Random, Fun & Quirky · Stray Thoughts

6 Ways To Support Small Business After Covid-19

Covid-19 has forced the majority of the world into quarantine at some point or another. With people at home, many businesses were forced to close temporarily in an effort to limit social contact. These closures have meant a loss of income for those businesses and these places are struggling to pay bills like rents and power and many are unable to pay their employees. Luckily for some, many cities across the world have re-opened public places, allowing business to recover to a certain degree. 

As businesses slowly begin to open, it’s important to support them if we can so that they can get back on their feet. Big companies will survive, but small ones might not if we don’t support them. Unfortunately, some small businesses have been forced to close permanently; but some are still hanging in there. Let’s help the ones still left so they don’t go under.

Covid-19 hit hard as governments enacted quarentines and stay at home orders. Businesses were the first to feel the impact of the pandemic. Studies contend that effects of Covid began impacting small business quickly, beginning only a few weeks into its arrival in the US and well before the first economic stimulus was given out. (1) Businesses that were less able to be run remotely saw the biggest impact. (1)

Look in your neighborhood or city/town to find a small business. You can find them online, too. Another way to find them is to take a walk in the downtown area of your city; this area is usually teeming with shops & places that will need the support of locals. So here are a few ideas for supporting local business & helping them get back on their feet.

  1. Pick one or two and post about them on social media. This helps them get some exposure & it might inspire someone else to help, too.
  2. Buy products or services from one if you’re in a financial position to do so. This means getting take out from a small resteraunt instead of a national chain eatery. Buy a piece of clothing from a local boutique, order something online from a local seller, get a gift card to use later from a local business, have your computer fixed at a local electronics store, buy some food from an ethnic food market, get gifts from a small shop, buy at a local small bookstore, choose a local pet or child sitter, etc. Basically, choose to frequent a local small business whenever possible. And if you can do it online or over the phone, even better!
  3. Ask a small business if they need (or can have) volunteers right now (2). Many businesses were forced to lay employees off because they couldn’t pay them when sales plummeted, so your free help could give them a little relief.
  4. Donate money to a local business. (2) Even small amounts help. Then ask your friends and family to donate. You can even request donations for a small business as a birthday or holiday gift.
  5. Join and promote the ‘Thank You Small Business’ movement. (3)
  6. As businesses reopen slowly or with limitations support them as they do. Pick two, three, or even four to visit online or in person. If they have online service encourage your friends to visit their websites, too.

If we all work together to give a little towards local businesses we can help keep these places afloat.

SOURCES:

(1) “The Impact of Covid-19 on Small Business Outcomes And Expectations” Bartick, Bertrand, Cullen, Glaeser, Luca, Stanton; Department of Economics at University of Illinois Urbana-Champange

(2) “17 Ways to Help Small Businesses Impacted by Covid-19” via: ‘search engine journal.com’

(3) “How you can help Small businesses during Covid-19” Via: ‘the points guy.com’

Photo: Pixabay/Paulbr75

Random, Fun & Quirky

Covid-19 Face-Mask Fashion

So, Covid-19 happened, and now we have to wear masks all the time.  They’re becoming part of our wardrobes. And since we’re wearing them all the time it’s natural that we end up developing masks with style.

There are so many options available! Who needs a plain face mask when you can jazz it up with unique colors, styles, patterns and fabrics!? You can express your support for your favorite sports team or band, and show off your personal style with all the variation available. You can get utilitarian masks with strong, durable fabric and filters or even wear bandanas and tube like masks. And if masks aren’t your thing or you want some extra protection you can even get a face shield if you like.

Non Medical Face Mask - girly patterned material  Branded face masks hit the market | Ad Age

Photo: Sew Cute By Katie                           Photo: Google

COVID-19: Wearing A Face Mask? Here Are Some Important Safety Steps To  Remember | Nassau Daily Voice  19 Face Bandanas for Sale: Make Your Own Mask With These Stylish Scarves |  Glamour

Photo: Daily Voice                                             Photo: Glamour

100% Cotton Solid Color Face Mask – Assembly Creators Market  2PCS Safety Face Shield Reusable Full Face Transparent Breathable Visor  Anti Saliva Windproof Dustproof Hat Shield Protect Eyes and Face with  Protective Clear Film Elastic Band - - Amazon.com

Photo: Assembly Creators                    Photo: Amazon

Here in the States we’ve even gotten patriotic with American flag masks like these.

