It all started in January when four Yeshiva University honors business students were paired up in the Kukin Entrepreneurial Leadership class and instructed to “make the world a better place.” The sky was the limit; there were no rules, just a budget and their imaginations.
How could they effectively reach the most people? How could they truly make a difference? The students began to brainstorm ideas to raise funds for charitable causes. They conceived wonderful events that would take place in Washington Square Park, or maybe in front of the New York Public Library beside Bryant Park. They reached out to various organizations and other colleges, striving to make the world a better place and impact as many people as they could.
The weather started to get a little nicer and the group of young students progressively got more excited for their scheduled springtime event. All planning abruptly came to a stop when the coronavirus hit. Yeshiva University was one of the first colleges to close down, and the students found themselves at home watching the rest of the world follow in their college’s footsteps.
They saw their parents stock up on essentials, and heard their little siblings ask, “What is going on? What does the word pandemic mean?” Gradually they watched as more and more families became stuck at home, struggling to adapt to this new lifestyle. Parents were now expected to keep their children occupied and well fed, all while keeping up with their other personal responsibilities.
Observing firsthand what a trying time the future holds for each of their own families, it became clear to the four business students how they would make a difference. From the ashes of the grand event in New York City, rose Quarantivities, an Instagram page devoted to making quarantine a little bit easier one activity at a time. The goal was to create and offer recommendations of simple and easy activities to keep children busy so parents can devote their attention to other responsibilities.
Each member of the group, Liz Pavel from Teaneck, New Jersey; Juliet Nasar from Deal, New Jersey; Shira Kurland from Brooklyn, New York; and Shani Kravetz from Hollywood, Florida, was responsible for posting suggestions, better known as “quarantivities,” related to a unique aspect of home life. The Instagram page includes suggestions in the categories of health and wellness, STEM and entertainment and activities.
The health and wellness category focuses on posts with helpful tips for parents on how to carve out moments for themselves, to ensure they are properly caring for their mental and physical well-being. Posts include live workout schedules, guided meditations, skincare tips, organizational tips and much more.
The STEM category covers hands-on educational aspects that kids might be missing now that schools are all online, posting fun and easy experiments like homemade lava lamps and oxidizing pennies to turn them green. With every experiment comes a thorough and kid-friendly scientific explanation of the phenomenon.
The entertainment and activities segment covers everything from how to make whipped ice coffee to silhouette tracings of your child’s favorite toy. Many of the posts also include kid-friendly, themed yoga and dance routines, encouraging kids to stay active and let out energy in positive ways.
In just over a month the group of girls accumulated over 700 followers with some 40 posts. Comments are left from parents all over the country thanking the group for the idea and tagging other friends so they can join the fun. “My kids are having the best time doing the experiments today thank you!!” said @fredakassin. “This is brilliant,” commented @mentormadeleine. “This is great. Ganna try it with the girls!” mentioned @ezzylaw. Every grateful comment left on a post or direct message sent to Quarantivies is symbolic of its impact in these unprecedented times.
At this time, the group has decided to further their reach by creating a giveaway on their Instagram page. Through this contest, they hope to continue encouraging kids to complete a quarantivity—both for their own enjoyment, and their parents’ sanity. The rules of entering the Quarantivities contest and having the chance to win a $50 Amazon gift card are simple.You must (1) be following the @quarantivities Instagram page, (2) tag a friend in the contest post on the @quarantivities page and (3) post on your story or feed a quarantivity being completed and tag us Quarantivities. Through this contest, the hope is to further spread educational, fun, creative and stimulating activities to children around the world. Enjoy completing the quarantivity of your choice!
Liz Pavel is a student at Stern College for Women.