What an unbelievable time to be alive! For the first time in over a hundred years, we are witnessing new and trying times as we step forward into the uncharted territory of a global pandemic. As a community, and in true Fernie fashion, we are coming together to support one another and make the best of an unknown situation. I have seen friends throwing drive by birthday parties, sending take out meals to those in need and social media chains, that are spreading like wild fire, encouraging local shopping. It is beautiful to witness the generosity, compassion and love that neighbours have for one another in this town. Amongst these new found forms of connection, life as we know it has temporarily changed and readers may be asking themselves: What are Fernie Mountain Mamas to do?
There are twelve hours of wake time for the typical infant or child. Twelve hours without coffee shops, without play groups, and without parks. Not two, not six, but twelve. If you are pulling out your hair, stop, and take a big breath. You’ve got this! As parents in Fernie, we are lucky in that we have an incredible trail network guiding us into the wild in our own backyards. With the current sunshine of Spring in the air, take solace in long walks, hikes and bike rides. Collect rocks. Seek shapes in the clouds. Catch bugs. Take this time to be a kid again yourself and remember the magic that exists outside. Even when the weather does not cooperate, remember the old sage advice of our grandparents: When it rains, play in the rain! Slap on a muddy buddy and have a time. Go on. Jump in the puddles, you know you want to…
Staying home and keeping our distance may seem extreme, but it is in the best interest of not only your family but everyone you’ve ever met and hold dear. Flattening the curve will allow us to eventually get back to the lives that we love and surely miss. I’m going to look at the COVID-19 crisis not as a tragedy but as a moment of opportunity. A chance to create a joyous environment and experiences that will live vividly in our kids' memories, so that in other times of uncertainty, they'll remember fondly how their family was able to pull together and make the most of a bad situation. Hopefully, later on down the track, they will be able to do the same for themselves. As my partner and I see it, this is the first time where we have no distractions, no prior engagements and nowhere to be but simply here with our son as a family. This is time that we are not taking for granted and that we are going to cherish.
And for the other seven hours in the day where you might find yourself inside, may I suggest the following activities that are easy, fun and most importantly, cost effective.
- Plan an indoor scavenger hunt
- Research your family tree
- Finger paint (mix yogurt with food colouring and you’ve got yourself art supplies and a nutritious snack!)
- Build a house of cards
- Play balloon volleyball
- Learn magic tricks and put on a show
- Bake a cake or muffins
- Read to your grandparents (Via Skype, Zoom or FaceTime)
- Build a fort and camp out in the living room
- And most importantly, plan some quiet and independent play
I hope that these ideas help or at least spark your own creativity. Take your lemons and make lemonade. The sky, heck, build a cardboard rocket ship and let’s say space is the limit. Either way please stay safe, stay sane, and stay healthy.
Happy family time!
Are you also a Fernie Mountain Mama? Please feel free to share your outdoor adventures, family stories and photos by writing to firstname.lastname@example.org, or hashtag #ferniemountainmamas to encourage more parents to take their little ones outdoors and share in all the fun that Fernie has to offer.