If there’s one thing that takes up a huge chunk of our child’s time every day, it’s school. School isn’t only a place designed for academic learning. It’s a place that children love because they get to have fun while learning. They get to play games, play with their classmates, and build friendships. But what happens during school closures?
As much as we hate it, certain things are out of our control. Times of crisis or a state of emergency may require school closures. And during these times, it isn’t enough to just let the kids stay glued to their video game console or spend countless hours watching TV.
We need to keep a wide variety of options in our arsenal to make sure that our kids are occupied and entertained in ways that are fruitful and productive.
If you’ve been running out of ideas, don’t worry. Here are some helpful ways to keep your children occupied during extended school closures.
Dedicate time for play
One of the things kids love about not going to school is of course, playtime! During the school closure, be sure to carve out time for child-led play as this is a perfect opportunity for them to nurture their creativity, imagination, and problem-solving skills. Let them be in charge of their own playtime. If they want to build, invent, and create their own playtime stories, let them. This is when a tremendous amount of learning takes place.
In their daily schedule, make sure they spend an average of 30 minutes for child-led play. The kind of toys they should be provided may depend on their age and developmental stage. Be sure the toys aren’t broken. Weed out the broken ones or they won’t be able to enjoy a good play. And because play is a child’s job, you may get invited to participate but limit your involvement unless you are invited.
Visit national parks or zoos (virtually)
Thanks to the internet, you can take your little one for an exciting trip to the wild, to a zoo, or any national park without leaving home! There are live safari tours through South Africa which are accessible at the tips of your fingers. WildEarth.tv is one of those exciting websites you can try.
Also, check with your local zoos or national parks if they have live streaming services set up on their sites so you can bring your child on virtual tours. This would be an excellent use of their screen time as it not only keeps them entertained, but offers good learning opportunities as well.
Get busy with arts and crafts
Extended school closures provide excellent opportunities for kids to channel their inner artist. Let them unlock new creative skills by letting them engage in arts and crafts. Provide them with coloring books, paint, crayons, and other kid-friendly materials for their art session at home. They can also make use of recycled materials for their beautiful masterpiece. Make sure they are supervised when using scissors and other sharp tools.
Train them in the kitchen
Having little kids doesn’t mean you can’t get them to help out in the kitchen. Consider assigning them simple kitchen-related tasks such as meal planning or handing you the ingredients and tools when you’re cooking. (Just like nurses do for surgeons in the operating room.)
If your child is a bit older and able to follow more complex instructions, the school closure might be a perfect time to train them on some of the basics of cooking. Show them how things are done and let them try some steps with your supervision. Then, look for kid-friendly recipes and ideas online and have them try creating a meal for the family. Who knows, your child might be the next Masterchef!
Dedicate more time for reading
There’s no better time to let your little one develop a penchant for reading than now! Beside the fact that reading is fun, it can also benefit your child in many different ways. It helps improve concentration and focus. It’s good exercise for the brain. It fosters a child’s imagination and creativity, and more importantly, it helps them perform better in school!
Encourage your child to fall in love with reading by providing them with fun and exciting reading materials. Not only is this an excellent learning activity. It’s also a good way to curb too much screen time.
Extended school closures may be unpredictable and uncontrollable. But worry not! There are several ways to keep your little one productively entertained and distracted while they’re displaced from school.
For more helpful parenting tips and resources or if you’re looking for the best preschool for your little one, please feel free to visit Creative Learning Academy.