By: Jaime Vining
Between toilet paper shortages, spring break cancellations and school closures, this week has felt like the longest year ever.
While parents across Parkland can now add “virtual homeschool teacher” to their resumes, many are struggling with how to explain the COVID-19 epidemic and concept of social distancing to their homebound children. Parkland Talk asked parents how they planned to occupy their kids during this extended period at home, and the responses were resourceful.
Most suggested that sticking to a daily schedule would help children adjust to a new online learning format. Meaghan Kessler Maro recommended a variety of preschool activities.
“For our four-year-old son, we are planning to have him work on his letters, healthy snack time, and some art projects. There will also be some outdoor time bike riding, chalk on the driveway, drive his Jeep, walking. Maybe I will have him run some short sprints if he has lots of energy. It’s good for me, too,” she laughed.
Parents also widely recognized the importance of responsible outdoor time.
“We are actually working on being outdoors more, doing things like riding bikes, finding things to take pictures of that we may not normally take the time to notice, taking some long overdue pictures of the kids, organizing toys and sorting out what needs to be donated,” shared Bo Landy. “In other words, doing things that we would normally like to do or need to do, but often don’t find the time for.”
Piya Thompson took it one step further outside.
“We are camping in the back yard. Doubles as a fort!” Jennifer Berger Levine cautioned those exploring outside to “just stay at least six feet apart from people outside of your immediate household.”
Crafting is another excellent way to keep the kids from becoming couch potatoes.
“I ordered a ton of origami paper, and we are going to watch YouTube and learn how to make fun stuff,” Dandi Bond exclaimed. “We are also painting rocks to place at parks when we can go again!”
Allison Neumann Tromer took a philanthropic approach. “We are making very easy no-sew blankets for the Greater Broward Chapter Pap Corps. The blankets made get delivered to the pediatric cancer patients at Alex’s Place, University of Miami, Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center, to keep them warm during chemo treatment.”
For teenagers, traditional board games and online games are popular pastimes.
“We will probably play a lot of Jackbox games as a family online,” said Michelle Wallace.
Hillary Lippold Strubinger agreed. “Board games! We have made our own games based on our favorite movies or books. Used a big poster board or cardboard for the game board, then let kids write rules and draw the board out.”
For more family ideas, check out the free projects from Scholastic Classroom Magazine, free music curriculum from Carnegie Hall through Musical Explorers, and virtual field trips to the San Diego Zoo or the Georgia Aquarium.
Jaime Vining is a Florida native, but recent Parkland transplant. By day, she is a Florida Bar-certified Intellectual Property attorney, adjunct professor at the University of Miami School of Law and an avid blogger. Prior to earning her law degree, Jaime was a featured journalist for publications like the Orlando Sentinel and aXis Magazine. In 2009, she released a compilation of interviews with musicians under the title Off the Bus and On the Record.
Jaime is also a mom to two little boys and you will regularly find her running early mornings at Pine Trails Park trying to keep up with them.
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