Family togetherness brought about by a pandemic may be one of the only silver linings of this stressful time. After all, between work schedules, school, extra-curricular activities and homework, it’s challenging for most modern families to find any family time. But while school has been put on hiatus, and we are all safe at home, unstimulated kids can become bored quickly, making playing video games and streaming videos that much more tempting.
The key to dealing with no school during this unstructured together time is to shift the teaching paradigm to include new ways of learning to keep kids engaged and occupied – whatever their age. Here are some easy ways to start.
Read and learn
Declare one hour before bedtime as reading time – it’s a great way to wind down at the end of the day, while expanding the brain and igniting imagination. No reading material? Book stores and Amazon deliver. Make choosing books an activity all its own.
Channel your inner mad scientist
Keep little ones engaged with easy science experiments. The internet is full of science experiments that get things to change colours, bubble, fizz and even send up puffs of smoke using simple ingredients from your pantry. Head online and plan a few “experiments” each day. You can turn this into a family event by helping your little ones conduct these experiments safely.
Explore the world
Assign kids a country to research and have them learn how others live, dress, and what they eat. Then have them plan out a meal around this culture. Use an online delivery service to get the ingredients you need, then head to the kitchen and cook it together.
Don’t forget that learning can be creative too – especially for little ones. Playdough, paper mache, lego, beads, baking and painting can stimulate young minds in a different way. Head online for all kinds of ideas and to order any materials you might need.
Learn a language.
Learn a second language as a family. There are language apps that turn learning languages like French, Italian, Portuguese, Spanish into a game.
Tap into the power of puzzles
Age appropriate word searches, mazes, crosswords and sudoku can keep kids occupied — not to mention brains active! Head online and then print off a bunch – turn it into a family-friendly competition!
Combat the “bored” with board games
Dig out the Monopoly, Scrabble, Trivial Pursuit, checkers, dominoes or other board game you have tucked away, and remind yourself how learning can be fun. Monopoly can help keep math skills active, Scrabble is great for vocabulary and spelling, Trivial Pursuit helps boost all-round knowledge, and checkers and dominoes can help teach strategy.
Tapping into some of these ideas can keep kids’ learning without even realizing they’re learning. Best of all, it will keep the kids occupied so that working-from-home-parents can actually get a bit of work done.
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