Category: social distancing

free printableFreebie Fridaysocial distancingteens and tweens

{FREEBIE FRIDAY} Summer Fun Checklists for Families and Teens

Last summer I wrote a post about allowing boredom in the summer months. I still stand by that post. I think our culture does not know how to be bored. We have constant stimulation and entertainment at our fingertips. You can read the post I wrote HERE.

This year is not not typical. It is not normal. The usual summer events are not happening. Most summer camps have been canceled or modified. Many church VBS programs have been canceled or modified. Between social distancing, phases for opening the country, riots and political unrest… home is looking like the place to be this summer.

I was sharing with my husband this week that I want to have a healthy balance with my children this summer. I want to engage them and I want them to sit in that boredom that breeds creativity. Normally, by the time we get to summer… we have come to the end of an intensly busy year and are ready to just relax and slow down. With the quarantine, we have already slowed down. We have already relaxed. We have played all the board games and made all the sweet treats. We have planted a garden. We have chilled in the hammocks. We have done the summery things.

Regardless of where you are in the world, you have been affected by COVID-19. You may or may not be ready to enter back into society. You may be wary of playgrounds and public pools. You may not yet be able to go to your library. You may have to wear masks and wait in a line outside to be let into Target. Things are different now… and will be for a while.

I have put together a couple of summer fun checklists. The first one is more family friendly… you can use it with all ages. The second is geared towards teens. These are things you can do at home or with friends. Summer fun you can safely accomplish while social distancing (or not). Click on the link BELOW the image to download the printable version.

All clip art was designed by me and can be found at Ninja Mom Designs on Teachers Pay Teachers.

If you like these checklists and are looking for more summer fun for your child, check out my Summer Fun Creative Journal from Ninja Mom Teaches on Teachers Pay Teachers.

What is your family doing this summer? How will you make memories? How will you spend the time that would have gone to other activities? I only 2-3 summers left with my oldest. I want to make the most of my time!!!

free printablesocial distancingSometimes I Doodle

Social Distancing Succulent Coloring Sheets {FREE}

What’s your distraction hobby? What do you do to cope with, escape from, process stress? I draw… doodle mostly. I haven’t had a full night’s sleep in over a week. I don’t know why. I am so tired and my allergies are going crazy. I sneeze all the time. And it isn’t just one sneeze… it usually is a minimum of three. And let me just tell you that I have given birth to four children… a sneeze can be detrimental to a bladder broken by birth. If you know what I’m say, you know what I’m saying… if you don’t… just carry on with your day. Nothing to see here!

I spent the morning doodling away as I listened to people sound out words, learn about different kinds of sentences, do art class (more on that tomorrow), find the surface area of a pyramid and so on.

If your week has started at all like mine… or if by some chance you are having an awesome week… let me just give you a little gift to keep you going!

I have THREE FREE Social Distancing Succulent themed coloring sheets for you. Print them and leave them as is, color them, send them to a friend! Whatever your little heart desires.

Click on the link BELOW the image to download the printable version.

I created these little beauties using the Procreate App on my iPad with the Apple Pencil (not a sponsor… yet).

If you print them and color them, be sure to post and tag me on Instagram: @thedelightdirectedhomeschooler!

Happy quarantining friends!

Parenting Tipsocial distancingteens and tweens

Navigating Friendships During Trauma

I have four beautiful children. Each one engages the world with their own, unique personality. I have introverts and extroverts. I have one who is best friends with everyone she meets and one who has a few select, close friends.

When our family experienced extreme trauma, crisis, and isolation four years ago due to cancer treatment, I did not realize how deeply friendships could be affected. I did not realize how much of a game changer trauma can be.

We had to move five hundred miles away so my daughter could receive the care she needed at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. My husband and I made the decision to pack up our family and move to Memphis so we could be together during that difficult time. We looked at the situation and decided it would be better to be together in a foreign land than to be split up. We left our community, our friends, our jobs, and our homeschool classes behind, expecting it all to be there when we returned.

If you have watched the show, Stranger Things, you will grasp this analogy. When we returned, I felt like we were in the upside down. We were in familiar territory, but yet not. The places and things and people we left were still there when we returned, but somehow everything was different. Only… it wasn’t everything… it was us. We were the walking wounded. We had been stripped down and laid bare by trauma. The Lord was healing us. He was giving us balm for our souls… but there is no overnight fix for trauma.

