Your kids are not just out of school and out of routine but they are also missing their friends and their daily activities that they do at their schools. If children are younger, they probably might not be able to express it, but this whole new shift in their daily lives stresses them out too. To make things easier and simple, we can try and adjust our routine to match theirs.
For example, you might want to have a lie-in since you are not going to work and there’s no need to get up early and rush around, but your child may have different plans. Children usually tend to get up early, regardless of what day of the week it is. It will help them settle down and be more relaxed if we adjust ourselves to their pattern. There are several things you can do to keep your kids busy during self-isolation apart from homeschooling, and we have listed them out for you.
We’ve collated our favourite ways to keep the kids busy. As there are many different activities and things that you can get stuck into, such as:
And plenty more. Read on to find out some of our favourite ways to keep the kids happy during these times!
Keep a Routine
Children like to have a pattern and they have a perfect body clock too. Kids normally tend to stick to a routine and although this might have been disrupted by this unexpected break from school, you can still help them keep themselves in a routine. Having said that, you can set a few hours in the morning for school learning and homework, then some play activities or hobbies in the afternoon and a bit of relaxed time like watching TV, movies or games on a tablet in the evening. You can adjust your routine according to yours and your children’s individual needs but remember, not to be too rigid and keep the routine bit relaxed whenever possible.
PE With Joe Wicks
Arts and Crafts
All kids love arts and crafts activities. While most kids do these activities at school or nursery, now that they are off school, we can help them keep their inner little artist at peach by giving them some arts and crafts activities to do at home. This will keep them busy for a good few hours, will give you a little quiet time and will give them a sense of achievement by making something they can show off to other adults. You can even just give them a cardboard box and they will be happy playing with it for a long time. If the box is small it will serve as a dollhouse or a fairy castle, if it is bigger it can serve as an indoor tent.
Put Up a Tent
You can do this either indoor or outdoor. You can make a list of things for your child to look for and once they find it, they can mark that item off their list. Once they have found all the items you can reward them with a mini treat, like a bar of chocolate or something. There can be loads of things in the garden that can be on your list, for example, a bee, a flower, a dead leaf, a hosepipe or a bucket etc. If doing indoor, you can do anything like a toy car, a balloon, a birthday card or a toothbrush etc. This is a fun activity where you can also get involved with your kids and help them look for things.
Teach Them Skills
Take up a hobby together with your child that both you and they can enjoy. For example, cooking or baking. As a grown-up, you will be dealing with the oven or cooker part of the procedure, but you can always get them to help you. Children love these kinds of activities and this way they also develop an interest in these life skills.
It is also a good opportunity for you to find out what your child is more interested in and what gets their attention the most. For example, my little one loves baking and would love to make cupcakes at any given opportunity. So, I assign her little tasks like taking the paper cups out and setting them on the tray, mixing the batter, or putting sprinkles of her choice on the top.
Make A Sensory Bin
Make Slime, Sand Art and Play Dough
This is a fun activity that you can enjoy with your kids. All you need is a smartphone and Google Chrome app. Just type in an animal’s name on the search bar, scroll down to Wikipedia and there it will give you the option of ‘View in 3D’. And there, you will see a live size lion, shark and tiger right in your house! This will keep your child busy for a while, you can take pictures of them with their favourite animals.
Some of the animals you can find are, lion, tiger, cheetah, shark, hedgehog, duck, emperor penguin, snakes, alligator, macaw, wolf, angler fish, goat, rottweiler, eagle, brown bear, horse, Shetland pony, pug, turtle, cat, octopus, dog, golden retriever. You will have to allow Google to view your camera and gallery.
Make a Fort
Grow a Plant
Handstands, Cartwheels and Somersaults
Learn to Sew/ Make Lace Cards
Make Your Own Projector
This is fun and will make your kids really excited and busy for a few hours. All you need is a blank wall that can serve as the screen, a big torch or any portable light and some toy figures. Now you can place the light in front of the wall and the items against the light. When you move the figures around, they can be seen on the screen like real movie characters! You can make your own little movies and stories using toys and other mini-figures around the house. For more effect use sounds and music in the background!
Sort Out Toys, Take Out for Charity
Having fun, doing activities and playing games is all good and important. But you can also take this perfect opportunity to teach your children how other kids around the world are not as fortunate and do not have as many things to play with them. You can help them to sort out their toys and belongings and make bags of those they no longer play with and that can be given out to charity. This will also help you in the sense that their stuff will be sorted out, the room will be cleaner and less messy and it will also give a sense of giving out and looking after others in the society.
Find Places on a Map
This can be an interesting challenge for both you and your child. You can print out a world map or buy one online and ask them to point out different things on the map, for example for little kids you can start by asking where is the water and where is the land etc.
