As the Coronavirus pandemic continues, many parents may find themselves at home with their young children for extended periods. With closings of public schools, it is important to continue to fill the day with educational experiences that will keep children on track to thrive and grow! Below are some ideas that will help.
1. Maintain a Schedule
A child’s daily routine is important. If children must stay home from public school, work to establish a routine that children can depend on. This will include times for meals and snacks, quiet time to rest, time for play, time for movement, and time to learn. Here is an example:
7:30-8:30: Breakfast and Free Time
8:30-9:00: Reading Time!
9:00-10:00: Free Play
10:00-10:45: Play Outside
10:45-11:30: Art Activity
12:15-1:30: Quiet Time/Rest
1:30-2:30: Reading Time!
2:30-3:30- Family Activity Time
3:30-5:00: Free Play
5:00-Bedtime: Family Routine (Dinner, bath, bedtime routine, etc.)
2. Keep The Language Going!
Reading to and with your child is a key activity that will promote language development, comfort, and joy. During this time access to books may be limited. YouTube has some great pages where people read books aloud while the pictures are shown on the screen.
- Story Time at Aunt Awnie’s House: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCbqmj1hzxuAXsjk08k-KP6w
- Kid Time Story Time: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCEPsNDUhUm-7yZhUjQQNqwQ
- Ms. Becky and Bear’s Story Time: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCKpyraU6pF3200DyTzZrqqA
In addition to reading to your child, don’t forget to just talk. Ask them about the drawing they made. Play a game and talk through the directions. It’s important that children have a day full of language and talk!
3. Use Recycled Materials
- Cut the front off of old cereal boxes. Cut the box into pieces and you have a fun custom made puzzle!
- Have your pre-K child go through junk mail and circle letters that they know. “Let’s find all of the B’s”
- Cut up junk mail and other paper materials and let children create a collage with the pieces.
- Old paper towel rolls can be used to create 3D art sculptures. Children can paint the rolls, then glue or tape them to a sheet of construction paper.
- Turn that big cardboard box into a “Not-A-Box.” Make it into a play house, a robot, a firetruck…anything your child can imagine!
4. Get Moving!
- Many open air locations will remain open. Look at your local parks to find a great place to play!
- Include games that get children moving in different ways. Get your child running, throwing, and kicking!
- On a rainy day put on some music and dance!
- Introduce your child to Yoga: Cosmic Kids Yoga: https://www.youtube.com/user/CosmicKidsYoga
- Don’t forget to use some fine motor skills. Try and get children to write, color, work with playdough, cut with scissors, or just rip and tear pieces of paper (Maybe some junk mail!)
5. Educational Activities
Don’t feel like you have to go find workbooks and worksheets for kids to do. Play, art, and books are plenty of cognitive growth for children. If you are looking for some educational ideas here are some thoughts:
- Keep a journal: Staple a few sheets of paper together and let children draw and write every day. It’s okay if the writing is just scribble or a random collection of letters. You can show them how to form a few letters but don’t emphasize correct formation, just let them experience putting their thoughts on paper.
- Sort: Homes are full of things to sort. Children can sort items by color, shape, name, where it goes, etc. Laundry, dishes, toys, and books make great materials for sorting.
- Count: Just like sorting, let children count with you as you find some things around the house. How many pairs of socks? How many spoons are in the dishwasher? How many books did we read today?
- Science is right outside: Get kids outside and experiencing nature. Take an old box and collect natural objects (tree bark, leaves, sticks, etc.) Children can observe the objects. Ask them what they notice about the objects, let them use art materials to draw, sculpt, or trace the objects. They can even use letters and words to label and write about what they found!
This is a unique time. Always remember that the most important thing you can do for your children is to have a strong, loving relationship with them. Talk to them, play with them, and read with them. You will be doing plenty!
Based on an original article by Travis Williams, Education Specialist at The Sunshine House.