The COVID-19 pandemic has changed our complete way of life. As we are all now spending a lot of time at home, many adults have started DIY projects to ease their boredom, while others are baking up a storm. For many kids, they have their toys to play with, school work, the garden, their bikes, books, computers and crafts. Their lives have been restricted and it is hard to explain to them why. Eventually, as parents, we start to run out of ideas of things to do entertain our kids and ourselves. When this happens, what else can we do?
See below for some ideas which concentrate on practical, life lessons they can learn. If you have any more ideas, please leave a comment at the bottom of this article and share your tips. As parents, we can never have too many ideas!
Does your child have an interest in another country - perhaps where a family member lives or somewhere they have been? After reading a book on Japan, my daughter has been interested in everything Japanese. To keep that interest going further, we have learnt how to do origami, drawn anime-style pictures, tried our hand at calligraphy, made our own sushi rolls, watched Pokemon on 9Now and coloured in traditional Japanese pictures. There are also thousands of YouTube videos online to teach children the basics of the Japanese language. Why stop at one day, when you can immerse yourself in another culture for a whole week!
2/ Learn How to Relax
When there isn't a world-wide pandemic, children have busy lives. They may go to daycare, school, after-school sport, school holiday activities, play dates with their friends, birthday parties, help you with the food shopping and run around with their siblings. This period of time is a good time to simply learn how to relax.
Why not listen to some relaxing music for one hour each afternoon? It is a good opportunity for you all to slow down and practice self-care. This is our favourite relaxation music, below. Depending on your child's age, this could be closing their eyes for a nap, quietly playing with LEGO, reading a book, drawing or having a rest. If you are relaxing too, why not lie together and have a cuddle. When your child looks back on this time, they may not remember the virus, but they will remember this extra time with you.
3/ Learn to Cook
While you are spending so much time at home, why not teach your kids some cooking basics. Start with something easy, such as a cake mix box, and then proceed to harder recipes. I have found that this has been helpful in teaching my daughter about measurements - grams, cups, tablespoons and teaspoons. It is also a learning activity about fractions for 1/2, 1/4 and 1/3 cups of ingredients. Although there are parts of cooking that an adult has to do for safety, it is an activity that gives children confidence in themselves and pride when they get to eat their creations at the end!
It is hard to imagine, but self-isolation is a good opportunity to learn a new sport - with many dance lessons, gymnastic classes and trampolining tutorials available online. Alternatively, did your child have a sporting interest before we started self-isolating? Then try and promote the skills that they need for that sport. For example, if they love tennis, find an area around your garden or driveway where they can hit a ball against the wall and practice their swing. You could also buy a totem tennis set online or if you have the budget, buy a Wii and play the tennis games.
5/ Learn How To Do Chores
Although doing chores isn't high on the list of things that kids usually like to do, it is a good way to keep them busy, teach them new skills, make your life easier and encourage them to earn their own pocket money. Try and give them jobs that they may be interested in - if they prefer to be outside, then they could wash the car, dust for cobwebs, weed the garden, water the plants or help organise the garage. If they have a pet, ask them to clean out a cage or feed their pet each morning. If they take ownership of that chore, it also teaches them about being responsible and accountable. Who knows, they may even enjoy it!
Other things that kids can learn during this period is to tie their own shoelaces, learn how to plait hair, investigate the insects that live in their garden, plant seeds and watch them grow, learn how to type (depending on their age), make crafts from recycled materials, learn a new board game, learn how to sew and learn how to think creatively when playing. This is also a time to appreciate and feel grateful for what we have. We have time to slow down and enjoy the simple pleasures in life, such as the first bud on a plant or the smell of biscuits in the oven.
We are learning all the time and this period of time is no different - for both adults and children alike. Let's look for the silver lining and learn something new in 2020!
Learn how to think creatively by making crafts from recycled items from around your home.