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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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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?
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