At such a difficult time for everyone it is important that we all support one another as much as we can. As we come to terms with the enormity of what is happening we can still pull together. Keeping in touch with the parents of the children who attend your service will be greatly appreciated as parents muddle through each day doing their best to keep the children busy. We have come up with a list of various activities that you can pass onto parents who will be at home with the children for the foreseeable future.
One of the things that is greatly advised is that parents give some kind of structure to their children’s day (as well as their own). This will help the children to continue to have a routine for the day, similar to one they may have had while at school. A simple chart such as below can be either printed off or written out on a large sheet of paper and hung somewhere for the children. If required, a chart can be done for each child if there is a considerable age gap as they will have different needs. The chart can be adjusted to suit individual needs and ages but this will give a general idea.
|Sample Routine Chart for Children|
|9am||Free Play||Free Play||Free Play||Free Play||Free Play|
|9.30am||Story Time||Story Time||Story Time||Story Time||Story Time|
|10am||Outdoor Play||Outdoor Play||Outdoor Play||Outdoor Play||Outdoor Play|
|10.30am||Snack Time||Snack Time||Snack Time||Snack Time||Snack Time|
|11am||Songs/Nursery Rhymes||Songs/Nursery Rhymes||Songs/Nursery Rhymes||Songs/Nursery Rhymes||Songs/Nursery Rhymes|
|11.30am||Free Play||Free Play||Free Play||Free Play||Free Play|
|12||Arts & Crafts||Arts & Crafts||Arts & Crafts||Arts & Crafts||Arts & Crafts|
|12.30pm||Outdoor Play||Outdoor Play||Outdoor Play||Outdoor Play||Outdoor Play|
Activity Ideas to do at home: Arts and Crafts
Children love to get creative by using a range of different materials such as paint, glue, scissors, paper and cardboard to make their own special piece of work. Clear the kitchen table and cover it with an old table cloth and let the children get stuck into some arts and crafts!
- Cut and Paste: Children can find using a scissors tricky and therefore lots of practice is required to master it. Take out some old leaflets and magazines and ask the children to cut out some pictures. Use the pictures to create pretty scenes by glueing them to some paper. Using scissors is a very useful skill whilst encouraging coordination, control and strength. Make sure that the scissors used are suitable for young children.
- Recyclable Crafts: Save various recyclable waste such as plastic containers, cereal boxes and paper and put it in a large container. Put the container in the middle of the table along with various crafts supplies such as glue, sellotape, paint and markers and let the children create towers, spaceships and teddy bear dens. You can add to the box every day to keep the children engaged. They could also use yoghurt pots and milk cartons to paint and make into flower pots or pencil holders.
Activity Ideas to do at Home: Chores
There are many things the children can help with around the house. The children love having jobs to do and it doesn’t have to be boring for them.
- Laundry Sock Sorting: Lay all the socks out on a flat surface and have the children match them up. Once they have them all rolled up you can turn it into a game by putting the laundry basket on the floor and allowing them to throw the rolled up socks into the basket. Once they have got all the socks into the basket they can then pretend they are delivery people by bringing the socks to the drawers where they belong in each bedroom.
- Meal Times: Get the children involved at mealtime. Allowing them to help encourages them to be independent and teaches them basic life skills that they will bring with them into adulthood. Tell the children that it’s their own restaurant or coffee shop, let them name the restaurant and make place names and place mats for it. When they have ownership they will naturally want to become more involved. They can set and clear the table, put dishes in the sink or dishwasher, dry dishes and put them back in the cupboards, sweep up any small messes and wipe down tables and counters. Make sure adults always carry the glass, breakable and hot dishes. They will always need supervision in the kitchen at a young age.
- Recycling: Encourage the children to recycle by allowing them to be in charge of all recyclables. Let them sort out the plastics and paper and bring it out to the green bin. They can decide if there is anything from the recyclables that they can reuse for Arts and Craft time. This is a great way to teach children what can and cannot be recycled and what can be re-used elsewhere.
- Room Tidy: The children can make their beds and tidy their toys away. It doesn’t have to be a chore if you make it fun by; playing some music, setting a timer to beat the clock or creating a friendly competition with their siblings.
Activity Ideas to do at Home: In The Garden
If children have space to go outside while ensuring ‘social distancing’ then you should absolutely include it in their everyday routine, weather permitting of course!
- Grow Your Own Garden: Get planting and growing in your garden. This can be as simple as planting some sunflower seeds to a bigger plot with vegetables. Whatever the planted items are, it will encourage the children to get well needed fresh air and, having something to look after everyday with water and feed, will encourage them out everyday. For little ones make sure to look at the seed growing times as they won’t be able to wait months for their plants to grow! If you are living in an apartment or don’t have a space to grow outside then you can choose to create a window box with herbs such as basil and watercress and even some tomatoes.
- Scavenger Hunt: A great way to get the children out in the garden is to send them on a treasure or scavenger hunt. Place a number of agreed items around the garden and tell them to go find them. If it helps you can put coloured stickers on the items so each child will have their own number of items to collect that are marked a certain colour. This can avoid the older children collecting everything too quickly and leaving nothing for the young children to collect.
- Create a Bug and Insect Hotel: Use old pieces of wood, sticks and stones to create a beautiful hotel for the garden insects. Not only will this be a great feature in your garden but it will protect many insects. The children can check on it everyday, adding new pieces to it and checking for new residents!
- Rock Decorations: Collect some smooth rocks and let the children paint them in the garden. Once dried they can be used to decorate flower beds or used for seed markers.
- Obstacle Course: Set up an obstacle course in the garden using toys such as hoola hoops, skipping ropes, tunnels, boxes and whatever else you have to hand in the garden. This will keep the children active so make sure to include activities so they will have to jump, skip, crawl, hop etc. Have the children walk sideways and backwards to change things up and encourage their gross motor skills.