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Fun home activities for kids

Unusual lockdown kids activities!

We are living in unprecedented times. It is very easy to become anxious over the huge changes which are impacting our lives as we go into lockdown due to the threat of COVID-19.

However, I am choosing to focus my energy on things I can control. It is going to be a long old road from what I can gather and I want my children’s experience during this period to be a positive one. We need to ensure that our kids continue to learn and grow despite the lockdown but also that they keep their spirits up!

Personally, I have had to temporarily suspend all my kids’ language classes which was very stressful to start with but I am trying to parent by example and show resilience in the face of adversity by channelling my energy elsewhere. I have moved part of my programme online so kids can learn French and Spanish at home via Music & Movement (more info later) and now I can concentrate on my own children.

This may be one of the biggest parenting hurdles we face in our lifetime, however, I refuse to feel guilt that part of me is looking forward to being able to spend time with my children; huddled and, hopefully safe, in our own little world.

Life-skills and entertainment!

The good news is that there are lots of online resources to keep us occupied! These include new services which have cropped up in the last couple of weeks as companies rise to the challenge of moving online. These include screen-based activities (let’s face it, we will need screens over the next few weeks) but also websites with ideas to take offline.

However, is it getting to a stage where we are potentially overwhelmed with options? With that in mind, I have spent this morning digging around and selecting some key activities for my kids this week.

I am focusing on activities which will make the kids laugh and live in the moment but also enhance their life-skills and knowledge. If it ticks both those boxes then they go on the list!

So here we go, perhaps there my be some ideas for your family to survive the lockdown but with a smile on your face…

Unusual kids lockdown activities

STEM activities
Mindfulness for kids

Especially in times of worry, here are two great resources to nurture calm and reduce anxiety.

Learn a new language

Languages are one of those things on everyones bucket list but we often don’t find the time. Well now could be perfect!

  • Mini Languages – online and offline learning in French and Spanish. Sign-up to access a series of video workshops in your chosen language plus MP3 downloads and activity sheets for offline learning. Videos encourage interaction, movement and singing and videos are not hosted on YouTube so you know your children are safe and away from ads.
Online Kids French Spanish

Time for life-skills

Remember before you were a parent and you had all those ideas about what you would do with your children!? Then you didn’t ever do them… Perhaps now is a good time to start!

  • Learn to knit – I have ordered a kit from Ginger Twist studios in Edinburgh (check for one local to you who are still delivering) and my older son and I are starting scarves!
  • Lean to play an instrument – we have dusted down a ukulele that we had and started practicing with this YouTube video. Is there some instrument in the house that you can let your child tinkle with?
  • Learn magic – The fab Kevin Quantum has set up Magic Lab on YouTube with a series of magic lessons for kids.
  • Learn to tie shoes, use the washing machine, tidy their toys… no link for this one! Take an extra 5 minutes when you do each chore or task to teach your child… and reduce your work load!
Art & Culture

We might be stuck in but that doesn’t mean we cannot visit some of the best museums and theatres in the world!

Socialising & Connecting

This is so important for mental health. Keep in touch with friends and family.

  • Houseparty app (other group video calls available) – Even preschoolers can have a conference call – it’s a bit mad and every talks at once but it really makes run smile to see their friends! Read about Houseparty here.
  • Grandparents – Ask a grandparent to do the evening story. They could FaceTime live or record a video. My Dad is doing a chapter a night of The Enchanted Wood. It gives me 10 minutes off and gets everyone connecting.
  • Teddies & rainbows treasure hunt – make sure that you have a teddy and a rainbow in your window and let your neighbours know to do the same via Whatsapp or Messenger. Then, when you go for your daily walk round the neighbourhood (for this not in self-isolation), take a pen and paper and tally how many you see of each.

Good luck everyone and most of all, stay safe.

Felicity x

French and Spanish kid resources

Teach your child French or Spanish online

When life throws lemons make lemonde is the best way to describe my last few weeks! I am an award-winning early years language tutor running 5-star reviewed French and Spanish sessions with my team of teachers to around 250 children a week.

With the COVID turmoil our language sessions were shut down. It was initially a bitter pill to swallow although the health of ,my clients and teachers are obviously a priority.

Next dilemma? How to keep families who come to class learning at home using the Mini Languages® Method…?

Fortunately for me I have experience making online courses and I have a great web-designer so we were able to quickly create a series of French and Spanish workshops using my data-base of material.

