting and math or even done while playing games like Chutes and Ladders and using dice (it's fast when you use two dice instead of the included spinner). The most important thing is to not spend too much time doing this as it starts to feel like a chore and you'll notice your little one losing focus or looking bored. That's not the association you want when you start doing these reviews.

This is but a small example of our large collection.

5) Reading time. This one should be obvious. What else can you do when everything is locked down and off limits? Libraries were open for a while, but the big thing is that you can use your library card online to check out ebooks. Not all jurisdictions have or support this option. However, there are other things you can read too. Our virtual school teacher provided a list of resources that contains hundreds of ebooks for kids. Granted you'd have to read them out for the little one, but most books don't have built in "read-out-louds". We've purchased many books over the years (and received many second hand or as gifts) already from Amazon, Indigo, and even Dollarama (the best one we found from here is a Wizard of Oz graphic novel. Not only does it tell the story of the Wizard of Oz in a concise manner, it also has many illustrations to go along with the story) so LG doesn't have a shortage of reading material. Whenever she asks me to read, 99% of the time I stop what I'm doing and we start to read (the other 1% of time, she catches me when I'm in the middle or working on something that needs to be done at work or when she's supposed to be doing something like her virtual class or getting ready for bed). It might be less than 99% of the time, but the point is I try not to refuse her when she asks me to read. 

Hope these help. If there are other suggestions, I'd like to hear them. There's only so many things you can do with nowhere to go.


Popular Posts