Wearing a face mask is patriotic | Popular Science  American Flag and honor (Quarantine face mask style 2020 Coronavirus covid- 19 4TH OF JULY USA)" Mask by frikybomb | Redbubble What Custom Mask Would You Like to Have?

Photo: Popsci                               Photo: Redbubble                   Photo: 710keel

And why limit yourself to just fun colors or patterns when you can have cartoon characters like Sponge Bob, Minions, Ninja Turtles or with images of celebrities like Marilyn Monroe, Justin Timberlake, Kobe Bryant, or this one with Arnold Schwarzenegger’s face. You can also have a little fun with faces and get masks with goofy faces.

    Viewing Fashion feeds ~ World Professional News

Photo: Google                                                                 Photo: World Pro News

And if you don’t want to wear a mask with someone else’s’ face you can get one with your own! Some companies are even making custom masks with a photo of the wearers’ face printed on it.

Masks of your own face: the joy and horror of custom-printed masks.

Photo: Slate

And if you’re short on cash, or just really crafty, you can always turn a spare T-shirt into a mask.

COVID-19 mask debate more about politics than public health

Photo: TCPalm

Some masks are even designed to aid the deaf and hard of hearing. They use clear plastic to make the mouth visible so that those with hearing difficulties can still read lips.

Clear Face Masks for The Deaf and Hard of Hearing | Medgadget

Medgadget

Masks are everywhere and worn by people in nearly every public place. No public gathering is without masks; every social situation seems to demand them. From birthday parties to business meetings, they’re everywhere! There are even masks that go with wedding attire:

24 Wedding Masks & Face Coverings That Will Look Good in Photos

Photo: The Knot

This bride wore MASKS matching with her lehenga for her LOCKDOWN wedding  and she just set a trend - Times of India

Photo: Times Of India

Masks are quickly becoming fashion statements; many fashion designers are switching from making fashionable clothing to making masks.   Fashion students at Columbia College in Chicago, Illinois, USA are taking a similar road making stylish masks for healthcare workers. Clothing company Eileen Fisher is making masks for police and fire rescue personnel.  Other designers like Christian Siriano, Naeem Khan, Louis Vuitton, and countless others have jumped on the  fashionable mask making bandwagon, too.

But, like with any kind of fashion, designs can go beyond beautiful or tastefully edgy; they can sometimes get crazy and impractical. Check out this mask made of pearls that costs more than many people make in a few months!

Japanese designer's face masks with 310 real pearls put US$9,350 ...

Photo: YouTube

Or check out this more affordable artisan made pearl face mask:

Fast Shipping Rainbow Pearl Face Mask With Filter Pocket/Dust | Etsy in  2020 | Rainbow pearl, Mouth mask, Face mask

Photo: Pinterest

Or if you want to wear your words, you might like this mask with LED lighting technology. This can display flashing or changing messages.

This LED Face Mask Is Something Deadmau5 or Daft Punk Would Wear

Photo: The Awesomer

This one just makes me hungry and wondering why I didn’t have Asian food for lunch.

Face Mask That Looks Like A Steaming Bowl Of Ramen And 4 More Crazy  Creations By Japanese Artist Takahiro Shibata | DeMilked

Photo: DeMilked

This one is…..uh….interesting.

This Icelandic Knitwear Designer Is Making The Trippiest Masks You've Ever  Seen | Vogue

Photo: Vogue

Or this…um…salad (?!) inspired…thing, lol!

Max Siedentopf presents alternative coronavirus masks

Photo: Dezeen

The weirdest, and I might add worst mask I’ve seen so far was a pair of lacy ladies panties-being worn by a man. I can only assume they belonged to the lady in his life- I hope, lol!

What interesting masks have you seen? Share in the comments section.

