4 Activities for Moms and Kids That Lighten the Mood During the Pandemic

Guest Blogger, Rachelle Wilber

This has been a tough year for all sorts of people, and your family is likely feeling the strain. With normal activities canceled and the pandemic bringing a constant sense of unease, you might be finding it hard to lighten the mood. This is especially problematic if you have young children. Despite all the madness swirling in the adult world around them, kids are simply trying to enjoy their childhoods. You can do them a big favor by finding fun activities to cheer them up and bring some sunshine into their lives. While countless outings could do the trick, these four activities are particularly worth considering.

Have a Picnic

Even in the winter, you can bundle up and enjoy the pleasures of eating a meal in the great outdoors. This is a perfect pandemic activity because you can do it away from other people. It’s a big world out there, and you’re sure to find some patch of grass where you can stay properly socially distanced. Bring the kids’ favorite toys, and your lunch could turn into a memorable afternoon.

Visit a Pharmacy

When typical attractions are closed, it’s on parents like you to find unique sources of entertainment. Pharmacies are about much more than pills and medications. Between bulk packages of candy, holiday-themed decorations, and an assortment of toys, there’s plenty in your average pharmacy that will get kids excited.

Go for a Hike

Hiking is an especially great activity because it is both fun and active. Your kids probably have lots of pent up energy from spending so much time cooped up indoors, and they’ll enjoy being able to blow off some steam out on the trail. They’ll also benefit from substituting a bit of fresh air and nature for their typical pandemic-era screen time.

Have a Scavenger Hunt

Scavenger hunts are almost as much fun for a parent to prepare as they are for kids to carry out. All you need for this activity is an outdoor space (a park will work if you don’t have a yard) and a handful of household items. You’ll get a kick out of hiding your belongings, and the kids will get a real thrill from the hunt.

With a bit of creativity, you can still have plenty of family fun during the pandemic. These activities are proven hits among kids and adults alike.

Author Bio

Rachelle Wilber is a freelance writer living in the San Diego, California area. She graduated from San Diego State University with her Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism and Media Studies. She tries to find an interest in all topics and themes, which prompts her writing. When she isn’t on her porch writing in the sun, you can find her shopping, at the beach, or at the gym. Follow her on Twitter and Facebook.

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Helping kids get comfortable wearing a mask during COVID-19

Many communities are strongly recommending children and adults to wear masks while out in public. Here are some quick tips to help your kids cope with this new change.

  • Explain what COVID-19 is in simple language that they can understand.
  • Provide opportunities to play and get comfortable with the mask.
  • Give lots of choices.
    • Materials to use
    • Color and design options
    • Decorating
  • Validate their emotions and normalize them.
    • “It is frustrating that we have to wear masks.”
    • “I’m sad too that we have to do this.”

Here is a fun Mask Coloring Page that can also be used to help kids cope with this new experience. If your child has to go to the doctor, they will see medical providers wearing similar protective masks. This is an Activity Sheet that can prepare kids while providing opportunities to feel validated.

Animal coloring sheet created by Sarah Nunnally
Activity sheet created by Emma Fratangelo, MS, CCLS & Stephen Browne

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Celebrating Therapeutic Work: Spotlight and Giveaway on Play Clothes

I always love to support others doing amazing work, so today you are in for a treat. I’m excited to introduce a recreation therapist, Kim Shepard who is helping fellow clinicians spread the love of their work through Play Clothes.

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Guest Blogger, Kim Shepard from Play Clothes 

I am a recreation therapist and inclusive play practitioner who happens to also enjoy design and art. I have my Master’s in Recreation Therapy through the School of Public Health at Indiana University and a large part of my experience comes through working in the therapeutic camp setting as well as providing holistic care for clients, working alongside and in collaboration with other therapeutic health professionals and educators. I am very passionate about the importance of inclusion, in that it is essential to the health, well-being, and progress of our society as a whole.

I currently work in the pediatric community setting at an inclusive play gym, where I am the operations manager. I also have a background working therapeutically with a wide range of children and adults, including camp, community, and clinical settings and with clients with physical and developmental disabilities, mental health and behavioral health needs. I am also a type one diabetic, which has played a crucial impact in my life, helping me feel invested in and empowered in the Spoonie community. I was also diagnosed as a child and have very important memories of a child life specialist teaching me to give shots on a teddy bear named Rufus. My husband is a counselor who also has experience working with children with autism, and we are both passionate about the vital importance of mental health and disability acceptance and inclusion. Overall, I feel like my life is just filled and directed by the power of inclusion, play, and empathy, which have shaped me both personally and professionally.

Play Clothes Collage

The Launch of Play Clothes 

Play Clothes is an independent design project of mine. It was started out of frustration at the fact that no one ever understood what I actually do for a living and the importance behind it. My first shirt design was on the definition of recreation therapy and thanks to the very positive response I received, things just blossomed from there. It leads to design shirts about other therapeutic fields, including child life, occupational therapy, speech therapy, physical therapy, pediatric nursing, art therapy, and much more.

Play, play-based learning, and inclusion are three of my biggest passions, and the therapeutic role of play—especially inclusive play—is my own personal soapbox that I could talk about for hours on end. Play Clothes gives me a way to speak out in visual design about those topics, and I have been so honored by the way that so many other healthcare, teaching, and therapeutic professionals have responded with excitement and enthusiasm.

All shirts are designed by me and then printed and distributed by bonfire.com, who I love supporting due to their utmost professionalism and friendliness, as well as the quality of their products and the sensory-friendly softness of their fabric. Currently, I have too many designs out there to list, but you can find more on my Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook. I am always open to ideas about other designs and offer designs for groups, clinics, schools, and more at no cost other than the price of the shirts. Shirts have to have at least five buys in order to be printed, but this hasn’t been a large problem so far, but it does mean that word-of-mouth and social media are incredibly beneficial for Play Clothes’ continued success!

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Win a t-shirt design of your choice. Choose one or more ways to enter:

1. Sign up for email notifications at Child Life Mommy and leave a comment below

2. Facebook: Follow Child Life Mommy, tag a friend and leave a comment on the post

3. Facebook: Follow Play Clothes and leave a comment about the giveaway

4. Twitter: Follow, Like and RT the post to @ChildLifeMommy and @clothes_play

5. Instagram: Follow @ChildLifeMommy & @PlayClothesIn, Like the post and tag a friend.

Good Luck! Winner will be chosen on 8/5/18. Shipped to residents in the U.S. and Canada.