Staying home with a 3.5-year-old since March has proven to be tough especially in the area of connectivity. Tessa was halfway into her second year of preschool and just coming out of her shell in terms of developing social relationships and forming friendships. While she has had plenty of toys, activities, and small adventures around the house and neighborhood, they have all been with me (her mom) and she has been itching to connect with her peers.
Here are some things we have done to fill the gap – and enjoy this time.
Neighborhood Scavenger Hunts
Getting together with neighboring families who also have children to create a neighborhood scavenger hunt has been a fun way to engage, while also promoting essential developmental skills! Weekly/bi-weekly themes have been a fun way to have children look for items in their own homes to display in their windows or lawn for others to find. One fun theme was “Summer,!” where each participating house put out an item related to summer where others walking by could find it. Kiddos in the neighborhood them took walks around the area to find and spot all of the summer items in each person’s house! As a bonus, this activity works on tons of visual perceptual skills for all of the kids – as well as encourages them to get outside and take walks.
Chalk Art Walks
Another great way to encourage socially distanced interactions have been chalk walks. From fun artwork, to elaborate chalk obstacle courses and uplifting messages, the kids have had tons of fun drawing things for others to interact with. Watching neighbors come by and complete our hopscotch courses have been so much fun to observe thru the window!
While we stay mostly cooped up at home, we sometimes find ourselves reading the same books over and over. Enter the shared the library! Kiddos can place a book of their own into the neighborhood shared library, and borrow a book from someone else. Once finished, return the book to the library and pick another. Such a fun way to encourage reading, and interaction.
Pen Pals & Chain Letters
Oh, the good old snail mail system! In this age of such prominent technology use, this has been a refreshing activity for myself to facilitate for my daughter! Tessa is still very young so instead of writing letters to friends, we participated in a sticker chain letter! Sending a pack of fun stickers to the person who mailed us the letter – then forwarding the letter to a number of other participants. Watching the sticker packs roll in and seeing her light up every time she receives mail has definitely been a highlight of this quarantine.
“Drive in” Movie
If someone you know has a projector, a “drive in” movie night is such a fun idea. Projecting the movie in a large outdoor open space, and having all of the attendee kiddos create their “car” out of cardboard boxes! All of the kiddos remain in their “cars” while snacks are served and delivered to them and everyone gets to watch a fun movie outdoors.
These are just a few of the ways we have been able to keep Tessa connected with her peers. We hope our lives can get back to “normal” soon, but in the meantime, we will continue to find creative ways to fill the current voids, while making sure the health and safety of our family and friends are the priority!
I received a game in exchange for this blog post but the opinions are my own.
Lina Awshee is a Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant with a background as a Pediatric Vision Therapist. Currently, Lina is practicing in the school systems where she works with students of all ages. When she isn’t working, Lina enjoys sharing purposeful ways to include skill development into daily playtime. You can find fun suggestions by following her on Instagram @motormommy.co.
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