It’s September and we are currently experiencing a lifting of the lockdown in Santiago. Where we live, we can leave our houses Monday to Friday, but we can’t leave on the weekend and we can’t leave the city at all. We have completed 23 weeks of online home learning (as our school year runs March to December) and we are currently in our Spring Break for Fiestas Patrias — Dieciocho. My friends and I have become very creative at keeping the children (and us!) sane and occupied. Here are some ideas!

Yes Day. I read that Jennifer Garner does this, and our kids were really on board with this idea! A day where you say yes to everything. We decided not to tell them it was yes day, to see how long it would take before they realized we were saying yes to everything.

I said yes to hot chocolate with marshmallows and french toast for breakfast. Then it was “the story of my birth” hour. We played Lego all morning and then had McDonald’s ordered in for lunch. Still in our pjs and eating Big Macs they finally figured it out. Then the kids wanted to squirt whipped cream from the can into their mouths. Ok! I spent an hour grooming my little ponies for a fashion show. My husband played bey blades with the boys. Three out of five of us got mani/pedis. And then the face paint came out. I was turned into a cat and my husband, a zombie. Pizza and pop for supper. Transylvania family movie. Thankfully they forgot about the ice cream in the freezer! It ended with all three of them sleeping in the living room on the pull-out couch. I was so tired when it was all over but we all had a lot of fun. The next day it was back to reality and we all cleaned bathrooms!! I recommend for Yes Day that you have zero plans. Plan it on a day where you don’t have to pay a bill, answer emails or do anything. And I did plan in advance by having treats on hand we wouldn’t normally have in the house (like whipped cream in a can!)

Crafts French knitting is a great introductionto knitting, where you wrap the yarn around hooks to create a long i-cord (tail) to then coil into face cloths or trivets. Or they could make the family out of champagne corks! Another idea is to repurpose your own clothes into a wardrobe for dolls or stuffed animals.

French knitting and our corky family.

Christmas in July (or the off season) We didn’t do decorations or gifts, but we made a roast chicken dinner with all the trimmings including pumpkin pie. We spent the afternoon playing Monopoly and listening to Christmas music. We ended the day by watching Elf. Oh, and mulled wine.

Christmas in the off season!!

Make a fort and then watch movies from inside the fort This is a great afternoon activity, by the time they finish with the fort and arrange all their stuffed animals, read in it, then have supper, it’s time to go back to the fort for a movie. We set the fort up with an opening towards the tv and then the whole family crawled inside and watched Guardians of the Galaxy in our new cave!

Movie in the fort

Borrow a pet We are currently cat sitting and Lucas the cat has provided hours of fun! Another friend borrowed a dog just for the day. The children loved it!

One of the many photos of our borrowed pet, Lucas.

Favourite colour photo Get the children to collect items of all one colour and then take a family photo!

Blue blue and more blue!

Twin day Pick a family member and be their twin for the day. Dress the same, eat the same food, style your hair the same, same activities, etc. It could be like freaky friday where the children have to be like adults and adults like children! My kids can’t wait for this one!

Camping in the backyard We camped in the backyard in the first week of lockdown when it was warm and we thought (in March) “this will never last!”Ha! Fast forward to September and we will be doing the same now that Chilean winter is over. My friend doesn’t even bother with the tent and lets the children sleep on the trampoline, just don’t forget to turn off the sprinklers…..

Backyard camping, best campsite loos ever!

Swap beds or sleep on the pull-out couch My children are really into this. They have all tried out each other’s rooms, discussed who gets a turn, arranged their duvets and stuffed animals. It’s amazing how long it takes. The younger two regularly on holidays or weekends sleep on the pull-out couch together too.

Sleeping in the fort.

Nerf War Nothing gets my eldest more jazzed than an all family Nerf war.

Ice Cream Sundae Sunday Pretty self explanatory! For this one I’m going to buy clean guttering and lay it out on the table so we all eat in a row from our little trough.

