While following our government’s recent guidelines about staying home during this time, you most likely are going through an adjustment period to this new way of life and you’re not alone. Throughout the world, billions of people have been asked to stay home in an effort to help us return to our normal life once conditions improve. So perhaps we can take some solace in knowing we are all in this together and that this is only temporary. But just because you may find yourself hunkering down for a while, it doesn’t mean you can’t have some fun, whether you are by yourself or have the benefit of family or loved ones with you. To help make the most of this time, here are some ideas that do much more than just pass the time. From activities with family to upping your fitness routine, there is an array of ways to turn this “lemon into lemonade”.
Family fun movies are just the beginning.
While it may seem obvious, planning to watch a movie together as a family is popular for a variety of reasons. First, you’re able to be together, although it’s still important to maintain proper physical distancing. That being said, with proper seating space and the fact many households have larger flatscreen TVs, several family members can still be together for viewing either recent blockbuster movie releases or re-visiting some of the classics. And you don’t necessarily need to use a paid subscription to pricey cable channels either. In fact, just recently, Amazon announced it is offering more than 40 free children's TV shows through Prime Video for free to anyone with a Prime account, including "Mr. Roger's Neighborhood," "Arthur," and "Reading Rainbow." In addition, IMDb TV, which Amazon owns, just added several family movies that can be viewed for free, including "Shrek Forever After" and "The Muppets Take Manhattan." Other free or deeply discounted streaming services have announced similar promotions and can be found quickly by searching online. Depending on when you’ll be movie watching, room lighting can become a factor. If your TV room has windows, you may want to upgrade your window coverings to control natural light and enhance your overall viewing experience. Budget Blinds offers a wide selection of blackout window treatments with varying opacities that help block unwanted outside light while enhancing privacy. You can even schedule a virtual* design consultation from the comfort of your own home.
Family reading: Playfully engage while nurturing literacy.
In recent years, significant progress has been made to encourage reading, especially among children. That’s because the benefits of good reading habits include enhanced comprehension, which can lead to improved academic performance. During this stay at home period, daily family reading, whether individually or as a group, can be extremely rewarding and fun. Who can forget the joy that comes from having someone read a story aloud? Scheduling family read-aloud time is a great way to connect with your children while also educating them on various topics, from nature to history. For those on a budget, Apple Books has a collection of free books in nearly every genre and for all ages, plus a "first in a series" promotion that lets readers get the first book in a different series for free. And don’t forget the classic bedtime stories for your little ones. From Grimm’s Fairy Tales, to Dr. Seuss, children love hearing bedtime stories, and parents will appreciate this special together time as well.
For variety, alternate movies with board games.
Looking for even more interactive ideas with family members? Then consider the merits of playing board or card games as a way to bring family together. Children of all ages want and need to spend time with each other and with parents, so why not use this time in an activity that is loads of fun and works your brain, which is a muscle after all – playing board games. Chances are, you probably have at least a few challenging and fun board games in a closet, so while using your at-home time to reorganize closets or game rooms, set aside a few of your favorites, then make some time after dinner to launch into a game of Monopoly, Scrabble, or Clue. Younger kids may enjoy the popular Candy Land game. In addition to the family fun interaction aspects of board games, there are also a host of health benefits. According to Health Fitness Revolution, a Houston-based organization that provides education and guidance on how to live a healthier lifestyle, researchers have found that encouraging your kids to play a board game helps them practice essential cognitive skills, such as problem-solving. Our brain’s hippocampus and prefrontal cortex are responsible for complex thought and memory formation and playing board games helps stimulate these areas. If your family games are in a room with window coverings, pay special attention to areas where cords can become a safety concern. At Budget Blinds, making window treatments safer for homes with infants, children, and pets is one of our top priorities. That’s why we offer a vast selection of child-safe window treatments to reduce the risk of accidents. Playing board games can help grandma and grandpa, too. Researchers continue to believe that playing a variety of “brain training games” can help keep the mind sharp. They may not prevent a brain from normal aging, but they can help keep a brain healthy, alert and finely tuned.
Plant a vegetable garden…it’s the perfect time of year.
Following the stay at home guidelines doesn’t mean you have to stay indoors 24/7. As long as you’re keeping your physical distancing from others, you can spend quality time outdoors. For many, this may offer an opportunity to plant your own vegetable garden. One of the many benefits to home-grown vegetables is the taste. It’s often said, for good reason, there is no comparison between the taste of a garden-fresh tomato and a grocery store bought one that's devoid of flavor. Though growing your own vegetables can seem overwhelming to some, it’s actually quite simple. Even if you don’t have a yard, a patio garden or even an indoor herb garden on a windowsill is a great option. You’ll be surprised at how many tomatoes or peppers you can grow out of one pot! Aside from the great taste and money you’ll save from growing your own vegetable and herbs, you’ll likely realize some added health benefits. That’s because consuming more fresh fruits and vegetables is one of the most important things you can do to stay healthy. Freshly picked vegetables from your garden offer enhanced vitamin content. In addition, you are reducing the risk of eating vegetables that might contain harmful chemicals. And let’s not forget that planting your own garden is a great way to get kids involved in the gardening process, making it more likely they will try eating those veggies that you’ve been suggesting.
Use the added home time to “feed” your body and soul.
Whether or not you have your own fitness or workout room at home, you can still find inexpensive ways to stay fit, while nurturing your mind. One of the easiest ways to relax while adding a dose of fitness to your day is through yoga. And yoga is a great activity for you and a spouse or partner, since you can offer tips and help each other during your session. YouTube offers several free beginner and intermediate yoga classes that allow you to participate at your own level at times that work for you and your schedule. You can also try an array of other fitness exercises that are conducive to staying home. These include push-ups, bent knee push-ups, bent knee sit-ups, and front and side planks, just to name a few.
Add a smile to someone with homemade greeting cards.
Throughout these challenging days ahead it’s important we stay connected to family and loved ones. Making and sending hand-crafted greeting cards is a fun and inexpensive way to surprise someone with a thoughtful card that expresses your appreciation and encouragement, while putting a smile on their face. Creating handmade greeting cards is also a unique way for you and your family to re-connect and do something creative. All you need are scissors, some construction paper, glue, and a pen. Add in some extra imagination, glitter and ribbon and you’ll impress them with your new, emerging card talent.
As you can see, there are a myriad of ways you can make your time at home fun and special while things get back on track. At Budget Blinds, we are here to help- from child-friendly window treatments to shades or shutters that offer adjustable light for enhanced movie streaming. We’re all in this together, and together we won’t just survive…we’ll thrive.