(This arti­cle may or may not con­tain affil­i­ate links. What does that mean?)

As every­one now knows we are offi­cial­ly deal­ing with a pan­dem­ic of epic pro­por­tions. I have four kids, one is med­ical­ly com­plex, and my eighty-sev­en year old grand­moth­er lives with us. I, like oth­ers, am lim­it­ing our risks. Nor­mal­ly, I am the mom that has zoo and mul­ti­ple chil­dren’s muse­um pass­es for the year. I am the mom that finds fun activ­i­ties for kids on the week­end. I am also the mom of two spe­cial needs sons. Kage is diag­nosed with Noo­nan Syn­drome and Chiari Mal­for­ma­tion, both con­gen­i­tal. My old­est son, Gun­ner, is autis­tic (high func­tion­ing) and super, super smart! Then there are my twins, Emma and Ander­son. They are amaz­ing tod­dlers who stay home with mom­my dur­ing the week for all kinds of fun tod­dler activ­i­ties. They love Mick­ey Mouse, play­grounds and cook­ies! We nor­mal­ly trav­el all over North Car­oli­na, some­times over the Vir­ginia line, for epic adven­tures and fes­ti­vals, any­thing to find fun things to do with kids. 

That end­ed abrupt­ly last week­end. Life today is very dif­fer­ent. No fes­ti­vals, no local events, no parade and no chil­dren’s muse­ums. But, you know what? That’s ok. This is tem­po­rary and we will all get through this. 



Fun Things to do with Kids during a Quarantine

Instead of muse­ums, I checked out a free activ­i­ty set from our local Smart Start. Smart Start is a great lit­tle place that lends free learn­ing activ­i­ties that are fun games for kids. I picked up a box of fun things to do with my kids: Foot­prints for the floor, big dice cubes that have activ­i­ties imprint­ed on them, stilts, balls and much more! I loaded up on edu­ca­tion­al dis­trac­tions because I felt I real­ly had to lim­it our inter­ac­tion with oth­er peo­ple because of the out­break sit­u­a­tion in our area. 

NC is cur­rent­ly up to 129 cas­es, as of the writ­ing of this essay, some as close as our neigh­bor­ing coun­ties. Our nor­mal hang­outs just won’t work. So, it was time to get cre­ative. I packed up our activ­i­ties and we head­ed out. We trav­eled only a few exits from home, a lot clos­er than usu­al, stay­ing in the coun­try, away from city germs. When we got to the park, we did not go to the play­ground. We went to the field, the nice, safe field. Free of people. 


fun activities for kids

© Lionel Faith Photography


Just me, the kids and our old school toys. We broke out the stilts first. When I sent a pic­ture to my dad, he respond­ed, “We used to make those with cans and rope.” I did briefly think we’d gone back to the 70s. Espe­cial­ly with my dad relat­ing to the same toys! But, I actu­al­ly think those days were pret­ty great. 


Gunner on stilts

Try­ing to walk in grand­pa’s shoes! © Ash­ton Vest


Gun­ner loved the stilts. Kage’s bal­ance was­n’t sharp enough to actu­al­ly stand on them but he did want to stack them. So, what­ev­er works. We moved on to the scoop ball set. They loved play­ing catch although there was­n’t much catch­ing going on. Not to say they’re hor­ri­ble catch­ers. Lets just say: they’re prob­a­bly not going to end up play­ing for the Braves any­time soon.


Outside Encounter

When we fin­ished up at the park, we ven­tured to my aun­t’s a few miles away. My aunt lives right down the road from us. It’s always nice when she meets me or I pick her up so I don’t have to bring every­one into the store. Espe­cial­ly with every­thing going on right now. I picked her up so she could stay in the car with the kids while I ran into the gro­cery store. 



At this point in all our lives, the store could real­ly be con­sid­ered a trav­el adven­ture. Y’all prob­a­bly know what I’m talk­ing about. It’s not like it was before the out­break and quar­an­tine. Now there’s no bread, no toi­let paper, low on water, low on, well, pret­ty much everything! 

I thought I was block­ing the aisle, a man behind me wait­ed. Then, I real­ized, he had gloves on and was sim­ply wait­ing for me to go away. I felt con­fused, for a sec­ond, for­get­ting what was going on in the world. That’s when it real­ly hit me. I’ve nev­er seen emp­ty gro­cery aisles, masks and gloves at any gro­cery store in the Unit­ed States. I quick­ly moved on to the next aisle not want­i­ng to make him feel MORE uncomfortable.

I’ll be hon­est. I only end­ed up buy­ing 6 bot­tles of juice, a Buy 3 Get 3 deal on Lunch­ables and yogurt. Seemed like a risky trip to get so lit­tle, we are out of so much on the shelves it def­i­nite­ly makes shop­ping difficult. 



How to Start Homeschooling

While trav­el and adven­ture might not be our norm right now. There are still ways to get out safe­ly and cre­ate adven­ture right in our back­yards. I typ­i­cal­ly do home preschool activ­i­ties with my twins, a mix I make myself (a com­bi­na­tion of speech, phys­i­cal, and occu­pa­tion­al therapies). 


© Ash­ton Vest


I also find free craft print­a­bles. Today’s theme was a Chris­t­ian Preschool Print­a­bles, a super fun and sim­ple Trea­sures in Heav­en cloud craft which can be found here. Both my old­er boys have Indi­vid­u­al­ized Edu­ca­tion Plans (IEP’s) at school. So, they do need more indi­vid­ual help with edu­ca­tion­al goals. We received our pack­ets from school today with week­ly lessons and online resources. Both their teach­ers now have vir­tu­al class­rooms on apps to com­mu­ni­cate with par­ents. I think our school has done an amaz­ing job ensur­ing stu­dents are well pre­pared! Here is anoth­er resource for fam­i­lies hav­ing to home­school right now.


  • On the way to Siberut at Mentawai Islands  to Surf Resort Hidden Bay Resort


Be Kind

We will work on many things while we’re out of school, includ­ing con­tin­u­ing Kage’s Kards. I col­lect hand­made cards from schools and church­es for the pro­gram we start­ed, Kage’s Kards, and donate them to local hos­pi­tals. Kage nor­mal­ly hand deliv­ers them. We had a dona­tion just last week and we will con­tin­ue to cre­ate awe­some cards while we’re home. In a time of uncer­tain­ty, we still have kindness.


So. How is your fam­i­ly sur­viv­ing the quarantine?


Ash­ton Vest is a free­lance writer and stay at home mom­ma to four kids. They are ages 5, 4 and 2 year old twins. Born and bred in Sweet Home Car­oli­na (North that is). Home of amaz­ing BBQ, REAL sweet tea and plen­ty of back­wood par­ties. Ash­ton describes her life as wilder than any 8 sec­ond ride. 


Dis­claimer: As busy moms, we most­ly shop online. When we share great finds with each oth­er, we share links. Instead of fund­ing all the hard work that goes into pro­duc­ing this web­site with prod­uct ban­ners and pop-up ads, we decid­ed to part­ner with Ama­zon. So, if you buy one of the Ama­zon prod­ucts on this web­site that we’re also using, Ama­zon will con­tribute to our cre­ative efforts with a small con­tri­bu­tion to this dig­i­tal mag­a­zine. This won’t add to your pur­chase price at all. Win/Win.