Friends, there is no doubt that life has dramatically changed over the last few weeks. As we hunker down at home due to school closings, quarantines, and the like, we’re faced with uncertainty about the future as well as being at a loss as for what to do in the present.
But I don’t want to spread fear…goodness knows there’s enough of that out there already! Instead, I thought it would be helpful to share some ideas with you for how to get through this time at home, for however long you’re at home. (I’m right there with you!)
Here’s a comprehensive list of resources and ideas for what to do when you’re stuck at home, especially highlighting what we provide for you here at The Coupon Project. I hope this list gives you inspiration, ideas, and encouragement as you plan your days!
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My Plan for Our Time at Home
I have five kids ranging in age from 2 to 10, and we’re home for at least the next two weeks (I live in Minnesota). Here’s my tentative plan for however long we’re hunkered down at home:
Get out of our pajamas. (Full disclosure: I am still in my pajamas as I write this.) It would be so easy for us to laze around all day. But we need to stick with some semblance of a routine and be productive. Of course, it’s OK to relax, but everyone will feel better and have a better day if we all get ready first thing.
Keep up with basic home routines. I’m a big fan of Dana White from A Slob Comes Clean and her list of bare-bones, absolute essentials for keeping some semblance of order in your home. My family will be doing the dishes, sweeping the kitchen floor, checking the bathrooms for clutter, and doing a 5-minute pickup every day.
Dana’s first book, How to Manage Your Home Without Losing Your Mind, is a great place to get started if you can relate to being overwhelmed by your home.
Get outside as much as possible. I’m hoping to get outside with the kids each day in the morning right after breakfast. The fresh air and movement will do us good. We can play in our yard, take walks around our neighborhood, and head to local parks and trails (being sure to keep our distance, of course!).
Engage in learning activities and lots of reading. We haven’t gotten any guidance from our school yet about what to do, but that’s OK. There are plenty of learning activities available online, some of which I’ve linked below. Plus, my kids are big readers so we will dig into our at-home library. I’m thinking of starting the Little House series with the kids and doing some read-alouds during lunch and/or before nap time or bed time.
Let my kids come up with ideas. This is the perfect opportunity to encourage my kids to brainstorm and think of things to do at home. Yesterday my 8-year-old decided to dress up my 6-year-old like a mermaid. Then they came up with this whole underwater pretend play that I never would have thought of. I love it!
Relax and go with the flow. I am a planner (as I’m sure many of you are), so I know how hard it is to not know what’s coming next. I’m committed to keeping a positive mindset and taking each day as it comes.
Online Shopping Resources
Now, we’re not saying that you should spend money willy-nilly online. But online shopping is still a great way to stay stocked up on supplies and support the economy.
Here are some resources we provide here at The Coupon Project to help you out:
Best Amazon Subscribe and Save Deals. We keep this post updated several times per week and will continue to do so. This has proven to be a valuable resource for thousands of shoppers for many years. It is well-organized and easy to use.
Amazon Deals. You can’t mention online shopping without mentioning Amazon. If you have a Prime membership, you can get free shipping on most orders (but note that shipping times will most likely be slower than normal).
Online Deals. We will continue to curate and post the very best online deals for our readers!
Online Grocery Shopping. If you haven’t already acquainted yourself with online grocery shopping, this is a fantastic time to start if it’s available in your area. Some possible options:
- Amazon Fresh. Prime members get free 2-hour delivery on LOTS of items. Note that inventory and delivery may be unavailable due to increased demand (of course).
- Fred Meyer. Get same-day service with Pickup (formerly ClickList). They’ll do the shopping and bring it to your car, and your first three orders have no fee for this extra service.
- Sam’s Club. I know there are lots of Costco fans out there, but I actually prefer Sam’s Club for many reasons. They offer free Club Pickup that lets you order online and pick up at a designated location in the store. They also offer free shipping on many items for Plus members. Groupon is currently offering a membership deal for brand-new Sam’s Club members. After your gift cards, your membership is basically free, plus you get other goodies.
- Shipt. Shipt offers same-day delivery from a number of stores, including Target, CVS, Office Depot, Petco, and more.
- Walmart. Walmart Grocery Pickup is my absolute favorite – I’ve been using it for over a year. You get FREE pickup on orders of $30 or more (and that’s the order minimum, too). They also offer unlimited delivery for $12.95/month or $98/year.
