Fun Stay-at-Home Activities for the Family
By Josh Minnick
DrVita VP Sales & Marketing and Former Child Actor
The current reality of staying at home can be daunting to some. But, it can also be a refreshing time to reconnect with our family and find activities to do other than binge-watching your favorite TV shows. While I adore being the Vice President of Sales and Marketing for Nature’s Lab and DrVita, I also have a secret. I was a child actor, who taught kids improv for over a decade. My wonderful wife (also our art director) asked me to share a few of the games I used to entertain and educate kids with the hope that they can be helpful for those of us looking for new activities while we practice our social distancing.
Below are a few ideas to pass the time with your munchkins (or even your spouse). These activities should be fun and will actually teach you a lot about one another. The first rule of improv is “yes, and…”which means that anything is allowed, so remember when you play these games. The goal is to imagine and create, not to follow rules or guidelines. Feel free to make these activities unique to your family and “improvise” with materials as you see fit.
Share a Draw
What you need: paper, crayons/pencil/pen, and your imagination
Have the parent start by drawing a simple object. No rules, no inspiration, no guidelines; anything that comes to mind, but try to keep it simple and abstract. (example A).
Pass the paper to your partner. Have them inspect and imagine the shape and continue the drawing. Feel free to turn the paper around, rotate it at any angle, and look at it in different perspectives. Remember, the goal at this stage isn’t to necessarily “make” anything out of the drawing but, rather, just to continue however your imagination leads. (example B.)
Pass the paper to the next player, or back if there are just the two of you. Now inspect the drawing again, see where the shapes lead you. You can continue the drawing, add new shapes, or just have fun. The team decides when the drawing is complete (example C, D).
I stress again, that the goal isn’t to get the drawing “right.” Watch each players behavior and you will start to see interesting lessons emerge. Some of us are “rule followers” and we will ask a lot of questions about “can” and “should.” Try not to answer these questions other than a vague, “However you feel” to help foster creativity. Some of us are fast and immediate; this too is a gift. Notice how each player has their own approach to the same goal. Once the team has decided the picture is finished, be sure to sign and date (I always liked to put my age next to my name) and hang proudly on your wall. Start a new one, and see where this leads.
Share a Story
A lot like “Share a Draw” but more geared for the writers in all of us. Start with the first paragraph of a story. For example:
“Once upon a time, there was a beautiful princess named Paulina. Paulina lived in a tall tower in the mist mountains. Every morning, when Paulina awoke, she would go out onto the balcony, and water her flowers.”
Try to remember that every good story has a “Who, What, and Where,” so when beginning, especially with the smaller of the munchkins, keep it clear and simple. Pass the paper to the next player, and ask them to continue the story. Now, keep in mind, there are no real rules. The story can twist and turn where each player wants to take it.
“...When suddenly a giant dragon flew down from the clouds and landed on the tower. The dragon looked down at Paulina and said with a snarl, “What a delicious little snack you will make!’ Paulina, seeing that her escape was blocked by the dragons tail, pulled a long sword from her purse. Waiving it high in the air, she blurted out….”
Continue this story no matter how ridiculous (and usually silly) it becomes, to a conclusion agreed upon by the group. Remember to sign and date and keep these memories so you can cry when the little ones go off to college.
About the Author
Written with love by Paulina Minnick (his wife and Art Director)