It’s a common refrain right now from parents all over the world that are stuck at home with young children for most of the day.
The long hours are forcing many to find creative ways to keep the little ones occupied, and City of Onkaparinga residents are no different.
For Moana South’s Melissa Giordano, painting rocks to hide around the neighbourhood has been a perfect way to keep the family’s spirits up while observing social distancing.
“Several months back, my daughter and I found a lovely little rock from an interstate group,” says Melissa, who is juggling study at home alongside her husband (working from home), with a three and five-year-old.
“The joy it brought my daughter was incredible.”
The family’s introduction to the worldwide “rocking” movement – where people paint rocks with a colourful pictures and/or un uplifting message for strangers to find – has led Melissa to start a local Facebook group, Fleurieu Rocks, where members can share their finds and new creations.
“Given these challenging times, we wanted to spread some joy to others and inspire that same sense of social connection within our local community,” says Melissa, who has dropped painted rocks around McLaren Vale, Moana, Maslin Beach and Port Noarlunga with her kids.
“Although our group has only just begun, the feedback so far has been very positive.
“Several people have commented that the rocks have made them smile and brightened their day. We’ve been finding adults are enjoying it just as much as the kids, if not more!”
Melissa stresses it’s important to observe the state’s social distancing rules, practise good hygiene and stay home if you feel unwell.
It’s also important to participate without negatively impacting the environment, such not damaging plants, using decorative parts such as plastic eyes (which could end up in waterways) and not using rocks that might be used as wildlife habitat.
“Now more than ever we need to be supporting our children’s physical and mental health,” she says.
“Their whole worlds have been disrupted, they can’t see their friends and their sports and activities have been cancelled. Activities such as this provide motivation for exercise, a break from screens, fresh air and sunshine and an opportunity for connecting as a family.
“Getting creative and expressing yourself through art can also be a great way to ease distress and bolster the mood. It is also a great opportunity for little ones to practice those fine motor skills.
“Being able to bring some kindness and joy while connecting with others in the community is a bonus!”
At Sellicks Beach, Bronny Dunlop has also been offering hope to the community with her grandkids through art – this time with chalk.
Their colourful driveway messages – including “It’s going to be OK” and “Don’t worry be happy” – have helped spread positivity on their street.
“They [the grandkids] simply said, ‘We just want to make people happy’,” Bronny says.
“They’ve all heard lots of negative things on television and from some people, but their parents have instilled a lot of positivity into them and they keep saying, it’s not going to last for ever, it will be OK.
“I’m very proud of their great attitude.”
If you’re looking for other ideas to keep the kids occupied during COVID-19 restrictions, below is just a small sample of ways to observe social distancing with the kids in the City of Onkaparinga right now. Do you have any tips? Leave a comment on our Facebook post.
While Onkaparinga Libraries are currently closed, call and collect services are still available so you can discover new books, DVDs and toys to pass the time.
Our libraries are also offering virtual storytime videos via Facebook, so the kids can enjoy good books read by our engaging staff while you take a break.
Library staff have compiled an awesome Your Library at Home page on our website containing these ideas and much more (including free educational websites, educational YouTube channels and stuff for teens) to add to your social distancing schedule.
Nature Play Online Backyard Adventures
Onkaparinga families with children aged 4-12 can book into some free and fun online sessions we’ve organised with Nature Play SA in the second week of the school holidays.
Nature Play SA will guide you through a range of awesome activities, using a mix of online interactive learning and hands-on fun!
You’ll be using natural elements found in the garden and in your local reserve along with loose parts easily found around your home. All sessions are 10am to 12pm and are bookable via Eventbrite. Dates as follows:
Onkaparinga Youth workshops
Onkaparinga Youth have several cool upcoming workshops (April 16-23) being run via their Facebook and YouTube channels, including how to create Aboriginal art, anatomical drawings, tomboys, and lo-fi do-it-yourself animation. Check the Onkaparinga Youth Facebook page for details.
Another great way to get the kids out of the house and keep them active are bear hunts! A number of Onkaparinga communities are placing teddy bears in their windows and front yards, so families can walk the streets and try to spot them (while observing social distancing rules).
Join your local community Facebook group or search through the Adelaide Bear Hunt Facebook page to see where bears are in your area, and/or add to the fun by putting out a bear at your place.
Online classes from local businesses
A number of Onkaparinga businesses have begun, or already were, offering online classes targeted at kids, which you can find via the ON Business Partner Program website.
Christie Downs-based Tammy Pass Fitness (formerly You Fit Fitness), for example, is sharing online workouts via her Facebook page, including ones you can do with the kids.
Dance companies Lavish Dance (Morphett Vale) and True Heights Dance Company (Aldinga Beach) are offering online classes.
Mindful Kiddo is offering online mindfulness classes for families and child care centres, aimed at two-to-six year-olds, while Coromandel Valley-based Relax Kids is also planning to release online classes soon, featuring activities designed to help build children’s confidence, reduce anxiety and support their emotional and mental health.
This is part one of a series of articles titled Onkaparinga at Home, where we shine a light on how our communities are dealing with COVID-19.
To see what council services are currently affected by COVID-19, visit our community information page. For the latest information on COVID-19 in South Australia, please visit the coronavirus dashboard, SA Health website or call the SA COVID-19 Information Line on 1800 253 787.