How to Creatively Entertain During Covid-19
Written by Anne Valgoi
During these trying times of the Covid-19 pandemic, it is important to note the seriousness of the situation and to continue to practice the recommendations of frequent hand washing, cleaning, and disinfecting and sheltering in place. It is also essential to wear a face-covering when out in public and to pursue social distancing as noted by the CDC at this time. As a clinical pharmacist, I continue to follow the daily updates pertaining to the virus regarding incidence, progression, testing, contact tracing as well as treatment and vaccine options. Social distancing has become the “new normal” during this pandemic and working from home and on-line schooling are also an everyday occurrence for most.
Each of these situations offers its challenges but also brings new, unexpected opportunities such as expanded quality family time. Kindly embrace and recognize these precious moments.
Some creative ideas to entertain the children during “shelter in place” consist of indoor fort building and using your imagination to hold possible “meetings” inside that space or to simply read a book inside while utilizing a flashlight! Additionally, our community is sponsoring a neighborhood scavenger hunt for children as well as parents. The participants are encouraged to find a list of different items that appear throughout the neighborhood and could also be found in the neighbors’ front windows or on the doorsteps. The hunt will continue for a week at which time a winner will be announced and a coveted prize will be presented.
We are fortunate to live in Atlanta where the spring weather has been beautiful and very conducive to family walks and outdoor activities. Family movies in the backyards are also popular in the south. My two-year-old grandson loves to have a “picnic” in the back of their minivan complete with a picnic basket, blanket, peanut butter, and jelly sandwiches and of course, juice boxes!
But my favorite activity is the al fresco dining every Saturday night in our neighborhood. Families are encouraged to set a table and chairs on their front lawns and to dine outside. Neighbors can stroll the streets and social distance while having conversations. Tables can be set as simply as possible while others can get creative with garden flower centerpieces, candles and natural fiber placemats which are in vogue this summer.
Another trend in entertaining this season is social “Zooming”. Many participate in Zoom exercise or yoga classes to keep active and healthy. Several families have regularly scheduled Zoom Trivia nights where multiple family members living in various states come together via Zoom to socialize as well as compete. Every Friday night at 8pm my husband and I as well as my five brothers and their respective families and my Mom and Aunt participate in “Zoom Happy Hour”. It is a highlight for the week for my Mom and a wonderful way to stay connected and share concerns and tips; for example, on where to purchase toilet paper and how to order Instacart for your groceries. This past week during our Zoom call, my niece cleverly revealed her college choice to us complete with a cake that was baked in the school colors– Go Clemson.
We have also celebrated a few special occasions during the last few weeks of shelter-in-place. Easter was a festive celebration, not the normal traditions of church attendance and restaurant dining but we enjoyed a delicious home-cooked ham dinner with many side dishes, cocktails as well as a craft activity that my adult children even chose to participate in! I used Pinterest to obtain my inspiration and we artfully constructed Easter Bunnies utilizing empty toilet paper rolls!
Later, we enjoyed my children’s favorite dessert, “Dirt Cake”. This is a high- calorie delight that utilizes Oreo cookies, cool whip, and vanilla pudding just to mention a few of the ingredients. I even embellished the cake with freshly picked flowers from my garden.
Also, during our stay at home months, my husband and I celebrated our 30th wedding anniversary. We were supposed to enjoy a trip abroad to mark our milestone celebration but had to cancel due to the pandemic. Our adult children, who are currently staying with us during this period, decided that they would create a romantic gathering for us on our patio. They proceeded to dress in black and posed as our wait staff providing us exceptional service throughout the evening. Our menu included take out from our favorite restaurant, Le Bilboquet. We highly recommend the Cajun chicken as well as delectable chocolate cake and fabulous Cabernet wine. The children created a beautiful scene with candles, rose petals and music. It was a perfect evening, one that my husband and I will always remember.
The key to entertaining during the Covid-19 pandemic is to be imaginative and expressive. Just a few nights ago, we celebrated our youngest daughter’s birthday, Cinco de Mayo style. We creatively decorated the patio with Mexican décor, all of which we had stored in our basement from previous occasions. Our menu was obviously Mexican, and the best part was that it was a total surprise to her!
Even during this stressful period, it is critical to find time for relaxation and to embrace quality family time. Remember to call a friend or family member that is not so fortunate or that lives alone. Social distancing is serious, but it does not have to be social isolation. Please stay healthy and continue to be actively connected with your loved ones through technology and fun creativity.