5 Simple Activities to do with kids during a Pandemic

Let’s face it. Everything these days consists of “in a Pandemic?” so why would kids activities be any different? You’re doing what in a Pandemic? That’s the question many ask and many answer “nothing” or staying safe at home.

That’s all fine and well however the days are still passing and if you have little ones, they may not understand why they can’t do their normal fun fall activities.

Here are some ideas to get the feel of Fall, but still keep simple and safe as needed.

Image: Just For Moms

1. Paint a pumpkin. Part of the fun is Pumpkin picking, but if you’re not ready to go out to public spaces just yet, pick a few up during your next grocery shopping trip, and some dollar store paint sets and you’re just about ready to get down to business. It’s much easier than carving, and much safer for little helpers.

Tip: Start with an idea from googling “pumkin painting” or use a favorite character photo. Draw the image onto the pumpkin with a pencil before committing with the paint.

2. Pick flowers and make plant baskets. By now your lovely outdoor garden is probably starting to whither. At least here in New Jersey we’ve gotten a slight frost or 2 and temperatures are sure to drop quickly. Instead of watching the flowers die or waiting to rip out a woody stick skelton version of your coleus plant, try picking the flowers and displaying their last bit of life in a vase indoors or pruning and potting your plants for inside or as front door decor.

Tip: Little hands cannot wait to pick flowers and any excuse to do so with consent is sure to be taken on with enjoyment. Identify the smells, textures and even the colors to make it extra fun! Hey, maybe you’ll wind up with a little future horticulturist on your hands.

Image: Pexels

3. Take a trip to the local zoo. If you’re feeling adventurous but not THAT adventurous yet due to the Pandemic, get a little normalcy in with a trip to your local zoo. Most zoos are limiting capacity even though mostly outdoor exhibits, and there isn’t much to touch, so you can enjoy a nice day out while the weather still cooperates and give the animals at least a reason to be where they’re stuck anyway (so sad). I’m sure they love to see people since they don’t have as many visitors these days, especially tiny ones with big smiles!

Image: Tasty

4. BAKE. Even if you’re not an avid baker there are many simple recipes including bake-free ones that little hands can get in on like oreo chocolate truffles which are one of my absolute favorites! Adding some orange food coloring to coconut flakes can create the Fall feel and with a dollop of green colored icing or chocolate you can even make them into cute little pumpkin replicas.

Another favorite that is so simple you’ll wonder how you haven’t been doing this your whole life is cake cookies.

Image: Tracie Lee (T.L Creations) & #Moving Forward (iamshannabee)

5. Paint Rocks. Find some rocks by taking a walk around your neighborhood or maybe there are some in your yard or local park. If you cannot find rocks “in the wild” hehe, you can always purchase a bag of larger rocks from your local hardware store. There are some really cute designs or sayings online, and you can use finger paint to make it little kid friendly or better yet…you do the painting (maybe add alittle paint and sip action) and then let your little ones choose where they go outside. To a neighbors porch? A random location for someone to find? A gift for aunts, uncles, or grandparents? The options are endless!

I hope I’ve inspired you to get out and have some Fall fun in spite of the current situation in the World! And SMILE 😃

2017 Mitsubishi Outlander GT + Farm Hopping in NJ

PhotoGrid_1508284718389.jpg

Happy Tuesday everyone! I hope everyone is having a great start to their week.  It was a really brisk morning this morning when I was up and out at 5am.. out first of the season where you see your breath when you speak and I don’t like it! 39º is what tree car read,  and it didn’t warm up much throughout the day either.

As I wind down for the night and am settles in to begin this post,  I thought the title would fit perfectly.  Before kids, weekend’s were occasionally for “bar hopping”, now it’s only right that they’ve been formally replaced with what I call “Farm hopping” haha!

What is farm hopping you might ask. Think about it.. there are so many to choose from locally,  why only pick one? Is there some rule? I mean,  there are ones that are totally FREE to go and enjoy the festivities,  so why not?

Lucky for me I got to sport around in the all new 2017 Mitsubishi Outlander GT S and since it is a V6 but eco friendly engine, it was super fun to take these trips.

1507240341380.jpg

My favorite thing about getting to spend time in different vehicle models is seeing jyst how different they really are.  Although many standard features are the same from model to model,  there are some that just stand out (And some for a bad reason too).

