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Homeschooling was one thing, keeping the kids occupied through a fortnight of Easter holidays without any routine or school work is an altogether different ask
You thought homeschooling was bad? Now the school Easter holidays have kicked in keeping the kids occupied is likely to get a whole lot harder. Most schools sent at least some work home. And it was easier to stick to a routine with a school timetable.
It’s a bit of a mystery why schools aren’t carrying on through the holidays. Yes everyone’s worn out by the last month but pupils and teachers might benefit more from a longer break in May or the summer when we might all be allowed outside again.
In the meantime working parents are going to have to make the most of it.
In that spirit here’s some ideas for simple things to do with your kids, most tried and tested. Many might seem ideal for younger kids. But one of the interesting things to come out of this experience is that many parents are reporting older kids enjoying simple pleasures. With no peers around to impress even your surly teenager might get into baking or colouring.
Best of luck.
Although you may be spending a lot of your time in the kitchen, getting your child involved with cooking or baking is a way to make it more fun for you both. Little children in particular love baking especially knowing they’ll have a yummy sweet treat at the end! Be sure to talk them through the various different steps so they learn as they go along.
Older kids are probably in the kitchen a lot at the moment too grazing in boredom. Well get them involved in something more substantial. It’s a good time to learn some basic recipes. If their exams have been cancelled you can drop the pretence about how important A-Levels are and inform that being able to whip up a spag bol is probably more useful at college than knowing the dates of the Franco-Prussian war.
There’s tons of theatres and artists streaming content just now that otherwise would cost a fortune to watch.
For example the National Theatre is streaming a production every Thursday night for free. It started last week with James Corden’s award winning turn in One Man Two Guvnors. That’ll remain available on the NT YouTube channel till this Thursday. Then there’s Jane Eyre and Twelfth Night coming up which’ll inspire any English student and Treasure Island will appeal to the whole family (bar young children!)
Sadler’s Wells is streaming free performances of the best in dance. Its Facebook page is hosting premieres most weeks. Shows that’d normally cost a small fortune to see, nevermind having to travel to London, can be seen for nothing.
There’s plenty of other theatres, opera houses and galleries offering free content too.
Of course you can’t go to the shops. And there are some ethical questions about whether you’re putting delivery drivers at risk by ordering in stuff that isn’t strictly necessary. Though it seems the virus doesn’t last long on cardboard.
But if you’re comfortable with doing so then you can always shop virtually. You’re not spending your money on takeout coffee and sessions in the pub. So why not treat the kids to a massive Lego set that’ll have the happy side effect of keeping them occupied for a few days? Or get them to research board games and pick out one or two they reckon will keep the family occupied?
Ok so this one relies on being able to source canned goods and/or being willing to eat into your supplies of canned goods. But it’s straightforward. Use empty tins (or full ones if you want to make it really hard) as your pins and a tennis ball as your bowling ball. Then record how many get knocked down on each turn including strikes and spares. Best of all theres no need for them funny shoes.
Obviously not the actual library because it’s shut. But that doesn’t mean you can’t access the wonder of stories. David Walliams has loads of resources on his website including audio books and the sorts of activities you might expect your local library to put on in the holidays.
For older children most libraries allow you to access a vast selection of newspapers and magazines online with just your library card.
And Audible, Amazon’s audiobook arm, has released hundreds of recordings of kids books. Should be enough to see them through to the end of this crisis. They can start listening here.
There’s lots of free pages on the web you can print off and colour in. And that goes for older kids as well now colouring is an adult pastime too. They could even listen to an audiobook while they colour.
Or get outside and combine fresh air and art. If you’ve a garden fence create a pattern with masking tape on it then get busy with chalks. Strip off the lines of tape and you’ll have something resembling a stained glass window.
If you’ve no garden then take to the pavement. Kids can stand in the sun, draw round each others shadows and turn them into colourful characters. Or draw a rainbow on the pavement to raise everyone’s spirits.
Keep socially distanced while doing this of course!
Create a home cinema with popcorn and snacks and enjoy a movie or two. With most of us having a subscription to a streaming service there are lots of movies to choose from. Lastly, should your child need a toilet break you don’t have to worry about interrupting others or not being able to pause the film.