News about COVID-19 is hitting closer to home with every passing day, and social distancing has become the need of the hour.
Now that the classes are suspended and children are staying in, a new question stares in the face of parents: how to engage the children who are bubbling with energy, but cannot go out and play?
Here are a few ideas that we compiled from all the resources we use to homeschool our children.
1. Educate your kids about the pandemic
Weave stories of how it spreads from 1 to 5 to 500 and what happens when you contract the virus. Tell them to become a superhero – save others by staying away, covering their mouth, and not touching the face.
2. Plan your day well
Break it into zones of 1.5 hours each (6 zones). Keep a few zones of physical activity.
Things that can fit are a board game zone, a digital app-based games zone, DIY experiments & craft zone, hide & seek game zone, book reading zone etc. There are tons of resources online, choose according to your kid’s interests and inclinations.
3. It doesn’t have to be all study and no play
Have a child with a green thumb? Encourage them to build a herb garden. Or just tinker/upcycle household junk.
Whatever your child’s interest may be, there’s a DIY blog or a channel for everything. Besides boosting motor skills, DIY activities build STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) skills, and teach kids to think laterally.
4. Let your kids socialise with their peers
Plan fun activities over video call with their peers to give them time to socialise. Making study groups can be a great way to make your kids socialise and decrease the feeling of isolation.
Create an activity plan with parents of their peers so that they can do activities together, over video calls – for example, quizzes, DIY activities or reading stories.
5. Make use of technology (yes, you heard us right!)
While it is essential to limit your kid’s screen activity, don’t forget that – if done right – it can be a great way to engage your child.
Some educational apps and toys can be a great way to supplement your curriculum and school work.
For STEAM activities, you can check out the Shifu Plugo STEM learning system – it comes in a range of Math, Vocabulary, Music, and Engineering to choose from.
6. Board games for the win!
Go old school and play board games with your children. Snakes and ladders, chess, ludo – the options are endless.
Board games train little minds to think strategically, in a bid to outwit the opponent. Besides, they demand focus and quick-thinking, thus helping the kids develop a nimble mind.
7. Musical instruments for the inner Beethoven
If playing with pawns and knights aren’t your children’s cup of tea, plucking strings might do the trick.
Look to toys that teach instruments like the piano or the guitar, without you needing to own the instrument physically. And when your child learns the keyboard, it isn’t just music skills they’re developing, but also cognitive intelligence and memory!
8. Stories make everything better
Encourage kids to read a lot – storybooks, fiction novels, etc.
Reading improves vocabulary and grammar. It also makes them better thinkers and boosts creativity and imagination. Much needed skills!
9. Family bonding time activities, FUN!
Let’s be honest – none of us are used to being together all the time. Find ways to tire yourselves out while also bonding with each other – create an exercise routine together, bake some fancy desserts, have a loud dance party, or simply play board games together! Let out the steam.
10. Lastly, don’t forget to reward them!
The woefully short attention span of children is no secret. Engage them through a daily reward system (using an app).
Plan a learn+play schedule and incentivise them for sticking to the calendar, practising good habits or learning something new.
Try to not be too hard on them (remember, they are having a difficult time too). Save your interventions for when they really need them!
Parents, welcome to the homeschool club! Remember to not jump into the school curriculum right away. Use this time to adjust, reflect, and spend quality time as a family together.
Vivek & Dinesh