This particular model was a Quartz brown exterior,  personally I love this color on any car. It just seems so high end and ritzy and I feel really fancy driving around in it. The interior was pretty nice too, tan and black,  although i would prefer a lighter tan as this is a bit on the yellow side (although I guess it’s good for young children because you cannot see the crumbs my boys have already spilled in it or “other” things that may happen that may be yellow in color…)

20171005_173504.jpg

The thing I missed the most during the week with this car has too accrual be TWO things.  My remote start for my 5am early mornings and the keyless entry that allows me to lock my keys in the car when I go into the gym. I’ll tell you though first hand, this model will not let you lock the keys in the car 😀🤣 and it’s a good thing because i would’ve done it twice out of habit. It tells at you and promptly unlocks the doors right after you hit lock.

The most unique feature that helped us on our trips was the huge trunk capacity for such a small crossover suv. My youngest is now 5 but we still bring a stroller,  mainly to hold jackets and bags that I’m too lazy to carry and to avoid lockers that I’m too cheap to pay for.  Ok, it’s also to carry tired kids after a long day of fun back to the car.

20171008_161007.jpg

I did find it very unique but also a bit odd and concerning that the back seats EJECT fot you to get anyone into the third row or to fold the second row down for extra trunk space.  It did run through my mind for a split second that this could happen if my children were to accidently pull the lever on the side or the head rest although I’d like to believe there is some sort of safety feature regarding weight on the seat that prevents this.  I didn’t want to test this out with my children in the seats lol although they probably would enjoyed it on hind-sight, so if you know the answer,  please feel free to comment below because it’s really interesting…

This particular model also didn’t come with built in navigation, so that wasn’t very fun having to old-school it and use my cell phone on the center cup holder navigating me to our first destination of the weekend,  Turhune Orchards.

Don’t let the name fool you,  it isn’t only an orchard although they have a lovely apple supply of trees to pick fresh apples from,  and FREE apples put in giant boxes throughout the farm to feast on (I assumed they were washed 🤔) and the we’re really really yummy!

PhotoGrid_1508292385921.jpg

Parking was easy because they navigate you in,  however it was crowded as ever since it was the first day of their “annual fall festival”. They take both cash and cards at the entry and it does cost a hefty $12 per person which I though was a bit much for what they offer, however once inside,  almost everything is included without an extra charge with the exception of pony rides,  pumpkins, and of course food.

They have a couple of food tents and the food was just OK and not really great in my opinion. They have chicken,  pulled pork,  and some various soups and salads but nothing really geared towards children,  especially my picky eater.  My favorite thing was the apple cider donuts and I ate more then I should have on my excersize diet that I’m currently on.

My kids really enjoyed the pumpkin painting, and pumpkins under 5lbs were just a few dollars and the painting was free. The corn maze was simple and cute,  and my 5 year old son and gid daughter proudly led us all through it without a problem.

The hay ride was short, but takes you around the beautiful fruit orchards and compared to may others I’ve been on,  it was a nice smooth comfortable ride.

They did have animals to see,  but I didn’t see very many.  If you want to fork up the extra dough on top of the entry fee, you can do a pony ride for the kids which is cute.

Would I go back? I’d have to say probably.  It’s a nice open family friendly space and had some nice activities for all. I wish they would lower their prices a bit for entry though, but the included activities make it worth it. Also,  they do have wine tasting which is always a bonus😉.

Check out more as well as their activities calendar at:

http://terhuneorchards.com

330 Cold Soil Road, Princeton NJ

Hours:

Farm Store

Mon-Fri 9am-7pm

Sat & Sun 9am-6pm

Winery Tasting Room

Fri, Sat & Sun 12pm-6pm
Bottles available in farm store daily

 

Next up on my list is Snyders Farm. This is an amazing place for young children. It will cost you $8 CASH ONLY per person to get in,  parking is simple,  and you must take the hay ride over to the farm area. We first visited this farm last year during a birthday party for my god daughter and we had a blast.  I wanted to see what it was like as a regular visitor,  and it didn’t disappoint. The activities are geared towards all ages, and it is a big enough farm that it doesn’t feel over crowded and the kids can run around safely.