ADDITIONAL SOURCES:

https://www.refinery29.com/en-us/2020/05/9782883/stylish-fashion-face-mask-coronavirus

https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2020/apr/07/coronavirus-face-mask-fashion

https://www.colum.edu/news-and-events/news-releases/2020/fashion-students-make-masks-to-fight-covid-19

https://www.theverge.com/2020/7/26/21339176/led-mask-coronavirus-tech-fashion

https://www.msnbc.com/hallie-jackson/watch/fashion-designers-pivot-to-mask-production-in-covid-19-fight-81304133705

https://www.cnbc.com/2020/05/05/coronavirus-designers-are-making-face-masks-including-a-billie-eilish-one.html

FEATURED PHOTO: Pixabay/SplitShire

Random, Fun & Quirky

Well…….2020’s Gone Down The Toilet LOL! (Part 1: Memes)

Who loves memes? I know I do! One of the best (in my opinion) things to come off the internet, these things can really give you a good laugh. And since 2020, a year that most of us hoped would be fantastic and epic has turned out crappy so far, could use some laughs, here are some funny memes about the year so far:

2020 Can't Get Any Worse | Know Your Meme

From Know Your Meme website knowyourmeme.com

Time Traveler What Year Is It Me 2020 - Corona Virus Meme - Shut ...

From Shut Up and Take My Money  shutupandtakemymoney.com

NOTICE: THIS ONE IS A GIF

Ten of the best sports versions of 'My Plans/2020' memes | The ...

From the Kansas City Star newspaper website   kansascity.com

10 Hilarious Coronavirus Memes That Hit Too Close to Home ...

From Urban Matter       urbanmatter.com

AAAAND, FOR MY FELLOW TREKKERS!

Funny CoronaVirus Memes – PropertyOnion

From Property Onion propertyonion.com

Meme Creator - Funny 2020 should of been... The reality Meme ...

From Meme Creator     memecreator.com

25 of the funniest tweets and memes about the year 2020 so far ...

From Somee Cards     someecards.com

40 Memes That Sum Up 2020 So Far | Bored Panda

From Bored Panda   boredpanda.com

FINALLY: I FEAR THAT THIS IS GOING TO BE HOW WE ALL FEEL AT THE END OF 2020, LOL! (I laugh, but I’m really crying inside, lol!)

Mandatory Monday Funny Memes of the Week 01-06-2020

From Mandatory      mandatory.com

 

Toilet Photo:  Tama66/Pixabay

Random, Fun & Quirky

Eye Candy: The Mediterranean

Hi readers! I thought I’d pass along these lovely images to brighten the day. I found these on free photo sites Pixabay and Free Images, so none of them were taken by me. Both websites offer free photos for commercial and public use. They have many wonderful images that are always a pleasure to look at. Please enjoy the ‘eye candy’ and have a lovely day/night!

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ALL PHOTOS COURTESY OF PIXABAY AND FREE IMAGES. NONE OF THESE ARE MY PERSONAL WORK, JUST PHOTOS I LIKED

PHOTOS: Pixabay and Free Images

Flash in the Pan (Short Fiction) · Random, Fun & Quirky

Apocalypse Pizza Co.

This piece was inspired by a writing prompt published by WordPress blog “A Writing Prompt A Day”   The idea was to construct a piece about delivering pizza during the Apocalypse. So here it is:

 

APOCALYPSE PIZZA CO.

The evening sky glowed yellow, orange, and red with plumes of black smoke punctuating the Apocalyptic sky.

A huge navy blue SUV pulled up to a brick house on Morton street. With monstrous off road tires that were covered in mud and debris, it looked like it could run over a line of cars at a monster truck rally. On the top sat a glowing green sign that read: ‘Essential Pizza’ in red with a pizza beside it.

A slim figure dropped out from the elevated drivers seat dressed in what looked like riot gear. A black helmet with Plexiglas face protector, full body jumpsuit, torso and thigh guards and a holstered gun made them look like they were about to ward off violent protesters. Two green warming bags carried in the left hand bore the company logo.

Jane stood at her front door as the driver approached.

“Hi.” Jane said to the driver.

The pizza carrier pulled off the helmet to reveal  shoulder length curly hair and feminine facial features.

“Hi Ma’am. Here are your pizzas.” The driver replied as she unsnapped the opening of the food warming bags. “Two large cheese with green peppers and tomatoes and a large spinach and mushrooms, right?”

“Yes.”

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Jane had friends in the house sheltering from the Apocalypse outside. They were playing games and watching tv in the background. A man peeked at Jane and the driver from behind a wall deeper inside the home.

“Food’s here!” he called to others inside.

