The first few days of social distancing involved a lot of ups and downs. Without any warning, my husband and I were forced to set up shop in the house, both trying to work, raise two kids, and get in some form of daily exercise. I’m sure most kids responded the same way as my kindergartner did when we first heard the news that schools were closed for three weeks. It was like she had just woken up to see three feet of snow outside her bedroom window and news of an extended snow day. Emily was psyched! My 2.5-year-old daughter, Charlotte, didn’t react all that much to the news that she’d be out of part-time preschool, except to follow the excited screeches of her big sister.
Day one and day two consisted of a lot of snuggling, crafting, and an attempt at some form of homeschooling schedule. It didn’t take me long to realize it’s impossible to predict the moods of our family of four during this bazaar time, so we tossed the schedule out the window and decided to fly by the seat of our pants.
By the fourth day of this so-called quarantine, I grew antsy and realized how much I love to work and feel needed. As I nibbled and pretended to like the green pancakes I made during my stay-at-home St. Patrick’s Day, and checked emails in my stagnant inbox, I came up with a plan for a “social distancing scavenger hunt.” It was a way of throwing myself into something creative to pass the time and give the kids something to look forward to. We took it seriously and Em and I created signs to put in the woods, guiding our participants on a route to find 20 different plastic toys.
To keep from intermingling with the two families who agreed to play along with us, we created time slots. A family would pick up an empty basket and a map on our front door and we’d start a timer from the second they took their first step off the side steps. When they found what they could, they’d return the full basket and pick up a participant gift bag filled with a treat for both parent and child. Once the scavenger toys were cleaned, we’d do the same routine over again for a different participant.
This was fun for a day.