Experiencing pain, death of a loved one, a difficult pregnancy, a move, a sick child… a worldwide pandemic… should give pause. We cannot just rush through and hope for life to “go back to normal.” It will not go back to normal because you are changed. We came back from cancer treatment and I realized that new friendships had been formed while we were gone. My children’s friends had moved on and made new memories without them. And that was ok. It was a totally natural thing to have happen. I, however, returned broken and panic stricken… and not the extroverted, fun and confident person I had once been. I no longer knew how to engage groups of people without making it weird.

I’m not even kidding. I remember being at our town’s Christmas parade and being introduced to someone. I said to her, “I’m sorry. I’m socially awkward and don’t really know how to have light and fluffy conversation. If you need to talk about hard things or suffering, I’m your girl!” … You can imagine the look on her face.

Why am I sharing this? We are in a unique position of all experiencing trauma, simultaneously. We are not all experiencing it the same way, but we are all in it … in some form or another. We will come out of this quarantine, but normal will change. We will not ever go back to the days before…. at least not as we knew them. Everything will be overshadowed by COVID-19. I’m not saying that in a way to create fear… but in a reality kind of way. For a time, anyone who coughs in public will receive dirty looks. People will likely continue to wear masks. Those with immune compromised children will be even more hypervigilant than before. We will question all decisions involving crowds of people. Our decisions and thoughts and actions will now be filtered through the lens of COVID-19.

Healing will come, but it will take time and it will look different in different people. Eventually the wounds will heal… your guard will relax. You will smile and laugh and grocery shop with ease. But there will be scars.

Your friend group (and your child’s friend group) dynamic may change. The natural leaders may step back. The quiet ones may step up. Change may happen….. but so will healing… in time.

Here are some ways I think you can prepare your kids to re-enter the world and have grace on themselves and their friends.

  1. Be patient. Your friends may not be ready to re-engage right when you are. And… that is ok. Give them space. Keep inviting them without expectation. Let them know you are still here and love them. Be patient with your friend’s parents. Respect their decisions if they aren’t ready for their kids to go out in groups yet.
  2. Be aware. We all have experienced COVID-19 in some form or fashion. By the end of this, most of us will know someone or be someone who was personally affected and infected. Be aware that your friends have been hearing bits of information and processing in their own way. They may be cavalier… or they may be afraid. Be aware that we have all experienced the effects of this quarantine and bear some scars.
  3. If the friendship is important to you, be a friend for the long game. Your friend might never be the same…. so be willing to love them where they are and get to know them all over again. Engage your friends in ways that you can right now. If zoom is all you’ve got… use zoom! Text, call, drive by and wave, write a letter, play video games together. Be a voice that helps bring your friend up and out of sadness or depression. Don’t give up! If your children are young, set up virtual play dates for them! We started using Facebook messenger kids for my younger children. A friend of mine set up a Lego Club Facebook group where kids can be challenged and post their creations and interact with each other virtually. We did a drive by birthday party for a sweet little friend. Sometimes a car full of children will end up in our driveway… they stay in their car… we stay a safe distance a way and we talk and play for a bit.
  4. Give grace. For the most part, we have been quarantined for forty plus days with our families. Our worlds have become quite small and maybe we have forgotten the social niceties of the world at large. Most of us will emerge with some bit of social awkwardness. When zoom is over and we are face to face again… we may have to relearn making eye contact and natural flow of conversation. Give yourself and your friends grace.
  5. It’s ok to not be ok. Healing takes time. I was in a lay counseling class once at a church… simply meaning teaching people who are not professional counselors how to counsel. I remember reading that a miscarriage takes something like 6-9 months to grieve. I don’t know where they got their numbers, but when I experienced a miscarriage a couple of years later I found comfort in the fact that I didn’t have to be ok right away. They had different timelines for different degrees of trauma… but guess what y’all. This pandemic is a new thing. Yes… there have been pandemics before…but not in the age of technology where the world has become smaller and flatter and we all know what everyone is doing. This is an unfounded and uncertain time and we have no timeline for the healing or grieving process that will come. I’m not saying to wallow in self pity and depression…. but I am saying… don’t be surprised to find out that you have been deeply impacted. Your kids have been deeply impacted. Your friends and your kid’s friends have been forever impacted. We are living through an event that will be taught in future history classes. It’s ok to soak that in. I have since learned through experience that there is actually no timeline for grief… it can surprise you years down the road. But so can joy.

