Many of us are experiencing a range of negative emotions in the midst of COVID-19—from the stress of trying to homeschool kids while simultaneously working from home, to the anxiety of wondering when we’ll be able to safely venture back out into the world again.
But this is also a time to find moments of happiness and gratitude—gratitude to share unexpected time with family in a way we weren’t able to before. Here, we’re highlighting some fun, heartwarming ways to spark joy during these unpredictable times (beyond board games and puzzles).
1. Cuddle Up with a Cozy Blanket
Weighted blankets get all the glory—especially these days—but any blanket that’s soft and warm is all you need for a cozy night on the couch, perhaps with a newly released movie or TV show. We recommend an oversized faux fur or fleece blanket everyone can share.
2. Build the Ultimate Indoor Fort
Is there anything cozier than an indoor fort? Build the foundation of your fort using tables, chairs, blankets and pillows, then secure everything in place with clothes pins, clamps, chip clips or even heavy books. Once the foundation of your fort is complete, it’s time to furnish it. Roll out the sleeping bags, add some string lights, and don’t forget the snacks! (We highly recommend these microwaveable S’mores.)
3. Make Some Herbal Tea
Chamomile, lemon and peppermint tea are known for their calming effects, so boil a pot of water and enjoy a cup of tea while you play your favorite family card game or get ready for bed. If your family enjoys tea, you might also consider a tea subscription box such as Quaintly & Co or Tea Runners.
4. Burn a Travel-Inspired Candle
Missing your upcoming vacation due to COVID-19? Burn a candle that reminds you of your favorite vacation destination while you reminisce about past trips (and look ahead to your next trip, whenever that may be). Homesick Candles makes scented candles (and oils) inspired by states, cities, countries and even memories (like candles that remind you of your favorite beach cottage or most memorable road trip). Homesick offers free shipping and a 10-percent discount on first-time orders.
5. Make a Photo Album
Have a stockpile of family photos on your phone? Use this time to recall your favorite memories and create a photo album. Shutterfly, Snapfish, and Amazon Prints all offer a variety of photo album options, plus other commemorative keepsakes such as mugs and Christmas ornaments. We bet you’ve taken some funny family photos while in quarantine, too. Why not create an album to remember the special moments you shared during your time at home?
Related: 11 Best Ways to Preserve Your Vacation Memories
6. Play Dress-Up
Have some boxes of old clothes sitting in the basement? Now’s the time to pull them out for a funny fashion show with the kids. Set up a makeshift runway or cardboard dresser that resembles Madame de la Grande Bouche, the wardrobe in Beauty and the Beast, having each family member strut out in their best attire. Or, make it a game by choosing a theme and challenging each family member to create the best costume in turn for a prize such as a gift card.
7. Create Your Own Spa
Since you can’t go to the spa, bring the spa to you! You can purchase kid-friendly facial masks, or better yet, make your own at home. (Just don’t forget to take a family selfie of everyone in their funny-looking masks!) Other ideas for your family spa: exfoliating scrubs, bubble bath or bath bombs, essential oils, and an oil diffuser.
8. Have a Dance Party
When it’s time for a mid-day break from school and work, or if everyone just needs to blow off some steam, there’s only one thing to do: have a dance party! Ask Alexa to play some dance music, or create a customized quarantine playlist on Spotify, which just released a kids’ app and family plan.
9. Research Your Family’s Ancenstry
Ancestry is currently offering free access to thousands of records from the national archive. Use this tool to trace your family’s roots!
Related: 6 Vacations That Let You Trace Your Family History
10. Share What You’re Thankful For
While everyone may be feeling anxious about the unknown, it’s important to stay optimistic and appreciate this time together. Encourage everyone to stay positive by sharing their favorite part of each day, whether it’s something new they learned or an activity they really enjoyed. Eventually, when we return to the hustle and bustle of after-school activities, birthday parties and other social events, we’ll look back on this quality time with family and think “remember when?”.
More Activities for Families
Movie Night Kit
Boys Movie Night
Toddler Paint Night Set
Mom’s Self Care Kit
Our team of parents and travel experts chooses each product and service we recommend. Anything you purchase through links on our site may earn us a commission.