How is your family dealing with the recent events of the Corona Virus (Covid-19)?
I’m not sure how things are in your “neck of the woods,” but here where I live in New York, everything is shut down and families are told to self quarantine. There is no school, no day cares, no movies, no mall, no playgrounds… nothing.
My kids are young adults. They both have to work, as well as my husband. Since I work in an after-school program, I am out of work for at the very least two weeks (possibly longer).
I belong to a local Facebook group, and I am seeing the same issue being posted over and over again – what to do with the children to keep them entertained?
I have a few suggestions that might help if you find yourself in the same situation.
- Go outside in your backyard and play games.
- Go on a hike.
- Play games.
- Have a family movie night (or afternoon).
- Do arts and crafts.
- Spring cleaning.
- Have a dance party.
- Enjoy a picnic in your living room.
- Bake a cake or cookies.
Another great idea would be to check out a new (free) podcast that was just released, Imagine Neighborhood.
The Imagine Neighborhood is a podcast designed to help children and their grown-ups grow their social-emotional skills.
Social-emotional learning (or SEL) is sometimes called emotional intelligence or people skills. SEL helps people build their empathy and relationship skills and manage big emotions.
Having strong social-emotional skills help kids and their grown-ups communicate better, manage their conflicts, and solve problems together.
Working with children for many years, I know the importance of Social-emotional learning. When my children were little, I made it a point of teaching them about empathy for others and expressing their emotions in healthy ways.
Imagine Neighborhood is a podcast available on various platforms – iTunes, Spotify, Google Play and Stitcher, and anywhere podcasts are found. You can also listen on their website, ImagineNeighborhood.org.
Imagine Neighborhood uses entertaining stories, fun music and easy activities to help children and adults develop various skills. Grown-ups are also given extra tools, like activities and conversation starters, to relate to the topic in each episode.
There are three episodes currently available, with new episodes to be added.
Count Vacula Feels Afraid
Host Scotty has a tiny robot vampire who sucks up all the crumbs that Scotty drops on the floor during the day, and returns to his charger at night.
Vacula expresses to Scotty that he’s afraid of the babysitter. Using music, Scotty lets Vacula know that it’s OK to be afraid, and lets him know that he doesn’t need to worry when he leaves the house, because he’ll come back.
The Clouds are Made of Cake
Scotty starts off the episode talking about how wonderful it is to just sit outside, close your eyes, and listen to the sounds around you. Using background sounds of birds chirping, the beginning of the episode makes you feel calm and peaceful.
Scotty and his friend, Doctor Apocalypso, talk about what it feels like to be very excited, and why it’s important to learn how to calm yourself down too.
Macho Supreme Has an Accident (release date March 23, 2020)
Macho Supreme is stuck in Scotty’s doorway. He tries to make it seem like he did it intentionally, because he doesn’t want to admit to Scotty that he did it by accident. He also won’t ask for help, because he doesn’t think it’s “macho” to ask for help.
Crossing Lava Lake (release date March 30, 2020)
In this episode, Scotty has to cross a very dangerous street called Lava Avenue. Lucky for him, he bumps into Princess Donnasaurus. Together they brave the street of rolling boulders and hot lava.
This episode talks about dangerous situations, and using “SPEW” (stop, pay attention, use your ears, and wait), as well as using your “danger voice” to get other people’s attention.
Imagine Neighborhood utilizes music in each episode. Some songs are familiar, for example, “Macho Man” by the Village People, and a song called “Powerhouse” which sounds like something I’ve heard on The Jetsons, or some other cartoon.
Children can listen to the podcasts on their own, but as a parent, I would recommend listening with your child. These podcasts are a great way to segue into a conversation about the episode’s topic. After all, these are all emotions children and parents feel. As a parent, you can discuss how you deal with the emotion, as an adult as well as when you were a child. It’s also a great way to find out how your child is feeling.
In addition to the activity suggestions offered by the show’s host, I think these episodes could also be turned into a craft and/or fun activity. Some activities are suggested (like pretending the floor is made of lava – something I used to do when I was a kid). Others you can use your imagination and create something. For example, why not make a cake the looks like a cloud in honor of the episode “The Clouds are Made of Cake?” Or build your own Vaula Robot using recyclables and other materials found around your home. The possibilities are endless.
Check out Google and Pinterest for activities and crafts to help support each episode.
Now is a great time to spend quality time with your child/children. It’s also important to know how your child is feeling during these trying times. I’m sure plenty of children are scared about the virus, and unsure as to why things are shut down and families are quarantined.
What do you think about the Imagine Neighborhood? Do you think you will check it out with your child?
What other topics would you like to see Imagine Neighborhood talk about in their fun, interactive podcasts? Feel free to comment and share your thoughts. I always value the comments of my site readers.
*I have partnered with Imagine Neighborhood to bring you this information/review. Although compensated, the opinions expressed are entirely my own and not influenced in any way.