Spain has become the latest country in Europe to enter lockdown. Whether you’re currently living in Spain, or have just had to cancel your holiday to the country, you’re probably wondering what that means for you. The Spanish government have announced drastic measures to help control coronavirus, including closing all schools, ordering people to stay inside unless they need to leave the house to buy food or medicine, and travel restrictions are also in place. Effectively, public life as we know it has been completely shut down in Spain.
Although the numbers are changing constantly, at the time of writing Spain had suffered 8,000 people infected and almost 300 dead. Prime Minister Sánchez has officially declared that the country is in a state of emergency. Many in the country are frightened about how these draconian measures will impact their family and their livelihoods, as much as of becoming infected with the virus itself. This is particularly relevant as Spain is a fairly new democracy, and removing rights in this way will only cause tensions between the people and central government.
But it’s not all doom and gloom: as a homeworking writer, I’ve been preparing for a crisis just like this one for years, and have plenty of tried and tested ideas to beat the boredom of days at home alone! With that in mind, here are 50 great activity ideas for the whole family that we hope will help you get through this crisis with a smile on your face:
There’s nothing more uplifting than the tales of the Italians, who are also on lockdown, singing and playing instruments together from their balconies. If you have children, you could encourage them to make instruments or make up their own songs. Sing to each other, sing to each other, and show your community that your spirit hasn’t been broken.
2. Catch up With Friends
Social isolation can have a negative impact on your physical and mental health. Beat the loneliness by using your free time to catch up with friends via Skype or Facetime. Technological advances mean that you don’t have to be in the same room to spend time with your loved ones.
3. Try a New Recipe
If you’re struggling to find the ingredients you would usually buy from the supermarket, why not experiment with what you do have in the cupboards and try cooking a new recipe? You never know, you might invent something incredible!
4. Read a Good Book
Most of us have a stack of books we’ve been meaning to read, and there’s no better time to get stuck in than now! If you’re staying in with smaller children then encouraging them to keep up with their reading will also make reintroducing them to school much easier when the time comes.
5. Organise your Photo Albums
Do you have a book full of photos you’ve been meaning to organise? There’s no time like the present! This will also give you the chance to walk down memory lane, remembering happier times, which will ultimately leave you feeling revitalised.
6. Hola Happy Hour!
Just because you can’t get to your favourite bar doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy happy hour or date night at home. Practice your cocktail making skills, mix your own drinks, and play at being a bartender.
It doesn’t matter whether you enjoy weekly dance classes or only dance at weddings, put on some music and move your body. Dancing releases endorphins that will make you feel happy and is a great way to bond and reconnect with your family too. With time to spare, you could learn whole dance routines: practice your skills for that next family party!
8. Tin Can Bowling
Have you secretly stockpiled a cupboard full of tinned food? With just ten tins and a football, you will have your own bowling alley! Start a tournament with your family or housemates and unleash your competitive streak – it's much more fun than you might think!
9. Set up a Home Spa
Just because your local spa is closed doesn’t mean you can’t pamper yourself! Take a long bubble bath, paint your nails, give yourself a facial. Make the most of having time to relax and focus on your beauty regime: then be sure to take photos of your perfect skin for social media!
10. Complete those Home Improvements
We all have those jobs around the house we keep putting off. Whether your front door needs painting, your living room needs decorating or your back garden needs weeding, use this as a unique opportunity to do all of those little jobs you’ve spent the last six months putting off.
11. Plant some Seeds
It doesn’t matter whether you have a large back garden or an apartment with a window box, now is the perfect time of year to start planting some seeds and watch flowers, herbs or vegetables grow other the coming months. The new growth will serve as a timely reminder that life is going on outside your four walls, and will make your home look great and smell great too.
12. Update Your CV
Whether you’re worried that the coronavirus will impact on your job, or simply fancy a change or career or pace, why not use all of this new-found free time to update your CV. Sensible and practical, it will make you feel like you’re using your time wisely and investing in your future.
13. Do Laundry
When was the last time you saw the bottom of your laundry basket? No, us either! Imagine the sense of smug satisfaction you’ll feel if you invest your time in achieving that coveted empty laundry basket: a very sensible way to spend a day.
14. Learn a Language
If you’re living in Spain, or thinking of moving to Spain, and still haven’t learnt to speak Spanish then now is the perfect time to invest some time in a learning programme. Even if you only learn a few words each day, it will make a huge difference when it comes to integrating into live in Spain.
15. Make Something
If you’re crafty then 4 weeks locked in your own home could well be a dream come true: it’s the perfect opportunity to sew, knit, and make to your heart’s content. Making something from scratch leads to an incredible sense of satisfaction, and has the added benefit of enabling you to add something beautiful to your home without succumbing to the temptation of pricey online shopping.
