Lockdown Activities with Kids for the Lazy Parent
Homeschooling is a word on every parent’s lips right now. And it's one hell of a scary word.
I'm an English language tutor so you’d think this would be easy for me but far from it. I’m really struggling! I enviously scroll others' social media feeds and see posts of activity schedules on whiteboards, wholesome play activities and socially distant nature walks. This is all great stuff if you can do it but I honestly wouldn't have the energy or motivation to keep this Instaworthy lifestyle up for more than an afternoon at most.
Let me share with you some of the resources and types of activities that work for my two girls who are 6 and 8, and myself. They don’t require huge amounts of effort because, I admit it, I'm lazy....
Being cooped up with the family has forced me to mentally categorise activities into:
Peace and Quiet Activities: Ones that the kids can do alone. So that I can have a break and do my own thing. That may include online teaching, writing things like this blog or retreating to the sofa to play Plants vs Zombies 2. All important stuff.
Family Activities: Ones that we do together. To lessen that feeling of guilt as a parent.
And I try to ensure there's a balance of both each day so that I stay sane.
Peace and Quiet Activities
A lot of these include screen time - often a “dirty word” but I try to keep the content semi-educational and/or interactive. Anything to keep the kids quiet, out of my way but also entertained. You can click on the links....
Online drawing tutorials
Some wonderful children's illustrators have started YouTube channels this past month which keep my girls blissfully silent.
Rob Biddulph An internationally bestselling and multi award-winning children's author and illustrator from the UK. We love his quirky artwork.
Art for Kids Hub If your kids are into cutesy cartoons like mine are, then there are countless tutorials on this channel. Enough mermaids, unicorns, ice creams and rainbows to last a lifetime.
Storytime sessions Of course, read to your kids yourself but sometimes you just need a breather so here are a couple of online options:
The Little Angel Theatre A puppet theatre based in Islington, London. They've adapted some classic children's books into puppet performances which will entertain kids and adults alike.
Vooks This is a a streaming library of animated children's storybooks I came across a couple of weeks ago and they're offering a free first year exclusively to all school teachers and homeschool educators! Great for little ones.
Reading activities It took me awhile to find a phonics programme that not only used British English pronunciation but also grabbed my kids' attention. We've had great success with Reading Eggs and Teach Your Monster to Read. I supplement these with phonics cards but my girls enjoy the games and online quizzes. These websites do a good job turning study into playtime.
Easy baking recipes I go with recipes that require minimum effort, which the kids can get involved in but don't make too much mess.
Focaccia is great because it doesn't require kneading (which invariably leads to flour everywhere) and the girls can create their own flavour combinations. This week, we've made this Pretzel Focaccia and this classic Rosemary and Garlic version.
Multiplayer video games I dusted off my Nintendo Wii at the start of lockdown and bought a couple of second hand games off Amazon. My kids (and I) unsurprisingly love it. One tip though, to limit sisterly fights and screaming, I only allow games they play together as a pair rather than against each other. You'll thank me for it....
Weeding the garden We luckily live in a ground floor apartment so have our own little garden. We've been getting excited as the tulips bloom one by one or when we see another rosebud appear. Sometimes a walk to the park isn't possible so we get our hands dirty and see how many weeds we can search out. A fun activity that kills two birds with one stone.
Now, how about scheduling?
Well, I don't bother. I admire the parents who can get their kids to follow a timetable but I can’t. Plus, I can’t gauge how long things should last and watching the clock stresses me out. In lockdown, the less stress the better.
Instead, I sit the girls down in the morning to brainstorm some activities for the day. I get them involved in what they actually want to do. This makes my life easier and reduces any resistance later in the day.
Today, our list looked like this:
A walk to the neighbourhood park (Cancelled because of the terrible weather)
Play on the Wii
Hide + Seek at home
Study: Maths & Reading Eggs
Bake another focaccia
So, good luck. These are challenging times for all of us. But I just try to keep things simple and focus on my needs as well as my kids'. We've all got to keep sane and get through this together.