12 Jun 2020
To say that COVID-19 changed life as we know it would be an understatement. Many people likely never imagined how much their daily routines would be affected when this novel coronavirus was just a blip on the radar at the end of 2019.
Social distancing may have become the new normal, but it doesn’t mean that holidays like Father’s Day have to be a washout. As evidenced by holidays that have already taken place amidst social distancing guidelines, people are finding creative ways to celebrate special occasions. Here are some ways to make Father’s Day special even while social distancing.
• Turn to social apps. Virtual meeting applications, like Zoom, Skype and FaceTime provide invaluable opportunities to speak and connect face-to-face when in-person gatherings are not possible. They also can be used to break bread together or to play games or relay stories.
• Deliver gifts. Take a few cues from the Easter Bunny or Santa Claus and plan to drop gifts and run. Seniors and people who have compromised immune systems are at a higher risk of contracting contagious illnesses. While it may be tempting to visit your father or grandfather in person, even a short visit could put his health at risk. Instead, leave gifts outside the house. For added fun, hide the gifts and provide scavenger hunt clues.
• Dine out at home. If dining out was something you typically do on Father’s Day, replicate the experience at home. Try to recreate Dad’s favorite meal from the restaurant he loves or see if that restaurant offers curbside pickup. Transform the dining table into a restaurant table, or take the meal outdoors for some al fresco fun. Let kids serve as the wait staff.
• Spend time together. One of the silver linings of social distancing is the opportunity for family members who reside under one roof to have more uninterrupted time together. Chances are having the kids nearby and sharing some stories and laughs together will be a perfect way for Dad to enjoy Father’s Day.
With some creative thinking, dads across the county can still enjoy the special day they deserve. For families with young children, try some of these great in-home activities below.
Playtime is one of the best opportunities for dads, grandfathers and other father figures to serve as role models in a child’s life, and research shows that these experiences have a number of positive health benefits for kids.
According to experts at The Genius of Play, a research-based initiative providing parents and caregivers with facts, inspiration, and hands-on resources to help make playtime an important part of every day, regular active physical play between fathers and young children is associated with improved developmental outcomes.
To help make Father’s Day special for kids and dads alike, check out these fun and creative playtime ideas from The Genius of Play.
• Storytime Stretch: Read or tell a story to your child that has a single word repeated often. Have your child jump, stretch, clap or do some other exaggerated physical movement every time they hear the word. Then, mix things up and have your child tell you a story. This is a great way to spend time together building vocabulary, boosting creativity and having fun.
• Science Kit: Whether it’s erupting a volcano, building a system of pulleys and levers or growing crystals, dads and kids can learn about science and engineering, as well as practice following directions by completing a science kit together.
• Charades: Choose a category for the game such as television shows, songs, sports, animals or professions. Then have everyone write down a noun in that category on a slip of paper. Mix the slips of paper together in a hat or bowl. Take turns choosing a slip of paper from the mix. Without speaking, act out a word or phrase that others can guess. Whoever guesses correctly then begins his or her turn.
• Board Game Fun: From puzzles and party games to cards and trivia, games build communication skills, teach good sportsmanship and create opportunities for strategic thinking.
• Two Truths and a Tale: Take turns saying three things about yourself. Two are true, but one is not. The other players have to hold up one, two or three fingers to indicate which of the three statements they think is untrue. The person who guesses correctly then takes a turn. If no one gets it right, the fibber goes again!
• Build a Fort: Collaborate and stretch the imagination with fort-building. First drape sheets over the backs of chairs and stack pillows underneath or decorate cardboard boxes with markers or paint and attach them together. Now you can use your fort as a secret clubhouse to play board games and cards, or pretend you’re defending a castle – the possibilities are endless.
• Craft Puppets: Start with socks or paper bags and craft your own puppets with markers, googly eyes, yarn and other materials around the house. Then act out a play with your new characters.
For more play tips and resources, visit TheGeniusofPlay.org.
This Father’s Day, be sure dads or other father figures make the time for playtime. Beneficial for healthy child development, there are many ways to get in on the fun, from word games and hands-on arts and crafts projects to board games and fort building.