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    Easy Things to Help Kids Keep Busy and Happy During Quarantine

    With self-isolation dragging on far long than most people anticipated, I thought to offer some helpful tips for kids to keep stress and frustration at bay. It’s a great time to take focus on their feelings and consider boosting their moods with a few easy and inexpensive items.

    These are little things to buy or make that make a big difference in the long run:

    • Treats. Self-Isolation is incredibly stressful for everyone, but especially the little ones in our lives. Be sure to have a few treats on hand to help keep morale up. This includes things like cookies, bubble gum, frozen pizzas, and their favorite breakfast cereal. Or better yet, make the goodies together! Reina’s favorite recipe to make is the frozen bananas we featured last summer – check them out because you can actually feel ok about this special treat! Pro tip: don’t have these treats out all the time, but while self-isolation is ongoing it’s nice to give them a little something every 3 or 4 days. Frozen fruits for smoothies, popcicles and cream are great options for spring too.
    Photo by Marla Smith
    • New Books. Try giving your kids a new book every week during isolation. Our latest addition is the just released How Big is Your Brave? by Ruth Soukup. It’s a great message at a time when kids do need to be brave! It opened up some great coversations with Reina about fear and having the strength you need to keep going even if something is tough. She wants to build a rocket now just like Zippy did so it can spur some interest in art and science too. Another one we’ve leaned into during our quarantine life is John Wooden’s Inch and Miles that talks through similar concepts as Soukup that can lead to success. This can be a physical book or an ebook (yes, they make children’s books in ebook form!). Something new to read each week will really encourage them to keep reading and keep their minds active and learning.
    • New Toys. While I try to limit buying lots of toys, after a particularly big milestone or completing a major school project toys really create a special celebration for kids. It should be something relatively small that they can play with inside or in the year, ideally by themselves. If you want you can have a few toys on hand and give them out every couple of weeks, depending on how long self-isolation is going to go on. A new coloring book, new colored pencils, or a watercolor set are all great. As are Hotwheels and lego sets. Board games for the whole family are also a great idea. There are lots of printable board games too if you want to give a last minute gift. Check out Teacherspayteachers site for free and low cost games that are both fun and educational! You gotta like their games because you get mom brownie points at the same time you’re reinforcing age appropriate learning!
    • A New Stuffed Animal. When times are stressful sometimes the best thing you can do for a child is give them a new friend to cuddle. No, I’m not talking about going out and getting a cat. Though, that is an option! I’m talking about a new stuffed animal. Keep the stuffed animal hidden away in your closet then break it out before bed one evening after a particularly tough day. This little surprise will send your kids into instant bliss and help them sleep easier.
    • Bath Toys. Your kids are going to have nothing but time while self-isolation is going on. Why not get some bath toys? You can throw your kids into their swimwear in the middle of the day and put water in the bath. Suddenly it’s almost like you’re at the pool! I’m a fan of the Magic Grow Capsules because they’re small additons to the toy collection and (this might sound funny but…) they don’t last long. Easy addition, easy use and toss. Plus the excitment Reina gets while she waits to see what the animal is during it’s ‘grow’ process adds a level of fun.
    • Kid Medicines, Vitamins, and Bandaids. Be sure to stock up on kid-friendly medicines, vitamins, and something to get electrolytes into them just in case they get sick during self-isolation. Another little morale boost is kid-friendly bandaids with Disney or Star Wars on them. These little things make a big difference and you’ll be glad you have them in case something does happen.

    I hope these low cost, easy suggestions are helpful for you! Goodness knows it’s tough keeping spirits up without playdates and school recess. I hope you and your families are holding up and staying positive! Everyone here at No Qualms Mom is wishing for the best for you all!

    Photos by Elizabeth Curtiss except where noted