Recreate a movie — we chose The Lion King. The children organized the “script”, music and costumes. I did face paint on the children and we used the cat we are babysitting as baby Simba. It was fun to plan and even more hilarious to watch!

Sarabi, Rafiki, Mufasa and “Simba”

Family jam Our eldest plays drums and they can spend a lot of time with the other two “playing”electric guitars or singing along to songs they make up. They prefer it much more when my husband gets involved on guitar!

Learn recipes The children are now learning to cook or bake on their own. The 11-year-old can make scrambled eggs (better than dad!), guacamole, pancakes from scratch, chocolate peanut butter brownies, quesadillas and next up is pizza dough. The 8-year-old is learning how to make banana bread. The 6-year-old is going to make homemade macaroni and cheese.

Pancakes from scratch

Car scavenger hunt My friend is planning this with her children. They have a list of things they need to find while she drives around the city. Some of the ideas include: find and draw a Starbucks logo, see a horse/cow, see a cactus, find a bus, find a statue, supermarket, swingset, find a big dog and a small dog, find two different kinds of birds, look for a basketball hoop, find a body of water you have never seen, take a photo with the Costanera Centre tower in it.

The Floor is Lava recreated in the backyard Our friends did this based on the tv show where they had an obstacle course in the backyard where you couldn’t touch the grass.

Learn a skill My children are 11, and about to turn 9 and 7. First we taught them all how to properly clean a bathroom and now they all have to do it weekly. They put away their own laundry, clear dishes and dust. Eldest is learning to touch type. Now we are adding how to strip your bed, wash your sheets and remake your bed.

Choose your own physical activity We make up an olympics of exercises (the children choose) and then put them on these fortune teller papers. Whatever we land on we all have to do — make four baskets in the hoop, jump on the trampoline, burpees….groan….

Chess My eldest plays chess online with a friend as they can’t get together to play.

Family hike or bike ride Check out local hikes in Santiago as there are many suitable for children of all ages.

Read a series we are currently reading through the Chronicles of Narnia, another friend is doing Harry Potter.

Narnia and borrowed cat Lucas!

Wash the car My husband cringes at this one. But when it’s warm enough out, the kids really like to wash the car!

International Week We just had International Week at school and my friend is continuing it at home. Each child picks a country, finds out some interesting facts and then they make a supper dish from that country. I would totally pick Greece, opa!

What’s old is new again After the children go to bed I sometimes dig out a toy they haven’t played with in awhile (like the Sylvanians or maybe farm animals) and I set them all up in a scene. When they get up in the morning, it’s like a whole new toy to be discovered!

Balloon Blow up a balloon and DO NOT let it touch the ground.

Screen time list This list is what the children have to tick off in the summer before there is screen time. Each child has to do all the activities before anyone gets screen time. So often the eldest is encouraging the younger ones to hurry up and clean something!!! Each activity can take at least 30-40 minutes, so before you know it it’s after supper!

DID YOU?Child AChild BChild C
Play your instrument (or music)

Clean something

Help someone



Create something

Homework (or skill)

Move your body

Outside Play


What fun new things are you doing as a family in quarantine/lockdown/holiday???

Published by mamashinetravel

I'm a wife, mother of three children, Canadian Maritimer living in Mexico and planning getaways for the next available long weekend! I'm a Come From Away, but happy to be where I'm at.

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  1. Sarah Lee, I think you need to have more kids so you can do these all over again and have more fun. Your creativity and hard work to make this hard tmie fun for all is impressive.



  2. Love all the detailed suggestions. Guardians of the Galaxy sounds like so much fun, we haven’t seen that as a family yet. Family fun idea: 1. Draw a monster together. Fold paper in 5. (Portrait mode) First person draws the head and folds it over to hide it. Next person draws the shoulders/arms, the third the body, fourth legs, feet. Then the big hilarious reveal. Each person extends their line a little into the next ie: the neck so the next person knows where to start. Especially fun after movies with strange aliens.

    Liked by 1 person

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