With most of the country under stay at home orders placed in the last few weeks, our normal routines have been drastically upended. Add on top of that the uncertainty, fear, and anxiety we see and hear about in the news and our social media feeds, so it’s no wonder many of us are feeling isolated and alone.
But the one silver lining to all of this is that we’ve been forced to stop and remember that we have lives outside of the things we busied ourselves with in the days before a virus brought all of that to a halt. We even have families that maybe we didn’t spend enough time with, and children that could use some more quality time with their parents.
If you’re like me and live with a family that includes young children, you might be looking for something to keep their attention while not totally driving you out of your mind. And if you’re here reading this, you probably have some interest in Star Wars. Let’s face it, sitting down and watching a Star Wars movie with young children might not be in the cards. They can be longer than some kids are willing to sit still for, and some of them do have some imagery you may rather not have your younger children see just yet (a mostly rotting Palpatine comes to mind).
I have a few things that might be able to fulfill your needs.
What to Read
Reading together can be a wonderful family activity, and luckily Star Wars offers no shortage of material that is approachable for families with children of all ages.
If your children are at the age where a chapter book suits them and you have a few evenings to string together for a chapter or two a night, I would recommend Force Collector by Kevin Shinick. If your children are familiar with most of the major events of the films, this could be a very fun family read as it touches on some of those events in a pretty cool way.
Younger children might enjoy something like 5 Minute Star Wars Stories, which is a very nice Lucasfilm Press compilation of short stories spanning the Skywalker Saga up through The Force Awakens. Another option is pretty much any of the Star Wars Little Golden Books, of which there are quite a few now. Both of these options offer shorter stories with great artwork to go with them.
Speaking of great artwork, this might be a great opportunity to introduce your kids to comic books or give them a new series to check out. For that, I recommend Star Wars Adventures from IDW Comics. These comics feature stories from major characters in the films, and usually have multiple stories per issue. They are more approachable for a younger audience, and the art is light-hearted and very fun.
If you don’t have these titles on your shelf and Amazon is experiencing delayed shipping, fear not! Everything I’ve shared so far is available in digital form that you can enjoy on your phone, tablet, or computer. The Star Wars Adventures comics can even be found on Amazon’s ComiXology.
What to Watch
Finding something to watch in the Star Wars universe isn’t usually difficult, especially if you have Disney+. There are the easy recommendations, like Clone Wars and Rebels, which you should absolutely check out if you or your older children haven’t yet.
For younger children, Star Wars Resistance is another one of those obvious recommendations, but it’s still one that many (including myself) haven’t watched the whole way through. From the episodes I have watched, though, it’s definitely worth a watch with the family. I’ve actually used this series to introduce my nephew to Star Wars, and now he’s hooked!
Another maybe lesser known series that younger kids might enjoy is the Galaxy of Adventures short videos on the Star Wars Kids YouTube channel. These are usually about a minute long and tell some familiar stories from the films using some very nice animation.
And speaking of Star Wars Kids, be sure to check out the Star Wars Kids website for even more video series that are both fun and interactive for the entire family.
What to Do
When I was young, I loved to do crafts with my family. Not only do you end up creating something useful or decorative that you can keep, you create a memory behind whatever it is you create.
A simple Google search for “Star Wars family crafts,” or something along those lines, will return thousands of ideas that might spark your interest. Most of these can be done by printing templates or with common materials you may already have around the house.
Papercrafting, for instance, is a wonderful opportunity for everyone to pick out their own model to create. And the wonderful thing about papercraft is that the only thing you need is a printer and some paper. In most cases, you can easily find free printable templates to download and make. You could even make a whole fleet of X-wings and TIE fighters for some real fun!
The official Star Wars website also has a number of fun crafts you can do with your family. Most recently, they showed off their DIY Star Wars Roll Out characters– which you can make with some construction paper, scissors, a hole punch, and perhaps the most rare of any item – an empty toilet paper roll.
Do Them Together
Whatever you decide to do, whether it was part of this specific list or not, I would urge you to do it together with your family. This is a unique time – a time full of uncertainty. But it’s also a rare chance for us to step back and spend time where we don’t spend it in our normal busy lives. And most likely, you’ll end up with a memory or keepsake that will always remind you that even the bad times don’t have to be all that bad.