On the first day of May, my parents and I decided that we would do one fun, interesting, or out-of-the-ordinary activity each day of the month in order to lift our spirits and spice up the quarantine life a little—I call them our May “Quarantivities”. I would be lying if I said quarantine was a walk in the park (literally and figuratively), which is why I’ve been so grateful to have these activities to make me smile each day. Not to mention, these pastimes will be just as fun with friends and family as we enter summer and even post-quarantine life. I hope sharing them encourages you to find a dose of joy in each day, too!
May 1: Blind Makeovers
On May Day, I convinced my parents to do blind makeovers with me, which is when one person is blindfolded and has to do somebody else’s makeup. As you can imagine, applying products by touch alone is very difficult, but the resulting looks are always hilarious! We had a blast giggling and making fun of each other as we smeared mascara across each others’ faces. I think my dad is trying to apply lipstick to my nose in the pic above.
May 2: Chalk Art Competition
Our second day of Quarantivities entailed a chalk art competition. I dug out the ol’ chalk set from the garage (sure, I had to dust off a few spider carcasses), and we each picked our square on the sidewalk. I set a timer for an hour and we chalked away! The best part was watching all of our neighbors smile as they walked by and enjoyed our art. I drew the rainbow (in the first pic of the post), my dad drew a mountain bike ride scene, and my mom drew this hilarious “COVID must die” piece. I think she should make it into pop-art and start selling it.
May 3: Beading
I’m a huge crafter—or at least, I used to be—so I have amassed quite the craft supply collection over the years. I haven’t done any projects recently, but quarantine has been the perfect time to break out all my old supplies and get to work. If you have any old jewelry you never wear, or you cleaned out your closet and found an old beaded purse to give away, you can always repurpose those beads and make a new piece of jewelry instead (a lot of my beads came from deconstructing old/thrift store items rather than buying new strands at a craft store).
May 4: Star Wars Day
As you may have already seen, we spent Star Wars Day, aka May the Fourth Be with You, dressed up as Princess Leia, Luke Skywalker, and Han Solo. It was a blast recreating their outfits out of whatever we could find around the house, and you can read more about our costume re-creations in this blog post.
May 5: Cinco de Mayo Feast
May was a good month to pick for our Quarantivities because of all the “holidays”. For May 5th, we had a huge Cinco de Mayo feast out on our patio. It included homemade queso, tamales, little stuffed tortilla things, rice, and of course, a colorful mocktail! My drink is made from Canada Dry ginger ale, blood orange soda from Trader Joe’s, and a hint of lime juice.
May 6: Chin Puppets
I thought our Star Wars re-creation photos were pretty great, but our chin puppet endeavors topped everything else we’ve done by far. We first saw the idea during an interview with actress Thandie Newton on The Graham Norton Show. She filmed a “makeup tutorial” of her applying eyeshadow to the face drawn on her neck and chin. So we decided to recreate it and have some fun of our own! (If you’re confused, the real chin is the nose, the mouth is still the mouth, and eyes are drawn on the neck, so that you have to bend over backwards to see the chin puppet face.) I used this really great face paint (it’s expensive but amazing quality—see it in action in my David Bowie costume and Billy the Puppet costume blog posts) to draw the eyes, eyebrows, and nose. Then we used regular makeup to spice up our looks a lil’ bit. My dad drew my face (pictured above) and he did a much better job than the faces I drew on my parents’ necks. We topped the looks off by wearing shirts/head scarves over our real faces and disguised our shoulders with wigs from our Halloween costume box. Bent over backwards on the bed and voila! A horribly disturbing but hilarious chin puppet.
We first filmed a video of coronavirus-themed pick-up lines, which you can find in my highlights on Instagram. But we also filmed a lip-sync video of the song “If I Had a Hammer” (Peter, Paul, and Mary’s version), which is absolutely hysterical. We watch it at least once a week for some good laughs, and the video has now spread like wildfire throughout our extended family. I can’t believe we haven’t gone viral or been asked on the Ellen show yet!
May 7: Jacks
On May 7th, we kicked it old-school by playing jacks. I had never actually played before so my parents had to explain the rules, but it was extremely fun! Turns out my mom was a jacks savant in her youth—and she’s still got the skills. You can buy this exact set here.
