In my last blog post I wrote about our preparation for the possibility of lock down due to the current Coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic. While Australia hasn’t gone into lockdown (as I write this), our family has made the decision to self-isolate. Although BJ’s day programme was doing a great job of implementing a strict hygiene routine, it was clear that the nature of having people assist him with all his day-to-day needs, was putting him at risk. There is no social distancing with support work and BJ really isn’t one to be kept at arms length, so it really wasn’t a difficult choice. In saying it wasn’t difficult, we knew that BJ was going to miss his social life, routine and the people at his day program. During the day it’s just BJ and I, except when AJ has morning tea and lunch breaks. AJ is doing her schooling online and Hubby is working from home.
STAY AT HOME ACTIVITIES FOR CHILDREN AND ADULTS WITH (OR WITHOUT) A DISABILITY
Before going into self-isolation Hubby and I spent a significant amount of time sourcing and building entertainment for BJ. Due to limited fine motor skills, BJ needs assistance with many games, and while I’m happy to help with the majority of activities, I’m aware I’ll need a break. BJ isn’t a fan of the idea of breaks because he likes to fill every minute of the day with something. Therefore it was important to find some activities that would keep boredom at bay that he could do by himself. We took photos throughout the process and thought we’d share what we’ve made. Here’s some tips for some self-isolation fun.
At the moment we are still able to go for drives and we’ve had sunny weather so even BJ hasn’t seen the activity boards Hubby has put together as yet. We are literally saving them for a rainy day, or for a day when I’m climbing the walls.
The activity board needed to be sturdy, not easy to accidentally push over, we also needed it to challenge BJ from a fine motor perspective and we wanted it to be fun. It were keen for it to be something we could all do a bit on when we felt inclined.
Keep in mind BJ spent much of his younger years working on gross motor skills so while some would find this boring, he’s not had the same experiences in life.
BJ loves any ball games so a ball run seemed an obvious choice. Most of the time we are imagining BJ will be out of his chair accessing these boards so this will encourage him to kneel up to put the balls in and will also require him to look and focus to get the ball into the top of the run. BJ has had the velcro grip ball game (pink & green velcro with tennis ball attached) for a while now so one of those was attached with the aim of improving BJ’s throwing arm.
On the second board we put a range of activities, Lego base boards (purchased at Target) for some serious fine motor work, a magnetic board for fun, a chalk board for drawing (he’s never been fond of that so we’ll see if this can encourage him), a battery operated light switch with flick switch to illuminate his work, a door bell for isolating his pointer and another touch operated light. A mirror in the middle with a lift up cover for checking appearances and containers with lift up lids for storing the Lego. I can dream he’ll tidy up after himself!
We sourced a variety of items from Bunnings (hardware store), Kmart and discount stores. Bunnings had some great items including the light switches, door bell and the folding table which was turned into a sturdy easel. We didn’t end up using them all but we’ll keep them aside to make another board if these are a success.
Hubby bought plywood the right size for each side of the table and mounted the activities to the timber.
Slits were cut into the sides of the plywood to allow them to be attached to the table and to be changeable. We can’t bring out all the tricks in one go or the novelty will be over all too soon.
Grunt ties hold the activity boards on to the table when in use.
When we try these boards with BJ, I’ll share what’s a success and anything we have to change. I wanted to share them so others may have time to make something similar before any possible lockdown of hardware stores.
If you don’t have time, handy person skills or budget to make an activity board, we found the leftover black pipe can make a good ball or car run by itself. We trialled it with BJ this afternoon and found he could do it by himself.
Aside from the activity boards, we’ve purchased other activities the kids can do together which I’ll share below.
We bought plain white t-shirts from Kmart and a couple of tie dye kits.
I thought the kids would enjoy choosing a design, printing it on to the iron on paper and then putting it on a shirt. They are rather fond of matching designs so I’m interested to see what they both choose.
We stocked up on gardening products before we went into self-isolation and BJ has been keen on planting and gardening which is lovely to see.
Photo books and scrap booking.
I bought a variety of books from Kmart ($4 for the black one and $8 for the brown one) and printed off a heap of photos for the both of the kids. We’ve got backing paper and stickers for them to use.
We borrowed 20 DVDs from the local library before it closed and BJ is making his way through those happily. One of our Have Wheelchair Will Travel readers mentioned to me that there is a library streaming service which people can access for free through Kanopy.
I plan to continue to share ideas in the hope it helps others. I have found the preparation I did prior to self-isolating has made life much more comfortable so I suggest you read my tips here.
We now have someone from Ladies Running Errands doing our shopping for us including groceries, click and collect pick ups from Kmart and Target and this has been a great help.
Lastly, don’t forget to ask for help. I rang our local grocery store and asked if they would be delivering fruit and vegetables and they said they would happily help. When I asked how much for delivering he said, “We won’t be charging, we want to be here for our community.”
Please share any other ideas you have for keeping the family entertained.