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We are living through a historic time right now, as the COVID-19 pandemic has forced much of our population to remain isolated in their homes. Staying at home is a good way to protect yourself and others from this disease, but with schools closed, sports canceled and vacations postponed, many parents are left to find ways to entertain themselves and their kids. So how do you stay sane? What is there to do when you are stuck at home? How can we stay mentally healthy during this stressful time?

Here are some suggestions:

1. Create a time capsule with your kids, then store it in a safe place for your future selves to look back on. Print out this COVID-19 Time Capsule packet from Long Creations.

2. Watch the beluga whales at the Georgia Aquarium. There’s a beluga whale webcam set up at the Georgia Aquarium, so you can see what these guys are up to at any time, Beluga Link. You can also watch the Cincinnati Zoo live streaming their animals on their Facebook page daily at 3:00pm. You can take a virtual trip to Yellowstone Park, E-visit the Louvre in Paris or visit the Boston Children’s Museum without leaving your living room. Take a virtual tour of Glacier National Park or visit Alaska. Bring the jungle to your home and visit the San Diego Zoo website.

3. Get a free trial of a streaming service and binge-watch as much as you can before it expires. Don’t forget the popcorn.

4. Write actual letters to family and friends. Yes, people still do this!

5. Learn to Draw. Disney animator Michael Woodside hosts a daily drawing class where he teaches kids and grownups how to draw Disney characters. Find out early in the day who he plans to draw by visiting his Twitter site, then log into YouTube for the live class, YouTube link.

6. Learn to Play an Instrument. There are websites like iMusic-school that provide a catalog of free videos with professionals teaching amateurs how to play their musical instruments. Might be a good time to dust off the piano.

7. Learn a New Language. Duolingo is a mobile site and app that offers small foreign language classes for free. Fill your day learning French, Spanish, German or maybe Italian, for those days when we can travel again.

8. Take Yoga classes from home. MyYogaWorks has everything you need. It requires a paid membership, but you can sign up for a free 14 day trial. It might become a habit.

9. Eat together as a family. Use this unexpected downtime at home to reconnect with your busy family. Fire up your grills, dust off those chef knives and try your hand at Grandma’s infamous recipe.

10. Take a break from the IT world. Put a puzzle together or start an awarded book series. Bring back family game night with checkers or charades. Coloring books are not just for kids anymore. Plan a backyard scavenger hunt or plant that tomato garden you’ve always wanted. Grab the leash and take man’s best friend for a walk around the neighborhood, twice!

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