Keeping entertained in quarantine: crafts edition

May 1, 2020

The return of snail mail

Limited social interaction during social isolation has caused people to be creative with the way they pass time. While some have opted for nocturnal habits (then sleeping until dinner), binging television, or picking up running while gyms are closed, others have returned to an almost extinct form of communication, at least among teenagers—the United States Postal Service. After over a month without seeing friends in person, letter writing is on the rise as another way to stay in touch with those outside your quarantine bubble. 

Since April is officially National Card and Letter Writing Month, why not try to send your friends some letters? It’s hard to match the excitement of receiving a letter addressed to you in the mail (with the exception of bills of course) with texts or ecards, so why not spread some excitement—something we could all use to break up the repetition of social isolation—to your friends?

The best part about sending letters is how easy it is. If you’re feeling crafty, you can create your own cards using art materials you have at home. There’s nothing like a cute drawing and cheesy pun to make someone smile, and Pinterest has an infinite feed of ideas. Use Pinterest for inspiration on designs, or create your own. You don’t have to be an award winning artist to create your own cards—you just have to be willing to experiment and have fun with it! Your friends will still be happy to receive a card regardless of the artistic talent involved. Once a card is complete, don’t forget to create a logo for the back of your card to claim and celebrate your hard work.

Linnea Shively

If you aren’t up for making your own cards, numerous retailers, such as Target, Amazon, or Paper Source, sell inexpensive stationary sets online, complete with cards and envelopes. You can also order stamps online from the comfort of your own home to continue practicing social distancing. If you already have envelopes at home, a loose leaf sheet of paper does the trick as well. Even if it’s a simple report on your day or a check-in with your friend, a handwritten message is a meaningful way to connect with others. 

Before you send the card off, don’t forget to properly address the envelope and add decorations. After clearly printing the address, return address, and adding the stamp in a darker color, use lighter colors to draw designs on the envelope. Some of my favorite ways to decorate include designs surrounding the address, patters on the back of the envelope, or fun stickers. To send a letter from home, remove mail you received and place the envelope in your mailbox. Put the flag on your mailbox up to indicate to your postal carrier that you have outgoing mail. This way, you don’t even need to leave your home to send letters.

Now that you’ve finished letter writing to your friends, consider connecting with a pen pal program within our community! As Senior Living Centers are restricting visitation due to COVID-19, many pen pal programs between seniors and students have emerged. These programs help both parties battle isolation, but are especially valuable to seniors who are at greater risk from the virus and need to take extra precautions to stay healthy. Not only are you giving back to your community, but have a unique opportunity to foster a new friendship. 

After sending your letters off, sit back and congratulate yourself on a job well done. Not only do you get the satisfaction of hard work, but hopefully you had fun in the process. And who knows, you may inspire your friends to do the same and soon see letters addressed to you in your own mailbox!

Experiment with some new quarantine activities

As we have all been stuck at home for five weeks, the boredom is setting in and the endless hours of eLearning are becoming monotonous. To combat this, we’ve all tried binging Netflix until sunrise, gluing ourselves to the Animal Crossing screen, and entering a spring hibernation. These methods probably worked for a time, but I bet you haven’t thought of this one: retrying childhood science experiments. Continue reading for instructions on making a couple of popular experiments.

 

 

  • Baking Soda Volcano

 

The classic baking soda volcano is a simple combination of sodium bicarbonate, or baking soda, and a solution of acetic acid, which is found in vinegar. When these two ingredients  are combined, the mixture fizzes and expands, releasing carbon dioxide. While this reaction is entertaining on its own, it can be used to simulate the eruption of a volcano.

Lydia Olson

Making a volcano combines art with science because a portion of the project is sculpting and designing a volcano, and then creating the reaction inside. Red and orange food coloring are used to create “lava” that erupts from the volcano. However, creating the reaction in an empty soda bottle will be a quicker way to simulate the eruption without any decorating or sculpting.

To make your reaction work the best, a 12:1 ratio of vinegar to baking soda is recommended by handsonaswegrow, a website for educational activities.

 

  • Elephant Toothpaste

 

The elephant toothpaste experiment is a bit more intensive and will require some more clean-up than the baking soda volcano, but the reaction is much bigger. In this experiment, you pour a mixture of warm water and yeast into a mixture of dish soap and hydrogen peroxide to create a foaming reaction. Like the volcano, you can color the reaction by adding food coloring to the dish soap and hydrogen peroxide.

According to ThoughtCo, you should combine ½ cup of 3% hydrogen peroxide with a ¼ cup of dish soap to create the first solution. Then mix an active yeast packet with warm water and let it sit for five minutes. When you pour the yeast into the hydrogen peroxide solution, the reaction will begin. 

 

As we enter this second month of quarantine, these fun science experiments are sure to remind you of your childhood and entertain you on a warm spring day. Make sure to invite your younger siblings and parents to watch to put a smile on the whole family’s face.

 

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