Staying Connected in the Time of COVID-19
Alone but together. You might be hearing that phrase a lot these days. As we continue to practise physical distancing and do our best to stay at home, we're helping to curb the spread of the COVID-19 virus. But we remain physically apart from most of our extended family and friends. So what does "alone but together" mean? How can we be alone or with our families at home, but still together with others?
The answer can be found by thinking of all of the different ways that we are always connected to the important people in our lives. Kids can take action to help keep these connections strong, even when they can’t actually get close. This can also be a reminder that the pandemic is affecting people all around the world. Even though we are not able to be next to each other, we are together because we are experiencing the same situation in similar ways.
So how are people staying connected? There are lots of ways to send someone a message: in writing, by text, with art or photos, by using video technology. When it's time to celebrate, some people are having birthday parades instead of parties, where family and friends drive past the special someone’s house and wave from cars decorated with balloons and banners. There are also "window visits" where one person stays inside their home and others visit them from just outside their window.
There are many ways children and families can show how much they care during these challenging times. Here are a few activities that you might want to try with your family or students.
Send a Hug
Your friends might be out of arm's reach but that doesn't mean that you can't give them a great big hug! Follow the directions in this previous post to make a simple craft. Use some paper, string, scissors, markers, tape, and your hands to make a "hug" that can be sent through the mail. I crafted some of these hugs for my friends and the joy that they expressed in receiving them acted like a warm hug in return, bringing those wonderful feelings right back to me!
High Five Handprints
A "high five" is a hand gesture that can mean "Hi!", "Good job!" or an enthusiastic "Yes! We did it!" And though we might not be able to touch palm to palm at the moment, we can still give someone a "friendship high five," as seen on Simple Play Ideas. To make this craft, trace your hand on a piece of paper and then cut out your hand print.
Before you send it off to someone you care about, think about some of the reasons why you think that person is great. When you've narrowed it down to five favourites, write one reason on each of your paper fingers. Print "High Five for..." on the palm, add the person's name, and then it's ready to go. And do you know what the best part about this kind of high-five is? They can last a lot longer than the regular ones!
Signs with a Smile
Like painted rocks and rainbows on windows, "Smile Signs" are being documented on social media as another way that people are reaching out and making connections. Actress JoAnna Garcia Swisher did an IGTV video for People Magazine's Instagram feed. Swisher showed us how she and her family were making these special signs to help brighten the day for people in their neighbourhood. They used craft supplies that they had on hand to decorate large pieces of cardboard with messages of hope and positivity. As per the instructions that were attached to the smile signs left on their lawn, they anonymously placed their signs on someone else's property. These signs had the same instructions to pass on a sign to someone new. This would mean that these types of smiles could be shared again and again!
Sidewalk Chalk X's and O's
What is one of the easiest things you can do that will probably make the most connections? Sidewalk art! Take some chalk outside and draw pictures to brighten up your neighbourhood. Make someone smile by asking them to follow the crazy line that you drew or to do a silly dance as they walk past your house. Draw a game of tic tac toe and leave some chalk out so someone can play with you from a safe distance. Or simply write a great, big "Thank you!" for workers on the front lines.
Of course, we can continue to use these ideas and others like them to show our affection even after this crisis has ended. Connecting with those we care about can often help us to not feel so alone ourselves.
For More Ideas
Check out some ebooks to get even more ideas for arts and crafts!
Paper Goods Projects by Jodi Levine
Chalk on the Wild Side by Lorie King Kaehler
Sincerely, Katie: Writing a Letter with Katie Woo by Fran Manushkin
Lazy Crafternoon by Stella Fields
Stone Painting for Kids by F. Sehnaz Bac
How are you staying connected with your family and loved ones while physical distancing? Share below in the comments!