16.Watch Old Movies
There’s nothing better than the nostalgia that is invoked when you sit down to re-watch some of your favourite old movies. They bring back memories of better times, you know them line for line, and they make you feel happy: what better way to cope with times of crisis?
17. Make Art
Painting, drawing and colouring are tried and tested ways of entertaining small children during times of crisis, but you might find that you enjoy it and find it relaxing yourself. Making art encourages you to unleash your creative side, improve your manual dexterity, and the end results can be displayed around your home, brightening up those four walls you’re trapped inside.
18. Build with Lego
Almost all children under the age of 12 love Lego, so daily building challenges are a great way to keep them entertained and mentally stimulated: ideal if you’re trying to work from home and amuse your kids at the same time. Give them new challenge each day, and watch them get to work! Some great examples include: building a fairground, building a space rocket, designing your dream desert island or creating a feast for your friends. The only limit is their imagination!
19. Write a Book
It’s said that everyone has at least one novel in them: what’s yours? If you’ve always dreamt of writing a book, or if you just have a great idea for a story and would love to see where it might go, why not start writing it down? You'll never have such an empty diary or large space of time to get writing again!
20. Write Letters
Letter writing is a dying art form, but this crisis could well be the lifeline it needed to bring it back to the forefront again. If your friends, parents or grandparents are in isolation then write them a letter: it will break up their day and bring a smile to their face. You could encourage your children to write letters too: not only will it keep them in touch with their loved ones, it will be a great way to practice those handwriting skills.
21. Arrange Your Wardrobe
What better time for a spring clean or your wardrobe? It will feel completely renewed when you remove all of those clothes that don’t fit you, or that you no longer wear. As an added bonus you could always arrange to sell those clothes on via eBay, and make a little extra pocket money.
22. Start a Blog
Share your thoughts and feelings with the outside world via your very own blog. It could be on any subject and aimed at any audience: a blog is your own little corner of the internet, and it can be very liberating to have your own space to say and do anything you want.
23. Make your Own Animation
Don’t want your kids to watch too many cartoons? Encourage them to make some instead! Stop motion animation is surprisingly easy to do, and just requires a camera and some patience. Write a story, create your characters and get to work: this could easily fill a full day if it captures your children’s imaginations.
24.Write a Gratitude List
Most people are feeling scared and anxious about the virus, and the impact it may have on them and their family. Taking time out to write a gratitude list of the things that you still have to be thankful for can be a great tool for calming and reassuring yourself, whilst maintaining a positive mental attitude.
25. Organise your Inbox
Another one of those jobs we all put off, but organising your inbox will help you to find those all-important emails much easier and is another job on this list that will make you feel smug once you’ve completed it. Delete the junk and move on!
26. Plan a Road Trip
Where would you like to go? What would you like to see? As soon as the lockdown is over will you visit family? Head to the coast? Spend your time planning your next road trip or vacation so that you’ll always have something positive to focus your mind on.
27. Camp Out, Indoors
Gather together your sleeping bags, a tent and a stack of boardgames and you can enjoy an indoors camping trip. This is a simple way to unplug the TV and reconnect with your family and friends without setting foot outside your front door.
28. Host a Tea party
The worst thing you can do when you’re trapped inside is stay in your pajamas. Getting up and getting dressed is good for your mental health. To encourage you to do this, host a fancy afternoon tea party for your family. Everyone should get dressed up in their finery, eat miniature cakes and cookies, and pretend that you’re in the fanciest restaurant in town!
29. Play Balloon Tennis
All you need to play balloon tennis is a balloon and two paper plates. Give each player a plate and let the match begin! Keep the balloon in the air for as long as you can touching it only with your plates. The first person to let the balloon touch the floor is the loser.
30. Play Boardgames
Boardgames are for life, not just for Christmas, so dig your Monopoly board out from the back of the cupboard and set up a tournament. Board games can last for hours and bring out the competitive spirit in almost everybody, making them a great way to spend your time in isolation.
31. Have a Fashion Show
How many of us are guilty of having a wardrobe full of clothes that we never wear? With time to spare, why not shop your closet, try on clothes you’d forgotten you even had, and host a fashion show for the rest of your family. If your kids get involved too, it's an easy way to sort out and organise their wardrobes. Killing two birds with one stone!
32. Have a Video Game Marathon
Loosen your strict restrictions on screen time and host a video game marathon! Video games allow you to go anywhere and be anything: embrace this escapism and forget all your troubles for an hour or two whilst you rescue princesses or become a world racing champion instead.
