Whoever would have thought we would be living in such uncertain times as we are today? I certainly didn’t!
Being in national lockdown has changed so much for most of us, especially our children. Schools have been closed for quite a few weeks now. At first, I found the thought of all this time at home very daunting! What can I do with 2 children at home for 4 weeks or more? How am I going to entertain them and keep my sanity?
As parents, we have had the additional stress of home teaching. I want to create the feeling of a holiday and leave the pressure of teaching for now. Here are a few ideas to keep the kids entertained, possibly learn a few things, while keeping it fun and light-hearted at the same time. I have had to improvise with a few of the materials and use what we have at home.
Benefits of French knitting or any knitting in general are:
- Works both sides of the brain – logic and creativity
- Improves fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination
- Encourage focus and creativity
- It helps to teach kids (and adults) patience and how to work through challenges
- Is a meditative action, causing knitters to experience the same “flow” as those who practice yoga
- Boosts problem-solving skills
- Reduces stress and anxiety
- Gives a sense of pride and achievement
French Knitting formed part of a Unit of Inquiry we were doing at school. I didn’t expect it to take off as fast as it did, but it quickly became a new challenge and the new “craze” for all Standard Fours.
Children who normally choose to play soccer or netball at break time were opting to take some yarn out and knit with their friends. It became a competition on who could knit the most, who had the most colours, who’s knitting was the longest. Watching my Standard Fours thrive off this activity made me want to try it at home with my two children aged 5 and 7.
It is pretty simple and once they have the hang of it, they can pretty much knit independently.
What you need
- Toilet Paper roll
- 4 craft sticks/ popsicle sticks
- Yarn or wool
Step 1– Tape or glue 4 popsicle sticks around the toilet paper roll leaving about 2-3cm hanging off the top.
Step 2– Place one end of the wool down the middle of the toilet paper roll and get the snake started.
This was a fun activity that requires some patience as it takes 5-10 minutes to make but prob 7-10 days to grow, which feels like a perfect idea during the lockdown. The key is to give them lots of time to grow.
As the water evaporates, sugar crystals form on the sticks. You can add food colouring to the mixture. It’s simple, fun and safe.
Each morning my children rush to the kitchen to check the growth of their crystals, the best part is it’s edible! We have already had a few sneaky little tasters.
What you need.
- Kebab Sticks
- 3 cups of sugar
- 1 cup of boiling water.
Add the boiling water to the sugar, stir and let the sugar dissolve. If needed put the solution on the stove or in the microwave to make sure the sugar has dissolved. Let the solution cool a little. Then pour it into glasses, add the sticks and it’s ready to start growing. Put them in a sunny spot to help the evaporation process go a bit faster.
Word Hunt or Multiplication Fact Hunt
I have been struggling to get my youngest to practice his reading words at home since schools have closed. Pretty ironic considering my profession!
I decided to try to make it a game as he’s super competitive. This way he is reading and he can get points! The first game we played was to shoot your words (thank you to a random Facebook pop up) this was a great success.
What I did was write his words out onto paper and tape them to the wall, he had to point to a word, say it and shoot it with his Nerf Gun. If he got it right, he kept the flashcard.
The next day I decided to hide the words around the house. We went on a hunt to find his words. Rules were similar, you say it you keep it. This was such fun and we have ended up playing it every day!
For older children, you could use multiplication facts on flashcards.
This has to be my eldest’s favourite experiment! This experiment is a perfect at-home science experiment as you will already have all the needed items in your kitchen. Any type of chemical reaction is fun to watch and makes for great hands-on learning!
The milk has fats and the dishwashing liquid has lipophiles (things which love fats) so they attract. You wouldn’t see this without the food colouring!
What you need:
- Full cream milk in a shallow bowl
- Food colouring (as many colours as you wish)
- A drop of dishwashing liquid
Pour some milk into your shallow dish and then add drops of food colouring.
In the centre of the milk and food colouring mixture add a drop or two of dishwashing liquid.
This is when the magic happens! It’s a crowd-pleaser!
Using no hands, only blowing, who can get the ball through the playdough maze? You could use a straw too.
Giant Noughts and Crosses
This works perfectly with paper plates, if you don’t have enough at home pieces of paper would work well too.
So far, we have had lots of fun at home! I try to stick to one activity a day and encourage as much unstructured play as possible. We have also spent many hours playing with Lego, puzzles, playdough and building forts in the garden.