We just finished a great week of exploring local arts and education spots for spring break, only to find out spring break has been extended by two weeks due to COVID-19. In addition, many places are closed to lower chances of community spread and rain is in the forecast for the entire week. What to do with the kids at home to keep them occupied?
Ideally, I would take the kids outside to play as exercise is a great way to release endorphins and reduce stress. However, with the rain we will be resorting to inside play. Some fun things to do is have a running in place contest to see who can run for the longest time. If you run around the room, then you are out. Another idea is simple jumping jacks, push-ups, and sit-ups. Also, doing yoga or stretching does not take up a lot of space. There are many kid yoga videos posted on YouTube.
Once the exercise routine is complete, have your kids compose art. Be creative with the materials. Use recycled items to create sculptures. Get some string and a hanger to make a mobile. If you have some old clothes, cut them into stripes to create a weaving. Music is another form of art, so have a lip-syncing contest or play name that song.
Now is also a wonderful time to work on penmanship. There are many websites which have the dotted letters for you child to trace or even three lined paper to practice handwriting. Writing letters to family members or friends is another way to practice penmanship, plus it gives your child and authentic audience to serve as a motivation to write neatly.
If you feel the need to have some academic lessons, start with the backpack. Clean out the papers and have your child correct any answer which was incorrect. Flip the paper over the other side and have him/her complete more problems of the same type which you create. Or, you use the back of the worksheets as doodling paper for your child. Remember all those spelling lists which you studied each week? Now would be a good time to bring those out to see if your child retained the ability to spell the words. Finally, somewhere in the backpack is a library book or two. Have your child read aloud and record themselves reading. Once they have finished, let your child listen to the recording to rate how well the read at the proper pace, used punctuation, and added expression.
Exhausted the backpack, then time for some creative household problem solving. Have your child measure the length and width of a room in the home. No worries if you do not own a long tape measure, have your child problem solve how to determine those measurements using objects you do have. Maybe it will be putting an object, such as a pair of jeans, end to end in order to find the length of the room. This is great for a conversation on non-standard measuring units as well as converting a non-standard object to a standard unit of measure, such as a ruler. Once the measurements are determined, then area of the room can be calculated. Using the area, your child can determine how much carpet, tile, or hardwood it would take to cover the floor. Going a step further, go online to find advertisements for the different flooring types and the cost to renovate the flooring.
Make learning fun over the next couple of weeks while you are home, life is stressful enough right now. Take advantage of the sunshine to get out and play. Use this time to let kids be kids.