Times are tough, and it feels like there is no end in sight. Schools are shut and the streets are empty. I have been home with the children since a week before the lockdown began, so the good news is, I have tried and tested a few things you might like to try at home.
1. Cooking - Cooking is a great sensory exercise and for children you can incorporate maths and sometimes even science into a cooking session - not to mention a great chance to bond, as you should never leave children alone to cook - if only! It's a fun activity for the whole family and you’re being productive as you can all enjoy eating the home cooked food together. I recommend Pasta and Play on instagram for some inspiration on yummy food you can cook with your children at home.
2. Science - Some children (I know mine do) need reminding about 1000 times to brush their teeth in the morning, and when they finally do get round to it they don't brush long enough. We did a worksheet last week labelling the different teeth using twinkle. We then chewed on a purple pill that dyes the plaque on our teeth. Much to my children's surprise they missed quite a few spots! They then stuck the worksheet in their notebooks and wrote a little summary of our experiment. It's worth noting that twinkle has given access to lots of free downloadable material during school closures which for sure will keep my kids very busy for now!
3. Reading - We have allocated time in the day to sit down with a book for quiet time. It's given me time to put my phone away, turn off the news and dive into another world. I might even finish a few books! My kids have also really enjoyed building dens where they snuggle up with a book too. Best of all we can share books, giving us something to talk about. I love reading my children's books and diving into their world. If your child isn't reading yet, snuggle up with a book or two and read together.
4. Mindfulness and Meditation - Don't forget the children are constantly feeding off of our energy. If they see us stressed and anxious, they will feel the same. So every morning try getting into the habit of breathing deeply together, practicing mindfulness. Here is a short 5 minute video you can try together.
5. Maths - Depending on the age of your child, if they are just learning to count, you can play counting games like hopscotch, or counting things around the house for example, "let's find how many red things we can find!" or practice holding a pencil and tracing numbers and practice writing numbers. For older children, printing off some maths worksheets every day is a great way to keep practicing their maths.
6. Geography - Why not take a trip around the world these next few weeks? You can have a theme of the week that runs through many subjects. For example, make tacos together, let them draw a Mexican flag or colour one in that you have printed, they can print out a map of Mexico and write a few interesting facts about the country. Maybe even learn a few Spanish words as well. Vamos!
7. PE - Don't forget you all need to stay active! If you have a garden that's great, get outside, run around or set up a circuit with jump ropes, 20 star jumps and then a plank competition - my kids love this! If you don't have a garden, why not watch and play along with videos like Zumbini or Cosmic Yoga. You could also set up a circuit indoors too!
8. Music - Yes! Music should be part of your homeschooling too. If you don’t know how to play any instruments to teach your kids, you could always pick a musical genre and teach them about it. You can link it with geography or choose a famous rock star like Elvis or Bob Marley and teach them a little about musical history and have a boogie too!
9. IT - Our screen time saviours! If your child is old enough there are programs like Scratch to teach them coding. Children as young as 5 can start coding. Screen time doesn’t have to be a bad thing, it can be educational too. Cbeebies apps are great too for early readers! There are also great math games to play with on tablets, but more on that another time.
10. Home Economics - Now is the time to get your kids learning and chipping in with the household chores. They can learn how to make their beds, simple meal prep (eg. washing vegetables), doing the dishes, folding clothes etc helping out where they can is great to keep them active, motivated, busy and learning to do the household chores. And now, you probably need all the help you can get! Even if they don't do a perfect job, praise and reward them. After all, this will keep them motivated to help out more around the home. For some inspiration visit Helpful Kids.
This should get you going but if you need more inspiration, check out the "For the Kids' tab on our website, where we have put together a list of FREE online resources and educational activities for kids. There's also a schedule you can download and complete.
During this unstable time, it's important to plan and create a schedule together. Set up your work area, have pencils, sharpeners, colouring pencils ready to go, stock up on printer ink and notebooks and paper too. Stay positive and hope you are all well and healthy.
Just remember, you've got this and we've got your back.
Lots of love,