For older kids you can ask them to identify all the continents, different countries and which continent they are in, north and south poles and ask them if they can find the country, they live in on the map etc. you can play a game of who will find it first if you have more than one child, or between yourself and your child.
If your kids enjoy museums, you can take a virtual trip to some of the most famous museums in the world. Due to self-isolation and quarantine, Google is offering free virtual tours of British Museum London, Guggenheim Museum New York, National Gallery of Art Washington D.C, Van Gogh Museum Amsterdam and many more. You are view all photos and displays from the comfort of your own home. The best part is you can look up for what’s what on Google so when you visit these places you will have a full understanding.
Make Cardboard Box Models
Since your kids are out of school until further notice, they definitely can’t miss out on school learning for a long time and they need to keep revising their educational stuff to keep themselves in a pattern. Most schools have provided a learning pack for the students which you can use and help your child to learn their school work. Some amount of dedication and hard work on your part is also required daily. Or if you prefer, you can keep it 5 days a week, keeping Saturday and Sunday free (like any other normal school week).
If the school has not provided a learning pack, you can look up for age-appropriate learning material on the internet, depending on which year your child is in. One good website is https://classroommagazines.scholastic.com/support/learnathome.html where they have given home learning tips and material and also resources for teachers and parents.
It’s normal for kids to snack a lot when they are home or just out of boredom. It is alright to have little snacks between meals but make sure they eat healthy food rather than just crisps, chocolates or cakes! Keep fizzy drinks to a minimum or not at all. If you can give them tasty healthy alternate, they will not go towards those things.
For example, you can substitute fizzy drinks with fruit juice or barley water, make little snacks with fresh fruits or vegetables, you can even add fish, chicken or cheese in the diet. Try to maintain a balance in their food to keep a healthy and nutritious meal. Especially in the current circumstances, it is important to eat healthy food and those items, in particular, that increase immunity so that your body can fight off illnesses on its own.
If you are one of those parents like me who think that the schools overburden the kids with work but they teach less about the stuff that matters then you now have the chance to teach them something that will improve their general knowledge and help towards their life skills. You can make it fun and interesting so that the child does not take it as a teaching and learning session but still learns while playing.
For example, you can make general knowledge quizzes, complete the phrases, anagrams and jumbled up words. These things will improve your child’s knowledge and encourage learning in a fun way!
Learn a New Language
You along with the children can learn a new language that both you and the children will enjoy. Start with simple everyday use words and if you can, move on to more complex and advanced level. You can also do this for sign language. In certain schools nowadays, kids are taught sign language which is fun for them because they can show off to adults at home how to sign different everyday words.
The common sign language used in Britain is Makaton. Also, in the UK many households speak a different language at home while the children can only speak English. If your home language is other than English, it is a perfect opportunity for you to teach your children their other language. It is a life skill that never goes to waste.
There are a lot of options for kids’ podcasts, which are entertaining for both children and parents. There are classic stories, fairy tales, and even educational ones. If like most other parents, you are concerned about screen time, this is a good alternative where kids can have fun, engage and even learn something useful. Buy Why: A Podcast for Curious Kids, The Two Princes, KidNuz and The Past and The Curious are some of the popular and brilliant kids friendly podcasts.
Practice Good Hygiene
Although it is important to have good personal hygiene and a clean house. The importance of this has become even more crucial now than ever. You can make your kids understand how important it is to wash hands frequently, keep clothes and surroundings clean and have a regular shower. Tell them that keeping themselves clean will reduce the risk of getting any viruses and germs that can make them unwell.
Although older kids should know the importance of cleanliness, the younger children will need a bit of explanation and we can make them understand in simple ways. Try to make this activity fun so that children don’t get tired of doing the same things again and again. Maybe sing a different song every time they wash hands, rather than just a happy birthday or give them their hand sanitizers which they can keep in their pocket or a shoulder bag and every time they go out for a walk or in the garden, they can use it when needed.
Remember, this time is hard for you but it is harder for children because they have been taken out of school unexpectedly, they are not seeing their friends and they cannot go out to play or have fun. And although, we as adults are feeling low due to all these changes the kids are going through this too they cannot express it to us. It is hard for them to adjust to this new phase of life and we as adults have the responsibility to make it easier for them. So, whatever we do, we can at least make it as less stressful for the young souls as we can.
We can make a routine for their school learning, but we have to also allow them to have fun at home. Be flexible with the routine, allow them to make a mess and just enjoy and take this opportunity as a bonding time with your family and make hundreds of memories. Remember, they will eventually learn like you did when you were little, the mess can be cleaned up and a little bit of relaxing time will not hurt anyone.
A bit of screen time every day will not harm anyone but don’t let it be too long. In a few months, your little ones might not even remember what it was like when they were out of school, but what they will remember is that they had a great time with their parents and made loads of memories to cherish for a lifetime and hundreds of stories they can share with their friends.