Hands up who has no idea how they will cope for the next ( number as yet undisclosed) few weeks? I am facing the prospect of school closures with massively mixed feelings. All I have wanted since Moose started school last year was just a little more time with him. I have missed our days together so much.
However, I also have to think practically. I am lucky that I work for myself from home but I work in the wedding industry and the CofE limiting wedding gatherings to 5 people and nobody having the dosh to plan weddings for next year means I am a bit stuffed financially. I’m 99% sure you are probably in a similar boat. Buying an endless amount of toys and games is absolutely off the menu for us. Whatever we do is going to have to be either low or (preferably) no spend.
We all know that bored children equals headache stricken parents so I thought I would chuck together a few ideas to (hopefully) get us through. Obviously my ideas are based on what we have laying around (hello to my fellow hoarders, this is what we have been training for forever – not hoarders of loo roll though. You can gtfo)
- Visit the zoo from your sofa! Remember when we all watched the baby giraffe being born a while ago? Zoos still have web cams installed and you can log onto them for free. I think this will be a favourite for Moose and I am hoping we will spot an animal that we can follow for the duration of the school closures and maybe write about? The great thing is that you are not confined to UK zoos!
- Let your child be the teacher. At Christmas I bought Minecraft for our Nintendo Switch. I really don’t get the appeal but Moose LOVES it. We have agreed that if he tries his best with learning at home then sometimes we can swap roles and he can teach me how to play Minecraft. If there is something that your child loves why not do the same? If nothing else it will give you a chance to have some bonding time on their terms.
- There are a LOT of websites offering free downloadable or printable resources for learning from home. The Knight Tribe has created a great post illustrating this. I have a feeling I will keep coming back to this one!
- Get moving indoors. Moose has recently been practising yoga at school. He loves showing off the poses he has learnt and so as part of our “school day” I have decided that we should start with this. We will be using Cosmic Yoga on You Tube. Their channel is great! I have promised Moose that I will do it too and I think that starting the day like this will be really good for the both of us.
Use what you have
- Just lately Bess has developed a keen interest in sewing. We had a mini sewing machine buried in the shed and I just sorted out our airing cupboard and my wardrobe and instead of throwing out the stuff I no longer wanted, I gave it to her to play with. I can’t wait to see what she decides to do with it all. I wish I could sew and I love that she is teaching herself via You Tube and blogs!
- Go through your child’s bedroom and find all of those craft kits they got for birthdays and Christmases. If yours are anything like mine you will find a fine array of paint your own money boxes, scrapbook kits and more.
- Have your child keep a diary. It will be nice to show their teacher and classmates when they return to school.
- Create a treasure hunt using clues. You could use learning questions as clues perhaps?
- Make pasta collages. I’m kidding, who has pasta to spare right now?! But I bet you do have things you can use for crafts. Make salt dough, create street art with chalks on your patio, upcycle something old, decorate plant pots.. and if you really cannot think of a single thing then go and visit Kiddy Charts for some inspiration!
- Get the kids in the kitchen! If you happen to have baking kits then great! If not then teach them age appropriate kitchen skills. You could have your very own sous chef in the making…
- You know the phrase “jumpers for goal posts”? Well, er that! If you have an outdoor space then get out there, create a makeshift goal and have a penalty shoot out (or if you have enough children start coaching your own team)
- Create a crazy golf course using plant pots and toys.
- Time to clear out the shed. I have just remembered that we have a Swingball somewhere in the back of ours which I will definitely be digging out!
- Start planting. I know absolutely nothing about gardening but I think that we can learn together. It would be great to have a nice garden by the end of all of this that we can enjoy over the summer. Plus it is great exercise! Check out this post from Whinge Whinge Wine for some great tips for how to get started.
- If we get some nice weather you could move your learning outdoors. A makeshift outdoor classroom (Pimms for the adults is optional), create a bug hotel or a hedgehog house. Unless like us you have a dog who has decided that hedgehogs are her nemesis. Your dog is probably not as twatty as ours though so you should be good to go.
Remember what is important
- You are not a teacher, you are a parent. Be a parent first and don’t be too hard on yourself when you or your child hit the proverbial wall. Very few of us have received any kind of training for this sort of an event so a lot are winging it. There are Facebook groups out there to help. Go and look them up!
- Connect with friends. One of the worries I have about Moose missing so much school is the social factor. I am quite happy to play the hermit for weeks but he will miss his friends. I am hoping that I can organise regular video chats for him and cousins and friends.
- Have a Netflix party! I think this is quite cool. You can install it for free and it allows groups of kids, teens or in fact middle aged women to watch tv and chat together without having to leave the house!
- Write a letter. You could have them write it to a school friend or maybe someone elderly who otherwise wouldn’t have much interaction socially?
- Take some time off! School at home doesn’t have to be rigid so if your child wakes up and neither of you are in the mood to do any formal learning then delay it. Reshuffle your day and don’t feel bad about it. You are in charge! Your children probably won’t have much of a memory of why they had to be out of school but they will remember how they felt when they had this time with you. Make those memories as good as they can be but don’t feel pressure to be ON all of the time.
I hope you get something from this post but I will be adding to it as we go and if you have any suggestions then please do comment below – it takes a (virtual) village after all!
Good luck x