Activities with Children

During your child’s time away from school:

Calling a family meeting is important to set ground rules and expectations for the duration of this situation.

Ask all to participate and look into what is their understanding of the situation, what this means and why are we doing this…it will give everyone a sense of purpose and meaning.

Validate emotions as children may feel like things are not fair.

Write together a poster with ground rules, decide on the ground rules together, like how many hours of devices and games for example, chores, cooking and ask everyone’s contribution to family household.

Why not take this opportunity to reorganise drawers, desks, cupboards and do a clear out or even redecorate a room, providing you have everything you need.

Having a calendar or a schedule outlining different activities will help create a routine and establish predictability.

It can be done visually using colour coded signs.

Although not necessarily needing to be equally disperse across the day, deciding on a schedule together will help family functioning.

When discussing different activities, it is important to ensure that all family members’ needs are met.

For younger children, this may need play and unstructured times, as for older children, it may mean learning online with structured educational activities set by the school.

Five suggested activities to complete at home:

It is important that children feel they have an allocated space in the house where they can concentrate and focus on learning. It does not have to be a big space and can even be a shared space. It is more about how we use this space and what we do when we are learning. Setting up some ground rules for this will also be helpful. With a schedule, allocate time to learning in short and fruitful bursts, it is more about the quality and the positive experience of learning rather the quantity and speed at which we do these learning tasks. When you are noticing that learning is no longer fruitful, have a short break, a snack, a glass of water, some movement breaks. Family learning can be rich as we can all learn together and share understanding, problem-solving and information.

Cooking is great as it also includes literacy and numeracy tasks such as reading recipe or counting and measuring ingredients. Involving children in cooking can be fun and full of joy as they are involved in producing a tangible product at the end. You can also ask the children to finish off the cookies, cake, etc. by decorating them, lots of time can be spent on this.

These activities tend to be calming as the brain focuses on putting things together rather than verbal or emotional demanding tasks. Offering these activities in the house will be of benefit to everyone as it will help all involved to be grounded and calm. You can leave a puzzle out of the kitchen table, put a tablecloth over it and take it off when you are wanting to complete the puzzle. Lego is great activity to do together.

It is important to vary activities, like a carousel. We start with one and move on to the next. When activities are designed to promote different areas of development, children will find this more engaging than if it is tapping in the same type of skills so it is important to also have something creative – a fun project you will enjoy doing together.

Don’t forget to move and for the full family to move. You can set up an obstacle course in the garden for example. This can be done using household items like a skipping rope, bottles, a ball. Like do 10 jumps, 10 skips, 10 hoops in the basketball hoop, knock 3 bottles down, etc. You can set up a challenge and time them. Children can invent it but will also need support to think about it. Fine motor skills gym trails can also be helpful such as having lots of different activities promoting finger movement like threading, developing pincer grip activities. Walking the dog or playing with an animal can also be part of the routine.

With thanks to Warrington Borough Council March 2020