“Children need the freedom and time to play. Play is not a luxury. Play is a necessity.” – Kay Redfield Jamison
It officially marks one year that we have been impacted by COVID-19. A year ago, we had no idea how much of a dumpster fire 2020 would become. I think of the year in terms of phases. At the beginning of the pandemic, I cleaned my house and car top to bottom all the time. Then, virtual pre-k started for my daughter. My husband and I started working from home. I acquired a significant leggings collection. I drank wine with friends over Zoom and tried all the new recipes. Then, the murder hornets came. This proved the end of days were coming! Luckily, we survived. My reaction to COVID was to stay busy throughout the year from home renovations to new hobbies.
It is challenging as a parent in a pandemic, and I am extremely blessed with a fantastic partner and support system. Shout out to all the moms who have their children in virtual school AND work from home at the same time. Y’all are the real MVP! As tough as it was to handle a pandemic as a parent with small children, it hits me sporadically how difficult it is for kids living through this time as well. We have high-risk loved ones, so my family has taken more of a cautious approach throughout the pandemic to keep everyone safe and healthy. My 6-year-old daughter misses her grandparents who live out of town. My son who is now 2 is a total pandemic baby. Poor thing only goes to the doctor’s office if we are not at a park or going to Granny and Paw Paw’s house.
Time for Some Fun!
With so much heaviness and existential dread happening, we had to release that energy somehow. We chose to play! Here are some ways to revel in the small things:
The holidays are an excuse to go all out! The holidays were lower key this year and it was hard not being able to celebrate with extended family like usual. On the flip side, it was also really nice to have quality time with my little family unit of four. We made the most of each holiday. We had a Halloween treasure hunt in the backyard (instead of trick or treating), made gingerbread houses during Christmas time, and decorated our Mardi Gras tree. Whatever the holiday was, our family embraced it and celebrated. Those moments helped significantly in our hunt to find joy throughout the year. (I was one of those who put their Christmas tree up way too early this year. The sparkle helps!)
Whenever we are really itching to get out, we go on adventures to experience the beauty of Acadiana! One of my favorite spots is the Acadiana Park Nature Station. It has trails for walking, a great playground, and camping grounds.
There is something so fun about a picnic at the park! Getting fresh air, vitamin D, and letting the kids run around is just what we need to relax and recharge.
Birthdays are big in my house! I have two December babies and we always fuss over the kiddos in a special way. This year, we did a Harry Potter birthday-themed tree. The birthday presents were placed under the tree. To put it simply, it was pure magic!
Acadiana is very lucky to have Zoosiana! This has been a lifesaver to have something educational and captivating to do with the kids outdoors. They have fun themes and activities throughout the year too. It is also easy to stay socially distanced from others.
Zoom is not just for business meetings and wine with friends! Zoom is a great way to connect with family members and your children’s friends.
If you are looking for an educational activity, there are plenty of examples on YouTube! This trick is pulled out when the dreaded sentence “I’m bored!” is uttered.
On a rainy day, I am a firm believer in the blanket fort! There is something so magical about creating a space for your kiddos to imagine it is a castle or a cave. Even if there is a 50/50 chance my 2-year-old will aggressively tear down the fort, it is worth it and gives them several hours of entertainment.
Camping in the Backyard
Recently, we had a camp out in the backyard! A $35 tent from Walmart made my daughter’s weekend. There were s’mores, card games in the tent, hunts for bugs, and roasting hot dogs over the fire. Did we sneak her back into the bed after she fell asleep? Absolutely! The experience was a blast for the whole family.
Tie-dye is back! With a $15 to $20 tie-dye kit and a plastic tablecloth, make all your Lisa Frank dreams a reality with this fun craft.