8 easy indoor activities for west coast kids stuck inside due to wildfires

Parenting in 2020 has not been easy.

As if coronavirus quarantines weren’t tough enough, now west coast fires are keeping kids inside. Air quality maps indicate unhealthy to hazardous conditions from Oregon to Southern California and official advisories instruct limiting outdoor activities and keeping children indoors.

“It’s been extremely surreal,” Kirsten Russell, a mother of two in Wilsonville, Oregon told TODAY Parents. “This is their childhood in 2020.”

Sons, Connor, 4, and Jackson, 2, keep Russell on her toes.

Kirsten Russell and sons, Connor, 4, and Jackson, 2, have been spending more time upstairs due to the wildfires ripping across the west coast. (Courtesy Kirsten Russell)
Kirsten Russell and sons, Connor, 4, and Jackson, 2, have been spending more time upstairs due to the wildfires ripping across the west coast. (Courtesy Kirsten Russell)

“With a preschooler and a toddler, (we do) a lot of fort building, playdough, building, creating, dance parties, the floor is hot lava…getting creative as best we can without going to buy new supplies,” Russell said, adding that the family spends most of their

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Six Easy Ways to Go Above and Beyond for Your Houseguests

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One of the great joys of staying in a luxury hotel is, well, the luxury. The staff put together a collection of small surprises that are designed to make you feel spoiled (think plush robes and slippers, daily newspaper deliveries, and treats left on your pillow). You look forward to these small indulgences, so why not give your houseguests the same treatment when they come to stay? As event planner Lauren Grech, the CEO and co-founder of LLG Events, says, “If you’ve ever dreamed of running a bed and breakfast, having overnight guests is your chance to live out that dream without all the commitments of actually running an inn!”

Today, however, there is an element of safety to consider whenever you bring someone outside of your immediate circle into your home due to the coronavirus pandemic. In addition to making your guests feel welcome, it’s also

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It’s easy to get lost in an airport terminal. Here’s how to avoid it.

The objective seemed simple: Disembark the puddle-jumper from Porto, Portugal, to Madrid and find the designated pick up point for my Uber ride into town. But the 45-minute odyssey left me angry, disoriented and wondering: Why are airports so confusing?

I’m not exaggerating. It took me 45 minutes to find my ride. And it wasn’t the first time I lost my way in an airport. 

It happened when I arrived in Lisbon, too (it took half an hour to find my Uber), and before that, in Phoenix (20 minutes). I’d relied on signage and helpful directions from an online terminal map, but ended up wandering the terminals as if I were lost in the labyrinth of Chartres Cathedral.

Why are airports so confusing? Probably because they were never designed to handle so many passengers, says University of Dayton aviation historian Janet Bednarek.

“Often, even the best designs have either been

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