Our boys enjoyed the original set of activities to help kids process loss during COVID-19 so much that even once they were completed they asked for a ‘corona activity’. Now that things have settled down a bit, we only do one or two a week. Here are the ‘extras’ we have done so far, in addition to the lament.
To the clam, hibernating bear and butterfly in cocoon, we added some more animals.
A sea turtle pulls its head into its shell when it senses danger. We made these from paper plates. You make a slit on one and staple it into a cone shape, then cut out flippers and a head/tail piece. The cool thing about this is that its head actually retracts when you pull the tail! Unfortunately I don’t have a tutorial for this as I made it up but the main thing was to make the head and tail one long piece and to not staple them in so they can move freely. The flippers get stapled on though, and a trimmed paper plate for the tummy. We painted all our bits before we assembled the turtles.
A squirrel stores its food for the winter so it is well provisioned inside its hollow without need to go out. I got the idea for the craft here.
When bats withdraw to their cave, they don’t do so alone, but in family groups! So we made a little family of bats and hung them up in our living room. These were made from toilet rolls painted black and one side pushed in to make the ears with pipe cleaners stapled on the other to make the feet.
We also completed the ‘How are you going?’ mental health check up. We talked about check ups at a doctor, and how this was like doing a check up for our mind and heart. Every family member placed a coloured dot on each line for where we felt we were. Arthur and I are big believers in modelling self-awareness and mental health care to our kids so thought it was important that we completed it with them.
Finally, we played the WAY/NO WAY game. I gave the boys a series of statements and they had to agree or disagree with them. We played it like ‘heads or tails’ with hands on heads for WAY, on bottoms for NO WAY and one on each for NOT SURE. Some of the questions are specific to the coronavirus and isolation, while others are more to do with a circle of security, emotional intelligence or growth mindset. This game is fun and serves a number of purposes. First, it’s a diagnosis tool for me to see where their thinking is at. Second, it’s a discussion starter for things that might be lurking in the back of their heads but which they haven’t yet articulated (e.g. will Mama or Dadda lose their job, etc.) Third, it’s a way of giving reassurance, giving yet another opportunity to articulate love, security and resilience.
WAY/NO WAY QUESTIONS
- My family loves me.
- We will get to see our friends again.
- This will last forever.
- I worry that Mama or Dadda might lose their job.
- Rules are there ruin my fun.
- When I’m lonely I know who to talk to.
- I have to give up if I don’t succeed the first time.
- We have enough food here to last for months.
- God is sad that coronavirus is happening.
- The world will go back to normal.
- I worry that my Mama or Dadda might get Coronavirus.
- When I’m frustrated, I can keep trying.
- Some friends and teachers won’t come back to Tanzania.
- It’s OK to cry.
- I worry that I might get Coronavirus.
- Mama loves my brother more than me.
- Being on iso will never be boring.
- I can do hard things.
- Sometimes families get annoyed with each other.
- People get coronavirus because they did something bad.
- We will run out of things to do during iso.
- I can’t learn anything new.
- Dadda doesn’t like me.
- It’s not OK to have lots of feelings.
- When I’m angry I have to hurt someone.
- There are no fun things to do while we are on iso.
- Being on iso can be peaceful.
- Families love each other even when they fight.
- Mistakes help me learn.
- I will keep growing healthy and strong while I’m on iso.
Tamie Davis is an Aussie living in Tanzania, writing at meetjesusatuni.com.