With schools closed for the foreseeable future to help stop the spread of COVID-19, many parents in the UK are now responsible for their children’s learning. We know how daunting learning at home can be, and we understand how it’s not always easy to stick to a school regime of Monday-Friday. That’s why it’s a great idea to build learning into everyday activities to make sure your kids are learning new things and their brains are active and engaged during this difficult period. Here’s some ways you can start incorporating learning into everyday activities today.
Whether your child is playing board games or educational video games, there’s so much out there that will help teach your child skills or test their knowledge. Playing card games can help increase number and counting skills and often require some critical thinking, whereas chess can help children work to form strategies. For language and spelling, board games such as Scrabble, Scattegories and Boggle really put these areas to the test. In fact, most board games will help improve concentration levels and usually require maths, English or general knowledge - Monopoly and Trivial Pursuit even have children editions for all the family to enjoy.
It’s inevitable that during this difficult period of time, your child is going to be using technology a little more than usual. Make this screen time beneficial by downloading some educational apps that encourage learning and fun at the same time. Our useful blog post has some fantastic choices for all subject areas.
Learning In The Kitchen
The kitchen is a wonderful place where kids can learn a whole host of different subjects and skills, so make sure you encourage them to help you out as often as you can. In fact, the learning opportunities in the kitchen are endless and you can cover everything from maths and science to reading, vocabulary and general life skills! For example, younger children can practice counting, measuring, and reading recipes, whereas older kids can work on fractions, conversions, and chemistry (from boiling points to the yeast’s reaction with sugar). It will also provide them with the opportunity to practice kitchen safety, such as holding knives and operating the oven carefully.
It’s important to try and make the most of the government daily walk allowance with your children and enjoy the great outdoors for some fresh air and family time. Being outside means there’s nature everywhere from flowers and plants, to birds, insects and other animals to observe and learn about. If you want to make daily walks a little more educational, you could make them nature walks and encourage your kids to document their observations to help practice their counting, spelling and writing skills. For some geography and science learning, you could even ask them to find different types of flowers, leaves or rocks and research what they’ve found when they get home.
Writing For Fun
Getting your kids to practice their writing regularly throughout the next few months will ensure they’re constantly improving rather than going backwards. The key to making sure they write on a regular basis is keeping it fun, light-hearted and an activity they actually want to do - not have to do. Some fun ideas include keeping a personal journal of each day for them to look back on, writing a short fictional story, or writing an online blog about something they are interested in.
Making reading an everyday activity is a fantastic way to keep learning active during this long period out of school. In fact, there’s no such thing as too much reading- it’s one of the simplest and most educationally valuable ways a child can spend their time. Let your kids read what they enjoy the most, whether that’s regular fiction or non-fiction books, picture books, magazines, graphic novels, recipes or blogs. Not only is reading great for developing comprehension skills and building vocabulary, it also supports writing abilities and builds up their general knowledge too.
There’s no such thing as ‘just’ playing - all playing is learning in some form or another. Imaginative play, such as dress-up, dolls, action figures and role play, promotes creativity and emotional, social, and language development. Other activities such as LEGO and building creations encourage STEM learning and use basic engineering and logic concepts to bring the blocks to life.
Colouring, Drawing, or Painting
Drawing, painting and colouring are great everyday activities that foster creativity as well as teach concepts like lines, shapes, colours and perspective. If you child is very artistic you could even encourage them to try out some new activities such as making origami or finding items in the garden and recycling and making an art project with them. Whatever the form of creativity, your child will be actively learning at the same time as having fun.
Gardening is a wonderful hands-on activity that helps children learn all about nature and the science behind it. Starting a mini vegetable garden from scratch or building a small flower patch can give your kids something to get involved in for the next few months. Encourage them to conduct some research on what they need to get started and what plants they want to grow before planting. Looking after their garden and watching their seeds gradually grow will teach kids all about the planting process as well as the growth process, such as how much water is needed and whether the seeds need to be in direct sunlight or sheltered.