“Finally, we’re starving.” a woman’s voice responded from the next room.

As the driver pulled the pizzas from their cozy warm cover, the man approached behind Jane peering at the driver anxiously.

“We also had five bread sticks and seven cinnamon twists.” he said wringing his hands nervously.

“Yep, got those here.” The driver said opening the other heated bag.

“Marty, I left my purse in the living room, you got any cash?” Jane asked turning to her nervous, hand wringing companion. He dug in his pockets a moment before producing the money to pay for their dinner.

As the driver took the payment a bright orange yellow flaming ball zoomed overhead and landed a few houses away. Screams of horror cut through the sounds of the blaze and jerked Jane and Marty from their interaction.

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The shocked and surprised voices of Jane’s friends could be heard in the next room as they all ran to the living room window.

“Whoa!”

“Oh my gosh! It’s a fireball!”

“Wow, that sucks for the Henderson’s!” They heard a voice from the living room cry out.

Jane looked back at Marty with a concerned expression. He wore the same expression.

“I’ll call 911.” He replied and disipeared into the house.

Jane turned back to the delivery woman who was cool as a cucumber.

“Um, so you delivering much tonight?”

“Yeah, a ton. This is my fifteenth tonight. About an hour ago I delivered eight pizzas and seventeen pastas to a family of five a couple of miles away. And last night we did a massive order of twenty-five pizzas for a group of ten. Everyone’s ordering.”

The calls for pizza had been surprisingly frequent at Essential Pizza. So much so that everyone on staff had to be called in to handle the deluge of pizza requests. People all over the city had been ordering pizzas like crazy and Essential Pizza drivers were driving all over town.

“Wow! Wonder why they’d order so much!?” Jane exclaimed.

“Eh, gonna need to stockpile food for the disaster.” The driver replied casually.

“Yeah, I guess we should have done that. There are eight of us in here.” Jane said, gesturing to the noise of the people in the living and dining rooms.

“Well, just let us know if you need anymore food.” The driver replied. “We have extended hours during the Apocalypse.”

“Well that’s good to know.”

Marty returned to stand with Jane.

“Paramedics and Fire are on the way.” He said. Jane nodded. They could already see neighbors rushing to the Henderson’s’ house to help the family escape the fireball that had hit their home.

“Have you had to deal with any crazy apocalypse stuff?” Marty asked the driver.

“Oh yeah. Yesterday I had to run from three big hungry dogs. A few days before that my co workers and I were fighting off crazed customers at the store. And I always have to drive around the meteors.”

Jane gazed around her neighborhood at the crazy chaos unfolding around them.

“Aren’t you worried about that? The driving, I mean.” She asked.

“Nah, I’ll be fine. We’re outfitted pretty well to get through this.” The driver said patting her helmet.

“But things are so crazy out there!” Marty exclaimed, his anxiousness over the situation  obvious. “I’m worried we won’t be able to get food soon!”

The driver seemed unfazed by Marty’s worry.

“Nah, we’re a Pizza place, we survive anything.” The driver looked at Jane and Marty’s concerned expressions.  “Food places never close- you’ll be fine.”

“This is so crazy. You guys are risking your lives during the Apocalypse to deliver food. Your pizza shop should be called ‘Apocalypse Pizza Company’ or something.”

The delivery woman smirked and turned to leave.

“Ya’ll are hero’s!” Cried Jane.

The driver turned back to her.

“We do what we can.”

As the pizza delivery woman drove off Jane surveyed her neighborhood. The Henderson’s burning house being attended to by fire teams and neighbors, another house down the street smoldering from an earlier hit, people’s pets and local wildlife wandering around, the sky a swirling eddy of yellow, orange, red, and black swirls of smoke.

About four houses down, a group of people sat on their front lawn in folding chairs watching the chaos unfold. They treated the Apocalypse like some sort of reality show, eating pop corn and drinking beer, pointing, laughing and guffawing in amazement when a stray meteor would slam into a building further off. One member of the group even held up their phone at the goings on, videoing, getting it all for an internet that wasn’t even functioning. Jane sighed, shook her head and closed the door.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Random, Fun & Quirky

The ‘Momarazzi’

I am ‘mom’ to a wonderful, adorable cat named Seneca. He’s a sweet, gentle and handsome boy. I love taking photos of him, but he’s not so fond of it. And especially with Corona virus keeping people indoors I’ve been taking a lot of photos of him. I’m like the cat paparazzi, lol! But like Papparazzi (photographers of celebrities if you’re not familiar with them) I hardly let my little guy get a moments peace because I’m constantly taking photos of him. Do you take endless photos of your pet? What are you doing/what did you do with your pet during quarantine?

