Bore-antine: 20 Things to Do With Your Teen While On Shutdown

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Written together by father and daughter, Brandon May and Payton May.

A Covid-19 quarantine doesn’t have to be a bore-antine if you’re stuck at home with your teen daughter. Payton, my 14-year-old high school Freshman daughter, and I have seen all the lists of things to do while on lockdown, but a lot of them don’t apply to us.

So, we decided to share a list of twenty things you can do to pass the shut-in time at home that isn’t anything like what you’ve seen or read so far.

1. Use a Laser Pointer and Pretend You’re a Cat: It’s clearly a two-person game that no one really wins, but think of the cardio! Also, remember to use the litter box. Toilet paper is at a premium.

2. Sticks: Go outside and find some sticks. Pick them up. That’s it. It’s literally like Pick Up Sticks, but with more nature. Who wants to play some Sticks?

3. Count the Bunnies: Stand in your window for two hours and wait to see how many bunnies you see hopping past your house. Probably ideal in the sunrise or sunset hours, and the dead ones in the street don’t count. The person who finds the most gets the last squirt of hand sanitizer.

4. Spot the surgical masks: Go for a drive through a shopping center parking lot and see how many people you can find who are wearing a mask. If you find one, keep your distance and take a selfie while mask person is a safe distance away.

5. Indoor Jousting: Roller skates and cotton swabs. That’s really all you need to know. Show no mercy, but dip the swabs in sanitizer as a sign of sportsmanship.

6. The Six-Foot Tether Challenge: How much can you accomplish while social distancing but still attached to one another? That’s why it’s called a challenge. I need to write this article while you need to finish your school-assigned tutorial? Cool. You need to make a bowl of ramen while I need to chase the dog around? Challenge!

7. Cotton Ball Dodgeball: Harmless, painless, worthless, winless. If you can’t dodge a cotton ball flung at you with a rifle speed of 0.5 MPH then this just isn’t your day.

8. Single Sock Survival: Go through your laundry and find the lonely sock that is missing its sister. Who says you need that much toilet paper? It’s nothing a single sock can’t solve. Wash and repeat. But seriously, find its sister. She’s missing for crying out loud.

9. Drink Like a Gerbil: Hang a water bottle (the only one you could find in a store) from your light fixture and loosely tape a ping pong ball to the opening. Treadmill wheel is optional.

10. Practice Protesting Something: Make a sign and come up with a catchy rhyming chant to promote your cause. The sign could read something like “No-Vid 19” and the chant could be “Gotta take a stand and wash those hands!” Or maybe there’s some ill will you’ve been harboring for a while. The sign could read “Curfew Pee-ew” and the chant could be “Home by nine isn’t fine!” Perhaps that’s too specific, but you get the point.

11. Try That Spice: Running out of food because the grocery store has been ransacked by greedy hoarders? Try that spice. Who wants a cumin sandwich or a thyme taco? Try that spice. A basil bagel or a chili powder croissant? Try that spice.

12. Create a New Language: The key here is to not just create a new language to speak. You also have to create the written language with an alphabet of sorts and how the new “letters” will look when written. Wingdings and emojis don’t count.

13. Wall Shapes: It’s like looking at clouds and saying “hey, that looks like a hippopotamus” but instead you’re looking at the painted texture of your dining room wall and saying “hey, that looks like John Stamos if you really focus.”

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14. Outside of Your Generation Karaoke: She has to sing songs by bands from before Y2K that aren’t mainstream, and you have to sing basically anything that’s currently on top 40 radio that you hate. She would have me sing Doja Cat, and I would have her sing Rick Springfield. Maybe something else because she actually likes Rick Springfield.

15. Practice Using the Force: Basically, you sit and stare at something with great intensity with little to no results until Mom walks in and asks what the hell you’re doing. If you’re lucky, the Hot Pocket in the microwave is ready, it dings, and then you can give a look like you have mind powers.

16. Reverse Math Homework: In this case, the kid teaches the parent how math is now instructed in school until the fact that you can’t “carry the one” anymore melts his brain and makes him pine for a simpler time.

17. The Human Sundial: Pretty self-explanatory. Find a window in the morning that faces the sunrise, and plop down with your head facing the golden orb of light. Then move to the next room, and the next, and the next until sundown. Then hydrate because you’ve had a long day.

18. Condiment Battle: There’s always those bottles of condiments in your fridge where the expiration date has worn off, and you don’t know if it’s gone bad or not. Each of you challenges the other to dip a Slim Jim (or cracker if you’re a chicken) into that possibly toxic olive oil-based mayonnaise or tikka masala sauce from the Bush administration and see who gets sick first. But at least this kind of sick isn’t Corona sick.

19. Mime Competition: This isn’t advised, but if you really want to waste some time both of you just pretend you’re trapped in a box or in an invisible cage. No one will save you, and you can’t save each other because obviously you’re both trapped in a pretend box. Added points for expressive emotions.

20. Elbow hugs: This is how we show affection in our home right now. I so badly want to give my daughters real hugs, but honestly, they’re disgusting petri dishes. My daughters want to give me hugs very much, but I lost the Condiment Battle and now I smell something fierce. So introducing elbow hugs. It’s like fist bumps but with your elbows. Human connection is so important, and you need that when you’re bored and have run out of cotton balls to throw at each other.

Make your own list or follow this one. You’d be better off if you follow this one, but no judgments. Watch out for flying cotton balls, peaceful protests, new languages, and rogue socks.

But keep a very keen eye out for elbow hugs. There’s nothing more you would rather do than hug your daughter (or father). And then stab them with a cotton swap while on roller skates.