So you’re at home with your teenagers during the COVID-19 pandemic. We know it can be hard to think of things to keep everyone motivated on a good day, let alone during this time. Whether you’re socially distancing or self-isolating, here are some suggestions for things to do with your teens. Remember, we’re all in this together: reach out digitally for support, you’re not alone, we will get through this. Repost this with your own ideas! Stay up to date here.
Be Their StudentGive them the chance to be a teacher. Ask them to teach you their favourite video game or to teach a lesson on their favourite book or how to understand their favourite sport. Whatever they’re passionate about, keep it alive by learning about it and letting them teach you what they know.
Let your teen have a Netflix Party at home. Have a Netflix party online without having something like this to look forward to can help with motivation. Have your teen pick a movie a day or two beforehand so you can get excited about it. Make it over the top with a treat buffet, a big introduction to the movie, and a discussion about the plot, themes, and characters afterward. Or your teen can plan a party with friends!
If you want to see quality films, educational content online for free, visit the National Film Board of Canada’s website.
Canada Vignettes: Emergency Numbers, John Weldon, provided by the National Film Board of Canada
Free Online Courses
There are lots of places for free online classes. If you want something specific, learn how to code or music/painting basics or take a quick google to find something your teens are specifically interested in!
For a limited time, Nikon is teaching photography classes for free.
Virtual Museum Tours
Most museums are closed to help contain the virus, but you can still check them out from the comfort of your home! Check out the Louvre, The British Museum, or The Smithsonian. The Google Arts and Culture site is full of amazing artworks, artists, and history to discover.
Learn Cooking Basics
Teach your teen some basic cooking skills before they’re off to college. Maybe this is something you already know, or you’ll be learning together. Start with some easy baking essentials like cookies or cupcakes. For something practical, learn how to properly boil pasta, make a basic homemade sauce, and some meatballs. Already past that? There are always more complex and interesting things to learn in the kitchen. Check this link for some inspiration.
Foster a Pet
This is a super fun way to teach some responsibility without the lifetime commitment. You’ll all be home anyways, so may as well take the time to learn how to take care of a furry friend. Check out any local shelter near you and they’ll be sure to help you get set up.
Watch Amazing Theatre Performances
With Covid-19 pandemic forcing theaters to shut their doors, many performing art centres have taken to being open virtually. Pride and Prejudice, Treasure Island, Flowers for Mrs Harris, Mozart’s Così fan tutte, Romeo & Juliet are among the many shows that can now be watched online.
Watch Live Music Concerts
Plenty of free concerts are being streamed free every day.
Volunteer to Run Errands
If you are not in quarantine and are healthy, put signs up around your building/neighbourhood offering to get groceries for people who can’t leave their homes. This could be elderly people, quarantined people, immunocompromised people, or someone with COVID-19. Take the proper precautions. Keep it contactless, sanitary, and follow all health warnings from the Canadian Government. They might need medications, toilet paper, food, or other things. Safe Grocery Shopping.
‘Tis the season. As the snow melts, it’s time to bring out the shovels to spread it out, clean up any garbage that got buried, rake up the leaves and spruce up the lawn. Spring is a great time to learn just how much work goes into proper lawn maintenance.
Learn Budgeting and Other Adulting Skills
This is an awesome time to sit down and teach your kids about the importance of a budget and how to balance accounts. While you’re at it, look into some of the current economic issues and discuss them with your teen. It can be scary, but understanding why it’s all happening can help people come to terms with the issues our country and the world are dealing with.
Board Game NightBack to basics: no videos, no controllers, just good old fashioned board games. Try one that might take a few tries to get the hang of, and make a tally board in your house to keep track of who’s got the most wins. Dust off the old Monopoly set, pull out Risk, or order something new off Amazon. Try Codenames, Pandemic (if you can handle it), or Telestrations for some higher level thought games that won’t get boring.
Learn a New Instrument
Have a dusty old guitar you said you’d learn to play but never did? Still, have that sax from your high school days? Maybe there’s some DJ software on your computer? If not, you can still shop online for instruments! This is a great time to set aside just a half-hour of practice a day and watch as the skill sets grow and expand their minds.
Start a Gratitude Journal
Something that has been said again and again is that a practice of gratitude, especially in trying times, can lead to a happier and calmer day-to-day life. Start every day, or end every day, by writing 3 things you’re grateful for, and then write about how you’re feeling. Learning how to deal with emotions through writing can make things much clearer and easier to manage.
Write Cards to Loved Ones
While you’ve got your pens out, why not write some letters to loved ones? It will be a nice surprise for people to get in the mail while they’re at home, especially people who live alone. Who knows, maybe they’ll get a pen pal! Make it a craft night by designing your own cards by drawing, painting, or creating something digitally.
Check out online paint nights! They have a link to order everything you’ll need and live stream instructors to take you to step by step, just like the original Paint Nite.
Start Indoor Seeds for a Summer Garden
It’s a great time to start thinking about getting those herbs and vegetables started indoors. Teach them all about the best time of year to plant what, proper care for each individual plant, and how to handle seeds to ensure a full, luscious garden this summer. This will help you to look forward to warmer, brighter, and easier times.
Leave Them Alone
When tempers start to flare and the house starts to feel small, give them some alone time. Teenagers need space and time to adjust to the new way of living that we’re all going through. Remember, their brains are still developing, so they likely won’t respond to this the way an adult would and may not fully grasp it. Or, they could be grasping it all too well and might just need some time to take a deep breath and come to terms on their own.
Go outside! If you’re socially distancing, you can still go on walks and hikes. It’s recommended to keep 3-6 feet between people, but there’s plenty of room out there. Go bird watching, and enjoy this spring weather. If you’re self-isolating, enjoy some time on the patio or in your backyard if you have one.
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