Staples.com. Staples is offering free shipping, no minimum right now. This is a great opportunity to buy any school or office supplies you might need while you’re at home.
Walgreens.com. Walgreens is offering free shipping, no minimum right now. If you’re a new customer, use the coupon code NEW10 to save an extra 10% off your order or WELCOME20 to save an extra 20% off your order of $45 or more.
Things to Do at Home
There are many other websites that have come up with fantastic lists of things to do when you’re stuck at home, so we won’t rehash those here. But we did want to point out some posts here at The Coupon Project that you may want to reference:
ABCmouse.com. New customers can sign up for a free 2-month subscription to ABCmouse.com to try out this online learning program. It includes educational activities, games, and guided curricula for kiddos ages 2 through 8. If you decide you want a full year’s subscription, you can currently sign up for $59.95/year.
Adventure Academy. This learning app is from the creators of ABCmouse and is intended for older kiddos (ages 8-13). Sign up for 2 months for just $5. The curriculum covers Language Arts, Math, Science, and Social Studies.
Amazon FreeTime Unlimited. Sign up for a free 1-month trial of Amazon FreeTime Unlimited to make sure your kids’ Kindle time is safe and appropriate. FreeTime Unlimited provides access to thousands of books, movies, TV shows, educational apps, and games.
Bluprint. If you’re interested in learning something new or you have crafters in your household, right now you can take an online crafting class from Bluprint for $10! This offer is valid through the end of March.
[email protected] This free resource from Quantile contains targeted web resources, downloadable resources, and print resources matched to your student’s grade level and/or math ability.
This is a fantastic opportunity for you to teach your kids some kitchen skills and make some memories while making some delicious food. Check our Recipes category for all the recipes posted here at The Coupon Project.
Here are some kid-friendly recipes you can try:
- Alphabet Soup
- Crustless PB&J Sandwiches
- Homemade Cereal Bars
- Make-Ahead Freezer Smoothies
- Mini Calzones
- Pizza Spirals
It’s the perfect time to knock some spring cleaning and decluttering tasks off your list. And if you’re home with kids, you have some built-in helpers!
Spring Cleaning. Download our free printable spring cleaning checklists to help you get started. These lists have ideas for the different areas of your home as well as space for extra tasks.
Declutter. This is something I’m hoping to do over the next few weeks and months, especially since we have a baby coming in June. Read our post on 7 Resources to Help You Declutter Your Home for ideas and inspiration, then get that stuff out of your house! Here’s a list of Where to Donate Your Stuff in Puget Sound. (Side note: Why hasn’t “declutter” been added to the dictionary yet?)
Smaller Projects. Why not knock some of those “need to get around to it” tasks off your list? You could add important numbers to your phone, change out your furnace filter, clean your car’s upholstery, clean your windows, clear off a cluttered counter, list your family’s favorite dinners, make a greeting card box, organize your bills, organize your herbs and spices, organize your keys (very important!), organize your linen closet, re-grout and re-caulk your shower, and restock your first aid supplies. It will feel so good to get these tackled!
Get outside and take a nature walk! If you’re local to the Puget Sound, here are some destinations we’ve highlighted here at The Coupon Project:
- Charlotte’s Blueberry Park (Tacoma)
- Dash Point State Park (Federal Way)
- Flaming Geyser State Park (Auburn)
- Hoh Rain Forest (Olympic National Park)
- Mima Mounds (Olympia)
- Nisqually Wildlife Refuge (Olympia)
- Penrose Point State Park (Gig Harbor)
- Sequalitchew Creek Trail (Dupont)
- West Hylebos Wetlands (Federal Way)
Other Ideas & Inspiration
If you need help, there is help out there. Check your local school district’s website, your city/county government services, and the United Way for help finding food, paying bills, getting childcare, or other essential services.
Chances are good you could have a few no-spend days during this time that will help with your family’s budget.
Browse our Gardening category and get planning and dreaming for this year’s garden. Bonus: it’s more time spent outside in the fresh air!
Got high school students at home with nothing to do? Encourage them to apply for college scholarships to help out their – and your – financial future.
A Final Reminder
Please remember…we are all in this together. Most people on the entire planet are dealing with this virus in some form or another. People across the United States are dealing with shutdowns, school closings, and the like.
STAY POSITIVE and limit your time spent reading the news. If it helps, unfollow sources and friends that cause you anxiety.
BE KIND to each other. We can and will get through this!