Qualified Primary School Teacher, headmistress of a nursery school in London and the founder of London’s Little Thinkers, Rebecca Dooley on how to keep your kids busy if you're in isolation...
Throughout this Coronavirus chaos we, at London’s Little Thinkers, are here to help you to keep your children learning and entertained throughout extended periods of time at home. If your child’s school does (or has) closed then they will have provided your child with age-appropriate set learning from their curriculum but we are here to offer fun, yet educational, ideas for you and your child in between their set school work.
Firstly, I want to offer our basic TOP TIPS:
Hand washing is going to be your Little Thinker’s best friend! Remind your child to sing ‘Happy Birthday’ twice or make up your own handwashing song which lasts for 20 seconds! Remember to moisturise their hands regularly. Tom Fletcher has shared a fantastic idea on Instagram which shows children why using soap and water is so important – see here.
Remind your Little Thinker to ‘catch their cough or sneeze’ into a tissue and throw it away. If they don’t have a tissue then catch into their elbow. Always wash hands afterwards.
Set an example: Your child will be looking up to you throughout this coronavirus chaos. Try to remain calm, honest, reassuring and show them how you maintain the upmost personal hygiene. Do not become panicky but make it fun – e.g. putting magic soap (hand sanitiser), sing songs when washing hands etc.
Explain clearly and monitor what they see on TV/newspapers to avoid them seeing alarmist information. Be honest, be accurate but also age-appropriate. Talk about feelings and reassure your child if they are feeling anxious. For older children show them visual information which clearly highlights the truth and focus on how we can help ourselves to stay safe.
Keep routines and life as normal as you can, where possible and safe to do so. If they seem to have noticed a change then explain to them why some routines have been adapted e.g. not shaking hands at Nursery/School.
Encourage children not to touch their face or if you see them picking their nose explain why this is not hygienic (for little ones say ‘there is no treasure up there’) and buy them some fun tissues to use instead.
We will be regularly sharing ideas on our social media to keep your Little Thinkers entertained but here are some of our favourite ideas and themes to keep you going.
Gross Motor Skills:
Apart from the common ways to develop children’s gross motor skills e.g. climbing a tree, going to the park, riding bikes etc, here are a few indoor ideas for up your sleeve.
Throwing beanbags e.g. up the stairs and see how far they can throw it for example 1 step, 5 steps.
Make an obstacle course that encourages your child to jump (e.g. like a kangaroo), crawl (e.g. like a badger), hop (like a rabbit).
Hopscotch (encourage your child to spot the different numbers)
Football/Practise catching/kicking/throwing a ball
Cosmic Yoga online
Egg and spoon races and indoor balloon tennis!
Cover a wall with backing paper and allow your child to draw big drawings on it by reaching up high and squatting down low.
Fine Motor Skills:
During school/Nursery children are continuously developing their fine motor skills and dexterity so here are a few of our favourite ‘at home’ ways to continue this.
Cook with your child: the kneading, rolling, pinching, stirring etc will all help to develop stronger fine motor skills. Remember to wear gloves or wash hands thoroughly.
Buy sewing kits.
Make playdough or slime – see recipe here.
Use pipettes to make potions!
Buy Lego kits and work with your child to build the item!
Lingumi (for aged 2-5) Sets of learning and speech recognition games and video-based games to help with a child’s grammar and getting them speaking their first words early on.
Kaligo (For children aged 3-5): The first digital handwriting exercise book using a stylus and tablet, built using AI and co-created with teachers, occupational therapists and neuroscientists
NHS Change 4Life Activities
CBBC – Numeracy & Little Learners
Zumba Kids Routine
Teach your Monster how to read – here.
Alpha Blocks & Number Blocks – here.
Twinkl are offering parents 1 month free – use the code PARENTSTWINKLHELPS
KIWI – Imaginative exploration subscription
WHIRLI – Toy subscription
WILLOW & WILD – Nature subscription
And don’t forget to spend quality time READING, TALKING & PROMOTING INDEPENDENCE every day. Most importantly allow your Little Thinker to PLAY and use their IMAGINATION.
Go to London’s Little Thinkers