Coping with the COVID-19 lockdown: home-learning ideas
By Chloe Webster & Bridgit Brown, Pebbles Childcare
These are such challenging times for us all. For many families with children, this means being at home together day in, day out, whilst juggling working from home and home-education. Such testing times are understandably putting parents under strain.
At Pebbles Childcare, just like every other childcarer, we are trained to think about how best to support and adapt children’s learning whilst simultaneously following the Early Years Foundation Stage curriculum to enable children to develop holistically. It’s really important that parents don’t put extra stress on themselves by trying to replicate and provide the full range of play and learning experiences that children are used to in their early years settings.
Instead, let’s put the worry and the pressure to one side and focus on enjoying this time with our children and making it as much fun as possible for them. As long as you are having fun and playing together, you can be sure that children will develop a multitude of new skills.
Here are some of the favourite activities that we use here at Pebbles Childcare that you could try at home – they are easy to set up and don’t require any special resources.
We hope you enjoy trying them together. At the end of the day, we will never get this time with our children back. Any time spent with your child during this period - sharing a story, going for a walk or enjoying any activity together are learning experiences and will make treasured memories for both you and your child.
For children under two
Ready, steady, splash
One of our favourite activities for children under two is water play. It is always a hit with this age group, whatever the weather and can be adapted to suit your indoor or outdoor space. It can be done on a larger or smaller scale depending on the resources and space you have available.
Children of this age just adore exploring water freely; add bath toys, jugs, cups, bowls, spoons, buckets – anything that allows them to fill, empty, transport and explore cause/effect – if doing indoors, make sure you have plenty of towels to hand!
What we love about it: We particularly like this activity because it’s easily accessible for everyone and also the possibilities to develop and extend this to reflect the individual child’s needs and interests are endless. For example; for a child who loves the beach; add sand and shells to create their own beach scene. A Peppa Pig-obsessed child will love pink food colouring (or paint!) added to the water and their favourite Peppa Pig figures and it also really allows their imagination, language and concentration to begin to develop.
For children 2-4
For our older children, as they are developing their independence and sense of responsibility, we have found that they love incorporating mark-making and early writing into their play whether it be indoor or out. For each child in our setting we set them all up with a ‘writing book’, a small notepad with their name and picture on the front, which they can freely access whenever they like to mark-make and write down their important information!
What we love about it: We believe this is a really beneficial opportunity for this age group as not only does it support those early writing skills, but also encourages children to ascribe meanings to marks and begin to understanding that information can be relayed and recorded in print/writing.
Guttering and Balls
Any activity involving Guttering and Balls is a firm favourite with our children. If you have anything you can makeshift guttering/ramps and stands from; this offers up countless opportunities for problem-solving, teamwork (especially important for those siblings!) and critical thinking. Working together, children can construct a giant marble run to ensure that there are no breaks in the run to allow the balls to run freely to the end of the track!
What we love about it: We adore this activity because it works brilliantly with water and cars too – lots of opportunities to develop this and also will hold their concentration for a very long time!
For school-aged children
Potion Station fun
We also care for school-aged children during the school holidays and provide after-school care too. For children of this age, by far our most well-received activity is the ‘Potion Station’ – and everything you need is in your kitchen cupboards!
We provide children with an area full of a range of materials and substances; vinegar, lemon juice, salt, sugar, bicarbonate of soda, cream of tartar, food colouring and a range of receptacles, jars, spoons, jugs of water and allow them to freely combine and explore the substances to create a potion.
What we love about it: We love this activity because it engages the children for an extended period of time whilst also encouraging scientific investigations and reasoning, problem solving, measuring, understanding and critical thinking – it’s even better when they work out they can combine certain ingredients to cause a reaction!