happy family having fun together, playing twister game at home

COVID-19. Pandemic. Coronavirus. Social distancing. Self-isolation. All of these words and phrases are sadly now becoming part of our everyday vernacular as we each cope with the ripple effect from the outbreak of this virus. After more than a week of clamoring to get groceries, racing to snag toilet paper and listening to the media report on canceled events, school closures and more confirmed cases, it’s now time to think about coping with school and work closures.

Whether you have children on an extended spring break, your office has ordered telecommuting or you are part of the high-risk population and are self-isolating, there are dozens of ideas to help alleviate any additional stress associated with this pandemic. Homeschooling tips, family activity ideas and even shelf-cooking recipes are all ways to help. For more ideas and resources visit our Emergency Prep board on Pinterest.

Homeschooling tips

We all probably have friends who are extolling the benefits of homeschooling a little louder these days. And well, with Utah schools preparing to dole out take-home packets or teach classes virtually, it’s time to embrace the idea of setting up school at your home. Before diving into those packets and setting up the computer monitor, be sure to set up a good, distraction-free study area where all your children will be able to focus on their assignments. A set schedule that includes “recess” is also a great idea.

When it comes to assignments, there are dozens of homeschooling resources to supplement the packets and online instruction teachers will be sending. Check out printable math worksheets, website resources tailored to every subject, YouTube geography videos and even STEM activities. There are dozens of ideas your children, and even you, will love. Virtual tours of famous museums, zoos and even Ivy League courses also are available online for free, too.

Boredom busters

With the possibility of a 14-day quarantine, parents might be dreading that cooped-up feeling even more than their children. And with events, venues and amusement parks shutting their doors, finding activities to enjoy as a family during this extended spring break might be a bit more challenging. Even now-canceled televised sports like March Madness won’t be an option for family time this spring. Time to get creative. And remember, this is not a time for neighborhood activities or playdates. Self-isolate.

Time at home with your family is a perfect excuse to buy some new board games, or dust off your old favorites. Uno, Phase 10, Rummikub, Monopoly, Ticket to Ride, Settlers of Catan and Scrabble are likely to enjoy a surge in popularity. If you’re looking for something new, try card games like Unstable Unicorns or Exploding Kittens. Or try the active Throw Throw Burrito for some dodgeball-like fun. Or test your strategy skills with games like Disney’s Villainous or Heist.

Shelf cooking

Whether you were one of the thousands of people filling up their shopping carts to overflowing this past week or not, you are likely taking stock of what food you have on hand in your pantry and food storage rooms. Well-stocked pantry or not, there are amazing recipes designed to help you create meals from the items you already have in your fridge, freezer and pantry. No need to head out to the store for new ingredients.

Utah’s own Jordan Page is the queen of shelf cooking and has created an entire website filled with recipes, shopping lists, meal-planning ideas and how to make the most out of your leftovers. ShelfCooking.com is a great resource to tap into after you’ve stared at your freezer and pantry and still have no idea what to make. Delicious ideas include Lasagna Roll-ups, Steak Quesadillas, Creamy Chicken Soup, Homemade Pancake Mix and Freezer Egg Sandwiches.

— Jennifer Durrant

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