Keep your kids occupied this lockdown
As England and Scotland enter a new lockdown, children are unable to go to school and parents may be wondering how to keep them occupied and engaged while they work from home.
Leon Hady, who runs free parenting support guides on his home school education site Guide Education, suggests kicking off the day with movement and playtimes.
"Especially with young children, it is important to get movement rolling as soon as possible in the day," he says. "The benefits to the body are plentiful but walks might not always be ideal, thanks to winter, so it's important to get these three body movement ideas going whenever you can. These 5-10 minute mini-playtimes can help get your child more focused."
He has come up with the following activities:
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1. The classic game of 'Simon Says': get the kids into positions of stretch and jumping, touching toes etc and make it a competition if you have more than one child to up the ante - if you are parenting alone, jump on a call or Zoom with another friend or family member turned 'Simon' who can then instruct various items and you can participate alongside your child - winning and losing at different times to get them motivated and moving.
2. Being animals - this is a little more involved, but just as fun. Take turns with your child in doing physical animal impressions, wriggling, jumping, shaking, in different exaggerations of animal bodies. Make sure you are incorporating an out of 10 grade at the end so your child can 'rate' how you did and you can feign delight or shock, again you'd have got them up and moving and are building a relationship.
3. Last lockdown, to calm my youngest, who wanted to play computer games, while that was off the cards, I struck a warm-up deal - I would play the game and he could act out what was going on. We picked Mario and Donkey Kong games where he would emulate running, jumping, throwing and I would be providing fast-paced instruction in line with the game actions. This ended up being the child equivalent of a HIIT workout! A great start to the day, giving him a little computer character fix he wanted.
Leon also suggests other activities such as making lists, playing rhyming games and making stories, or reading a play.