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Parents challenged to find child-friendly activities during coronavirus pandemic

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Posted at 6:45 PM, Mar 18, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-18 18:44:59-04

PASCO COUNTY, Fla. - Like most people right now the Otto family’s spring break isn’t going as planned.

“No movies. Disney’s closed. All these things these kids are having these wonderful dreams of doing are no longer here," said Lance Otto.

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But Lisa Hellman at Happy Hearts Art Studio in New Port Richey has a creative option that also works with social distancing.

She’s selling art projects to-go that parents can even pick up at her drive-through.

“My students and all the neighbors and I have talked about different ways to keep kids doing things that are positive," said Hellman.

“We are only a few days in and they are already getting bored with the video games and the electronics, we are expanding our horizons. We are learning new musical instruments and trying out new crafts and they are cooking for me too," said customer Jayde Gray.

Mother of two Anna Tataris De Jesus wanted her kids to enjoy some outside time, so she sent them on a nature scavenger hunt at Tampa’s Eureka Springs Park.

“It was peaceful. We heard the birds chirping. We saw flowers dance with the wind," said her daughter Sophia.

“The situation is really forcing me to think outside the box as a parent to come up with creative ideas so that the kids aren’t getting stressed at home. And I’m not getting stressed either," said Tataris De Jesus.

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Meanwhile the Otto’s kids don’t seem to be stressed. They are painting a gnome and a dolphin.

“We have to reprioritize to family. And I think that’s what these little boxes do is it keeps their hands and minds going, but it creates a family opportunity to be together," said Otto.

Hellman will be offering virtual art lessons every Friday at noon on the Happy Hearts Facebook page: @happyheartsartstudio