Though you may be tackling quarantine boredom like a seasoned pro as we enter the ninth week since schools in the Santa Clarita Valley closed, the cabin fever has surely begun to set in by now.
Both you and the kiddos might be getting a bit restless. If you’ve already run through the lists of family-friendly quarantine activities published in various Sunday Signal editions, maybe even twice, don’t worry, we’ve got more coming your way.
Paint some rocks
Get the paint out and grab some rocks because it’s time to get creative. Let the kids draw whatever they’d like on their rocks, then help them write an inspiring message on them. Next, it’s time to hide them around the neighborhood for others to find.
A number of SCV residents have already started doing this and received some positive responses, including 10-year-old Allysse Castro and 14-year-old Matteo Zuleta, who began painting rocks after finding some painted ones on their walk through the Valencia Hills paseos.
“There were few rocks when we walked, so we came home and made tons more,” mother Ninet Castro said.
Since then, they’ve painted dozens of rocks with positive messages before hiding them around town for others to find, even discovering later who found them through social media, which has been exciting.
Now, they’ve taken their art to the driveway, creating positive messages in chalk to share with their neighbors who walk by.
With a number of organizations launching free, online learning tools, like Scholastic, PBS and Have Fun Teaching, among others, learning can be a fun way to pass the time. Each includes day-to-day activities with downloadable worksheets, songs, videos and projects in all subjects to keep kids thinking.
While many kids may be excited they don’t have to do P.E. anymore with schools closed, it’s still important to exercise. Joe Wicks, known primarily as “The Body Coach,” has decided he will become the nation’s P.E. teacher. Each day at 9 a.m., Wicks has been holding half-hour, kids’ workout classes on his YouTube channel, so anyone can follow along.
Do some more cooking
Quarantine is the perfect opportunity to teach kids some of the basic skills they won’t learn in school, like how to cook some basic meals.
Do some meditating
The current health crisis can be extremely stressful for both parents and kids alike. Meditation can be a great stress reliever, even if only done for a few minutes at a time.
Valencia resident Jeff Bomberger is posting some 5-minute meditation videos on his Facebook, so that you and your family can follow along.
“We could use more folks using this time to go inward and relieving anxiousness,” Bomberger said. “I just want to offer what solace I can.”
Build a pillow fort
If your cardboard fort from last week was a hit, change it up by using pillows and blankets this time. If you don’t have any new books on hand, Kindle is currently offering two months free.
Challenge yourself to dust off those books you’ve been meaning to read. Get into that pillow fort you just built and have the kids read their own books while you read your’s if they’re old enough.
Tend your gardens
Whether you’ve already started your garden or not, now is the perfect time to teach those kiddos how to grow some of those much-needed fruits, vegetables or herbs. Get them to pick some of their favorites and make some room for them to start planting.
Make some donations
After spring cleaning is done, you may have found some things you’re willing to part with. Many local organizations are in need of donations, such as the SCV Food Pantry, Bridge to Home, Help the Children and more. Reach out and see what supplies they’re in need of because you might just have some to spare.
Stay in touch
Grandma and grandpa are stuck inside as well, so they, too, are probably feeling quite lonely right about now. Keep making those phone calls, or even FaceTime or Skype them if you can. This not only allows you to check in on them, but gets everyone some much-needed love.
You can also set up video calls with some of your kid’s friends, as they probably are missing each other quite a bit right now, as well.
Whether you already know how to play something or nothing at all, this is the perfect time to sharpen your skills. Watch some YouTube tutorials and get playing!
Pianist and Valencia resident Oksana Kolesnikova is offering free group beginner piano lessons for children on her YouTube channel every Saturday, while West Coast Music Academy has also created a free online master class for anyone who is interested in music production.
“The current events are affecting all of us, (but) my heart especially aches for all of the children who are now confined to their homes due to social distancing,” Kolesnikova said. “So, I would like to contribute and donate my time and skill to help children ages 7-13 in our community.”
Break out those board games
Pull out all those board games you’ve been stockpiling for a family game night (or day). If your kids have outgrown the games you’ve got, try creating some new rules to make them more challenging, or go down memory lane and let them realize how silly those games really are.
For Saugus resident Jenny Staples, who has five kids, ranging in ages from 4-20, finding a game they could all play together was often difficult, she said.
“A few weeks ago, we started making up our own rules to some of our family’s favorite games,” Staples said. “Then, that worked so well that we started creating our own games. Our favorites so far are the ones we’ve created that involve our own family history. It’s been so fun to challenge the younger kids to learn more about the family, while also getting the older ones engaged in teaching them.”