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Five things we do at home during lockdown

/ 01:12 PM October 17, 2021

Among the biggest challenges for parents during this lockdown is to not only create a safe and healthy environment, but to also ensure that their kids get to enjoy their time despite being cooped up at home. Here are some of the activities that my husband and I do with our daughter Tala to fill the time.

Reading books

Author’s daughter finds books exciting and entertaining.

Author’s daughter finds books exciting and entertaining. —PHOTOS BY RUTH L. NAVARRA

My parents didn’t have money to spare for books when I was growing up. This is probably why I ended up spoiling my daughter with them.

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Tala grew up surrounded by books. Her first are plastic ones that accompanied her in the bath. Then came the cloth books that she chewed on when she started teething. Next, we got her storybooks and pop-ups where we can pull stuff out. The characters came alive for her.

At five, we entered the reading phase. Nothing beats hearing her chuckle whenever she finishes a sentence, realizing how silly the story is. We can tell if she enjoyed the book. It’s when she would lie down, throw her head back and roar laughing. Dr. Seuss’ books have that effect on her. She still can’t get over the duck feet and apple-juggling tigers. Eric Carle’s “The Very Hungry Caterpillar” fascinated her so much that she carried the book with her everywhere.

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I read somewhere that emerging readers still want their parents to read to them occasionally. Just the other day, I asked her if she misses us reading to her. She didn’t hesitate to tell us that, “No, I like reading by myself.”

Raising Picasso

She paints on weekends

She paints on weekends. —PHOTOS BY RUTH L. NAVARRA

Crayons and coloring books have always been our go-to activities when we run out of ideas. Depending on her mood, she’d happily color one to three pages in one sitting. She eventually moved on to doodles.

I knew she was ready to be taught formally when she started doodling dresses and unicorns on scratch papers. She was too excited to sleep the night before her first class. And after her first weekend session, she applied what she learned. She would color the background instead of leaving it all white because that’s what they did in her class. And then she learned that a white background is not so bad, too. After a few more sessions, her drawings started to have more details. Her dogs now have more folds on their ears and she connects their mouths to their noses instead of just putting on a smiley.

But her brand of creativity still manages to shine through by drawing her clouds in the shapes of flowers, cupcakes and ice cream.

Moving it

Furniture are rearranged to make room for the barre and ballet class

Furniture are rearranged to make room for the barre and ballet class. —PHOTOS BY RUTH L. NAVARRA

When she was two, my little girl told me that she wanted to do ballet and gymnastics. We opted for ballet because it’s the only one with a school near us.

Her teacher didn’t think she’d pass the tryouts. But her little arms followed the teacher’s movements the best she could and she has not stopped trying since. Doing ballet at home meant we had to move our sofa to the side every weekend. But our efforts pay off whenever we see her focus to follow the steps. Ballet is a great exercise, too.

Owning the kitchen

Like most people during the pandemic, my daughter and I discovered the joys of baking. She enjoys pouring ingredients into the mixing bowl and stirring it. I give her a small dough to work on and she enjoys forming the cookie dough into balls. But what she is most excited about is hearing the oven’s “ting” sound, because it means snack time!

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Playing on her own

Never underestimate the power of independent play. This is the time when we let her choose the activity she wants to do except screen time.

She rotates her toys on her own. Sometimes, she likes to play with Legos and Marble Run. On most days, she likes to stay outside her father’s office and borrows his Transformers Titans. The chunky robots are converted into hotels with Shopkins and Lego Minifigures as her guests. She gets days when her toys don’t interest her at all. That’s when she would collect stuff around the house and start creating mini houses out of cardboard and colored paper. Her creations are the ugliest things ever, but I am proud of them the most.

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