Activities to Beat the Stir-Crazies During Smokey Skies

Does the poor air quality due to fires have you feeling down and cooped up?  Here are three simple activities to infuse playfulness into your home:

1. What’s Missing? Memory Game (2 or more players)

  • Find things in your house that are easy to carry. (Ie slotted spoon, toy car, key chain, crayon, small stuffed animal)
  • Put them on a table or floor space.
  • Look at each item and agree on what to call it.
  • Cover items with a piece of large fabric.
  • One player reaches under the fabric and sneakily removes one item without revealing what they moved.
  • Uncover the remaining items and guess which item is missing.
  • If the guesser has no idea what is missing, offer hints.

*Variation: Gather items of the same color or items that all start with the same letter.

2. Mystery Message Scavenger Hunt (2 or more players)

  • Write a single sentence message on a piece of paper.
  • Cut the paper so that each word is on a a separate piece.
  • Hide those pieces of paper around a room or your entire living space.
  • Find the papers and assemble the message.

3. Hideout

  • Get out some sheets and pillows.
  • Take apart your couch.
  • Hang sheets over the arms of the couch or nearby chairs/tables.

It’s amazing how simply having a cozy/underneath hideaway space delights young ones.
Familiar activities suddenly take on a new thrill: books, puzzles,  and drawing can be more fun when inside the mysterious nook.

Here’s to finding playful ways to connect regardless of the air quality.

Photo credit

Bottom photo: David B. Gleason, license info here

Hello and Goodbye: A Bittersweet Year-End Visit

Covid-19 has uprooted so many schools and learning communities. And while we have done our best to connect with children and families via virtual classes, texts, blog posts, zoom calls, etc, these fall gravely short of getting to see, be and play with each other.

Children, parents and teachers have been missing each other! So Kimberley and I invited families to come for a short physical distance visit and to get a glimpse of our precious play yard one last time before summer.  We offered a final Family Share–an invitation to reflect on what we love about playing together. 

 

Families picked up their bags of personal items (with a few surprises inside) and selected a colored poster board to make a sign for our upcoming Spread Love Car Parade on Monday, June 1st at 10 a.m.

It feels achy to say hello and goodbye all in one short visit– when we are longing for our usual relaxed, interactive, joyful play together. But these are odd times so we’ll hold the sadness to one side while welcoming seeing our precious friends once more for now…We will host a second visiting day on one of the next rain-free days– likely Wednesday, 5/27 for the rest of interested families. 

Just for fun! Hello, Goodbye Beatles video

 Thanks to Sara (Media Handler) for supplying photos and slideshow!

Day 51 of Quarantine: Glamping in the Living Room

Nichole Aldaheff, HFP Parent

Staying home with a young child has proven challenging during this time of quarantine but the warmer, dry weather has provided us with much more opportunity to stay busy. Not on Day 51. The sky was dark grey and solidly pouring with no end in sight. At this point, it was hard to think of anything new to do, especially inside for the next ten hours.

As I cooked breakfast, I watched T and her dad bring out a sleeping bag and pad and put them on the living room floor. Camping? I wondered if our summer plans would actually happen. I remembered when I bought my first tent as a teenager and set it up in my parents living room. I slept in it for days.

 

After a two minute ponder, we moved the furniture and the tent went up. I instructed that it would just be up for the day as it was taking up most of the living room. More mattresses and blankets came out and filled the tent. We colored, read books, played games, watched a movie, and ate popcorn within the walls. That night, T and I slept in it. The following day, she and her dad slept in it. We went back to our regular beds, but after a few days, we were back to sleeping in the tent.  It is day 7 and the tent is still in the living room.

When we look back on our quarantine experience, there will likely be many memories and feelings that pop up. Our week of “glamping” will surely be a highlight!

Remembering What Is Lost: A Parent Recognizes the Impact Physical Distancing Has On Her Child

Hillary Montouri, HFP alumni parent

I have recently had this feeling, that people I love are moving on without me. While there is absolutely a tally of parties and dates missed running in my mind, helpful or not, this feeling is larger and more abstract in nature; it is a sense of shared moments lost and connectivity breaking down.

Of course, I understand how physical distancing has created this feeling in me, and I imagine, in others. Although this feeling has some unique qualities, I feel lucky to be able to draw on coping strategies I developed in other times of isolation and social reorganization. I know how to lean in closer to my deep friendship. My brain and my heart remember that with hibernation comes spring and that spring is so beloved not in spite of, but because it is change at its most rich and tangible.

And then I remember that my children don’t have this wisdom of experience. We are the sleepy mama bears leading our cubs into those dens on their first full winter. They don’t remember spring, they just know to follow us.

Today I was playfully asking my 6 year old what he likes to do most with my mother, his grandmother. I suggested we write down his thoughts and create some watercolor art for her. Standing on the firm ground of adult memory, I assumed that my child would name one or two of the thousand things my mom has done with him over the last 6 years. Before we decided to stay physically distant from her 6 weeks ago, she would visit and play with my children twice a week.

My question literally brought my sweet child to his knees. He agonized over this question for a couple of minutes and then assumed a fetal position. He wouldn’t do the project, he couldn’t. I sat confused for longer than I wanted until it finally hit; he didn’t remember. My simple question unveiled a painful truth; he could not recall any specific enjoyable activity with one of the people he holds the closest. His relationship with his grandmother at this point in his life is ruled by physical contact and the reliability of her presence. Both important elements of their relationship have been indefinitely postponed. This archiving of his time spent with his grandmother is a great loss, of course. He doesn’t know when or even how their relationship will again have the effervescent, intimate quality that comes with being together in the same space.

After exploring his feelings and then validating his loss, there was little left for me to do. A facetime call or a long letter would be my coping strategy, but those stand-ins for togetherness are only powerful for me because I know spring and I know my own strength. That facetime call works because I know: many of my relationships will survive and some will not, I can lose someone I love without losing myself, and one day (perhaps in the distant future) I will likely hug my mom again.

To his credit, my little love, full of angst and fear, decided he did remember his grandmother’s favorite color and that she loves flowers. And so, we painted and painted. We remembered her favorite colors and we noted how she might like the wild designs of our flowers. We remembered her in the best way we could. We started to paint spring.

Let’s Make this Fable the True Story of Our Time!

What can each of us do to make this the reality? Let’s value people and our planet over profits. Let’s nourish our full humanity. Let’s work to end greed and oppression. Let’s interrupt ideas of better than and less than. Let’s teach for lasting change. Let’s consume less. Let’s…