By: Jamie Panzer
FAMILY ACTIVITIES TO DO IN A PANDEMIC!
With the coronavirus pandemic sweeping across the globe, we are living through unprecedented times, but if there’s been a silver lining to the pandemic, it’s been more opportunities for family time. With options for activities constrained by safety restrictions, creativity and flexibility are key for finding fun things to do as a family. Here are 20 fun family activities you can do in a pandemic!
Many families have found that spending extra time at home is the perfect opportunity to bring out their creative side. The options for getting into a craft or project with your family members are limitless. You could build something awesome out of Legos, build a model car, tackle a home improvement project, or build a fort. For art projects, there are a wide variety of craft kits available, and endless ideas accessible via Google, but open-ended activities with beads, paint, or other craft supplies can be fun as well.
Learn Some Science!
Simple science experiments can be a great way to have fun while learning something new. In our household, we’ve made a volcano with baking soda and vinegar, used a lime to power a small clock, and are working on growing rock candy. For some great ideas, along with instructions on how to implement them, check out this list of 50 easy science experiments that can be done with household items. The Hands-on Museum in Ann Arbor is another great resource for science videos and STEM activities that can be done at home.
Cooking & Movies
Cooking together as a family can be a great experience as well. This could be the ideal time to try a new cuisine that you’ve always been curious about, or develop new cooking skills like making homemade pasta or baking bread. Try a new cookbook, or decorate cookies for friends and neighbors to brighten their days and ease some of the isolation of the pandemic. You could try the new hot cocoa bomb craze, or try this delicious recipe for homemade hot chocolate with basic ingredients. The recipe starts with proportions for a single cup, and can be scaled up according to how much you want to make. And finally, for those nights when the cooking and planning fatigue sets in, ordering a pizza, microwaving some popcorn, and having a pajama and movie night is a perfect low-effort, low-cost activity. In our house, movie night is a sacred Friday night ritual that has become so cherished that it will most likely endure well beyond the pandemic.
Games, Puzzles, and Podcasts
Playing games as a family can double as a bonding activity and an educational opportunity. At a time when many kids aren’t able to attend school in-person, games can be a fun and informal way to develop and sharpen important skills such as math (Monopoly), strategy (Chess), spelling (Scrabble), emotion regulation, and more. Our favorite quick-and-easy card games are Sushi Go, Exploding Kittens, Set, and Uno. For longer games we like Qwirkle, Sequence, Splendor, The Game of Life, and Ticket to Ride. We’ve also enjoyed putting together some jigsaw puzzles while listening to music or podcasts, such as The Stories Podcast, perfect for capturing young imaginations.
Libraries and Volunteering
Options for activities can be found throughout the community, as well. Local libraries are a great resource, not just for books, but for take-home craft kits, virtual storytimes and more. Or, look into doing a virtual volunteer project. Churches, synagogues, and other places of worship can be a great resource for this, or you can investigate the needs of an organization that is meaningful to your family. For example, you can deliver food packages on behalf of local food pantries, or create cards to nursing home residents who are experiencing increased isolation as a result of COVID-19.
Additionally, in spite of the challenges of the pandemic, many families are finding creative ways to stay active. This can be as simple as following along with a free Cosmic Kids Yoga session. Mini trampolines, exercise bikes, setting up climbing equipment in the basement, and even DIY backyard ice skating rinks have become popular this year as well. Or, when you need new scenery and fresh air, try taking a hike on a local trail. Carpenter Lake in Southfield, MI is a fantastic option for families with kids. It’s a relatively short and easy trail, with great views, and rocks for climbing. The Detroit Zoo is another great place to walk around together. In downtown Detroit, the outdoor ice rink is open at Campus Martius, and Winter at Valade Park on the Detroit Riverfront offers many fun wintertime activities such as marshmallow roasting, sledding, and synthetic ice curling (coming soon). Some other options for outdoor activities this winter are skiing – especially if you’ve never tried it before – or checking out one of the fantastic sledding hills our area has to offer.
Safe Indoor Activities
For those who are comfortable visiting indoor venues, there are a number of options. The Detroit Institute of Arts is open from Wednesday-Sunday, and is free to residents of Oakland, Macomb, and Wayne Counties, though reservations are required at this time. There are special hours for at-risk individuals. Feel free to check out their website for more information. In addition to their usual offerings The Henry Ford Museum is running a Marvel exhibit through the end of January. Tickets can be purchased here. The Michigan Science Center is open as well. The facility spans tens of thousands of square feet, allowing for social distancing. Marvelous Marvin’s Mechanical Museum is a family-run arcade/museum located in Farmington Hills that guests of all ages can enjoy. Each of these venues has unique COVID policies and hours, and they may be subject to change, so look them up before planning your visit. It’s important to keep in mind that the food and beverage options at these locations may be unavailable or limited due to safety precautions, so be sure to plan accordingly.
Even during a global pandemic, we are fortunate to still have many options for activities that families can enjoy. There are plenty of happy memories to be made as we weather the rest of this time together.