This blog post will be sharing all I do as a stay-at-home/work-from-home mom to create a loose structure to my day! As well as an abundance of ideas on how to live your best life during quarantine. Our main goal as a family during quarantine is to grow closer together, an to take advantage of this abundant togetherness we have. It’s been a challenge to make the most of each day when we can’t go to all our usual spots outside, but we’ve made do with what we have and got creative 🙂
I hope this post inspires and equips you with realistic ideas and inspiration that will manifest joy, togetherness, creativity, and appreciation in your home during this COVID19 quarantine — and after! Feel free to check out my stay-in story highlight on instagram for tons more ideas on how we do a typical day indoors, too.
I know it’s not easy to be inside all day (as in, not going to our usual spots and keeping a social life and not hanging out with anyone outside of who lives with us). But we must do this for the greater good, and it soon will pass. Let’s make the time we have indoors purposeful and intentional so we can come out of this strong, and still sane!
I’ve also included a free download of our daily homeschool routine
for you to create your own block schedule with!
Scroll to the bottom of this post to snag the free download.
Keep reading for ways you can thrive during quarantine as a parent, friend, and at home. I’ve included simple recipes you can make without (or with minimal) grocery staples that keep selling out, activities for high energy toddlers, and resources for you and your family to have fun and grow closer together!
how to be your best self during quarantine
Have fun in your relationship with your spouse! Try some of these out:
Find a new board game
Play would you rather
Play a game to any show/movie you’re watching (like, kiss each other every time someone says/does “___” on a show or movie, or get more creative after the kids are in bed LOL!)
Learn tik tok’s together just for fun
Do Instagram Stories with silly filters or question filters
Do couple’s workouts/yoga
Do facials or masks together
Read your Bible together/do devotions
Go on a walk and hold hands
Find a creative spot to watch the sunset
Have more sex (no better time than quarantine! Hehe)
Make daily challenges (who can make the best breakfast, make a daily playlist for each other, do the silliest face in a selfie, etc.)
Learn new recipes together
Start spring cleaning/organizing/decluttering
Clean out the garage
Have a beach day indoors! Play with kinetic sand, wear your swimsuits, and lay out towels.
Have a Disney Day indoors! Make mickey pancakes, have lollypops, wear your ears, and watch the Disney Fireworks on Disney+.
Read more books
Learn a new hobby
Facetime family a lot more
Do your own family photo shoot with a camera and tripod
Make a photobooth with props and crazy outfits
Write snail mail to friends
Keep a daily journal about your experiences/feelings during this time
Learn to make craft coffee, homemade pasta, or a new dish at home
^A Starbucks run before the quarantine happened, we love to go during their happy hour days! You can learn to make your own coffee at home here – and save tons of $!
simple recipe ideas that don’t use (many) grocery staples
(make them grilled for dinner!)
Homemade granola bars
Overnight oats or regular oatmeal with toppings
(made with water, if you’re trying to ration your milk)
Sweet potato hash with sausage and peppers (skip the eggs if you’re DF/trying to ration)
Fruit and Yogurt Parfaits
Rice Cakes with spread and toppings
Breakfast Banana Splits or Banana Boats with toppings
Apple Rounds with toppings
Deli Snack Boxes
Homemade energy balls
Homemade granola (use as your topping for the recipes above!)
Harvest Breakfast Hash
Cauliflower Breakfast Hash Bowl
Mexican Street Corn Salad (use fresh corn cobs for the corn, if you can’t find frozen)
Vegan Stuffed Sweet Potatos
Stir fry with Rice Noodles
*Here are some protein alternatives to add in to your main dishes, if you can’t find/don’t eat meat. We are not Vegan or Vegetarian, but do like to incorporate those meals into our diet!
use nature for social distancing
We just bought our toddler a super cute scooter and helmet so we can take walks on our apartment property during quarantine, instead of going to a park. Even being on the balcony or in your yard is perfect for having outdoor time.