The upside for families? After all that work, we now have two fabulous courses for a snip of the price of my normal classes!

I am proud of my teams reaction times and we are getting excellent feedback!

Lovely videos! Thank you!

Mum to Louis age 4

Just wanted to say thank you! Ella was waving and blowing kisses at the screen yesterday!

Mum to Ella age 1

The quality of what you have produced is absolutely exceptional Felicity!

Mum to Alyn age 3

What is included?

Log-in to your own personal account to access a series of video workshops in your chosen language based on our music & movement programme. All the videos are subtitled, have some animations and use our own professional music to keep children engaged and learning!

Sneak peek!

Also included, a parent guide, a keywords resource, MP3 download area, bilingual song sheets and printable activities!

Children are encouraged to move, dance and sing! You can learn along too.

All this for only £14.50 and you can be comfortable that the videos are hosted on a kid-safe ad-free platform.

We would love to support you in your learning. We are a small company but with a big heart and LOT of experience in teaching young children. Any questions at all contact hello@minilanguages.co.uk

Felicity x

Brexit and kids

A parents guide: Is speaking English enough?

Brexit. Yep, you hoped to escape it in a children’s language blog. Sorry to get political…. I won’t labour the point for long!

During the build up to the June 2016 Brexit referendum Ukip leader Nigel Farage complained, “In many parts of England you don’t hear English spoken any more”. A 2013 programme created by the Greater London Authority meanwhile, dubbed ‘English – the Key to Integration in London’, is an initiative to ensure non-English speakers have access to the right opportunities in the nation’s capital. From xenophobic quips to worthwhile outreach, the goal remains the same; we need to focus on speaking English and only English in the UK. I mean, after all, we voted out, so we don’t need to worry about French and Spanish any more, do we?

Well, hold on there…

The Language Skills Deficit

Here is another, perspective: The UK is experiencing a ‘Language Skills Deficit’. Effectively, by being monolingual, Britons are widening our knowledge gap, affecting our ability to mix with other cultures, diminishing our opportunities for cross-border learning and, critically, damaging our future employment and business prospects.

Let me illustrate the problem:    

·         Think the UK is multilingual? Think again! We rank third in a list of least multilingual countries in the world. Only Australia and the US are ranked lower. That being said, congratulations to the 14.4% of us that do have the ability to speak more than one language!

·         One study found our inability to move beyond our native tongue is costing the British economy almost 50 BILLION pounds per year! Business growth, export, understanding foreign regulation, entering new markets and many more. “Oh, everyone speaks English though” you might think? Well, not true, and even if they did, it doesn’t mean everyone should!

·         Back to Brexit (stay with me) and it has been estimated that the most important languages once the UK leaves the EU will be Spanish, Mandarin, French, Arabic and German. Trade, culture and even international safety could be at stake in the future. Dramatic? Maybe. With good reason? Yes!

·         Singapore, The Netherlands and Switzerland – stable economies, thriving in industry for years. India, South Africa and Malaysia – emerging and advancing, taking advantage of technology to expand rapidly. These countries also have at least FOUR official languages each! Oh, and English is one of them in each case. Enough said?

Deux is better than One

This list just scratches the surface. Maybe one or two of these resonated with you. Perhaps studying in Paris, providing social media content in Dubai or exporting to Mexico City never crossed your mind? However, in an increasingly online world, there is a good chance your children will need to follow a path like this to flourish. An extra language can only help.

What next?

As a parent, you can give your children the tools today to be part of a global environment tomorrow. The world is getting smaller with every new discovery, and by being multilingual, it is easier to find your niche within it. 

Being bilingual goes a long way to improving cultural awareness and respecting differences. Diversify your child’s options in life with another language.

Interactions can build understanding, trustful relationships across borders. More than ever this is truly a required skill.

Start young. It is well-documented that learning a language from a young age creates strong transferable skills in life – listening, observation, problem-solving and critical thinking skills.

If you would like to learn more about our online French kids platform head to this post which details everything we have planned!

Then sign up here to be the first to know when the special offer launch price is live!

French Halloween Video for Kids

“Halloween arrive”

Halloween is not a traditional celebration in France but here in Scotland we love it! And it is growing in popularity in France. You may want some vocabulary to use with your little one tomorrow.

We went to visit a farm at the weekend to choose our pumpkin for Hallowe’en! Have a look what we got up to…