Hands up if you’re stir-crazy and desperately need some iso activities to get through the pandemic.
Show me a mum that hasn’t had a few too many pyjama days and I will show you a liar.
In fact, show me a mum that hasn’t accepted the help of Netflix and video-games – that mum is a unicorn. I’m not sure whether to high-five that mum’s efforts or offer her a shoulder to cry on and a corner to rock back-and-forth in.
Sometimes a few fresh ideas are all we need to spice things up and to feel like we are winning at parenting. At least, that’s become a huge daily challenge for me, since lockdown and isolation began.
I’ve picked up a few ongoing iso activities that are fun, educational and have helped our economy that little bit extra.
#1: Kids’ Cooking Kits
It’s no secret that restaurants, cafes and bars are doing it tough during the coronavirus pandemic. So why not help your favourite restaurants stay afloat? Suss out if your regular take-away offers kids’ cooking kits. We have hit up La Porchetta, Altona Meadows a few times to pick ours up – they come complete with all ingredients, a recipe sheet and utensils. They even happily offered vegan cooking kits!
My fussy 4-year-old absolutely loves preparing his own meal with his cooking kits and his little brother even gets in on the action. Not only does he learn about measuring, hygiene and cooking, he also witnesses the effort that goes into cooking meals. I was pleasantly surprised to see him actually eat his dinner.
Side note: Hubby and I did our part and ordered a couple of extra pizzas for ourselves – all in the name of the economy *cough cough*.
#2: Veggie Patches
I never saw this one coming. In all my years, I have never felt the temptation to get my hands dirty. With shoppers going crazy and supermarket shelves often bare, I decided to swallow my pride (or my laziness) and grow some vegetables myself.
I hit up Bunnings online and had a raised garden bed delivered. Good old husband spent some one-on-one time with our 4-year-old, bonding while building the garden bed. Lessons in building, team-work, patience and following instructions were just the start of it.
Then I traded places with hubs. Mr Four and I planted peas, carrots, onions, cabbages, parsley, mint, anything we could! We lined them all up neatly, dug our nails into the dirt and marveled at the finish product. Every day Mr 4 and Mr 1 helped me water the veggie patch. We watched the tiny sprouts from our peas begin to surface and it was the most beautiful thing.
This was months ago and we still feel a rush of excitement when we pop outside to harvest some spinach to throw into our stir-fry. Spinach, by the way, once offended my kids. Turns out, when they grow it themselves, it isn’t so vile. Who knew?!
#3: Night at the Museum
Hear me out on this one! All 3 of the Night at the Museum movies are choccas with historical figures. These movies introduced my kids to so many historical figures, including Attila the Hun, Sacagawea (and Lewis and Clark), Theodore Roosevelt. We’ve also learnt about Pharaohs, the Romans, Pompeii and dinosaurs!
These movies are a great starting point to get the kids interested in people and events throughout history. Since then, we’ve learnt so much more!
We built a LEGO city resembling Pompeii and then did a science experiment with vinegar, bicarbonate soda and food colouring to make a volcano erupt. Side note: dismantling your husband’s Hobbit LEGO set and rearranging it makes a really good Pompeii replica.
We’ve done endless colouring sheets on each historical person or event that stood out throughout the Night at a Museum films.
We have looked up fun facts about all of his favourites. Did you know that the teddy bear was named after Teddy Roosevelt? And, did you know that Attila the Hun rode a horse and was equipped with a sword and a crossbow?
From building LEGO pyramids or simply looking up YouTube clips on how volcanoes work, Night at a Museum has brought endless entertainment with huge educational merit.
Attila the Hun also led to an interest in the Huns, which led to us watching Mulan. Now, if we can’t find a few dozen things to discuss and learn about there, I’ll be seriously surprised!
When it was announced that Melbourne would be in lockdown for a second time since COVID changed everything, I hopped on the Daniel’s Donuts website. I’ll be damned if I’m watching what I eat during lockdown and we all know donuts cheer everyone up.
In case you haven’t tried their donuts yet, their range of vegan and gluten-free donuts are second-to-none.
Since the coronavirus pandemic started to impact our day-to-day lives, many shops, restaurants and cafes stepped up and moved to online ordering and delivery. The day donuts became an option for delivery is the day everything changed. I may have eaten 2 donuts a day until the box was empty and I may have hidden the donuts from my kids. Pandemics are not the time to judge one another’s parenting, though.
Calm down, Karen. I ordered another box to share with my family. I’m not a monster!
#5: Go With the Latest Obsession Wholeheartedly
For my eldest, that obsession is Noah’s Ark. Am I concerned that he’s obsession includes a story that revolves around everyone on the planet being wiped out? Well, it is a little unsettling during a pandemic, but let’s move on.
Noah’s Ark has opened up a bunch of activities for us. Of course, there is the obligatory LEGO project to build the ark out of LEGO bricks.
Then we found the Beginner’s Bible YouTube Channel for him to peruse various bible stories. He went on to download the app on my iPad, which offered colouring activities and read-aloud stories.
Much to my surprise, the guy also has a stack of Noah’s Ark puzzles in his puzzle collection – who knew?! So every now and again he enjoys completing these puzzles.
Of course, toy boats and animals are frequently out, with all the animals lined up “two by two”.
#6: Drive-In Movies
Right before we went into our second lockdown, we headed off to the drive-in cinemas to watch The Wizard of Oz. We got pizzas, brought bickies, blankets and had such an amazing time.
Now, since there really is no place like home (whether we like it or not!) we brought the drive-in movies to us. With a couple of storage containers, some printed and cut-out car wheels and steering wheels and some cushions, we were ready to go.
The Noah’s Ark fan decided our movie for the evening would be Evan Almighty *insert chuckle and knowing sigh here*, so we printed out movie posters and popped them around the house.
The set-up was perfect and the kids loved sitting in their make-shift cars. It was also the perfect opportunity to crack open that second box of donuts.
Wondering how some of these activities boosted the economy? Well a simple search on my credit card for “J B Hi Fi DVD invoices” might answer that, but that’s a story for another day.