Alright, ladies and gentlemen, moms and dads, grandparents and aunts and uncles...things just got real.

Local schools are closed for the next three weeks.

Most local businesses are also closed, and many medical professionals are discouraging gatherings of more than 10...and while most playdates aren't usually that large, parents are encouraged to skip sleepovers and having friends over.

Add to that a lot of us are looking at limited budgets...so what CAN you do for the next three weeks?

Before we dive into my list I want to give you a bit of my street cred, let you know why you can count on these 10 ideas to actually be helpful.

I'm an education major with a minor in early childhood and a mom of five that stayed home for 11 years before working at My Country 95.5 with Doc.

We live in rural Wyoming and I often went three days or more without heading into town.

The following list is full of ideas that I use over and over and will work for kids that are teenagers all the way down to toddlers.

NOTE: I didn't add tech time and Netflix because I'm pretty sure you already know that's a good way to keep your kids busy and learning throughout these weeks.

  1. Chore Time: Chances are with no rushing to and from school and activities you have a lot more time to do chores around the house (both inside and outside). Now is the time to work on teaching your kids to get them done well, and get them done the right way. And this one will totally pay off later.
  2. Cook Together: More time at home means more time to cook. There is no reason you can't bring back nightly tech-free family dinners, and have the kids help you every step of the way. Older kids can chop and cook on the stove. Little ones can stir and set the table.
  3. Write Letters: It's going to be vital for you to give your kids a chance to keep using their fine motor skills. Have each child write a letter (little ones can draw a picture) to a loved one, or to your local retirement home or even to our military who are stationed overseas.
  4. Arts and Crafts: From coloring and cutting out paper to painting and sewing, kids of every age love to create. Give them free rein and don't worry about the mess they're making...you can always clean it up later. TIP: Encourage older kids to make a comic book it's writing and art in one.
  5. Act Out a Play: Have your kids use old clothes, costumes or stuffed animals to act out a play or their favorite book. Older kids can film it and use all their tech skills to turn it into a fabulous movie and memory.
  6. Go Old School With Games: Pull out the board games, get out a puzzle, and dust off that deck of UNO cards. Go old school and relive some of those childhood memories.
  7. Let Them Make A Mess: Those wooden train tracks, the 133 toy cars, the legos...let them leave them out. Chances are if they spent an hour creating something they'll spend another hour the next day playing with or adding to it. Let them make a mess. TIP: If you have toddlers let them sit in the tub for as long as they want and splash around while you sit on the floor and chill for a bit.
  8. Read: Read to your kids, let them read to you, let them read to each other, let them read by themselves, let them read with a friend or family member over FaceTime...but keep them reading.
  9. Bring Back Naps: When you're family is together all day long fighting is going to happen. I've found that having everyone take a nap (from 1-2 hours) goes a long way towards keeping the peace. It gives everyone a bit of quiet alone time and soothes even the most frayed of nerves. Older kids can read in bed, draw, or journal quietly while younger siblings sleep...and yes maybe even you can do the same.
  10. Outside Time: While experts are saying parks are a no, you can still head outside every single day (and yes I mean you AND the kids). Go for a walk around your neighborhood and have the kids draw a map, collect items from nature to use for an art project, and while you're at it...drop a note off that elderly neighbor or a single parent that may need help. You can load up the kids and head to the mountains or walk along one of our many walking paths. Build your own ninja warrior training camp in the backyard, set up a Summer Olympics course or prep for that garden you've always dreamed of.

Are there going to be times when you lose your cool, where the kids are whiney and fighting?

Absolutely.

But remember, it's okay for them to be bored (you can always suggest that they can do more chores for you if they bring it up), and in the end, this may be an opportunity to make some pretty amazing memories together.

Enter your number to get our free mobile app