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Kids Playing Freeze Dance

Activities To Keep Your Kids Moving While Stuck Inside

Having your kids at home during a worldwide pandemic is truly no easy feat. Between homeschooling, your own personal job, and making sure your family is staying healthy and safe in quarantine, there’s a lot to do in a given day. Exercise and physical activity is extremely important, especially for young kids who are continuing to grow regardless of a lock down. So keep your kids moving by implementing some fun exercise/sports-like games in their day. There’s plenty of things kids can do during their daily at-home “recess” time indoors that will keep their bodies and minds active and engaged. Here are a few ideas to help inspire you:

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Obstacle Courses: What kid doesn’t love the thrill of an obstacle course? One of the benefits of setting up a course in your home/on your property is that your kids can get involved in the creation process using things from all around the house. So this activity isn’t just engaging your child’s body, but mind as well to problem solve and figure out what obstacles would be the most fun/challenging for them. 

Animal Races: A new and fun alternative to racing with your little ones is called animal racing. You can do this same type of race for any kind of category that allows participants to act out whoever/whatever they get assigned; for example Disney Princesses, mythical creatures, actors, etc. Fill a bowl up with various types of animals and have everyone draw one. Then set up a race track where every participant will have to act like their assigned animal until they get to the finish line.

Balloon Ball: In another classic indoor birthday party activity, balloon ball follows the same basic protocol as “The floor is lava!” game, which is another great option by the way. Fill up a bunch of balloons and try to keep them off the ground by passing them back and forth. “Level up” by adding more and more balloons into the mix until it’s nearly impossible to keep all of them up at once!

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Freeze Dance/Musical Chairs: This is another easy option that kids can even do on their own! YouTube offers a multitude of freeze dance videos that cycle through a variety of songs, many of which are oriented towards kids, and randomly pauses the music throughout to indicate when the kids should stop dancing. Besides that, the only requirement it would have from you is pressing the play/pause button. 

Clean-Up Race: We all can relate to our parents tricking us into cleaning our rooms/the house by offering some sort of “prize” or proclaiming the fastest to clean is the winner. While this may be a sneaky tactic, it really is one of the most effective ways to get your kids to clean up after themselves, hence why it’s been used for so long. Incentives/Prizes don’t have to be too complicated either, you can simply offer your kids an extra serving of desert or the ability to choose the next movie to watch on family movie night. 

Between all of these options and others – like pillow fights, fort building, jump rope, tag, red rover, chalk, etc. – there are plenty of activities your kids can be doing daily to keep their minds, bodies, and spirits active and moving. It can be hard to remember to take care of ourselves as much as we are our loved ones during this pandemic, so get your kids to play in the yard for the next hour, and take a load off, you deserve it.

Grand Canal in Italy

Italy Will Begin Easing Out Of Its Covid-19 Lockdown Policies, Prime Minister Announces  

Italy’s Prime Minister, Giuseppe Conte, has outlined plans to ease lockdown/quarantine restrictions brought on by the coronavirus pandemic. Italy has been under strict lockdown for seven weeks now. On May 4th the PM announced that quarantine measures would “begin to relax” and people will be allowed to visit their relatives in small group numbers. 

Other adjustments include the reopening of parks, factories, and certain building sites. All public schools/universities will continue to remain closed until fall 2020. Most churches and other religious buildings will also remain closed for the time being, despite the countless efforts of Roman Catholic Bishops, who have been publicly pleading with Conte to remove the continued ban on religious services. 

As of this past Sunday, Italy has only endured 260 virus-related deaths, which is the lowest it’s been in the country since this pandemic began. There have been a total of 197,000+ cases of Covid-19 and 26,645 virus-related deaths in Italy, which is the highest death toll for Europe in general. Since the numbers in Italy are finally dropping, the authorities believe that the rate in which the virus is spreading has slowed enough to cautiously begin easing restrictive lockdown measures.

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In what Prime Minister Conte is referring to as “phase two” of his coronavirus plan, he agreed to begin allowing people to move around their own regions of living, but not throughout different regions. 

Funerals will be able to resume, however, only 15 individuals are allowed to attend, and ideally, all of the ceremonies should occur outside to avoid any sort of cross-contamination/the touching of any kind of surface. 

Athletes will begin resuming training and people can start practicing recreational sports within the vicinity of their properties, but in wider areas as well. Sports teams will also be able to start holding group training on May 18th, but like with the funeral policy, it’s recommended that all training occurs in an outdoor setting, and with each player bringing in their own equipment when possible.  

