So we made it through Day 3 of our “Coronavirus Break” in the Green Bay area and we are definitely going to need things to do to keep us busy/occupied at home for the next 2+ weeks! You can only stay in your PJ’s and binge-watch shows/movies for so long. (Actually, I can’t do that for more than an hour, but I know I’m not normal.) Personally, I’m not a homebody. I’m the opposite. I love to be out and about going places, doing things and seeing people. (Which is why I created let’s go mommy.) So this is going to be a very challenging time for me. I can’t allow myself to think long-term during this, I have to take it day-by-day and hope for the best. The thought that we could be cooped up in isolation for several weeks is more than I can handle. I’m still hoping that after April 6 things/places are going to start re-opening, although the more I’m hearing, the less likely that sounds. While this will be challenging, I have to remind myself that things could be much worse for me and my family, and I know we can get through this. We’re not alone (technically)–we’re all going through the same thing. Challenges may not be fun, but they can be good for us and build character. And it’s a chance to bond as a family, which I should probably look at as a blessing. One thing that I don’t recommend doing during the time off is spending too much time watching the news and reading about Coronavirus. It’s definitely good to be informed and aware of what is going on, but you shouldn’t let it consume you. So I made a list of things we/you could do during our time at home. My list includes a variety of ideas–some are for the parents, some for the kids and some for the whole family. I know there are many lists like this all over the internet, but I hope you enjoy mine and find something to try!

  1. Start Spring Cleaning. This is a great time to do any of that deep cleaning or organizing that you’ve been putting off and never seem to have time for. And you can get the kids involved, too. We have a furnace room that houses all of our files and bins of things that we pack away to store like special toys/keepsakes the kids outgrow. We’ve been avoiding this project for quite some time, but we’ve started tackling it and it feels really good to start getting some files cleaned out and I’m looking forward to getting it all done and seeing how much we can accomplish. This could also include going through closets and getting out spring/summer clothes and etc.
  2. Rearrange Furniture. It could be fun to change things up around the house. The kids may enjoy switching things around in their bedrooms and freshening things up and you can clean as you go to kill two birds with one stone!
  3. Balance Your Checkbook. If people still do that…I do. 😉
  4. Create or Re-evaluate your Family Budget. Personally, we’ve always followed a budget. Here are a few websites/resources for creating budgets: https://www.nerdwallet.com/blog/finance/how-to-build-a-budget/, https://www.crown.org/resource-category/budgeting/ or https://www.daveramsey.com/get-started/budget/?snid=start.budgeting-a
  5. Start Planning for Summer Camps. Sure, we don’t know what the next couple of months hold and what that may mean for work or summer camp, but hopefully things will be getting back to normal by then, and if so, you will want to have a plan for your kids and childcare. And it makes me happy to think about summer. I just launched the 2020 Summer Camp guide a couple of weeks ago so you can check it out here and start doing your research: https://letsgomommy.com/lets-go-to-summer-camp-2020-green-bay/
  6. Start Planning your next Family Vacation. You may want to hold off on actually booking airline tickets or hotels until things are more certain, but you could at least start doing the research and figuring out where you want to go and what you will do when you are there. This is something fun that could help get your mind off things and give you something to look forward to. I’ve written blogs about a few family trips that we’ve taken in the past. If you would like info about those destinations, you can find them here: South Dakota/Mount Rushmore, Historical Bardstown Kentucky, Cincinnati/Kings Island Amusement Park, The Creation Museum, The Ark Encounter.
  7. Read. This is a good one for everyone in the family. Personally, I never seem to find the time to sit down and read a good book anymore, so hopefully I can do so during this time off. I’m also making it a goal to read the Bible everyday. I really have no excuses if I can’t do that now! I’m embarrassed to say that I started reading “The One-Year Chronological Bible” a few years ago (which gives you passages to read each day so you can finish it in one year) and I only got about half-way through before I stopped. So I’m picking up where I left off and hopefully by December I will be finished! I’ve read most of the Bible in bits and pieces over the course of my life, but I find it fascinating and interesting to read it in chronological order, so I would like to accomplish that and know that I’ve read the entire Bible.
  8. Set Some Goals. This is a good time to reflect on life and your goals personally, professionally and as a spouse/parent. Think about things you want to accomplish in the short-term (maybe even goals for the break) and long-term and how you can get there. Write them down. Then start planning the steps you need to take to achieve those goals.
  9. Reprioritize. Similar to setting goals, this is a good time to consider and re-evaluate your priorities in life. I don’t know about you, but this whole COVID-19 thing has put things in a different perspective and reminded me that life is short and there is much more meaning to it than the day-to-day grind, materialism and etc that we are constantly bombarded with and surrounded by.