33.Create a Scrapbook
Scrapbooking is a great way to capture your memories in a beautiful way. From school reports to photographs, kid’s drawings to theatre tickets, scrapbooking is a great way to treasure these milestones and keep them in one place. You can create scrapbooks for yourself or encourage your kids to create their own.
34. Make an Indoor Obstacle Course
Use pillows, toys, and any other obstacles you have lying around your house to create an indoor obstacle course. Make it as tricky as you can and then challenge every member of your household to give it a go for a fun form of exercise.
35. Practice Yoga
Yoga is a great form of exercise, and is also good for your mental health. Just because you can’t get to your usual studio or class doesn’t mean that you can’t practice yoga. There are plenty of great videos on YouTube you can follow in your living room, and if you’re staying in with kids there are also yoga channels aimed specifically at children, such as Cosmic Kids, which combine gentle yoga with stories and fairytales.
36. Have a Pajama Party
Put on your pajamas, gather some cosy blankets and get the whole family together with a bag of popcorn. Whether you watch a movie, paint each other’s nails or tell scary stories, this is a great way to relax, unwind and bond with your family. Turn lounging around into something fun.
37. Feng Shui Your Home
The art of Feng shui can affect the energy of your home, and moving around objects and furniture and increase the flow and the energy of your environment. It’s easy to embrace, and could help you to make your home feel like a better place to be stuck in.
38. Bring on the Brainteasers
Games like Sudoku, crosswords, and word finds are great ways to relax and enjoy your time. Cuddle down on the sofa and give your brain a work out!
39. Plan your Next Get Together
This Coronavirus crisis is scary, and it is expected to last for months, but we will get through this. Why not plan a party or get together for when the crisis is over, so that you can gather your friends and family, and spend some real quality time together.
40. Organise Your Drawers and Cupboards
Take advantage of having the time to organise your drawers and cupboards. That junk drawer full of old take away menus or the cupboard full of supplies with questionable expiry dates. Take the time out to organise them and have sparkling, organised cupboards that you can be proud of.
41. Start a Hobby
Have you always wished you could knit or wanted to build a model railway track? Now is the perfect time to start a hobby. You can order the supplies you need online, and follow online tutorials to learn a brand new skill.
42. Tell Stories
Lay blankets across the floor, gather your family and tell each other stories. These could be funny tales from your past, family histories or even ghost stories. Share stories with each other and enjoy some well-deserved time away from television and computer screens.
43. Complete a Puzzle
With as many pieces as possible! Jigsaw puzzles are an easy activity that you can enjoy solo or together with your family members. You can also complete a puzzle over a couple of days, making it an easy project to pick up and put down and fit in around other activities, or home working commitments.
44. Check on Your Neighbours
Particularly any elderly ones or anyone that you know lives alone. If you think it’s hard to be in isolation with your family or housemates, imagine how difficult it must be to be in isolation with no company at all!
45. Learn to Meditate
If you can learn to calm your mind then you will never be stressed or worried about the changing news again. Lie down with your eyes closed and focus on controlling your breathing: take deep breaths in and out, and try to clear your mind as much as possible.
46. Learn to Fold Napkins
Or any other small skill you’ve always wanted to master! Napkin folding is a simple but elaborate art, and you’ll thank yourself for learning how to do it when you host your next dinner party.
47. Interview Your Parents and Grandparents
Do you know your family history? Do you have it written down for your children, or your children’s children? If not, why not call your parents and grandparents to interview them and record the audio. Not only will this give you the chance to create a comprehensive family history, it will also provide vital social contact for the elderly and most vulnerable.
48. Have a Wine Tasting Party
Open all of those bottles (and half bottles) of wine you’ve got in the cupboard, pour a drop or two from each bottle into a series of glasses and host a wine tasting party. Find out more about the wines you’re drinking online or, if you don’t know much about wine, make up elaborate stories for yourself.
49.Arrange a Treasure Hunt
Arrange an indoor treasure hunt for the whole household to enjoy with tricky clues, riddles and a small prize at the end of the hunt.
50. Watch TV
We’ve saved the most obvious solution for last! Why not take this opportunity to catch up on all the box sets you’ve been meaning to watch, absolutely guilt-free. With so any great TV series available to download or live stream at the moment, you really will be spoilt for choice.
Are you thinking of moving to Spain, and making your dream of Spanish home ownership a reality? Imagine spending quality time with your family underneath the Spanish sun? Why not get in touch with our locally based property experts today? We have the skills and knowledge you need to make the relocation process as simple and easy as possible.