The Coronavirus Lockdown
In this uncertain time, we are experiencing something that some of us have never experienced before. A pandemic which is forcing us to stay in self isolation and lockdown in our own homes.
The coronavirus is scary in itself, causing deaths, mainly among the elderly and those with underlying health conditions. But things are changing day by day. Advice is changing all the time. Emotionally and in many cases financially it is affecting us.
Currently my family of four are in lockdown. If one member of the family has a persistent cough or temperature, then we all have to follow guidance and stay indoors for fourteen days.
Of course this advice may change tomorrow.
Entertaining your Kids in Lockdown
So what happens when you have small ones at home too? I have to say, we haven’t even managed a full day and my five year old is bored! Thankfully she doesn’t seem to be worried about what is going on in the big wide world. But she is wondering why she’s seeing people walking around outside, and we are not allowed out!
My seventeen year old son is permanently self isolating (in his room that is!) so he is carrying on doing what he usually does. He also has plenty of homework too as he is studying his A-Levels.
Learning Through Play
The schools here in the UK have not (yet) shut, so we do not have any home learning. But to ensure that my daughter doesn’t fall behind there are plenty of ways to keep her brain active without sitting with a textbook. Learning doesn’t necessarily mean you have to do it in a traditional way. There’s no need to worry that you don’t have the same skills as a teacher.
Ideas to Stay Safe and Sane at Home!
This is perfect for keeping hands washed whilst learning through sensory and science. Use the bathtub or a bowl in the garden or kitchen (prepare for splashes!). Add some moisturising bubble bath to help with dry hands.
Place objects in the water and see what floats and what sinks.
Make a boat out of a recycled plastic tub and see if it stays afloat (even put small objects in it). If you have more than one child at home, then see who makes the best boat that doesn’t sink first!
Mix some water based food colouring into the water to make it more interesting.
A firm favourite on a rainy day, or in this case, when we are in lockdown. As long as you have enough flour, sugar and eggs in the cupboard you can get set to baking cupcakes and cookies.
If you run out of eggs, then make an eggless cake and add extra milk instead. Or bake cookies without using eggs.
If you are out of butter, substitute for vegetable oil. And use up your overripe fruit to make it healthy (even replace the sugar with it). That way you are not wasting anything.
Many years ago when I was a childminder, we used to make ‘gloop’. It’s a mix of cornflour and water (use two cups of cornflour and one cup of water) and it’s great for sensory play. Your child can grab handfuls of gloop and watch it run through their fingers like a liquid, then come clean off like a solid.
Add food colouring or biodegradable glitter and allow your child to explore and make shapes with this interesting mix.
Arts and Crafts
The possibilities here are endless. Do what your child enjoys doing the best, whether they enjoy drawing, sticking and painting or modelling playdough.
My daughter got some ideas from the children’s program ‘Art Attack’ and wanted to make a model ‘E’ for Eva. By cutting the letter out of cardboard and making it into a 3D model, there’s a bit of maths mixed in with the art.
Lego, Meccano and K’Nex are great ways to learn through play as well. Your child can build models of houses, cars or robots. Get some inspo from suitable YouTube videos.
Teddy Bears Picnic
Encourage healthy eating by having a teddy bears picnic either in the front room or outdoors (weather dependent!). Again, remember to carry out regular hand washing and make lunchtime fun. It will help to relieve any boredom and your child may eat food that they wouldn’t normally eat.
Put out healthy cherry tomatoes, cucumber, carrot and bread sticks. Cut out sandwiches with a star shaped cookie cutter and let your child and their toys enjoy their feast.
If you have a garden (front or back) and are able to get out, then the fresh air and exercise will do everyone some good. Clean off the garden toys such as the playhouse, sandpit and slide and get the kids out there.
Make a tent with a sheet pegged over two garden chairs (this can also be done indoors) to encourage imaginative play.
Or use chalks on the patio to create some artwork.
If they have skipping ropes, then count the number of skips they can do without stopping. PE and maths all in one! Or step it up by creating a little circuit. Set a skipping rope in one spot, a hula hoop in another, a trampoline and a bat and ball. If everyone joins in and starts at a station and all do ten of each (ten skips, ten hulas, ten jumps, ten bats in the air etc). Then move round in a clockwise direction.
It seems that some movies are now available to download rather than being shown at the cinema. However, any DVD for movie on Netflix gives a great time out for everyone. Close the curtains, grab the popcorn and snuggle on the sofa in a blanket.
When the whole family are in lockdown, get together and play board games. Get the younger children to roll the dice and count the spaces or play strategy games with the older ones to get their brains working.
If you don’t have board games then get them to make their own! They can have a themed board game (their favourite movie or book character) or certain rules. Cut out a square piece of card and draw on the squares etc.
Recycle a Plastic Bottle
One of our home activities this week was to make something useful out of an old plastic bottle. Ask the children to brainstorm some ideas, then sit them down at the table to make something spectacular out of their bottle!
Some ideas might be a fab space rocket, with foil windows and crepe paper fire coming off the bottom. A bird feeder to hang outside. A pencil pot or a pair of binoculars with two bottles. The possibilities are endless!
A great English activity would be to make up poems and rhymes. Teach your children how to rhyme or encourage a free verse. Or teach them how to write a Japanese Haiku. In fact there are so many different types of poetry to try.
Make it funny, nonsense or emotive.
Pretend it’s Christmas!
Something that a lot of people have been saying. If we can stay home during the Christmas period and have fun, then we can do the same during a lockdown.
Cook a roast dinner, play charades, get out the karaoke machine and snow spray the windows! Even go the whole hog and put up the decorations! Why not.
So Many Ideas
Mental health is important at this time. Some of us just do not feel prepared for self isolation. It’s not just about ensuring you have enough food and supplies, it’s also about realising what freedom we have and the difficulties we face when it’s taken away. Plus the anxiety about becoming unwell or if our loved ones face the virus.
It’s an uncertain time, but we don’t have to cut ourselves off from each other. Use Zoom, Skype or Facetime and speak to friends and family. Get the kids on there too and allow them to see their friends. And of course reassure them. Plus join useful Facebook groups for advice and support.
Other Useful Links
There’s lots of support out there and useful links to educational resources.
Toddler Fun Learning:
Free Online Learning Resources for Schools Affected by Coronavirus:
A pocket Full of Books (free downloadable activity sheets):
Nasa Activities for the Classroom:
Oxford Owl Home and School Learning: