Recreate your favorite places at home

Slide1You probably miss certain places right now. I know I am considering an Ode to Public Libraries. (How do I love thee? Let me count the ways…)

But, just because you’re stuck at home doesn’t mean you can’t get creative, have fun and recreate your own version of the experience.

Restaurants

As a mom, I already feel like I’m running a 24-hour eatery. There’s no reason you can’t do the same (with more reasonable hours) and have a little fun with it.

  • Use a colorful sheet for your tablecloth.
  • Set up some candles in old bottles or jelly jars.
  • Choose opera, dubstep or whatever you want for your music – it’s all up to you!
  • Cook your family an awesome meal.

The best part? You get to make your own menu. As long as you have the ingredients, there’s no reason pizza can’t come with a side of mashed potatoes or refried beans. You can also get creative with the ingredients. There are plenty of commonly used substitutes, like applesauce for oil when you’re baking.

If the weather’s nice, you can also set up a picnic in your yard. Just the change of location for your meal can be a nice surprise.

Movie Theater

Movie night can be a little cooler with some prep work.

  • Decide on a movie and time. There are a lot of great family options available now or soon, including an early streaming release of Pixar’s Onward, and Disneynature’s Dolphin Reef and Elephant.
  • Make the tickets. Don’t forget to include theater and seat numbers (as in, Theater # Living Room, Seat # Left-Couch Cushion).
  • Create a snack bar in the kitchen. Popcorn, nuts, jerky and candy are all standard movie fare. If you’re feeling adventurous or low on favorites, raid your cupboards for more interesting offerings (pickles and dry cereal, anyone?) You can also play the classic “Let’s All Go to the Lobby” song while your family chooses their food.
  • Dim the lights and start the show.

If you have a younger sibling, they can even stand in for the kid who always kicks the back of other seats.

Gaming Stores or Arcades

Anyone can fire up their system and play hours of video games. More people than ever are taking advantage of online game services so they can still hang out with their friends. (My son and his bestie still scream every time Yoda enters the field on Battlefront, despite not being in the same room for three weeks now).

But, you can also set up something different for your interests:

  • If you enjoy Dungeons & Dragons or Magic: The Gathering, set up a time for your family to campaign. You can teach them how, if they don’t know and they’re willing to learn. Otherwise, you can set up a time to play over video chat with your fellow adventurers.
  • If you’re into tabletop games, you can break out the board games, strategy games or whatever. You may even want to sign up for the WizKids subscription crate and receive three mystery games bi-monthly.
  • If you prefer games of skill, you can set up for a night of Minute to Win It or different stations (e.g., bowling with a ball and two-liter bottle pins, beanbag toss, baggo, etc.) throughout the house.

Concerts and Dance Clubs

Craving some loud music you can get excited about?

  • Set up lawn chairs, inside or out.
  • Make festival-style food and drinks.
  • Blast your favorite music, or find something new through your favorite stations, and enjoy the day.

Alternately, you can wait until dark, turn off the lights, crack the glow sticks and dance, dance, dance!

Coffee Shops and Cafés

One of my personal favorites, I love sitting in a coffee shop or café with my laptop and a cappuccino. I’m pretty sure my writing is 98% fueled by caffeine and indie music.

You can imitate the experience at home.

  • Make your own fancy coffee. If you’re lucky enough to own an espresso or cappuccino machine, then you’re already halfway there. If, like me, you’re rocking an old-fashioned Mr. Coffee, you can get creative with your flavors. I’m normally a black coffee sort of girl, but a little milk for café au lait or a touch of nutmeg can make any cup seem a little more special.
  • Grab (or create) a baked something.
  • Throw on some music.
  • Crack open a book.

Voila. Café Quarantine.

You may or may not drink coffee. If not, imagine the word tea, juice or whatever your favorite drink is in place of all the coffees.

If you’re looking for more ideas, check my article Have some fun today — and tomorrow, too.

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