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Children playing with large bubbles in a field

Looking up from Covid-19 – Part 1 of 2

For most of us, the Covid-19 illness may be little more than an inconvenience.  Not everyone is going to come down with Covid-19 pneumonia. However, as health officials advise staying home as a way to prevent the further spread, we all may get an unplanned “stay-cation”.  For many businesses, a work-at-home program is an option.  With schools closed it may mean weeks of wrangling the children away from the media screen. The following are just a few suggestions to keep your mind and those little hands occupied.

Activities if you are Staying Home

As Extension staff, we have plenty to do, even from home.  Report and Blog writing, answering community phone calls and e-mails, training webinars, can all be done from home.  But what if we get the mandatory quarantine message and have to stay home.  You may be thinking, Won’t I go buggy?  or I’ll get cabin fever!  Fear not!  There are loads of things to do and not get bored.  Here is a short list just for Extension, our affiliated interests (Pesticide training, 4-H, Master Gardeners, Extension staff, etc) and our children.

First: try to avoid watching television and movies – you may need those as a last resort if you do become ill and confined to bed.  A few mind-healthy suggestion:

  • Though Pesticide and Green Industries exams/training classes are rescheduled, there are CEU’s available online Here.

    Man working on a computer.

    Man on a computer

  • Bored Master Gardeners may want to take time for some online MG CEU’s. Check your email inbox from your Master Gardener Coordinator.
  • MG’s should also keep up-to-date on the latest EDIS publications from the University of Florida.
  • Learn a new gardening term and it’s particulars on Youtube. Examples: permaculture, perennial vegetables, turf thatch, composting, espalier, keeping chickens.
  • The North American Invasive Species Management Association is offering a series of FREE webinars during the month of April.  Get more information HERE.
  • Extension staff can take Virtual UF Greenhouse courses for FREE!  See info HERE.
  • Many of the worlds most wonderful museums & U.S. National Parks are offering virtual tours.  See HERE for more on museum tours, and HERE for National Park tours.

    workers repair a cabin, vintage photo

    Home repairs- vintage cabin

  • We could all stand to clean out our e-mail list on the home computer.
  • And “Unsubscribe” from all the vlogs, e-newsletters, & spam we don’t visit.
  • Don’t forget the home Honey-do list.  There will at last be time for those small repairs at home.
  • Spring clean the closets, pantry, cabinets and tool shed, and under the appliances.
  • Start writing that book, blog, short story you’ve been wanting to do for how long?
  • Finish up those yearly reports.  The kids could count the tally marks for you.

    child's hands planting vegetables

    A child’s hands planting a vegetable

  • Learn a new skill such as tree grafting, bread making (this can take all day), brewing, knife-sharpening, etc.  Youtube is good for more than just funny cat videos, it is an educational tool. Strictly supervise children’s viewing.
  • Plant a small garden with the children.
  • Wash and detail your car– done properly this could take several hours, in the sunshine.
  • Get the kids involved in all of the above since they will be with you.

    Dog watching Girl in pool

    Girl in a pool gets a kiss from her dog

  • Wash the dog, pull weeds, edge the flower beds, prune the hedges, clean out the gutters. also in the sunshine.
  • Read.  You can read anywhere, even out in the sunshine.  Ask the kids to find the most interesting new word in their daily reading and give an oral report on it.
  • A daily walk is crucial to sanity and health, for you and Fido.
  • Guide the children through journaling their view of this strange time off from school and work.  Keep a log of the puppy’s growth, or those new chicks which never made it to the cancelled county fair.
  • NASA has launched something new, and it’s a cool FREE science website for children HERE.
  • For the little ones, there is a very cute IFAS video on Youtube of Dr. Karla Shelnutt reading “Super Soap Versus Klaus the Germ”– a childrens’ book on proper hand washing.  There are accompanying coloring pages and resources.  Download the book for FREE HERE.

Now we can look forward to a few weeks of home confinement, knowing we can accomplish some things and get closer to the kids.  Getting the children involved in the work and information also teaches them how to handle themselves in an emergency and how to be prepared.  We are raising future productive citizens not sofa slugs.

For more information on virtual world museums tours from Travel and Leisure, visit HERE.

For virtual U. S. National Parks Tours, visit HERE.

To learn how to get involved in Indian River County 4-H programs, even virtually, visit the IRC 4-H Youth Development web page HERE.

Remember, stay safe, stay active and stay in touch using your newly found social distancing skills!