Anna Dusseau | 23rd April 2020
This. Is. Fun. Do I even need to add a 90s inflected ‘not‘ at this point? Because really, if you are beginning to feel like a hostage on Big Brother series that you definitely don’t recall signing up for, then join the fricking club. Selfish though it sounds, I miss packing our bags to go somewhere. I miss the random combination of chai latte and sushi in the ‘anything goes’ twilight zone of the departures lounge. So, for what it’s worth, I’ve compiled a list of all the things we are doing as a family right now to make the world come to us, even if we’re still in pyjamas picking Cheerios out of our hair. Passport ready? Let’s go!
Indoor camping. Yes, my friend! Wave goodbye to your feng shui. Grab that triangular tent you once took to Glastonbury back when you were dating thingy (or buy one dirt cheap) and put it up in the living room for a couple of days. Where are you headed? You’ll also need a torch, crackers, atlas and plenty of imagination. Expect the ankle biters to insist on sleeping there, then turn up in your bed around midnight with their cold toes and onion breath.
What’s in your backpack? Love this game. Either, you provide the imaginary destination and the kids head off with a backpack to prepare for the trip (sun cream? check! Swiss Army Knife? what the..!?) or alternatively, flip the game so that the kids pack their bags with a destination in mind, which you then have to guess based on the content. Have fun, learn about the world and discover why you normally leave packing to the grown-ups.
“Stick a few cuddly penguins in the freezer and call it the South Pole, no?”
Themed rooms. For Earth Day, we have transformed our house into a round-the-world ticket, with toy dolphins in the bath, cuddly polar bears in the freezer, and all the sad-looking pot plants now congregating in the entrance hall which is, apparently, the Amazon rainforest complete with five-legged Halloween spiders and stuffed monkeys. All levels of weird for the actual Amazon (wow! what just happened?) delivery guy when you pose for the social distancing selfie.
Duvet cruises. Yes, if you are familiar with my blog, you already know that we go everywhere by duvet. But that’s because the possibilities are endless: pirate ship, speed boat, cruise ship (well.. perhaps not), canal boat. Even if I’m just grabbing a brush from the bedroom to fix daughter’s alarming den hair, it seems they all instinctively hop on board, singing sea shanties and brandishing cutlasses. Why was the duvet not in the bedroom to begin with? Because it is a boat! Keep up.
Make a documentary. What goes on within the confines of your own house? Okay, don’t answer that. But look, does the cat lead a particularly gripping life right now? Or perhaps there is something interesting in the garden worth recording? We often do photography challenges in our house, but just recently we’ve been teaching them how to edit video footage (plenty of free software out there for this) so if you have slightly older ones, aim high with a short documentary challenge.
“Does the cat lead a particularly gripping existence? Could his backyard shadow-boxing become the next YouTube sensation?”
Write a travel journal. Kids love keeping a diary and an imaginary globetrotting journal combines this with creativity and escapism. It could be entirely their own invention, or with some guidance from you, perhaps using a map or even based on a famous real or literary figure. My kids have just discovered The Adventures of Baron Munchhausen which isn’t exactly geography (ahem), but let’s just say I am fairly confident there will be whales and flying boats involved.
Litter picking. Caring about the planet begins, of course, with your local environment and being forced to remain in the immediate area of your house might have brought to your attention the rubbish clogging up your local park or footpath. This is sadly the case for us. We have just purchased some inexpensive litter pickers, and are now making our daily walks green-fingered by clearing the bottles out of the bike paths. Don’t tell me you’d rather be sipping Caipirinha by an infinity pool.
Walkie talkies. If you don’t have walkie talkies, you really need them in your life! Not only can you have endless fun with younger ones by masquerading as their favourite film star or book character – always with a sore throat – from another room (“Hello, hello? This is Justin Bieber. Did I hear that you won’t tidy your bedroom? Do you have any idea how exhausted your mother is?”) but also you can go on Dora-style homebound adventures complete with tea-stained treasure maps. Over and out.
Let me know if you have fun with any of these suggestions, guys. Stay positive and keep it playful! ; )
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