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
- Extreme marble runs. This activity has the benefit of challenging your little engineers and you will want to get involved too. Check out this example which is the best one I have seen!! Lemonade marble run
- The official NASA website has a whole host of activities for little kids aka your budding astronaut
- Glasgow Science Centre is running live online lessons for age 3+ at 10am. Their videos are then uploaded to YouTube I you miss it.
Mindfulness for kids
Especially in times of worry, here are two great resources to nurture calm and reduce anxiety.
- Cosmic Kids Yoga – active, story yoga on YouTube (supervise young children)
- Headspace – activities and meditation for young children (5 and under, 6-8 and 9-12)
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.
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!
- Virtual tours of the Louvre including Egyptian Collections (flash player needed)
- Visit the National Museum of National History from your own kitchen table! Dinosaurs & fossils in abundance!
- Watch a posh ballet without spending a penny. My little girl loved Sleeping Beauty last night (and then danced ‘gracefully’ round my bedroom for 20 minutes!). The Moscow’s Bolshoi is live-streaming shows for free!
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.