Fun things to do with toddlers during this extra time at home:
- Get outside! Ride bikes, play ball, go on a walk, blow bubbles, have a porch picnic…
- Bake or cook together
- Use rolling pins and cookie cutters with play dough
- Make homemade play dough!
- Use bath paints and crayons for an extra long bath time
- Popsicle bath!
- Sidewalk chalk! Hopscotch, lay down and trace each other… if you grew up in the 90’s you know!
- Go through their toy box together and help them decide on some items to donate and use the opportunity to talk with them about giving to others who aren’t as fortunate
- Make a tent in the living room! Watch movies in it, have a picnic in it, and let them play house and bring their favorite toys in!
- Teach them about mail by letting them color pictures for friends, grandparents, or their pastor. Let them put the stamp on the envelope you’ve addressed and attach to (or drop in) the mailbox!
- Make homemade popsicles!
- Sensory play with shaving cream, dry rice or beans, or water
- Let them play “car wash” outside by setting them up with a plastic container filled with warm, soapy water, an old toothbrush, and all of their toy vehicles
… and as for us Mamas:
- Feeling motivated? Choose one small project to tackle each day (clean out the bathroom cabinet, go through your tupperware and throw away anything missing a lid, go through your pantry and throw away anything that is out of date, clean out your closet and make a pile to donate, etc.)
- Write a letter to each of your kids about this historical event so they can read it when they’re older. None of us have ever experienced a pandemic like this, and although our toddlers probably won’t remember it, your letters explaining what things are like in our world and how you spent your time together while we all wait it out may be something they cherish as an adult.
- Use their nap time intentionally. If you need some extra sleep, take a nap. If you want to binge watch a show, do it. If you need to catch up on baby books, use your favorite pen and get to writing. If you like yoga, take the time. Read a book! Start listening to a new podcast. Whatever! Just don’t look back and realize you laid on the couch scrolling through your phone for two hours every day (…because I’ve had days like that and I usually regret it).
- Get creative with meals for your family! Look through your pantry and freezer and make a list of meals that you have all the ingredients to make, then plan out what days you’ll make what so that you have one less thing to worry about/decision to make each day.
- Back up/organize your photos! I use Google photos to back up photos directly from my phone, then organize them in “My Photos” by date in two month increments. Taking the time to do this every few months keeps the amount of photos to organize from getting overwhelming.
- Reach out to your friends! We’re all in this together and we all know this can be a lonely time so let’s encourage one another and build each other up (1 Thessalonians 5:11).
Things are honestly not too terribly different for us around here (although, we do miss church, our friends, going to the YMCA, and the park). I love being at home with my babies and I think this has been a really good reminder of what really matters, to use our time wisely, and that we have so much to be thankful for.
Some last thoughts-
I have been so encouraged by how everyone is working together for the common good during this crisis. It seems like medical professionals are working with the leaders of our country more closely than ever before, people are getting creative about solutions – all the way from packing and passing out free meals for students who rely on school lunches to utilizing cruise ships for medical treatment.
Our kids probably won’t pick up on political, economical, or social effects of this crisis – but they will pick up on how home felt while the world goes crazy. They’ll remember your calming voice and how safe they felt snuggled up with you on the couch watching their favorite movie. They’ll remember the way you handled cancelled plans, their many messes, and whether or not you were really listening when they talked or whether your eyes were glued to your phone. Little eyes are watching, little hearts are being molded, and this time is precious.
Another thing I’ve been thinking about all week was – how amazing was it to see Facebook completely blown up by online sermons last Sunday?! This could be the start of a revival our nation (and world) so desperately needs! It’s so easy, as busy as we are, to just kind of mind our own business and not take the time to really love others and spread the Word like we’re called to, but what if this crisis leads to people hearing the Gospel that may not have otherwise? The Lord works in mysterious ways! Let’s keep it up and share good news in a world that needs Jesus more than ever before.
And one last thing – don’t forget to guard your heart. What you feed your mind and heart really does matter. Remember that fear is one of the enemy’s strongest weapons and we don’t have to allow ourselves to be crippled by fear because we already know Who wins. Our God is still in control, He still has a plan, and He loves us and will never forsake us. In John 16:33, Jesus says, “In this world you will have trouble, but take heart! I have overcome the world!”
Some lyrics from my favorite worship song right now, “Here in the Presence” by Elevation Worship:
Here I lay my burdens down
Lose my worries in Your love
Casting every care on You
I have carried them enough
We’re not alone
Here within His love
He is still with us
When the world becomes too much
Near the cross I will remain
Until every fear is stilled
At the mention of Your name