Your new normal is nigh

Bzzztttt…. Pop…..eeeek…. testing, testing is this thing on??? No time like Friday the 13th and a global pandemic to dust off this blog and get back to the “interwebs”. The family is alive and well and living north of the border in Canada and on this auspicious day we are coming to grips with the fact that we will be seeing our kids every day, in our house, for at least the next 3 weeks! So, I thought I’d put out a list of ideas on how to keep the “chitlins” entertained in the coming time at home.


  • Math Worksheets – Toronto schools provide a great asset for the kids to work in math problems, regardless of grade, called IXL (as in “I excel”). We will be using this for problems they can go through and solve.
  • Religion – we are lucky to have our very own “Pappy” being a minister. A lil Facetime with the grandparents and 30-40 minutes of Bible stories allows us to “check on grandpa” as well as make sure the kids get up to date on some Old Testament stories. I have suggested: Noah, Moses, Joseph and the Parables to start.
  • LanguageDuoLingo, DuoLingo, DuoLingo This is a fantastic app to put on the kids iPad and allow them to learn a language. You should set a points goal for them to hit (and try to not to cheat in a 2nd language when your eldest starts beating you).
  • Art – Do it! Get your kids drawing what they see outside, each other, anything. Try different mediums like charcoal and water colors.
  • Reading – Get books in the hands of your kids. Here are a few ideas:
    • Amazon: Go to the Kindle store page on desktop, sort price low to high.
    • Apple: Go to the Books app, Book Store, “Special Offers and Free”
    • Google: Go to the Books app, look for “Top Free” or sort by price.


  • Maintain Routines – I highly suggest to maintain your routines. Wake up at the same time every day. Shower. Brush teeth. Maintain your current routines and replace the school class schedules with home-school schedules. Let them have recess and snacks at the same time they are used to and this will make the transition easier.
  • Workout – Kids need routine and kids need exercise. Chances are ballet, karate, hockey classes are all cancelled. Have a discussion with the kids about where their largest muscles are and have them define an exercise to workout each one. Jumping jacks, running, pushups, sit-ups, etc.. (Play games like soccer where if a sibling scores the other has to do push ups)
  • Toilet Paper Squares – I do not understand the rush on TP. I get it in a disaster like a hurricane or tornado where your normal resources may be impacted, but it literally grows on trees and supply chains don’t have the virus. All our kiddos used reusable fabric squares to wipe their butt. If we get to that state, consider a sewing class to teach the kids to sew to make their own toilet squares and throw in the washing machine.
  • Bike Riding – Even with the cool temperatures in Toronto, there is no better time to teach your kids to ride a bike!


  • Pick Up Wicker – You WILL need to get out of the house and you are already washing your hands (right?). Consider taking the kids and a trash bag on a walk to pick up trash in your park. Post your efforts online. Organize others. It will make you feel good AND improve your neighborhood.
  • Bird watching – We love bird watching. We typically get away from the kids for a small time to do it. Now, handing them each a camera or an iPad and offer treats for the most unique, biggest, smallest, loudest birds they can find. Try different parks every day.
  • Garden – I am not a good gardener, but there is always a right time to plant something, so a lil internet research can create a great project for the kids.
  • Puppy? – The wife suggested this. I am not so sure, but the idea of 3-4 weeks of potty training at home with the whole family does make SOME sense? (God help me if we get another dog.)


Circle – do not be lulled into just letting the kids be on their devices the whole time. If you do, make sure you control the content they see and the time allowed. I’ve been in I.T. a long time and Circle is about as easy as it gets for parents to lock the kids down at home.
Resources for Learning at Home – of course there are tons of people with other ideas. Here is a doc we have floated at work. Feel free to grab ideas from here as well and good luck!