Surviving Melbourne Lockdown with Kids

So you have found yourself back in another Lockdown! When you've got kids - there is no lounging around the house all day in pyjamas doing Netflix and Chill - unless it's a Peppa Pig Marathon!

I see you, and I feel you. For us, being in Lockdown has meant we have had to create routine in our day so that we can make it through until the kids 7:30pm bedtime without going crazy.

After spending over 6 months in lockdown since 2020, I have documented over 50 DIY home activities on our Instagram account - click here.

Here are some of my tips and strategies for surviving the next few weeks...

> How can I use my 2 hours of exercise time to improve everyone's mood and reduce stress?

Even if it's pouring down with rain, put on those raincoats and gumboots and get outside. Research shows that physical activity improves a child's mood and helps them cope better with stress and anxiety. It also expels pent up frustrations and energy that will otherwise build up if you stay sedentary indoors. This is particularly important for children with special needs such as ADHD or ASD.

Don't just get outside and in the fresh air for the kids. Do it for yourself, too. Just 20-30 minutes of exercise a day not only helps keep you fit and healthy, but is also important for improving mental health, endorphines (hello good mood!) and a better night's sleep. 

Hit your footpath or local park for walking, running, scooting or bike riding. Kicking and throwing a ball is also the perfect way to use up energy while developing gross motor skills and hand eye coordination.

If you are in quarantine and can't leave your house - get outside in either your front or back yard and do a "grounding" exercise. Grounding, also called 'earthing', is a therapeutic technique that involves doing activities that “ground” or electrically reconnect you to the earth. This practice relies on earth science and physics to explain how electrical charges from the earth can have positive effects on your body. The simplest form of grounding involves walking barefoot in the grass, dirt, or sand. Turns out, kicking off your shoes and literally connecting with Mother Earth has health benefits - such as boosting immunity, regulating sleep, and reducing stress. Who would have thought?!

grounding earthing for mindfulness melbourne

Have you noticed that your kids go stir crazy when indoors too long, but become more relaxed and calm when outside in nature? Write up a "Scavanger Hunt"- a list of things they can look for and collect on your exercise walk. Eg. 6 different flowers, 3 different types of pebbles, 5 different types of leaves. You can do this anywhere, from a walk down the street or a visit to the local park. You can turn this into a classification sorting activity when you get back home, or you could get out the paper and glue and create a nature art work.

melbourne nature lockdown scavenger hunt for kids

Not feeling creative? Our "Nature Play Cards" detail 20 different awesome activities that can be done outside in nature with your kids. They don't require any equipment other than you and the great outdoors.

 melbourne lockdown nature play activity card game

> What can I do with my kids on a rainy day in lockdown?

- Create an obstacle course around your house where they have to climb, jump and crawl between different pieces of furniture.

Want to level up your obstacle course? Add our Sensitivity Textured Stepping Stones to the mix!

-Create a game of the "Floor is Lava" around the house where they can't step onto the floor. This involves lots of jumping, climbing and problem solving!

- Do some Kids Yoga. This can be done with a video on youtube. We also stock a fabulous set of Yoga for Kids Flashcards that guides kids through each pose with annotated illustrations.

- Want something more long lasting? We have a beautiful range of climbing Pikler Frames, balance boards and balance beams made of sustainable Beechwood which are perfect for indoor play.

> What can we make at home with things we already have?

- Use your pantry items to make coloured rice, play dough or rainbow pasta and do some sensory play! Check out our free recipes - here. Another awesome sensory activity is a big tub of Water beads - so much fun!

- Practice those threading skills by making pasta necklaces. Level up their threading skills and add some problem solving fun with the Miniland Aptitude Activity Shapes set or create some real necklaces (which are also chewable) with our DIY bead necklace kit.

- Do some cooking together. A simple one that we love involves developing fine motor skills too - Fruit Skewers. This develops fine motor skills by threading the pieces of fruit and marshmallow onto the wooden skewer. Be sure to cut the point tip off so it is not sharp for little hands and eyes.

- Little ones love stacking games - plastic cups are a cheap and easy option! Want a more sustainable option? We've got your covered with our coloured Beechwood Stacking bowls.

- Put those online delivery boxes to use and make something creative such as a garage for the cars or a fire station. 

jellystone DIY threading necklace sensory toys melbourne

> Incorporate some Quiet Mindfulness Time into the Day

Some quiet time is a non-negotiable. It allows time to reduce sensory overload on the nervous system and creates mindfulness - making your kids more calm and grounded.

- Get your child to spend some chill out time in their quiet zone. This might be in their book corner, bean bag, cocoon swing or Therapy peapod.

- We print colouring pages off Google of my sons favourite characters for him to quietly colour in. Our Art Therapy colouring book and pencils is a colouring set for both kids and adults.

- Get your kids to practice some mindfulness. Not sure how? We have a beautiful set of Calm Mindfulness Flashcards that take it step by step.

-Create a Sensory Calming Jar or Bottle. This can be done DIY with items at home such as oil, water and glitter, or our Jellystone DIY Calm Bottle is a kit to make your own with no preparation required!

- Don't forget to look after yourself too. Practice some self care by doing some meditation or mindful journalling.

I hope I have given you some ideas on how to make the long days pass a little quicker, while looking after you and your families mental wellbeing.

Stay safe and best wishes,

Sarah x

the sensory specialist educational toy store melbourne

hello@thesensoryspecialist.com.au
0451 347 047
31 Renown St
Bentleigh VIC 3204
Australia
by appointment only