Trauma changes us. I do not have a degree in counseling or work with people who have experienced trauma. My husband does… and he is really good at it. But I do have my personal experiences. I know what it feels like to have the rug pulled out from under you… to have normal life changed in an instant. When we came back from my daughter’s cancer treatment, I desperately looked for the normal. I kept saying, “When will normal return?”. It took time… probably two years on the other side for me to realize that normal as I knew it was over. There was a new normal. A new pattern. A new lens through which to view life. New memories to be made.

The one constant… the one thing that did not change was the Lord. He has not changed through any of it. He is the same today as he was yesterday and will be forever more. I learned more of him. I clung to him. He is the constant, the anchor, the steady. I lost a lot when life halted and changed planes. I am still realizing the depths of the losses. But I did not lose Him. He promises to not leave us or forsake us. When we experience panic and anxiety in our home, we have the affected person slow down and think about things that are true…. starting small (like you have brown hair… you are wearing a long sleeve shirt, etc.) and moving to the more abstract (still true)… God is real. God is true. God is here and loves you. So… let’s look for the truths. Let’s take one day at a time. And let’s be hopeful for the days to come.

delight directed dayssocial distancingteens and tweens

Virtual Games to Play During Quarantine

Do you find yourself in a sea of Zoom meetings and Facetime? Or maybe your kids are missing their friends and craving interaction? I am blessed to work in youth ministry. We have been working hard to plan times for connection for the group. We have Bible studies and weekly check ins. This week we added in a weekly game meet up. I’m compiling a list of games to use with the students and wanted to share them with you… the interwebs.

Scavenger Hunt

I’ve seen a few different ways to do this one. You can share an image like one of the ones below (found on Google) and have everyone send in a picture or screen share a picture when you meet up virtually.

We put together a virtual scavenger hunt for our youth using Google Slides. I hosted the meeting on Zoom and used the screen sharing feature to present the objects.

You are welcome to use the hunt we put together. The rules are simple… the camera has to stay stationary. Everyone has to be seated in front of their device until the object is presented… then they race to find it and bring it back. We did that the first five people to return get a point. It has ten objects as well as three bonus/ tie breakers. Click on the image below:

Two Truths and a Lie

Instruct each player to think of three statements about themselves. Two must be true statements, and one must be false. For each person, he or she shares the three statements (in any order) to the group. The goal of the icebreaker game is to determine which statement is false. The group votes on which one they feel is a lie, and at the end of each round, the person reveals which one was the lie.

Never Have I Ever

Players hold up all ten fingers. You take turns making declarative statements of things you have never done. If a play HAS done the thing, they have to put down a finger. Once their ten fingers are all down, they are out of the game.

Example:

Speaker: Never have I ever been to Disney World

Players who HAVE been to Disney World have to put down a finger.

Story Train

Create a continuous story. One person gives the opening sentence (or word), then the next person adds on the next sentence (or word). Continue until everyone has had a chance to contribute to the story.

Twenty Questions

There are no preparations or special materials required to play. This game works best with a small groups of about 2 to 5 players.

Select one person to begin Twenty Questions. This person is designated as “it.” For each round, this person must choose any person, place, or thing. The person can be living (e.g. a current athlete or classmate), deceased (e.g. a famous person in history), or fictitious (e.g. cartoon or movie character). The place can be anywhere in the world, including creative places. The thing can be an inanimate object, an animal, a food, etc. Basically anything can be chosen, but try to make the selected item something that can be reasonably guessed. It’s no fun to play a guessing game that is impossible to solve!

After the person has chosen a person, place, or thing, the guessing begins! The other players take turns and ask “yes” or “no” questions in an attempt to figure out what the chosen answer is. That is, the questions must be answered with simply “Yes” or “No.” After each guess, keep track of the number of guesses that are used until it reaches the limit of 20.

Once 20 questions are used up, players may not ask any more questions. If a player correctly guesses the object before then, they become “it” for the next game and choose the next person, place, or thing. Otherwise, the answer is revealed.

Yahtzee

This one is easy to play in the traditional manner. Each player will require 5 dice and their own score card. If your friends don’t own Yahtzee, they can print a scoresheet online.

