Spring Break for Early Childhood during Covid-19
Written by Sienna Kusek
Next week we are entering into spring break. My girls are four and seven, and like most parents of young children, we’ve been in self-isolation for just over two weeks. The world right now is scary and unknown, and I want to give my little ones a sense of security – and hopefully a little fun.
So, I thought, “What is more fun than an amusement park?” Obviously, due to the Shelter in Place order we cannot go to a real amusement park, but what if we brought the amusement park to us? I’m going to share with you how we spent our day at the park using stuff around the house. And I will tell you, we had a blast!
Bright and early we piled onto the couch and checked out all the YouTube POV videos of different Disney rides. We talked about what made the ride exciting and what made them scary. Next, we found the biggest piece of paper we had, and I had the girls design their own roller coaster. They could draw whatever they wanted. My oldest designed one that had lots of turns and twists, and my youngest made a “water-coaster”. Once they had finished their design, we pulled out the box of Legos and they went to town building the car that would be used on their coasters. I loved hearing the stories about each feature that they had created.
Deep in the garage, we found a box that made the perfect coaster car. Out came the markers and crayons. We pulled out a paper plate for the steering wheel. How fun would it be to create a coaster using things around the house and push your little ones around? A sheet tent could be a tunnel, or once they reach the kitchen, it turns around and goes in reverse. Or instead of a box, decorate the wagon and have the kids make a track in the back yard. The sky is the limit!
Next was lunch, and hot dogs were on the menu, but you can substitute any amusement park food. Hamburgers! Mac and cheese! Sandwiches! We discovered, though, that to really get the park feel, lunch needs to be eaten outside, preferably on concrete. If you have a sweet tooth, look into making the quintessential theme park food – the funnel cake. Funnel cakes are super easy to make and use ingredients found in most pantries. Then let everyone decorate their own however they want! Fruit, whipped cream, ice cream, chocolate syrup, and you can never forget the sprinkles!
Typically, in our house, lunch is followed by rest time. We decided that a snuggle on the couch while watching a movie was the way to go. Wonder Park was our cinematic adventure for the afternoon. It is a great family film, though it can get a little sad at parts for some younger children. However, it does provide a really great opportunity to talk with older children about how they are feeling with all the craziness going on.
After movie time, it began to rain so we needed to keep our amusement park fun inside. I know that whenever we go to a fair or a carnival, the one thing my kids want is to get their face painted. Out came the old Halloween make up. I pulled up a couple of Pinterest pages and jumped in with both feet. Not bad for some eye shadow and liquid liner! We had fun. The girls even pulled out their pretend make-up to paint my face. If your little ones aren’t the face paint sort, or you don’t trust your hand, create carnival games for them. Set up block towers and give them a softball to knock it down. Or create a magnetized fishing line by taping a fridge magnet to a piece of string and tying that to a stick. Make an adventure of going around the house to find things you can “catch.”
Our day at the amusement park ended very similarly to the way it started, all of us cuddled on the couch, but this time we turned off the lights and watched the Magic Kingdom fireworks!
It was a busy but fun-filled day. We laughed, and in true theme park fashion, there were some tears, but, overall, we had a great day.