May 8: Virtual Settlers of Catan
We had a Zoom hangout with our good family friends and played an online version of the popular game Settlers of Catan. If you don’t know the game, it’s a strategy board game sort of like Risk, except wayyy more fun and it doesn’t end in fights. The online version of the game is available for free at colonist.io. It took a bit to get used to the online format, but after the learning curve, the virtual game was really fun. My only complaint is that it doesn’t really work for groups larger than four (we were playing with six people). In real life, playing with six would require the expansion pack with more cards and a larger board. I don’t think the online version accounted for larger groups, so our virtual board ended up being too small and we ran out of cards.
May 9: Iron Bead Art
Back to my super old crafts! I haven’t made these iron bead artworks in forever (if that’s even what they’re called) but I had a blast selecting my colors and making up a design. My piece is the purple heart!
May 10: Nighttime Hot Tubbin’
We don’t have a hot tub, but we went to Las Vegas for a family matter and took advantage of our extended family’s hot tub! It felt so good to relax in the hot water on a warm Vegas night. If you don’t have a hot tub, treating yourself to a nice warm bath (with bubbles and relaxing music and candles, of course) is a great alternative. And if you like my turquoise high-neck swim top, here is a super similar version! Old Navy has a ton of cute swimwear right now.
May 11: Juggling Competition
I thought I was the certified juggler in this family, but it turns out both of my parents can juggle too! And my mom ended up stealing the show, much to my surprise. She just happened to have these juggling sacks already (I think the bean bag cubes are way easier to juggle than plastic balls). But if you decide to look for household items to practice juggling, just make sure the three things are as close in size as possible! Another alternative is to use three tennis balls.
May 12: Face Masks
My mom got us this nice face mask to do as one of our Quarantivities. While we were disappointed in its scent (it doesn’t really smell like anything), it was SO soothing to paint the mask on with the provided brush. I was so impressed with the results—usually face masks don’t do much for me, but after this Once Upon a Tea mask, my face felt extremely smooth and continued to glow for the next day! Can’t you tell I’m a total skincare expert? (Not.) The mask is a little pricey, but the container will last for quite a while. Plus, given how good it felt, I would definitely say it’s worth the price! I only wish it would smell like a spa.
May 13: Kite Flying
I don’t think I’ve ever actually flown a kite, but I had an absolute blast with these jellyfish kites. My kite’s name is Squishy and he will be my Squishy and he will be mine (name that movie, anyone?). These kites are from Amazon, and while you have to tie a few things together yourself, they’ve held up really well in strong winds.
May 14: Euchre
On this night, we sat around the dinner table and played Euchre, a very popular card game in the Midwest. I’m horrible at it (and find it very confusing), but I enjoy it nonetheless! Some of my personal favorite card games include King’s Corners, Polish Poker, and BS.
May 15: Pool Day!
Since we were still in Vegas, we took advantage of the hot temperatures and the cool water by lounging poolside all day. Some great alternatives include having a water balloon fight, a water gun fight, or making your own slip-and-slide!
May 16: Neuschwanstein Castle Jigsaw Puzzle
We started working on this 1000 piece puzzle of the famous Neuschwanstein Castle that we found in a cabinet, and as you can imagine, we continued working on it for several days! I’ve always loved jigsaw puzzles so much, and this one was the perfect combo of easy architectural pieces and super difficult sky/forest pieces (that of course, all look exactly the same).
May 17: Card Making
We decided to make our own greeting cards with this pretty paper and embellishment kit, which we again just found lying around the house. If you don’t have many craft supplies, one of my favorite tricks is to repurpose old cards by cutting out the decorative fronts/details and gluing them on new cardstock or blank sheets of colored paper.
May 18: A Walk in the Dark
Given that Vegas is so hot in the summer, the only viable options for exercising outside are really early in the morning or late at night. We decided to go for a walk long after the sun went down, and we ended up having the whole neighborhood to ourselves. It was actually pretty fun to chit-chat and wander about with our flashlights!
May 19: Tourist Attractions
We decided to take advantage of the emptiness caused by the COVID-19 pandemic by checking out the famous Las Vegas sign. There wasn’t a soul there, which as you can imagine, is extremely unusual. We got to take some really great pics before going about our day! While there are a lot of things we can’t do right now, using the emptiness to your advantage to check out some of your town’s outdoor tourist attractions is a fun and socially-distanced way to get out of the house.