Nature walks at home
Bring along a bag for your kiddos to collect rocks, grass, leaves, flowers, acorns, and sticks in around your property. You can turn their findings into a homeschool study once they’re done! Depending on their ages, you can have your kids create art out of what they found (paint rocks, make stick people, look at stuff under a magnifying glass/microscope, press leaves and flowers into books to turn into wall art later, etc.
how to use time blocks during quarantine
We don’t have a “set schedule” for each day, but we do have set time blocks where we set aside time for various activities. It helps me to keep my girls occupied with activities for a duration of time, and helps me manage my own work schedule (I normally work during naps and at night). My husband is still going to work during the week, so on the days he’s gone it helps me to really manage my time more efficiently.
Our personal daily homeschool routine is shown below, to give you an idea of how we manage our days! The time blocks and activities are for mainly myself and my 2.5 year old to follow, since I’m the only parent at home right now.
I adapted this schedule from a template I got from Homegrown Traditions. I made a blank version of mine for you to download, if you like how this looks! Just scroll to the bottom of this post to download it ❤
A note about what’s on our daily schedule:
These include any activity that has to do with play pretend or using imagination. Wooden trains, dress up, play kitchen, legos, barbies, tea party, kinetic sand and digger toys…basically anything I can set up and let my toddler run with. Pretend play has an abundance of benefits for toddlers to prepare them socially, emotionally, mentally, and physically for their older years, so this is my favorite activity to do for her!
I am planning on dedicating an entire blog post JUST to our activity bins! But in a nutshell, I have about 15 bins that are deigned specifically for play and learning that my toddler can grab from at any time. I have everything from coloring materials, to flash cards, to kinetic sand, to blocks, to pipe cleaners and beads, to stickers – she never gets bored! Stay tuned later this week for the full blog post on how to create your own activity bin station! Here’s an example of one, counting and sorting with fake flowers.
Letting your toddler cook with you is going to be the highlight of their day! They can pretty much handle any task at this age (except for working with heat and using knives). My toddler loves to bring her step stool over to the kitchen when I’m cooking. They will develop a healthy relationship with food this way, will learn about basic math/measuring, and foster a love for cooking that will (hopefully!) last a lifetime.
It’s so important to have dedicated family time together – and most of us can only manage it at mealtime due to work schedules. I try my best to eat WITH my kids, not at the counter! I’ve also noticed my toddler eats more of her food when I sit with her, and it allows for intentional conversation.
Screen time for us is either a Disney movie or one of a handful of shows we let our toddler watch. We don’t have iPads or let her use our phones, and only do screen time once a day. And, we don’t do it every day – sometimes she doesn’t ask to watch anything and prefers to do activities or crafts instead.
Our toddler has an adorable reading nook in her room that she calls her “cozy fort.” We have a night light and her bookshelf there, along with a fluffy rug and pillows. She is allowed to read in her cozy fort after lights out if she is not tired, instead of coming to her door and calling out for us. Having that designated area for her has been a sanity saver!
our favorite free resources for play+learn time
Kids Activities Blog has an entire page dedicated to free resources for kids who are now learning at home! Tons of good stuff here 🙂
Storytelling Online is an amazing resource to listen/watch books being read outloud! You can listen, or choose to watch the book being read.
Other Goose is currently offering 3 weeks of free homeschool curriculum and you can cater the curriculum to each of your kid’s ages. We use it for our oldest (2.5) and she loves every activity!
Scholastic Learn At Home has tons of resources for your little ones to do fun projects at home.
highly engaging/high energy and fun activities (that aren’t screen time)
Even though we do use screen time, I am also a huge advocate for having activities that are high energy, engaging, and use learning as a tool for play. Anything that catches my toddler’s attention more than a screen is what I will suggest for her to do! Here are some of our favorites:
Playdoh with cookie cutters
Make it fun: Add scents (use essentials oils!), glitter, googly eyes, or *gasp* let them mix 2 colors to create new colors and turn it into an art lesson (ex: we mixed yellow and green the other day to create a pretty pastel green! Experiment with more or less of one color to see what tones you can make).
Build a graham cracker house
Make it fun: Use cream cheese or peanut butter as your binding agent, and decorate with sliced bananas, strawberries, pretzel sticks, blueberries, m&m’s, nuts, and/or marshmallows. Eat it when you’re done!
