WATCH — How to have fun while social distancing

Isabelle MacNeil
Story by Isabelle MacNeil • CBC Kids News • Published 2020-03-24 08:02

Find plenty of activities to fill your time, expert suggests

Do you feel like you suddenly have a lot of free time on your hands?

Schools are shut down across the country, but because of social distancing, your activities are also limited.

You can’t go to the movies or hang out with large groups of friends.

It’s hard to figure out what to do with all this free time, but it’s important to maintain a steady schedule.

CBC Kids News contributor Isabelle MacNeil has shared some of the ways she’s keeping herself entertained at home in Halifax.

Check out her video above.

Here are five tips you can use to stay busy if you’re stuck at home, too.

An illustration that say 5 ways to stay busy at home. 1) Stay active. 2) Take up a new hobby 3)  Keep your brain active. 4) Take a break from the headline 5) Keep a regular routine

(Allison Cake/CBC)

1. Get moving

Just because you’re at home doesn’t mean you have to be indoors all the time.

Krista R. Muis, a professor of education and counselling psychology at McGill University in Montreal, has begun social distancing with her two daughters — who are eight and 13 years old.

“We’re trying to keep ourselves busy with a variety of activities and exercise,” she said.

She suggests kids keep active to maintain their physical and mental health.

For example, Muis recommends that you enjoy the outdoors if you can by going for a walk in areas where you can remain a safe distance from others. You could also try cycling.

Isabelle rides her bike on a path

Isabelle MacNeil rides her bike along a path near her house. (Isabelle MacNeil/CBC)

If you can’t get outside and can’t access spaces where you can stay away from others, there are exercises you can do indoors, like yoga.

If you have access to a yard, try practising sports like soccer or basketball,

2. Take up a new hobby

Maybe now is the time to pick up a new activity or hobby to give yourself fresh challenges.

“Do a variety of activities over the day,” said Muis.

Isabelle MacNeil smiles at the camera as she makes a cake in a mixer in her kitchen

CBC Kids news contributor Isabelle MacNeil tried baking a cake during her time at home. (Isabelle MacNeil/CBC)

Learning a new skill will keep you focused and alert.

It will also give you something to aim for while your regular day-to-day activities are disrupted.

You could use this time to pick up a new skill, such as painting, sewing, playing an instrument or baking.

3. Keep your brain active

Muis also said it’s important to keep up with work because, let’s face it, you’re going to go back to school eventually.

Reading books will help you keep learning, whether it’s books you’re learning about in school or books you’ve always wanted to read.

Isabelle reads a book at home.

For Isabelle, social distancing means more time to hit the books. (Isabelle MacNeil/CBC)

Harry Potter series, anyone?

Looking for some tips on good books? Check out these suggestions from some kids.

There are also educational games for tablets or consoles to make learning a little bit more fun.

4. Take a break from the headlines

COVID-19 is a subject that’s hard to avoid. But, as Muis recommends, it’s important not to let it consume our lives.

Consider taking a social media or news detox.

Try not to be freaked out by what you see online.

Isabelle calls her friends using a tablet.

Technology and social media can be a great tool for feeling less distant from friends and loved ones. (Isabelle MacNeil/CBC)

That being said, technology can be really helpful in the coming weeks.

Use apps like Facetime as ways to keep in touch with friends and family who you might miss.

Check in with each other and see how everyone else is making use of their time. They may have some good ideas, too.

5. Keep a regular routine

Schools will open again.

So go to bed at the same time as you normally would and wake up when you normally would.

In between, Muis recommends that you keep to a daily routine while enjoying the variety of activities you do.

Check out Isabelle's tips here:

 

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About the Contributor

Isabelle MacNeil
Isabelle MacNeil
CBC Kids News Contributor
Isabelle MacNeil lives in Dartmouth, N.S., where she is active in the arts community. She has performed on the Christmas Daddies Telethon and plays clarinet in two local bands. Isabelle has developed a passion for acting and singing to go with her love of sport and volunteering. This 12-year-old leader hopes to inspire others as a budding entrepreneur and educate kids of all ages through stories. Isabelle is thrilled to be part of the CBC Kids News team and believes that giving kids a voice is more important than ever.

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