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My Vegan-ish Adventure · Recipes

Vegetarian Creamy Pesto and Tomato Gnocchi

This is a simple but tasty meal, and one of my favorites! This recipe makes two servings.

8 Table spoons of unflavored cream

1 Pkg of Gnocchi

7 ounces of garlic Pesto sauce

10-15 grape tomatoes

Parmesan cheese (optional & for garnishing)

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Start by putting about five cups of water on the stove to boil. Don’t put the gnocchi in just yet, though. Let the water get to a boil- about 10 minuets or so. While the water boils cut your grape tomatoes into chunks and set them aside. Once the water is at a good boil, carefully drop the gnocchi in and let it boil for about 5 more minuets. Be careful not to over boil it- Gnocchi can get mushy if it’s cooked too long.

Pull the pan off the stove and drain and cover the gnocchi. It should be slightly larger in size than it was before it was cooked and slightly softer. Gnocchi is like pasta: you want it to be soft but with a bit of firmness to it.

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Next, (using a small sauce pan) put pesto sauce in the pan and put it on the stove. Stir in the eight tablespoons of cream. Heat this mixture for about three minuets. Then add your tomato chunks. Stir them in carefully so they don’t turn into tomato mush. Cook for an additional 5 minutes.

Once the pesto cream tomato mixture is warm, put the gnocchi on plates and pour the pesto and tomato mixture over it. Garnish with extra tomatoes or Parmesan cheese if you like. 

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This is a great meal to take along to work, on a pick-nick or other outing where you’ll be eating. I’ve taken this to work with me many times. However, I would strongly recommend making this recipe the day you’ll need it (preferably  shortly before you leave or are ready to eat). In my experience this meal doesn’t do as well the day after it’s made and it fares horribly if you freeze it and then heat it up later. If you refrigerate it to eat the next day it can get mushy and if you freeze it, thaw and/or re-heat, it just ends up tasting horrible.  It’s a ‘day of’ kind of meal.

Journaling

Journaling Prompts #3

RANDOM/FUN

*What animal best fits your personality? Why?

* If you could make the ultimate tree house for a child, what would it look like?

* What can you talk about for hours?

* If you were a celebrity what weird, quirky or funny thing would you put into your will?

*If you were in the WWE (Wrestling Federation) what would your ring name be, how would you look, what (wrestling move, behavior, etc.) would you be best known for?

* If you could be any historical figure, who would it be?

PERSONAL

* How did you change in 2019? Are you happy about that change? How do you want to change in 2020?

*How has 2020 gone for you so far? What do you hope for during the remainder of 2020?

* What was your personality like as a child? Has it changed since then? If so how? What do you think of those changes?

KINDNESS

* Name one kind act that has made a difference to you.

* What act(s) of kindness would you most like to see? What acts of kindness affect you the most? Why?

QUARANTINE

*The best part of the quarantine has been…

*The first thing you’ll do when the quarantine is over?

*Will you change anything about your life after quarantine or will life go back to normal for you?

* What will you miss most about the quarantine?

* What good things have been created by the quarantine?

 

Random, Fun & Quirky

27 Creative Activities for When You’re Quarantined

Please check out the companion post for this, “13 Fun Conversation Starters”

https://perfectlymixed.wordpress.com/2020/04/08/13-interesting-conversation-starters/

So, while Corona virus rages through country after country and forces people inside, we’re all forced to do things at home. But what to do when you’ve done everything you can think of? Here are 27 ideas for things to try inside.

1) Come up with questions for a friend or family member to answer. Have them do the same for you. (See 15 Conversation Starters post for ideas)

2) Read short stories online

There are numerous websites that publish short fiction stories that can be read easily and quickly. There’s a variety of short fiction styles available online including sci-fi, adventure, fantasy and realism. Sites providing free reading include: Flash Fiction Online, Watt Pad, Monkey Bicycle, Daily Science Fiction, American Literature,  and Classic Short Stories. Most of these sites focus on stories that can be read within five to thirty minuets.