Players should show their dice rolls using video chat so everyone can see what they are doing. Otherwise, play in the traditional manner.

CLICK HERE for the directions for Yahtzee.

Chess

Similar to Yahtzee, each person needs to have their own board. Communication is key with this one.

Both players will have to record every move on their own gameboard so each person has to communicate their move very clearly. This is easier on boards that have the grid labeled with numbers and letters. But even without a labeled grid, you can show your board to communicate your move.

Hangman

One player thinks of a word or phrase; the others try to guess what it is one letter at a time. The player draws a number of dashes equivalent to the number of letters in the word. If a guessing player suggests a letter that occurs in the word, the other player fills in the blanks with that letter in the right places. If the word does not contain the suggested letter, the other player draws one element of a hangman’s gallows. As the game progresses, a segment of the gallows and of a victim is added for every suggested letter not in the word. The number of incorrect guesses before the game ends is up to the players, but completing a character in a noose provides a minimum of six wrong answers until the game ends. The first player to guess the correct answer thinks of the word for the next game.

One Word Game

This game kind of has to work on the honor system. The person who is “it” has to promise to close their eyes while the others collaborate.

“It” will close their eyes while the host of the game holds up an object. They will put the object down. “It” can open their eyes. The other participants have to try to get “it” to guess the object… but they can only give clues one word at a time. The clues cannot include any parts of the name of the object.

Example:

Host holds up a pencil sharpener

Person 1: shavings

Person 2: pointy

Person 3: draw

Person 4: wood

Would You Rather

Ask random “Would You Rather” Questions and hear the different answers/ opinions.

HERE and HERE and HERE are some great lists of questions.

The Toilet Paper Game

I KNOW y’all have toilet paper at your house!!! Tell everyone in the group to go get “how much toilet paper you need” … if they ask, “Need for what?” Just smile and say, “Go get however much toilet paper you usually use.”

When everyone is gathered, each person has to tell a fact about themselves for each square they are holding.

Who is It?

Have everyone in the group privately message an interesting fact about themselves to the host. The host will read out a fact and everyone has to try to guess who it is about.

Camera Roll

Host will shout out a number. Everyone has to find a picture on their camera roll matching the number and share it.

Example:

The host says 7

Everyone finds the 7th picture on their camera roll and shares it with the group.

How are you guys passing the time these days? How are you mainting community and connection? What about your kids? How are they doing?

Comment below and share your social distancing interaction ideas!

my storysocial distancing

How Being a Cancer Mom Prepared Me for Social Distancing

In Januuary 2016, my then six year old daughter was diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor. We were swept up unexpectedly into a world we knew nothing about. I had to quit my part time job and neglect my thriving etsy shop and graphic design blog. Homeschooling changed and looked different. We were uprooted from all things normal and given a new temporary normal.

She had surgery to remove the tumor at the end of January 2016. Within two weeks, we were given the news that the tumor was malignant and we had been accepted into St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. At the time, I had no idea where St. Jude was located. I don’t think I had ever given thought to the fact that it was a real place and not just commercials on television.

It turns out that St. Jude is in Memphis… approximately 500 miles away from our front door. She and I got on a plane and headed off for the first 8 week stretch. We were at the mercy of the hospital and its services. I had no idea where we would be staying or how we would get around. I didn’t know what we would eat, etc. We packed one large suitcase and two carry-ons. The hospital provided our flight, shuttle service to the hospital, lodging, food, laundry detergent, housekeeping… all the things. We found out when we arrived the St. Jude patients are given free or reduced admission to many attractions around Memphis.

Our days were dictated for us. We would go to the registration desk each morning where my daughter received her hospital bracelet and schedule for the day. We took the provided shuttle to get to and from the Ronald McDonald House for the duration of the radiation phase of her treatment. My husband and I were able to manage long drives to and from home on the weekend to trade off and bring siblings for much needed family time. It was insane. When I think about all the hours on the road and the quick weekends, trying to squeeze in all the family time we could… it just makes me exhausted. But you do what you can to survive in times of crisis. We desperately needed to be together during that time and we did the best we could.

