Staying home is the new thing ... unfortunately, with the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, it’s more like “hunkering” than “enjoying.”

Many are left wondering how to fill the seemingly endless hours, especially if there are little ones running around who will eventually get bored. How to pass the time?

We reached out to some local experts for a few ideas. 

“What kind of librarian would I be if I didn’t say, ‘read!’” said Stacey Zwald Costello, county librarian for the Colusa County Free Library. “There are lots of digital resources available if you do not have books at home.”

While the libraries in the bi-county area have closed temporarily, those that have a Yuba, Sutter or Colusa County library card can still access eBook and eAudiobooks by visiting https://northnet.overdrive.com/. The available collection includes current, popular fiction and non-fiction books as well as videos. Those who access this resource will need their library card information to sign in.

“This is a great opportunity to read a chapter book to (and) with your kids, out loud, like families did before television,” said Zwald Costello. “Try ‘Charlotte’s Web,’ or ‘Anne of Green Gables,’ or any other one of your favorite childhood books. Take turns if you have older kids.”

While social distancing does mean limiting gatherings, it does not mean not going outside and Jessica Hougen, Sutter County Museum director and curator, recommended just that. 

“I highly encourage people to spend time with their kids exploring their backyards and going for nature walks,” said Hougen. “The (shelter-in-place) directive specifically states that staying healthy is still a priority and that walks and hikes are encouraged, just not in heavily trafficked areas.”

For a nature walk, Hougen suggested taking a journal and taking your time. 

“Have the kids jot down things they notice,” said Hougen. “It’s especially good to repeat your walk a few times, on the same path. Have the kids note what is different. It’s spring, many things are blooming, growing, being born. A perfect time for good scientific observation.”

If you are looking for a place to explore, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced on Thursday that they will be temporarily suspending the collection of all entrance fees at national wildlife refuges until further notice. 

“Our vast public lands that are overseen by the department offer special outdoor experiences to recreate, embrace nature and implement some social distancing,” said Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt in a release issued by the service. 

Locally, there are several wildlife refuges that have walking and walking trails, car tours, and observation points to view local wildlife and explore including the Sutter National Wildlife Refuge, Sacramento National Wildlife Refuge Complex, the Colusa National Wildlife Refuge and the Llano Seco Unit of North Central Valley Wildlife Management Area.

The Sacramento National Wildlife Refuge Complex also announced earlier this week that they will be releasing a creative home activity each day for the next couple of weeks to help people find fun family activities. 

The activities, which include word searches and drawing pages, can be found daily on the Sacramento National Wildlife Refuge Complex Facebook page. 

Whether you decide to do some indoor or outdoor activities, find what works for your family with supplies you have on hand. 

“Most of all, give yourself, and your kids, some grace,” said Zwald Costello. “This is a new space for everyone and it will pass. We will get through it, and while it is going to be stressful at points, maybe sad, definitely frustrating, it is also an opportunity to try all of those things we have been pinning and a way to reconnect to those we love most.”

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