âNew normalâ: Fun family bonding activities to try at home
The good news is life at home for these young people need not mean the end of the world.  They have a dozen and one things to keep them happy and occupied at home.

‘New normal’: Fun family bonding activities to try at home

Maridol Ranoa-Bismark (Philstar.com) - April 30, 2020 - 7:43pm

MANILA, Philippines — After novel coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) shut down malls, concert venues, parks and other places where young people love to roam, they are stuck at home at a loss. They’re not used to staying put, especially at home. They’d rather be out there with friends.

But now, they have no choice. Even their friends are at home. And students and young professionals must make do with video conferencing with each other about what they had for dinner, what it’s like to have mom and dad with them the whole day long, and other home-related things.

The good news is life at home for these young people need not mean the end of the world.  They have a dozen and one things to keep them happy and occupied at home.

Here are some:


It’s easy to be sedentary at this time. But you’re not doing yourself a favor in doing so.  

Adam Hawkey, associate professor at the School of Sport, Health and Social Science at Solent University in United Kingdom, advised brisk walking around the house, and going up and down the stairs.  

You can also walk around while talking to someone on the phone, dance to lively music, get into yoga, Tai Chi, Pilates, push-ups and other exercises. No dumbbells at home? Good old big empty plastic bottles will do.

The Milo Sports Clinics Online is a newly-introduced digital platform that aims to make the fundamentals of sports more accessible kids and parents, under the tutelage of professional coaches — all for free.

The weekly series of instructional videos is part of the Milo Home Court initiative, which envisions and inspires parents and their kids to channel their energies positively at home through sports, hone their skills safely and nurture the lifelong character-forming values that come with it such as discipline, hard work and self-confidence.

Together with expert coaches and notable partner organizations such as Best Center Inc. (notable graduates include 5-time SEA Games Gold Medalist Kiefer Ravena and national team members Juan and Javi Gomez de Liaño), Philippine Taekwondo Association (home of SEA Games Gold Medalist Pauline Lopez), and Club Gymnastica (former training grounds of World Champion Carlos Yulo), the sports clinics online will launch a series of free training modules for kids ages seven to 12, teaching the fundamentals of four key sports: basketball, volleyball, taekwondo and gymnastics.

From April 20 to May 15, parents and their kids can access these videos on the respective YouTube channels of the partner organizers: The Best Center (basketball and volleyball), Philippine Taekwondo Association and Club Gymnastica Ph. They can also check out the Milo Philippines Facebook page for official announcements and updates on the clinics.

Related: Be 'quaran-fit': Stars share workout hacks to keep you active during lockdown

Do household chores together


There’s so much to do, especially now that cleanliness is top priority. There are floors to sweep and to mop, walls and windows to scrub clean, furniture to wipe free from dust, the family car, kitchen utensils and clothes to wash, trash cans for the garbage guys to collect. 

Since their legs are stronger and their stamina a lot better, young people can patiently wait in line for hours at the grocery store or supermarket to buy food for the family. Young people can also iron the clothes and feed the family pet.

Related: How to effectively disinfect home vs COVID-19

Have a new hobby

Assembly Grounds/Released

Gardening, arts and crafts like painting, origami, sketching, drawing, embroidery and others are some of them.  

Arlene Harris, in her blog, “Coronavirus: How to keep children happy, learning and entertained at home,” suggested starting a mini-garden at home, cooking meals, baking, recording songs using free online software, even making home movies.

Assembly Grounds at The Rise in Makati enables mall guests to get into this fun pastime through Gardening 101 with Jennie Agcaoili, an online series about growing plants while living in the city. 

With three 45-minute episodes to be streamed from Assembly Grounds Facebook page, Jennie Agcaoili, nature therapy advocate and founder of creative nature business Plant Project PH, shows people how to make the most out of their quarantine time through gardening. On May 2, there will be a webinar at 4 p.m. about “Re-growing from Kitchen Scraps.”

Related: 'Quaranthings': Homemaking hacks from Heussaffs, Neri Miranda, Gold Squad

Enjoy or do arts and crafts

HP Philippines/Released

It’s time to try flexing some creative muscle with your little ones while doing something new!

Keep them entertained with new curated Print & Play activities from HP. Suitable for ages 2 to 12, kids can try out hours of craft making, mazes, dot-to-dot drawing and many other puzzles. 

Whether you are looking for content to support your child’s home-based learning or trying to juggle work and play, you can find printable arts and crafts to create fun and engaging experiences to bond with your kids with HP Print & Play. Parents can choose from a range of activities that are best suited to their children’s needs to achieve the best possible learning outcomes. 

HP’s New Asian Learning Experience Study identifies millennial parents’ attitudes towards learning and how their personalities impact the way their children learn. The study shows that while print and digital each have their own strengths, a combination of digital and print was most beneficial in helping children stay focused and engaged while they learn.

Parents in the Philippines said that printed materials were better used for activities related to art (61%), math (60%), and memorization (50%), whereas electronic materials better facilitated learning in music or auditory skills (60%).  

Alternatively, one can download free coloring books here.

Related: Digital art museum shows over 9k Filipino artworks, including Battle of Bataan

Watch educational shows

Some educational documentaries recommended by Netflix
Netflix Philippines/Released

For music lovers, the Metropolitan Opera (Metopera.org) hosts “Nightly Met Opera Streams” on its official website.

Room Art Space & Cafe offers live streaming of musical concerts almost daily on its website at 10 p.m.

You can also watch interesting documentaries here.

For free movies, check out http://www.openculture.com/freemoviesonline.