Once radiation was over, we went home for four weeks before returning for the chemo portion of her protocol. This is when the isolation and social distancing really set in. Radiation was not so difficult on her body. Different people have different experiences… but for us, radiation was not so tough. Now… we are seeing some long term effects of the radiation that aren’t so great. We are a little thrown off by some of it simply because radiation itself wasn’t so bad.

I sat with a nurse before chemo began to learn what was to be expected. I found out that hand washing was key. I learned that sanitizing was a non-negotiable. Her favorite stuffed animal could only come to the hospital stays with her if we agreed to take it home and wash it daily. There would be times during her chemo cycle when her immune system would be completely wiped out and she would be super susceptible to any and all germs. It was in those times that she needed to be treated with extreme care and kept away from any sickness. She wasn’t supposed to even play outside where there might be a chance of her falling down and scraping her knees… because germs.

When we left for chemo, we did not stay in the hospital provided housing (at the time, they only allowed for four people and we have a family of six). We made the decision to stay together as a family for the duration. We were graciously given a house that was about 20 minutes away from the hospital. It was furnished and we had a cleaning service come in every other week. It was amazing, but in some ways it added to our isolation. We only knew two other families in Memphis. We were now separated from the community of other patient families at St. Jude. Our in person community became very, very small.

**Please note, because most people ask… my daughter survived. She is doing really, really well. We are so thankful for her life.**

This time of social distancing and isolation feels very familiar to me. It reminds me very much of when we had our world rocked and even the familiar things felt foreign. I wanted to share a few things that I learned during that time that may help make this time a little less scary and a little more manageable.

  1. Cultivate a Hobby. For your own sanity, think of something you have been wanting to devote more time to and do it. For me, it was drawing. I drew all day long. I took my sketchbook to appointments. I had it in my bag all the time. It was an outlet… a place to channel my anxiety.

2. Get outside. The weather is beautiful right now. Sit on your porch, take a walk, lounge in a hammock, play basket ball, get in a water gun fight, stand barefoot in the grass. Get outside. It does wonders for your soul!!

3. Make memories. Take time to be silly. Put on some music and have a dance party. Allow for unprompted cookie baking and craft time (shrinky dinks are a magical craft). Say yes to the things you usually say no to. Get outside of your own head and engage the people in your house.

4. Plant a garden. Hardware stores and Grocery stores are considered essential business. When you make a grocery run, grab some seed packets and soil (Walmart or a larger Grocery Store will likely still have a garden center). If you don’t have space, get creative. We used a canvas shoe organizer to plant herbs. Just plant something that you can cultivate!

5. Be ok with a little extra screen time. We were given a Nintendo Wii U when we were living in Memphis. We would play together for hours. Mario Kart is my most favorite game! Even though they were looking at a screen, they were together and talking and laughing. We also watched so many movies that summer…all of the Star Wars movies, lots of Netflix, lots of Disney. There were times when we just needed to be still, be smart, be healthy… and screens were a good way to contain the chaos and hunker down together.

6. Write a Letter. Mail was a huge life saver for us. We had an Amazon Wish List. The kids would add things they wanted… craft kits, movies, books, toys. We added household items we needed. It was awesome. People cared for us in amazingly kind ways. Maybe you could have your kids create a wishlist and surprise them every now and then?? Have your kids write letters to their friends, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins… Just don’t lick the envelope… use a slightly wet cloth or something like that!!

In this current season of pandemic induced social distancing and sheltering at home, I find that we are implementing some of the same strategies. We are spending a lot of time outside, lounging in hammocks. I am reading through the Chronicles of Narnia with the kids. We are taking a lot of family walks and exploring a creek that runs through our neighbor’s yard. We are baking a lot (I was teaching a cake decorating class with our homeschool group before everything got cancelled and have continued lessons via Facebook Live) and cooking more meals at home. We are watching movies. We are playing a lot of Mario.

I’m not saying that our year of cancer treatment did not absolutely rock our world. We came out of it broken and lonely and socially awkward (well… me more than the others). There were some habits created in the name of survival that have been hard to break (mostly involving snacking). We are still dealing with the aftermath. I am sure that we will all have aftermath from COVID-19. We are ALL affected… every single one of us in all of the world. The aftermath will come and we will take it. But for now… what can you do during this time of social distancing, isoloation, germ diligence, and quaranting to keep your sanity and lean into the new normal?

I am an affilitiate with Amazon. Purchases made through any links in this post benefit our family in small way. Thank you!