‘A week stuck at home for a family can be as tough as a week in the mountains,’ said Bear Grylls.
He’s better known for his derring-do in more adventurous surroundings but Bear Grylls has now turned his attention to an altogether different challenge – Covid-19.
The world’s best-known survival expert is launching a package of 100 indoor activities to keep families “busy, focused and cheerful” and ward off cabin fever during the coronavirus lockdown.
After Friday’s closure of schools millions of families will be cooped up indefinitely and Grylls, the chief scout, is warning that without a plan, “a week stuck at home for a family can be as tough as a week in the mountains”.
Grylls, a former soldier, is launching the Great Indoors initiative with the Scout movement, which is also planning to provide live weekly video feeds explaining some of the activities over Facebook. They will be fronted by Grylls and scout ambassadors, including the TV naturalist Steve Backshall and Helen Glover, the double Olympic rowing champion.
The activities include making lolly-stick catapults, becoming a “black-out poet”, investigating local heraldry, tackling origami and designing and making hot-air balloons. All the activities can be carried out in the house or garden. They have been drawn from a back catalog of activities devised over the years by scout leaders across the country.
“Young people have such huge energy and that needs channeling in a positive way,” said Grylls. “Whether you’re climbing Everest, or just trying to make it through to bedtime, a little planning and positive spirit will make all the difference. It’s not often you’ll find me talking about the great indoors – but this is the exception. Try them out, look after each other and, most of all, make this challenging time a safe and positive time.”
The Scouts movement said the 100 activities were designed to have clear outcomes, such as developing communication skills or learning how to problem solve, which will also support schools in their aim to keep young people learning in their homes.
“If young people’s minds aren’t occupied by doing something interesting and creative their ability to learn drops off,” said a spokesman for the Scouts. “We are trying to keep this going because all this is going to end one day and children will go back to school.”
Psychologists have advised families in isolation to structure their day and try to avoid conflict with a key strategy being spending brief periods of time away from each other.
Other parents have posted their own strategies online, ranging from the low-energy option of putting the television on, to more elaborate initiatives such as buying toys from charity shops to revitalize children’s playtime. Several people stress that children should still get fresh air in the garden, but that will be harder for those who live in flats and want to maintain social distancing by not going outside.
Six of the best Scout ideas:
Dear Future Me – write a postcard to yourself
The game leader should give everyone a postcard and ideas for how far in the future they’d like to send their postcard. The players write or draw a note to their future self. Grownups can help with scribing or spelling.
Storm in a teacup
Make a tornado in a jar using water, sand and a drop of washing-up liquid. “Watch your storm brew, swirl and dissipate,” advise the Scouts.
Fabulous fancy frames
Create a frame for a photograph that makes you smile then make a gallery for everyone to admire. Decorate the border of the frame with pens, stamps, stickers and other photos you have taken.
Mark my words - make a bookmark
“This activity is a chance to get creative, but it also reminds everyone how to look after books,” the Scouts say. “Bookmarks help people remember where they’ve got to without damaging the book. What other materials could bookmarks be made from?”
Weekly wins – make diaries to record weekly achievements
“Every time the diary owner does something nice or something good happens, they should make a note of it,” say the Scouts. “Each week the group should gather and each person should say as much or as little as they like about how many or how few wins they had that week.”
Changing your coat – make a heraldic coat of arms
Look at an existing coat of arms and choose different colors and animals to design your own shield. Decide what you want the shield to say about you.
Book Bear for your event at https://premierespeakers.com/entertainment/bear-grylls
Originally posted at The Guardian by Robert Booth on 19 March 2020