I’m not going to lie – these past few weeks have been crazy. My brain is ready to explode, I’m exhausted, and all my usual ways of dealing with these emotions are just not possible.
Staying safe at home is the most important thing in the world right now, and I know I’m lucky to have a safe home, to have people around me, and to have a job that allows me to stay at home. But mentally, it has really been taking its toll.
So, taking inspiration from the Go Outdoors #GoIndoors campaign, I decided to share some of my ideas to make sure we don’t lose out on our active adventures, despite social distancing.
All of these ideas we have been doing over the past few weeks of “homeschool” (I’m using that term lightly!) and working all the hours from home too, alongside trying to break up the routine of being constantly at home. Home, work, school, chores, relaxing… it all morphs into one, so we need an escape!
In theory, it’s “only” been a few weeks, but it already feels like forever. Yes, we’ve had more TV time than ever before, ipad time, and moments of frustration and tears from all of us, but looking back, the best moments have when we’ve tried to keep things as “normal” as possible, especially with a 4-year-old who thrives on being active and our adventure days.
We are lucky to have a garden and that the weather has been generally good, however these can all be done inside too – and I know they will be useful ways to keep kids active in school holidays too!
I know they don’t come with epic views (unless you have those from your home!) or a true escape for those who do like to be outdoors, but I hope some of these activities ideas can help you and your family to continue having some of those adventures at home, indoors or outdoors.
1. Set up your tent or make a cave or den
Whether you’ve a tent or not, setting up a new “space” can provide an amazing escape from everything right now – from a ‘holiday’ in the garden to a den in the living room. You’re living in the same rooms of your house day and night, so create a new “space” to make you feel like you’re somewhere else. Use your imagination – you could even be in a mountain cave! 🙂
2. Create a scavenger hunt
We’ve enjoyed scavenger hunts on our daily walk, in our garden as well as around the house. You can use templates online or create your own list of things to find, whether that be seasonal nature finds, sensory trails (eg find something rough/smooth), bug trails, or finding things of certain numbers, colours or shapes. Maybe you can get the kids to keep a diary, write or draw about their finds when they’re home.
3. Host your own forest school
Lily really misses Forest School since starting primary school, and since the shutdown too, but there are plenty of ways to be able to learn about nature from home.
Make stickmen, potions out of water, fallen leaves or dandelions, make a mud kitchen, make a bug hotel, explore your senses outdoors… it’s an amazing way to make homeschooling fun! Why not get their friends to do the same and they can share by video call what they’ve found?
4. Build an obstacle course
I’ve lost count the number of obstacle courses she has asked for, indoors and out! You can really create all kinds of adventures, pretending you’re escaping dragons, jumping lava, you’re superheroes going to save the day, or even police officers going to help people. A super fun way to stay active at home while using a bit of imagination!
5. Host a mini festival
Festivals are all about music, dancing, activities, games, crafts, having fun together, sharing some food. Play festival reruns on your TV, set up your tent, get your kids to “invite” some of their favourite toys. Lily is counting the days to Gloworm Festival, and that is definitely an inspiration for our fun right now!
It may not be the real thing, but recreate this at home to help provide a fun escape from everything going on right now… without the portaloos 🙂
6. Challenge yourselves
Set up a sports day or challenge in your garden. You may not be able to hike any hills or run many marathons right now, but by challenging your family (and yourself!), you can have a fun way to exercise from the safety of your own home.
How about getting 100 star jumps, who can skip the most with a rope before stopping, egg & spoon race, or even use some old pillow cases for a sack race with younger kids?
7. Have a treasure hunt
Hide clues around the house or garden and get your family to guess where the prize may be. You could even make your own treasure map and get everyone to dress up as pirates to complete tasks along the way!
8. Have a picnic
It sounds simple, but this is another way to change things up. Our kitchen table is currently for work, school, meals, so everything blurs into one, which is what I’m trying to avoid, so we had a few picnics, both in the garden and on the living room floor. It was a change of space, and let us sit down together away from everything. Setting up a simple picnic outdoors also felt like a real treat, even if we weren’t in a park or anywhere amazing!
If you’re outdoors and feeling truly adventurous, get out your camping stove and cook a meal by your tent – just because you’re at home it doesn’t mean you can’t have a campfire meal!
9. Stone painting
Right now, it is incredible to see so much support and kindness for neighbours and communities. Use your time at home to spread a bit of love and joy with some stone painting, then when we are able to get out again, you can hide them outdoors on your adventures for other people to find.
10. Have a sleepover
Whether that be in your tent in the garden or on your living room floor, sleep somewhere you don’t usually sleep. Switch off your phones/TVs, and switch off from the world. Read stories under torchlight, stargaze, and snuggle up in your sleeping bags, just like you would outdoors. Why don’t you lie there together and plan your next real adventure when they can happen again?
It may not be like the real thing, but without so many cars around right now, you may even be able to enjoy a rare opportunity to experience nighttime nature wherever you are, and truly help your mind escape from reality for a little while.
We’re supporting the Go Indoors campaign as staying home is such an important message. Please stay home and support those working so hard for us in our NHS. For more on the Go Outdoors / Go Indoors campaign, check out this video:
For these and a downloadable guide for other ideas for activities at home with the family, check out our post here.