Much of family life has changed since the COVID-19 pandemic began.  Many friends tell me, “activities with my children are difficult to find.” And, in a manner of speaking, COVID-19 has brought families back to the style of life that was the norm prior to the computer era.  At the time, when computer hard drives took up entire rooms and only spit out data for mathematicians who understood binary code, families in the 1970s stayed at home, doing activities together at the dinner table, went on road trips where the highlight was to get out to sight see and hike, or watched TV together.  In some ways, the advancement of computer entertainment has pulled families apart. Teenage children spend time alone on the internet instead of interacting with parents, and vice versa.  What activities can families do together today?

Family activities depend greatly on one’s affordability for transportation, ability to access the internet and personal interests.  Star Trek at 6 pm, followed by Gun Smoke and I Love Lucy were popular television shows in the 1970’s; and most everyone I knew watched them with their families after dinner, pending homework was done.  Many craft projects like needlework, quilting and making model airplanes could be done while watching television.  The whole family pitched in with suggestions for parents’ crossword puzzles done while the family enjoyed their favorite television shows after dinner.  Similarly, YouTube today has replaced yesterday’s television, and many community groups are starting to offer remote events for families.

If you check out the PDX Parent Events Calendar, your family will find a variety of activities from Farm Tours with social distancing to ‘Lego at Home’ a YouTube channel, ‘Virtual Summer Camp’, ‘Art in the Garden’ as well as ‘Crafts to Go’.  

Not all of these activities are enjoyed remotely, some will invite your family to their farm, but social distancing will be the flavor of the day.

For families wanting to travel, State Parks are always a good destination.  You can use TripAdvisor to find State Parks from Crater Lake and the Columbia River Gorge to Antique Aeroplane and Automobile Museum in Hood River or Schreiner’s Iris Gardens in Salem.  

No matter if your children are fascinated with airplanes or dream of being a botanist, State Parks are sure to offer something of interest and this link will take you there.

On July 23 at 5 pm, the Oregon Children’s Theatre is offering a free online performance of The Girl Who Swallowed a Cactus, a play by Eric Coble.  Follow this link for more information.

On the Portland Parks and Recreation website and their YouTube page, they say: “Portland Parks & Recreation’s new Stay and Play video series presents content for you and your family on fun subjects like performing arts, preschool, visual arts, nature, sports, fitness, and swimming. Let’s Stay and Play until we can be together again!”

When we look for the good in every situation, we can see that families are coming together  through at-home activities and small-group events.  It is this togetherness that gives grandchildren time for activities where grandpa and grandma can be inspired to say, “this is what we can do.”  Homeschooling allows parents a chance to coach their children through their lessons, and churches now offer remote services.  God is inspiring us to find our way across the difficult routes side by side with His love and strength. We were never meant to walk alone.

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