Jump on the beds
Make it fun: Have a jumping competition to see who can jump the highest! Or you can roll around, or run and jump onto the bed, whatever. Just lay out lots of pillows for safe landing! And while you’re at it, you can wash the bed sheets so they can play on the mattress while the laundry’s going. We did this yesterday!
Make it fun: Let them choose what they do for their “PE Class” time! Whether it’s a kid workout on YouTube (Cosmic Kids Yoga anyone?), playing red light green light on the lawn, playing tag, hula hoops, jump rope, building an obstacle course (time them!), do a scavenger hunt race for nature items that start with the alphabet or look for certain colors – choose an activity (or better, make several and keep them in a jar to pick from) and do PE time for at least 30 minutes, 1-2 times a day.
Cook or bake together
Make it fun: Have them crack the eggs, mix, pour, stir, add ingredients, measure, basically let them do it all minus work with heat and knives. They will be SO excited to make something with you, and even more so when they can see (and taste) the yummy results! I let my toddler cook with me all the time and she loves it.
Grow a garden
Make it fun: Have your kids paint their pots! You can find seeds, soil, and even things to plant your garden in all online so you won’t have to run to the store during quarantine. Click here for my picks for growing a simple edible garden on your patio.
Build an epic fort
Make it fun: Snuggle up to watch a movie with popcorn, or even have a sleepover in it! Make a flag out of construction paper of fabric, and write your fort name on it to hang on the fort.
Make a bird feeder
Make it fun: Do a lesson on birds and grab this book to take story time to the next level. You can easily make bird feeder out of a pine cone, TP roll, a small wooden house, and then use twine to hang. Click here for a tutorial!
Make a memory binder of all the things you do during quarantine
I saw a really cute one on @amylouhawthorne’s insta that we are going to make this weekend! You can include photos from each day, newspaper clippings or articles, or even write how you were feeling during this time at home together. It will be really cool/interesting to look back on in a few years.
DIY Art at home
Make it fun: Grab some paint and canvas of various sizes, and let your kids go to town! Let them paint with their hands, with brushes, sponges, or whatever you have on hand. Once they’re dry, hang the canvas on the wall in their room for their own wall art. If you’re wanting to make wall art as an adult, I have (and love) this book for creating your own art at home!
Watch caterpillars grow into butterflies
Make it fun: Have your older kids do a journal documenting the process. This is a super fun stem-based activity for your whole fam – buy this butterfly garden kit and you can watch butterflies develop! The process takes about 3 weeks so this is perfect for being in quarantine.
Play with balloons
Make it fun: Draw faces on them and have your child find and identify each emotion, draw letters on them and have your older kiddos spell words, get various colors and have them color sort the balloons, or just bop them around in the air for an hour!
Do puzzles together
My toddler loves these Crockodile Creek puzzles! They’re perfect for little hands. Find our favorite puzzles on my Amazon Shop Page!
engaging toys and books to keep toddlers busy
I have so many amazing simple, engaging, Montessori, and FUN games/toy ideas for toddlers-young children on my Amazon page, all of which are thoughtfully chosen. You can check them all out on my Shop Pages below:
other things we do to encourage independent play
You know all that stuff from Amazon you ordered this last week while at home? 😉 Use the boxes to create something awesome with your kids. We love building big houses and rockets!
Create designated play areas for your kids
Having a designated and organized area for specific play encourages them to play more.
Start playing with them first, then leave
If your kid really likes to say “come play with me!!” consider yourself lucky, because that only lasts so long ❤ But if you want to foster independent play, start by playing with them first and showing them how to use tools and resources (aka toys you lay out) to play. After a few minutes, leave and do your thing. If they ask you to play again, you can say “why don’t you make/build/color me a ___? And then I can come see it!”
Only have toys that offer open ended play
This is a huge one! The toys you allow in your home should encourage them to use their imagination. If there is too much “stuff” or their toys are not organized, they might not feel like they’re able to play independently because they don’t know how to make sense of the chaos. So take this time to sort through, de-clutter, reorganize, and designate stations to invite them to play independently.
I hope you are now inspired, encouraged, and feel like you can use these ideas to add more fun to your days at home with your kids! Tag me on Instagram @theminiapartmentblog if you implement any of these fun things into your new daily routine, or if you use my daily homeschool template 🙂 I’d love to see!
Have a great week everyone!