Stacy Lazzara of South Elgin, Illinois was running out of ideas to keep her two daughters, seven-year-old Ashlyn and four-year-old Averie, entertained while in COVID-19 quarantine. So the stay-at-home mom and part-time marketing professional just started doodling with chalk—and found herself creating beautiful and intricate fantasy landscapes for her daughters to interact with.
“We’ve actually had a little more experience than most with quarantine life,” Lazzara told Tank’s Good News. Lazzara and her husband Mark went through a challenging time when Averie was diagnosed with Leukemia in 2018 and they had to practice distancing due to their daughter’s suppressed immune system (Averie is currently doing well and is in the maintenance phase of treatment).
Lazzara explained that “getting outside and being creative are both things I find really therapeutic, so these chalk drawings started organically as my way of having some fun while encouraging my kids to play outside.”
“Once I posted a couple of the pictures, the response was so overwhelmingly positive that I decided to keep going.”
The colorful images include a camping scene, skateboarding ramps, an under the sea adventure, an outer space scene, parachuting, and tight rope walking over a shark. Averie and Ashlyn’s interactions with the chalk drawings show the power of imagination.
It’s really difficult right now for parents, and most are worried they are not doing the best they can to enrich their children’s lives given that our worlds are all a bit smaller right now. Lazzara had some good advice for those who are stressing.
“I think the most challenging thing about being quarantined at home with small kids is establishing a routine that maintains everyone’s sanity in the house. Having to suddenly balance work with homeschooling and other responsibilities is a huge adjustment, but for parents who are feeling overwhelmed, the most important piece of advice I can offer is to give yourself some grace,” she said.
“We put so much pressure on ourselves as parents these days, and it’s beyond important to release any expectation of what you feel like this crazy time period ‘should’ look like for your family. Some days will be great, and other days will be incredibly messy, and that’s okay!”
Lazzara also had some suggestions for parents who are running out of ideas and feeling frantic.
“Get creative with whatever they have on hand. We are using basic sidewalk chalk to create mini-adventures in our driveway, but you can also use chairs and blankets to make epic forts in your basement, or cardboard boxes to make cars for a drive-in movie night in your living room. You can’t expect to make every minute of the day fun—but infusing a little bit of creativity can go a long way in creating memories for everyone,” she said.
“Even though our anxiety as adults may be peaking right now, hopefully what our kids will remember from this time period is just having the extra time with mom and dad.”