Keeping kids active while protecting them, yourself and the community from the Coronavirus (COVID-19)
Maintaining Positive Energy Through Deliberate, Thoughtful Quality Time
In the wake of social distance, quarantine, and the COVID-19 virus, we are sending love to each of you and hoping for health, patience and optimism during this stressful and scary time. As we band together in solidarity to strengthen our community, we expect this period of slowing down and exercising more caution will forge deeper relationships within every individual family in the process. We encourage you to view this opportunity to further connect with your loved ones as a silver lining during an anxious moment in time.
Our mission at happyly is to inspire families to live a healthy, active outdoor lifestyle. In this time of uncertainty, and always, your safety and well-being are of the utmost importance to us, as is demonstrated by our very purpose. To that effect, a portion of our content, such as playgrounds, museums and indoor play spaces are not currently recommended.
Our app and website offer hundreds of ideas for fresh air family hikes and walking trails, as well as stroller running routes. It’s an appropriate time to explore the less traveled trails and we are compiling lists in all active cities to share with you in the coming days.
How we plan to serve you:
1) YouTube informational videos: In an effort to serve the community that we love, we partnered with Rebecca Green and her wonderful book, Banish Boredom, to share inspiration for at-home activities too. We will be posting a blog this week.
Already, you can begin to access ideas from our broader team via our YouTube channel (happyly and https://youtu.be/oJWtah1j-w4). The YouTube channel features activity ideas to enjoy indoors, including arts and crafts and family games. We hope this will serve as a useful tool to stem your creativity while leveraging supplies you already have in your home. We will include simple ideas with minimal cleanup and some messy projects for all ages to choose from!
2) Tips for hikes & stroller running: First-hand experiences of our local ambassadors are always available on our website and free app in all active cities. We will also be sharing a series of quieter hiking ideas for you to consider in addition to the more popular options. For additional hiking insight, check out www.alltrails.com.
Remember to bring water and hand sanitizer, avoid close contact and try to avoid large groups. Of course, at every opportunity be sure to wash your hands with soap and water and always stay home if any member of your family shows signs of illness.
3) Family games: As a happyly community, we are focused on creating present time with memorable experiences, at home or on the go. Games are a huge part of our collective parenting strategy, encouraging connection and learning for all. We hope this article from our wonderful editor, Randi Banks, will serve as inspiration for card games and board games for all levels to fuel laughter and love in your home.
4) Organized itineraries for home days: For families trying to juggle working remotely without child care or weekend warriors adjusting to an entirely new schedule, ensure a more fun and manageable day with your kids by creating a schedule. This enables parents to work as needed or participate in a meaningful way while contributing to more positive energy within the home.
In the coming weeks, we will be sharing itinerary ideas daily that we hope you and your kids will love and can adjust to suit your personal needs and preferences.
A SAMPLE DAY:
- Breakfast & dance party: We love starting the day with music to help set the mood. Whether you’re microwaving waffles assembling your favorite biscuits or making pancakes, breakfast can be a fun way to start a great day together! More time at home leads to less urgency, and everyone can get involved in set-up and clean-up. In doing so you will be simultaneously instilling helpful habits for the future!
- Creativity Corner: Check out some ideas from Banish Boredom, our YouTube channel or simply provide paper and crayons and set a theme to help inspire and engage your littlest artist.
- Yoga: There are some amazing yoga instructors putting goodness into the world and it’s a great activity for all ages and abilities. @ouryogahome is offering free zoom classes, and Cosmic Kids offers a variety of free yoga classes on YouTube too!
- Tech Corner: ABC Mouse is a hit in our house these days and the wide variety of included activities are engaging yet maintain a very strong learning focus. They offer a free trial!
- Lunch: Make your own sandwich, macaroni & cheese, grilled chicken or veggie tray. So many options, again, a great chance to get everyone involved in setting up, cleaning up as well as food prep (with a lot of hand washing!!)
- Outside time: If you have access to outdoor space, get kiddos moving with fresh air time. Depending on where you live, take a walk around the block or make your way to a local hike or walking trail.
- Reading time: Set a goal for books per day, make a fun sticker chart and read away! If you’re low on books, organize a trade with healthy friends or neighbors. Additionally, be sure to check out what’s available digitally through your local library.
- Rest time: Insert a fun/relaxing/educational movie if your kiddo is beyond napping years or play calming music in a darkened room and lay still. It’s a nice chance for everyone to take a deep breath and relax together, or tackle something that requires a lot of focus while your little ones are experiencing quiet time.
- Independent play or creativity corner: With so many fun toy options, reintroduce one or two that they haven’t interacted with in a while. It will trigger creative play. Alternatively, if your kiddo needs more structure, try another art project, Banish Boredom delivers so many great ideas, and we will be creating new videos on YouTube daily.
- Check your local public library to see what digital offerings are available. Many public libraries offer extensive digital book collections that you can access for free.
- If you are a member of Audible and have unused credits, consider putting them to use for children's books that you can listen to together.
- Explore Podcasts: Wow In The World and Brains On! covers a variety of creative topics, The Show About Science is a science research and discovery show, Smash Boom Best is a debate show for kids from the creators of Brains On and Highlights Hangout features stories, characters, puzzles, and jokes from the pages of Highlights magazine. In Tai Asks Why Tai Poole tries to find the answers to life's biggest questions and Earth Ranger Emma travels the world to discover the wildest animal facts and solve nature's biggest mysteries in Earth Ranger. Forever Ago is a history show for the whole family and Circle Round adapts folktales from around the world into music-rich radio plays for kids 4-10 with a focus on issues like kindness, persistence, and generosity.
- Try these Free Apps for your kids: Prodigy - a kids math game (you don't have to buy the membership), Brainscape Learn World Geography (flashcard learning of the world map), Duo Lingo to practice language, or the Coffee Break series of language podcasts for short lessons focused on conversational language learning. We also recommend the Noggin Preschool Learning App and Epic App for books.
- Take on a project at home such as 100 Things: A Rewarding and Fun Family Activity.
- othergoose.com is offering a free three-week trial - this is a homeschooling community for beginners.
- Free homeschool resources list from Amazing Educational Resources.
Please let us know how we can best help you, or if you have specific recommendation requests based on your kids’ ages. Also, we welcome any additional ideas to share with the happyly community. We appreciate your advice and thoughts and always love to hear from you!
For more information about coping with the necessary school closures and maintaining a spirit of community during this period of social distancing, we encourage you to check out the following articles.
By Anne Helen Petersen
By Gretchen Schmelzer
By Marisa Porges