  10. Go Outside and Be Active. Fortunately we don’t have 3 feet of snow on the ground to contend with and the weather has been rather mild lately. It should continue getting better and better, which is another thing to look forward to. Go for a run, family walks, bike rides, rollerblading, shoot hoops, play catch, have the kids play outside on their own, etc. As far as I know parks aren’t off limits and as long as you keep your distance and bring some hand sanitizer along, they should be fine to visit. Here’s a list of all the parks in the Green Bay area: https://letsgomommy.com/lets-go-outside/
  11. Finish a Project. Everyone has projects around the house that they’ve been planning to do. Well, now’s the time! For us there are a few. There’s a dresser I bought from a thrift store a couple of years ago that I’ve been planning to refurbish and paint. I also need to file away projects, awards and etc that my girls bring home from school that I save. There’s quite a large stack that has accumulated. I also have a couple of honey-do projects–replacing the electronic panel on our stove and adding some caulk around our fireplace tile. I plan to make sure those things get done in the next couple of weeks as well. 😉
  12. Start Planning for Preschool for the 2020/2021 School Year. Enrollment for Preschools opened in January and let’s go mommy has a list of over 26 preschools with all of the info on ages accepted, days/times offered, locations and contact info. If you have a little one between the ages of 18 months and 5 years old, preschool is an option for you! This is a great time to do the research and start making calls for enrollment if you haven’t already. Here’s the link: https://letsgomommy.com/lets-go-preschool/
  13. Plan 1:1 Time with Each of your Kids. If you have more than 1 child, I think it’s safe to say that everyone is going to get on each other’s nerves at some point. Everyone deserves to have some alone-time in their own space each day– wherever that may be–and it could also be good for parents to take turns doing things with the kids individually during the break. Some things you might do one-on-one are play a game/board game, do a craft, watch a movie, go for a walk/run/bike, cook/bake or play catch/play outside together.
  14. Do a Family Puzzle. Get a 1000 piece puzzle (or whatever size is appropriate for your family/the ages of your kids) and have everyone work on putting it together over the next few weeks.
  15. Have a Game Day. Get out all your board games and pick a few games to play. Depending on the size of your family, you might want to have a few games going at a time and have people rotate between them.
  16. Paint Rocks. Painted rocks have become a fun trend in the last few years. They are a great way to provide inspiration, which we all need right now! Paint rocks individually or as a family and take them around your neighborhood and/or local park and hide them. Wash your hands first, of course. 😉
  17. Cook or Bake Something New & Different. Dust off the recipe book or go online and find a new, exciting recipe. The only challenge with this might be having the needed ingredients on-hand, so you may need to plan ahead a bit for this one. The kids could get involved with this as well or even do it their own. Everyone could even take turns making things. (This is actually another one of the things I dread the most about being home for 2-3 weeks straight and not being able to go out to eat at restaurants…I hate the idea of having to plan and/or make a home-cooked meal every night. Luckily my husband is helping out with that now that he’s home, too.) I may even do this one and try to have some fun with it! Usually I view cooking as a chore, but maybe if I can find an interesting recipe for a food that I love, it could be fun.
  18. Set a Schedule. If you haven’t already, it’s important to have a regular routine during this time off. It will make the kids feel more secure and in control and it will help you, too. I have a separate blog about that here: https://letsgomommy.com/staying-calm-setting-a-schedule/
  19. Learn Something New. Take an online class, do a webinar, listen to a podcast or etc. to learn about a topic that interests you or that might help you in your career or even as a spouse or parent.
  20. Update your Resume/Do a Job Search. If you are a working parent or considering going back to work, this could be a great time to get your resume up-to-date and start looking to see what kinds of jobs are out there. Obviously with the inevitable changes to our economy that will result from the Coronavirus “shut-down”, that may mean a shortage of jobs, at least in certain industries, but it won’t hurt to check and see what’s out there.
  21. Arts & Crafts. Here are some cute, fun and simple craft ideas: https://www.easypeasyandfun.com/crafts-for-kids/ to try out anytime the kids are looking for something to do and of course, there’s always Pinterest.
  22. Have an Easter Egg Hunt. Easter will be here before we know it and all of the community Easter Egg Hunts will likely be cancelled, so go ahead and have your own–indoors and/or outdoors in the next couple of weeks. Everyone in the family can take turns hiding them.
  23. Celebrate All the Holidays in One Day. Do something fun to represent each of the holidays. Here are some ideas, but you could come up with your own options: Do a Countdown and Blow Noisemakers/Throw Confetti for the New Year, Make Valentines for everyone in the family, Wear Green for St Patrick’s Day, Color Easter Eggs/Have an Easter Egg Hunt, Set up a Tent/Have an Indoor Campout or Have a Campfire for Memorial Day, Do Sparklers for July 4th, Make a Halloween Craft or Bake Halloween Cookies, Have a Turkey Dinner for Thanksgiving and Watch a Christmas movie for Christmas.
  24. Plan a Date Night. My husband and I were long overdue for a date night BEFORE Coronavirus hit. We were looking forward to having some one on one time together and date nights during spring break when visiting my parents. Now that we won’t be going away for spring break and we are basically sequestered to our home for the foreseeable future, a date night seems like it’s going to be a long ways off. However, I had the idea that one night we could have the kids go to bed early or just have them do their own thing upstairs while we “go on a date” downstairs. We could order a pizza and eat our food together downstairs without the kids and then watch a movie together. Depending on the weather, we might also be able to go on a walk together since our kids are old enough to leave home alone for a bit. Either way we’re bound to have some interruptions from the kids, but it’s better than nothing and worth a try!
  25. Have a Spa Day. Give yourself a manicure and/or pedicure. If you have girls, you could do this for them or with them as well.
  26. Have a Movie Marathon. Pick your favorite movie series and watch all of them one day or evening as a family or by yourself.
  27. Make a Photo Album. I’m pretty sure everyone has photos on their phone or computer that they would like to get into albums. Now would be a great time to make some albums online or maybe even the old-fashioned way. This could also be a fun project to let your kids help with or maybe even do themselves. Who knows, maybe you can get a few albums done!