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Bars and restaurants will reopen but only for takeout services. Right now, Italy is only permitting restaurants to carry-out delivery services to avoid all contact and enforce individuals to consume their meals at home. On May 4th, everyone will be able to go out themselves to pick up meals that they order. 

Beauty services such as hairdressers, nail-salons, waxing centers, etc. are predicted to reopen when restaurants and bars are actually able to reopen for full service; PM Conte predicts that to occur on June 1st. Conte also plans to ease measures for retail stores, museums, and libraries within the month of May as well. What that specifically entails for those businesses is still unclear, however.

“If we do not respect the precautions the curve will go up, the deaths will increase, and we will have irreversible damage to our economy. If you love Italy, keep your distance,”  the prime minister said.

All face masks in Italy are also capped at a price of 50 american cents, and Conte emphasized that social distancing measures in general will be strictly enforced and continue into the coming months. This is to keep case numbers down, and avoid a resurgence of the virus that would just set the country back to where it started. Time will tell when the rest of the world will catch up to Italy.

Healthy Eating

How To Practice Healthy Eating Habits While In Quarantine

During quarantine, it can be hard to get creative when it comes to food. Now that we’ve all been stocking up as much as possible on non-perishable items, it can be difficult to figure out what to do with it all. More often than not, it’s easiest just to go for something pre-made and microwavable for convenience, however, just because you may not have a lot to work with, doesn’t mean you can’t still find a bunch of different recipes for the items in your pantry.

Ordering out every night can also seem like an easy option, and while that can help support local businesses during this tough time, not a lot of us have the ability to afford that everyday. So, look in your pantry and pull out every possible ingredient, maybe even section them off into categories so you have an organized visual of what you’re working with. The main goal is to create meals that are balanced, but can also be kept cold and eaten over the course of a few days.

“There are countless pantry options that are unhealthy. It’s okay to pick up a few indulgences, as long as we don’t start overindulging. The key is balance and remembering the most important component of our plates, vegetables,” says registered dietitian Anna Kippen.

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Now, once we have all of our ingredients organized and placed in front of us, it’s time to think of some recipes. Unless you’ve worked as a professional chef before, coming up with creative things to eat using what you have is no easy task. Luckily, the internet exists, and can provide you with a ton of resources to help you figure out what you want to make.

One service that’s been rising in popularity as of late, especially during this time of quarantine, is the website supercook.com. Supercook is a super easy-to-use platform that asks users to simply submit every pantry ingredient they have, and how much of each ingredient they have. Supercook will then give you a ton of recipes that you can make using your pantry items, the site even lets you choose what type of meal you want to make (dessert, a snack, dinner) and allows users to input any dietary restrictions they may have, to make every recipe inclusive.

Beyond your meals, you also have to be conscious of your snacking habits. The snacks we eat directly impact how much nutritional value we’re gaining, or losing, in a given day. If you’re eating healthier with your meals, you have more wiggle room with how unhealthy your snacks can be, however, it’s important that you’re actively trying to maintain some sort of healthy diet during this pandemic, as it can be so easy to get lost in a bag of potato chips while binge-watching your favorite reality show.

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“If we choose to make healthier substitutions when purchasing our staples, we’ll have healthy options available for when we need a quick snack. Popcorn is a delicious, healthy and crunchy whole-grain snack! I also always suggest my patients keep unsalted nuts around,” Kippen said.

Kippen also is a firm believer in creating a meal schedule for yourself and sticking to it. If you plan out what meals to make on what day, it’ll be easier for you to ration out your pantry items so that they last as long as possible, and are used to the best of their ability. A meal schedule will also allow you to organize what staple meals can be made and kept cold/frozen, so that you’ll be set for more than one day of eating after one day of cooking.

Finally, it’s important that when you do go back to the grocery store to stock up, you make a solid list of things you need, and stick to it. Before this pandemic, it may have been easy to just get in the car and go pick out a bunch of random food items and hoping for the best, but you have to be smart about your purchases.

Stock up on things like canned beans, frozen chicken or any other meat, frozen vegetables/fruits, rice, potatoes, spices, tomato sauce, whole-wheat pasta, etc. These kinds of ingredients can be used to make a whole slew of meals, and also have a lot of longevity to their lifespan when kept correctly. It can be difficult to maintain a healthy lifestyle and diet when you’re stuck indoors during all hours of the day, however, it’s important so that once all this is over, we all enter back into the world much healthier individuals.