Sunday, April 26, 2020

Our Quarantine Schedule and What's Been Keeping Us Busy

Friends! Hi! It's been a little while since I've been able to put a post together since I just haven't had the time to sit down to do much of anything at all these days. I've been 3-on-1 with all of the kiddos during the week, with Matt working outside of the house, so it's been a schedule and a schedule alone that's kept us all sane. I've been SO LUCKY to have a newborn that sleeps which makes all the difference in my ability to function during the day. Praise be. 

The boys have until 9:00am to do anything their little hearts desire--movies, tablets, video games--until our schedule kicks off with getting dressed, making beds, and having breakfast. This also gives me until 9:00am to bathe Maren (every other day), get dressed, put on a little bit of makeup, make my coffee, and pump whichever boob she didn't nurse from that morning. The rest of our "schedule" really comes in checklist form, with the boys having the option to complete them in whichever order they prefer. They have to complete everything on our lists before they're allowed any more screen time, and I've been finding that it takes us right through the time that I start getting dinner ready to do them all. Then I have zero qualms or guilt when they want to watch a show or play Mario Kart again.

The checklist looks something like this:
  • Around 4 pages of a workbook OR the homework received from school. This usually takes us about an hour to complete.
  • 30 minutes of reading (Oskar reads independently, I read to August)
  • An art activity (examples below of what they've loved!)
  • A pen-pal letter to anybody of their choosing
  • At least 30 minutes of outside time; most days, a walk at our nearby lake for even longer. On rainy days, we do Cosmic Kids Yoga, play with the stepping stones below, or play in their bounce house
  • One "Question of the Day" that none of us know the answer to (example: How are Legos Made?). We watch a YouTube video to find out the answer, and Oskar keeps all of our questions in a little log. 
  • 30 minutes of playing together, usually with LEGOs, Duplos, Magna-Tiles or some kind of building toy
  • 15 minutes of cleaning up

If their outside time or creative play together goes past the allotted time, I let them keep going for however long they want, and this has usually been the case. If they start fighting or bouncing off the walls, then I direct them back to their checklists.

Below are some things that have been really big hits and have kept them the busiest.
1. Brain Quest workbooks are my favorite out of the many we’ve tried. Oskar’s been working on 1st grade, August is working on Pre-K. Oskar also LOVED LOVED LOVED this Star Wars Math Workbook.

2. Beading Kit: Oskar has loved these and made bracelets or necklaces for all of the neighborhood kids, his cousins, and just about everyone else in his family, too.

3. Perler Beads: A little childhood nostalgia, Oskar has loved making these superheroes. I have to read the pattern off to him while he adds the beads to the board, but I can do this while nursing or juggling something else on the side easily enough.

4. Pokemon Stickers: Just like above, the kids LOVED these stickers (thanks Nana!). They added them to a little log, looked up the name of each character in this book, and wrote the name beside each sticker. Their finished journals came out super cute.

5. Stencil Kit: The kids have LOVED these stencils, and each has been working on an animal book. This has been especially great for August to practice writing his letters because he’s traced each animal, colored it in, and written the name of that animal below.

6. Rock Painting Kit: This kept them busy for a few hours on 2 different days. We painted rocks, let them dry, then took them to a nearby trail to hide.

7. Balance Beam and Buckets Stepping Stones: These have been so great for setting up inside on rainy days (The Floor is Lava), or to take outside on the driveway on nice days to get some energy out.

8. Scooter: For any of you that struggle with a kiddo who falls into a slump during walks, but also isn’t quite ready for a bike (note: August), this scooter has been so great. We’ve been taking this to the trail and he’s really zooming around on it now.

9. Bob Books: I’ve been working on these with August during our reading time. He’s picked up a ton of site words through these.

10. Big Bang Science Kit: Both boys loved this. It came with 9 experiments that we repeated 2x through. We got things to bubble, change colors, change consistencies, or to foam. 

11. OSMO Genius Kit: The boys got this for Christmas and I’ve sung its praises ever since. They can opt for Osmo instead of doing their workbooks, and love playing the games that get them to learn at the same time.

I'm always looking for new ideas and things to keep them interested and engaged. If you have any fun ones, please send them my way! Really, I'm just hanging on for dear life and doing the best I can until the world returns to normal again. WE CAN DO HARD THINGS--at least that's what I'll be telling myself under my breath when my (almost) 6 year old erases his work for the 100th time and my 4 year old answers everything wrong on purpose because he thinks its funny. Wine and a few of these activities will see me through. Cheers.

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