Another option if available in your area is to buy short story journals at a book store and keep those around for when you’re bored. Book stores like Barnes and Noble (in the US) sell a selection of journals that publish short fiction (and other short writing pieces)

3)Tell stories.

You can make up your own or retell one that’s already been done. Or ask the elder people in your life to tell stories about their life or things that happened when they were younger. You can also do a group story. Each person takes one part of the story (person 1: introduction, person 2: set up and back story, person 3: middle, and so forth) and makes it up as they go along.

4) Build A Card House 

5) Invent A New Game 

6) Use Google Translate to learn new words or phrases in another language. 

This Google feature is so much fun to play with. Search ‘Google Translate’ in the search bar and click on the link. It will give you  two boxes. The one on the left is for your native language (which you can choose) and the one on the right is for the language you want to translate your words into. You type whatever you want into the left box which automatically translates into the language of your choice.

7) Do some basic research on something that interests you.

Looking up the rules of a recreational sport, learning about the Black Plague (which makes ours seem a lot better, lol), Tracing the history of the high heeled shoe, Diving into research of the Island of Atlantis, etc. Have fun!

Wikipedia, History.com, Google, are good places to start.

8) Crafts

You don’t need to have a bunch of craft supplies lying around, just get creative and use what you’ve got. Use the internet for help and inspiration.

9) Try new makeup or hair looks

10)  Come up with a new recipe or invent a new cookie

Use the internet or cook books for this one! Experiment with what you have in your kitchen or tweak a recipe you already have.

11) Try virtual gatherings with friends or family

Skype, Facebook, Email, What’s App and many other programs make it easy to connect with loved ones. Set a date and time and get together virtually.

12) Start brainstorming on how you can help others, show kindness to others, pay it forward, etc.

How can you help someone in need or brighten someone’s day? You can even make it a group affair by starting a social media group that encourages people to perform acts of kindness and share ideas about how to do so.

13) Have an online scavenger hunt

First, gather two or more people who want to play. They don’t need to be in the same place as you necessarily, this can all be done via the internet. Create an email (or other social media) group message. This is where the participants will place their ‘finds’. Now, come up with a list of things that they can find online. EX: A news article about Italy; a photo of an airplane; a blog post about being quarantined; a song from 1980, etc. Anything you like or can think of. Then give the participants a time frame and have them collect and drop their finds in the group email so you’ll know who wins.

14) Start planning that thing you’ve been meaning to do

A vacation, going back to school/going to grad school, something from your bucket list. That thing you want to do but haven’t gotten around to planning or looking into- this is a great time to start working on it.

15) Discover new music or interests

16) Look into political candidates and what they support

17) Give some extra time to your pet or a stray animal in your neighborhood

You can even use this time to make up new games to play with them.

18) Leave positive comments in comment sections of videos and articles

Internet comment sections can be places of nastiness on many websites. Leave a little ray of light in a few of them.

19) Wander the internet

Mix.com (formerly Stumble Upon), MentalFloss.com, Brain Games, MakeUseOf.com, Discuvver.com, Shut Up And Take My Money, Life Hacker are all interesting websites to get you started.

20) Look up good news websites. 

While the news at the moment can seem bleak, try reading about the good things going on in the world. Try  Good News Network, Sunny Skyz, and Positive News UK are all sites I highly recommend for uplifting stories. Several news sites also have positive news sections, but the one I think is the best is MSN.com’s section called ‘For Good’ that does a great job reporting positive news stories.

 

WITH THE KIDS

21) Plant a small garden 

If you can find a store that sells plant seeds and small pots- and is still open, you’ll be in business. Try planting seeds for food (tomatoes, potatoes, carrots, etc.). Watching food grow and learning to care for it can be fun for kids.

22) Take funny photos

23) Help them learn a simple magic trick to show friends later

YouTube is a great resource for this. There are a number of simple magic trick how-to videos.

24) Help them design a new game

25) Have the kids make up a story and illustrate it. Or have them illustrate the story of the family. (How grand parents & parents met, other things the family has gone through) 

26) Have them make their own music video for their favorite song

27) Do fun at-home science experiments