They have a small animal farm with just a few goats,  many hay climbing sections, and my favorite,  the giant hay slide. We must have gone on this thing a dozen times and ir doesn’t get old.  Each time is just as fun as the last. It reminds me of the giant slides at amusement parks that you get into the potato sack and slide on down.  Only this,  you slide directing into a giant tub of corn! Yes, it will get in your shoes and everywhere else.

On the topic of shoes,  it rained while we were there and yes it did get muddy so don’t wear any nice shoes here.

More activities to highlight is the daily  surprise where captain America shoots CANDY to the kids from the sky out of a real CANNON, and no kid leaves without candy.  It is such a fun, unexpected treat for newcomers and it is so fun to watch all of the kids screaming with excitement.

20170930_145638.jpg

That’s not all that is shot at Snyder farm.  You can pay ($3 for corn, $5 for pumpkins) too shoot corn or pumpkins at cars! This was so fun for us all.

Screenshot_20171017-215203.png

The only downfall of this place is, #1 I cannot figure out where to actually do pumpkin picking or apple picking,  and #2, lack of food options! They only had one food truck when we were there and it was a seafood focused truck wick is odd to be the only option,  in october, at a kids fall festive area.. but i have to say,  their Chicken tenders and fries although expensive,  were really good. This place is tree opidumy of fall activities (besides pumpkin and apples).

The best part is that NOTHING (except food and any picking) is an extra charge once inside,  so this is definitely the best value.

Would I visit again? Absolutely! Hopefully next year on a less muddy day.

Check out more at;

Www.Snyders-farm.com

586 S Middlebush Rd, Somerset, NJ 08873
SEASONAL HOURS
Fall Festival
Weekends Only 11am – 6pm
Strawberry Season
Saturday & Sundays Only 9am – 4pm
Blueberry Season
Saturday & Sundays Only 9am – 4pm
Roadside Stand
Monday thru Sunday 11am – 6pm

 

Last on my list is Ort Farm. This is FREE to get in,  parking is simple too although a very crowded lot and you should be prepared to walk a little bit.

Without an entry fee, it really can’t be beat.  Free fun for all,  however if you want to do the routine stuff like hayride and pumpkin picking,  your gonna have to pay up.  The $1 per person hayride takes you to the pumpkin patch which is really huge.  Each pumpkin is .59 cents a lb which isn’t bad.  We got an 8 pounder and paid just $4 and change, while my cousins picked out a giant sized 25lb pumpkin for their little ones first Halloween. The pumpkins are in really great shape and many perfect ones to choose from preclipped, or that you can rip right off of the vine.

At check out they have amazing homemade salted caramel chocolate fudge,  and Apple cider donuts that I may or may not have consumed…

They have the hands down most unique  activity of all here though… MONSTER TRUCK rides.  A “hayride” like ride on REAL monster trucks.  Amazing! We didn’t do this because of timing and the line was super long,  so I am not sure of the cost but we watched them and they looked and sounded awesome.

We did however check out all of the animals which the had quite a few including chickens,  ducks,  pigs, goats, an adorable baby calf and some cool bulls.

20171015_133908.jpg

Across the street from this section was their corn maze.  This is the BEST corn maze I have ever been in.  I seriously couldn’t find my way out, even when using the provided map, aside from a 5, 8, and 9 year old leading the way… so I feel it was worth the $6 a person they charge to get into the maze. Apparently they do corn maze at night too and everyone gets a flashlight. I am too much of a chicken for that, but if you like the dark, I suggest you check that out because you WILL get lost in there.

20171015_152537

We didn’t eat any real food there due to time,  so I am not sure of the cost or if it is any good,  but I definitely smelled hot dogs and hamburgers and they did smell AMAZING.

20171015_144259.jpg

Would I go back? Yes! If you don’t feel like spending money but want fall activities,  this is the place to just soak in all the fall feelings.

Check out more info at;

Www.ortfarms.com

25 Bartley Rd, Long Valley, NJ 07853

Activity Hours: Weekdays 12-6 (Hayrides/Maze/Animals/Play Area)

Weekends 10-5 (Hayrides/Maze/Animals
/
Train Rides/Cannon/ Monster Truck)

 

Overall,  we have enjoyed all three farms and had fun “Farm Hopping”. And thanks to the Mitsubishi Outlander, we got to there and back safely!