Surviving Latvian quarantine with kids - let us help you entertain them

The Covid-19 virus has caused the Latvian government to close schools, ban public gatherings, impose quarantines and encourage social distancing - so what can parents do when the children are cooped up at home and are starting to get bored? While TV time is an easy fix, we've come up with some fun activities you can do at home to stimulate their brains and encourage exercise.
  1. Exercise - There are so many exercises you can do to get your kids moving simply by using the items you already have around the house, whether you have cans, stuffed animals, boxes, balls, or other items. Check out the video below for some ideas on how to not only get them moving, but also practice agility. 
  2. Board games - Dust off your board game boxes and try to find a complete set of playing cards. Cards can come in handy as there are countless online resources to find new card games for kids. As long as you're not quarantined you can still make it to the shop while practicing social distancing to get a new board game for the whole family at your closest mall, bookstore or game shop. If you have a printer at home you can even print board games from various online sources.
  3. Cooking - Find some kid-friendly recipes online, or take the time to teach your children a traditional family recipe if they're old enough. Cooking with your children is also a great way to bring up topics such as chemistry and physics, and also emphasize cleaning up and hygiene (for everyday and during a pandemic).
  4. Talking time - Help pass the time by teaching your kids about time. Depending on the resources you have available at home you can make a sundial, or a timer made of water or sand. Find how many clocks are in your home and try to figure out which is the oldest.
  5. Enjoy nature - One of the best ways to truly isolate yourself and have the opportunity to breathe in some fresh, virus-free air is by getting out in nature. There's plenty of space, so it's easy to keep two meters away from people, and it makes for a great change of scenery. If you're feeling more ambitious and have older children you can even have a go at making furniture out of things you find in the woods.
  6. “Bērnistaba” - The Latvian website translates to “Children's Room” and is a Latvian Radio and Latvian Television project aiming to help kids learn new information and skills. It's a safe online space for children to color, watch, videos and play games while learning. It also has a parent's section with additional tips and activities.
  7. Arts & crafts - Set aside time to get creative with your children. Other than the standard crayons, markers and paints, try and see what else you can find in your home (uncooked noodles, magazines) or in nature (flowers, leaves) to decorate your artwork. Once again there are also plenty of online resources to print off images for coloring online if you have a printer at home. If you're feeling more daring, try your hand at making slime
  8. Books - Depending on how old your child is, read them a book or have them read a book to you. If you have more than one child at home you can find costumes around the house and have them act out their favorite book, or make up their own story with their favorite characters. If you've run out of books to read at home, check out the National Library's online collections.
  9. Write letters - These days we tend to congratulate everyone on special holidays increasingly through electronics forms such as e-mail or social media and whatsapp. As the post is not yet subject to quarantine restrictions, introduce your children to the joys of writing a letter to their close friends and family members, or maybe even a pen pal.
  10. Sing - Get active with your singing by finding objects around the house that could be used as instruments. There are also plenty of singing games if you have more than one child, if you don't know any, the internet has more than a few suggestions.

As previously reported, according to Disease Prevention and Control Center (SPKC) Infectious Disease Risk Analysis Department Director Jurijs Perevoščikovs, there are currently 250 people who have returned from travels  to Covid-19 infected countries observing self-isolation in their homes. Infectologists suggest that those returning to Latvia from abroad must observe self-isolation by staying home for a 14-day quarantine.

March 13 saw a raft of sweeping measures introduced in an effort to keep coronavirus at bay as much as possible, with further measures including international travel restrictions announced March 15.

The full rules and regulations are available to read online in English, and all members of the public are urged to read them and comply in a spirit of solidarity. Social interactions are to be reduced to a minimum and frequent and careful hand-washing is urged in a policy characterised as "social distancing".

Relevant information in English is also available at the SPKC website.
 

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