For several years, Netflix has allowed teachers to screen documentaries within their classrooms. During the lockdown, and to ensure that the education does not stop, the mobile streaming application provided a list of 10 documentaries that can be viewed for free on the Netflix Youtube Channel (www.youtube.com/netflix). 

The titles that part of the list are:
1. 13th 
2. Abstract 
3. Babies 
4. Chasing Coral 
5. Explained 
6. Knock Down The House 
7. Our Planet 
8. Period. End of Sentence. 
9. The White Helmets 
10. Zion 

Netflix has an option called "Netflix Party" that allows you to watch something online with your friends

Similarly, Sony Pictures Entertainment (SPE) recently launched its new YouTube Channel, Sony Pictures’ Kids Zone, providing parents and kids with a one stop central destination for interactive fun, physical movement, learning and hands-on activities. 

Sony Pictures’ Kids Zone is curated with a wide range of activities that will support families coping with school closures, new work-from-home routines and social distancing.

“A significant portion of Sony Pictures’ workforce is made up of working parents. The idea of Sony Pictures’ Kids Zone was born from parents on our own team adjusting to working from home and managing home schooling,” said Lexine Wong, Senior Executive Vice President, Worldwide Marketing. 

“We are proud to offer this resource to help families navigate these new and challenging circumstances, while hopefully having a little fun in the process.”

The Kids Zone will feature content from partners at Sony Pictures Animation as well as SPE’s catalog of live action favorites. Viewers can enjoy content from artistic crafts to yummy treats, DIY projects, scientific experiments, energetic dance-alongs, karaoke sing-alongs, a “just for laughs” section and more.

Launch content includes:

  • Peter Rabbit “Make Your Own McGregor Garden”: You might not be able to raid McGregor's garden like Peter, but you can grow your very own veggies at home.  Follow along to learn planting tips, clever crafts and more.
  • The Angry Birds 2 Movie “Bird Watching”: In this hilarious "birds-eye" view of the real-life species that inspired the artists, we take a trip to the Los Angeles Zoo to get up close and personal with real-life Mighty Eagles, Blue?Birds, Toucans, and more.?With fun reactions from the cast intercut throughout the piece - get ready to laugh, learn and meet some amazing avian friends.
  • Hotel Transylvania 3 “It’s Party Time” by Joe Jonas Lyric Video
  • Center Stage: On Pointe “Dance Tutorial with Chloe”: Dancer/Actress Chloe Lukasiak and Choreographer Monica Proenca teach fans “Gwen's” full audition piece from the film.
  • The Star “There’s No Me Without You” Sing-along with Bo and Friends
  • Smurfs: The Lost Village “Learn to Draw Brainy Smurf”
  • Zathura “Motion Storybook”: Read by Author Chris Van Allsburg

Review for the college entrance test

Online learning has grown even more, now that schools are closed due to the Luzon-wide lockdown.  Young people can grab this chance to enroll in online classes that will help them ace their college entrance exams and get into their dream university. There’s Ahead Tutorial and Review Center, MSA, Brain-Train and others.  

Learn a new language and skill

Young people can enroll in online courses, or check out YouTube videos on playing a musical instrument, learning basic foreign words, digital marketing for beginners and others.
Dave Ryan Mikhail Go, in his article “Online Learning: Courses on the Internet,” listed Class Central, edX and Coursera as the top platforms for online learning. They have thousands of free online courses from Ivy League universities.  Computer Science, Data Science, Programming and Humanities are just some of the courses offered.

Similarly, one can learn French with children’s stories here.

For e-books, audio books and videos teaching new skills, check this out.

Play board games

Young people can strengthen their bond with the family by playing chess, Scrabble, Monopoly and others with them. This is also the time to improve mental skills and widen one’s vocabulary.

Attend online masses and prayer brigades

We need to feed our souls and strengthen our faith in these uncertain times. Masses and other forms of prayer can save us from depression and despair.

Related: List of live online Holy Mass celebrations in Metro Manila

Read a good book

There’s nothing like an inspirational book to lift our sagging morale. A thriller, a novel and other good reads can take us to places and events we’ve never been to. They will also widen our vocabulary and enrich our imagination.

Bibliotheca Alexandrina is offering 130,000 books available online to read or download in its website.

Likewise, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) makes its media library publicly accessible via this link.

Connect with experts and other families

Starting this Saturday, May 2 at 8 p.m., and hosted on the Huggies Philippines Facebook page, the new Huggies Club: Facebook Live offers a series of online forums that aim to help guide expectant, new, and experienced moms through every step of their motherhood journey.

Each session will feature a medical expert and a fellow parent who will cover a variety of topics that aim to guide and equip viewers with useful tips and uplifting advice as they go through the delicate stages of motherhood; from prenatal to postnatal, whether they have an infant or a toddler. 

Similarly, Star Magic recently churned out videos showing the bonding times of Star Magic parents Denise Laurel, Dimples Romana, Dominic Ochoa, Melai Cantivero and Jolina Magdangal with their kids. Watch their videos on Star Magic Philippines’ YouTube channel.

YouTube links:
Denise and Bukie: https://youtu.be/RsaiByJDQ94
Dimples and Alonzo: https://youtu.be/2c4POi6-q2s
Melai with Mela and Stela: https://youtu.be/sZPXsGjpKqE
Dominic and Sandro: https://youtu.be/c-0cLheB934
Jolina and Pele: https://youtu.be/ejnXWPY1dbM

A crisis is also an opportunity. Let this one help us discover inner strengths we never thought existed.  

Let it teach us to be more resourceful, more creative, and above all, more attuned, not to what the world offers, but to the lasting spiritual riches we all need in these trying times. 

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