Entertaining the Family at Home

Entertaining the Family at Home

The best thing that we can do right now to protect ourselves and our families, friends and neighbors is to stay home. There are only so many hours in the day you can watch Tiger King or binge on whatever show you like.  And if you have young children you will hear them singing along with some Disney character. Let’s face it your family needs something new to do and it needs to be something that the whole family can enjoy while you’re all staying safe at home.

There are some unique opportunities available right now that may be less likely again once this is all over. They provide experiences that the whole family can enjoy that aren’t just the same old TV shows. Though this is not a huge list, there are a few activities that are quite interesting and maybe a learning experience for your kids.

A Virtual Reunion

There are record numbers of people working and doing schoolwork at home, and more people are using video conferencing services like Zoom, GoToMeeting and Microsoft Teams than ever before. These services aren’t just for work, however. You can use them to get in touch with family from around the country, and even schedule a “virtual reunion” to catch up and check in with each other. This can be a recurring event, letting you stay connected with loved ones throughout the pandemic. You may even grow closer as a family despite the distance and your kids can enjoy knowing cousins that could be near their age. I recently baked cookies with my sister, brother & mother via Zoom… then (to make it interesting) we mailed cookies to each other and had the other family members choose a winner! (well everyone won because we spent time together from far apart & there were cookies!) Then we got on a subsequent Zoom call to announce the results from each house.

Museum and Zoo Tours

Even though museums and zoos are currently closed to the public, a number of high-profile museums and zoos have started offering virtual online tours for free. You can go online and view great works of art, watch animals relaxing during their downtime, and even see unique things like puppies getting to run wild in an aquarium. On top of these custom experiences, many zoos and similar facilities have webcams focused on specific exhibits that you can check out throughout the year.

Learn Something New

To help families pass the time, many online learning platforms are offering extended free trials so that people can pick up new skills or learn interesting things while in self-isolation. On top of that, some teachers and experts are streaming free courses on Zoom and other platforms as well. There is a wide range of topics available for both kids and adults, meaning that there’s something for everyone to learn and enjoy. Heck, I’m learning to play guitar for free!

Start or Join a Book Club

Reading is a great way to pass the time, and you can share that with the family by starting a family book club. The premise is simple: Everyone picks out a book, and once a week you get together and discuss what you’re reading. Even younger children can participate; let them pick out a book that they want you to read, and at the meet-up you can let them show off the book and tell everyone about it.

If you want a bit more social interaction with your book club, you can also look into online book clubs that are a bit closer to traditional book club offerings. These can have members from across the nation or around the world. Some of them operate on dedicated websites, and others use social media groups. Either way, there should be options available for most readers.

Listen to a Story

Even if you don’t feel like doing all of that reading, there are a good number of authors and celebrities doing podcasts and videos in which they read a variety of books or stories. Quite a few of these are aimed at children, and some of them are more tailored to adults. Levar Burton (of Reading Rainbow fame) has even recently launched a video version of his podcast Levar Burton Reads with a wide range of content.

A Night in at the Movies

Under ordinary circumstances, you’d be able to take the family out to see some of the many movies that would be in theaters right now. But that’s not possible since all the theaters are closed. So instead, movie theaters are adapting with special digital rentals now available for recent box-office hits that ordinarily wouldn’t be available for rental yet, so that a wider audience can enjoy them. And some movies that were scheduled for early summer release, such as Trolls World Tour, are also making their debut via digital rental. So pop some popcorn and enjoy these new and recent blockbusters all from the privacy and safety of your own home.

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