30+ Ways To Organize Shutdown Fun For The Whole Family

As of April 3, 2021, the Ontario government is imposing an 'emergency brake' shutdown on the province to stem the number of COVID-19 cases, and especially hospitalizations. While not a complete lockdown, the shutdown - which will last for at least four weeks - will include the following restrictions:

  • Indoor organized public events and social gatherings are prohibited, and outdoor gatherings are limited to a maximum of five people — except for gatherings between members of the same household or gatherings between members of one household and one other person who lives alone.

  • Limits on in-person shopping: supermarkets, grocery stores, convenience stores, indoor farmers' markets, other stores that primarily sell food, and pharmacies have a 50% capacity limit; all other retail, including big box stores, has a 25% capacity limit.

  • There are no personal care services available.

  • There are no indoor and outdoor dining options. Takeout, delivery, and drive-thru are all available.

  • With very few exceptions, the use of facilities for indoor or outdoor sports and recreational fitness is prohibited.

  • Day camps will be closed.

  • Limited capacity at weddings, funerals, and religious services to 15% occupancy per room indoors and the number of people who can maintain a physical distance of two metres outdoors. This excludes social gatherings related to these services, such as receptions, which are not permitted indoors and are limited to five people outside.

You can view the full requirements list here.

This is a necessary move authorities say, but not one most people are looking forward to. Trying to think of ways to keep everyone in the family amused and as happy as possible while you spend (more) time at home ? Here are some ways you can organize some fun at home, and for the most part you should have the supplies you need right there (so no need for a trip to the store!)

Things are strange right now, but one upside of it all is this is a great chance to make some amazing memories that maybe you would not have had the time to before! Just don’t forget to take lots of pictures!

1. Build the most epic fort ever. Create a castle out of cardboard boxes or rig up a tent by draping old sheets and blankets over the furniture.

2. Have a DIY pizza night. Style points to whoever uses the most creative toppings.

3. Send a handwritten letter to a friend or family member, especially older relatives who could use a little extra love right now. The kids can practice their writing skills and help brighten someone’s day.

4. Have a virtual story hour. Round up some friends and read your children’s favorite storybooks via video chat. You can also tune in to local libraries which are holding story time on Facebook Live.

5. Set up a scavenger hunt. For younger children, hide items around the house to keep them searching for hours. For older kids, write out clues and riddles that will lead them to a small prize.

6. Plan the trip of a lifetime. The crazier, the better! Have the kids map out a route and choose their dream destinations. Add an educational twist by having them research each region, explore different cultures and calculate travel costs.

7. Cook up some competition by bringing your favorite cooking shows to life. See who can bake the most over-the-top dessert or challenge everyone to make a meal that uses a special ingredient.

8. Hold a board game championship. Pull out all the games in the house and see who can rack up the most wins. If you’re tired of all the games at home, design your own on a piece of poster board.

9. Treat everyone with a spa day. Turn on some relaxing music, paint nails and take a bubble bath for the ultimate at-home pampering.

10. Create a scrapbook or photo album. No need for fancy craft supplies. Decorate the pages with pictures, ticket stubs, maps, postcards, brochures and any other mementos you can find.

11. Throw the ultimate arts and crafts session. You’ll find tons of projects on Pinterest and sites like Kids Craft Room.

12. Perform a family play. Younger kids can act out a favorite story or movie, while older kids can write their own scripts and make costumes and scenery.

13. Do Easter activities. Dye eggs, hold an egg hunt or bake a special holiday treat.

14. Celebrate a wacky national holiday. Websites like National Day Calendar have lists of special celebrations for every day of the month.

15. Teach the kids a skill that’s been passed down through the generations, like how to make a family recipe.

16. Go outside on a clear night and gaze at the stars. There are tons of free mobile apps that can identify constellations and planets just by pointing your device to the sky.

17. Dress up in your fanciest clothes and throw a tea party. Feel free to substitute hot cocoa or chocolate milk instead!

18. Set up an obstacle course in the backyard using hula-hoops, jump ropes and everyday objects. The kids are sure to burn off their extra energy running, jumping and crawling their way to the finish.

19. Throw a family party just because. The kids can spend all afternoon making decorations, preparing snacks, building a playlist, planning games and more. In the evening, they can invite parents and siblings for a night of fun.

20. Have a spring picnic. Spread out a blanket in the yard, or hold one indoors for all the fun (and no ants).

21. Film a YouTube video. Preteens and teens will have a blast recording their own cooking shows, hair and makeup tutorials, entertainment reviews and more.

22. Host a family talent show. Even better, start a video chat with friends so everyone can show off their skills.

23. Have breakfast for dinner. After all, pancakes are delicious no matter what time of day. Make sure everyone wears their finest PJs for the occasion.

24. Do a crazy science experiment. Make homemade slime, invisible ink or a classic fizzy volcano. There are tons of online resources and websites to get you started.

25. Teach your kids a game that you played growing up, like an old jump rope song.

26. Learn to do magic tricks.

27. Plant flower or vegetable seeds. Spring is here, and it’s OK to be outside if you ‘social distance’.

28. Let everyone pick out their favorite flicks for a family movie marathon.

29. Take a virtual tour of a famous museum or a national park. Google Arts and Culture has an enormous library of videos, digital exhibits and more.

30. Make the most out of screen time and learn to code. Tons of websites and apps offer coding games for kids. Check out resources like Code Combat and Khan Academy.

31. Go outside for a nature walk. We have so many great parks and open spaces in the Waterloo Region, and now is the time to take advantage of them! See how many kinds of birds you can spot or how many types of leaves you can collect. Keep an eye out for budding trees, flowers and other signs of spring.

32. Get out every Lego set you own and build the ultimate city.