May 20: Lip-Sync Battles
We only have videos to remember this Quarantivity, but we all practiced and rehearsed a song to perform at our lip-sync battle. It was just as fun, goofy, and hilarious as you might imagine! I mouthed “I’ll Make a Man Out of You” from Mulan, my dad mouthed “We Didn’t Start the Fire” by Billy Joel (which was extremely impressive), and my mom mouthed “I Will Always Love You“, the Whitney Houston version. It was a really entertaining activity, and I highly recommend it, as it requires nothing but music and some good dance moves!
May 21: Coloring
At this point in the month, my parents and I were in different states, so our activities shifted to becoming either entirely virtual or something that we could both do in our respective locations. This definitely made our May Quarantivities “challenge” a lot harder! We started out by coloring mandalas, which is one of my favorite stress-relieving activities.
May 22: Banana Splits
We decided we would eat our Quarantivity on the 22nd, so we went all-out and made huge banana splits! They were just as good as a split from an icecream shop (and way cheaper), but I did miss the little bits of peanuts on top.
May 23: Writing Letters to Our Future Selves
I talked about this activity in my Activities to Pass the Quaran-Time blog post, and today we finally did it. You can use this website to write a letter that will then be emailed to you at whatever date you select in the future. I wrote a birthday note to myself for my 21st birthday! I will 100% forget about it by then, so it will be super exciting to receive the note come November.
May 24: Jaws Movie Night
We decided to watch Jaws and make a night of it by eating a yummy Chex mix my mom made. Fun fact about me: I love sharks! The movie is a classic and the way the town reacts to and deals with a killer shark on the loose shares striking similarities with the current pandemic… *cues eerie music.*
May 25: Virtual Escape Room
I heard about this virtual two-person escape room from a TikTok video someone sent me, and I thought it would be a really fun way to spend the night… I was wrong. We set the timer for 45 minutes, as the directions recommended, but we couldn’t solve a SINGLE piece of the puzzle in all that time! We kept trying so many different things but to no avail. Maybe we just didn’t work well together, but I wouldn’t be surprised if this escape room was impossible to solve. It was so hard and frustrating! But with that said, it seems like there are a lot of other free, virtual escape rooms on the internet, so we’ll just have to try a different one next time.
May 26: Scary Story Night
We sat by our outdoor fire and brought a flashlight to hold beneath our faces as we told scary stories we found online! This was a really fun night because sitting by the fire felt like summer camp, which in turn made it feel like a normal summer.
May 27: Jump Rope Competition
We decided to see who could jump the longest on a single-person jump rope and who could do any cool tricks, like the criss-cross move. However, I admit that this activity was kind of a cop-out because we were running out of virtual ideas and things we could each do in our respective locations. What I really wanted to do was jump double-dutch, which I haven’t done since middle school, but we don’t own a long enough rope!
May 28: Guess Who Game (Over Skype)
I’ve had this weird craving to play Guess Who lately, even though I don’t own the game, so I created my own virtual version to play over Skype instead. I found a picture of the original Guess Who “board”, copy and pasted it into PowerPoint, and made 24 purple Xs to act as markers. I sent the file to my mom so we each had our “boards” open on our laptops and could move the purple Xs over the eliminated faces. We made our guesses as we chatted back and fourth on a Skype video call. It was surprisingly really, really fun!
May 29: Crossword Puzzles
We decided to Skype again and work together to solve the daily crossword puzzle on USA Today’s website. After finishing that puzzle quickly, my Dad and I did a crossword puzzle face-off with my mom, using a puzzle from Miriam Webster’s website. We both timed how long it took to complete it, and my mom totally crushed us!
May 30: Skype Charades
We played every-man-for-himself charades as we acted out the items in front of our laptop screens (using this website to generate some great charades ideas). It was very fun and a well-suited game for playing over Skype/Zoom. The only downside is that I would do all the hard work in guessing parts of the phrase, only to have my dad swoop in at the last minute and guess the whole thing to win the point! That’s why having teams that work together to guess the phrase works much better.
May 31: Trivia
On our final day of Quarantivities, we decided to play trivia over—you guessed it—Skype. We used this website to generate questions, but I wouldn’t recommend it because the questions weren’t particularly inspired.
While the virtual ending to our May Quarantivities greatly inhibited our options for fun, I’m still so glad we saw this daily “challenge” through to the end. They were definitely time consuming… But these activities have been the best decision I made all quarantine to lift my spirits. I hope sharing them has inspired you to use supplies already in your house to make your own fun this summer and beyond! Thanks so much for stopping by today.
Miles of smiles,