Activities for the Social Distancing Era

Guest Author Post

Blog manager’s note: Welcome to the third installment of our Coping with Coronavirus series! This comes to us from long-time ATN Angel Jane Samuel, who shares some activities we can do with and for our kids…and ourselves.

I said to my husband the other day, “Life is too much to grasp now. The reality of this is beyond my comprehension.” I am reminded as I type these words, “Lean not on your own understanding.” Ah, this is one of those times. Hold things lightly! This is a concept shared in many religions and spiritual practices including the Christian season of Lent, meditation, and yoga.

As we try to deal with the anxiety and the new schedules at home, I have a few thoughts for our families on activities that might work.

Nurture and Structure

We are all working from home. My husband sits alternately in the dining room working away or in the living room talking too loudly on a conference call. Our youngest sits at the dining room table alternately sucking up limited wi-fi “attending class” and working on homework, never far from her phone. I am glad that she is not a newsie like the other two, as she remains somewhat distanced from all the scary news.

The structure here is working away all together in one space. The nurture is still taking the time to walk the dog, to eat dinner and discuss the day/feelings, and to watch Father Brown together each evening. We remind our child that she is safe and that we are not going anywhere. And my own nurture is to take my hour each morning early to read my spiritual stuff (right now it is Thomas Merton) and meditate.

What’s your nurture? How are you each nurturing yourself? Each other? What’s your structure?


Here are a few ideas. Brain Gym. Yoga for kids. All of this and more can be found on YouTube. Or DYI by setting up an obstacle course. Get silly with it. Use the couch cushions to build a wall, drape a blanket over the coffee table, crawl through this space. Our youngest child reminded us the other day how she used to open all the cabinet doors on the island and the counter opposite to create a little nook for herself.

Where can YOU and the kids create a fort for a mid-morning home recess?

Home art

There are free art classes on YouTube. Or just get the stuff out, spread it across the counter and see what you can make. Maybe I’ll make some homemade playdough today. I love playdough. I love picking a spice to go in it like pumpkin or peppermint. Or make goop. If you don’t have the ingredients, put them on the list for your next grocery run (no extra trips, though, please!). We like the recipe that uses glue and borax, but I am sure there are many recipes online.


Read favorite picture books to the kids, get out old ones, or read new ones. How about Audible or Libby (your public library may have access to that)? You may not be able to go to the physical library but you can go to the virtual one.

Other activities

Use the iPad to film your own cooking show as you make a recipe together, then share with family and friends. I have a great one that our youngest made years ago when she was about 10. We still love to watch it.

Create “Virus Valentines” out of paper and markers and leave them on the doors of your neighbors and/or the truly homebound. Put a prayer on there or a special thought or uplifting phrase.

Facetime, Skype or Zoom friends at a set time. Set up coffee, juice/milk, and snacks ahead of time then have a virtual play date. I did this the other day with a friend in California, and realized I could do this here with my friends as well! If you have a game board that the other family also has then set up the same game and have each family “play together,” moving the pieces together on each board.

These are some thoughts from the Samuel house. What are your activities, thoughts, suggestions?



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