If you are one of the millions of parents across the UK who has suddenly found themselves juggling childcare, working from home and in a temporary role as a teacher too, it can be a daunting prospect.
With no end date currently in sight for the nation’s schools to reopen, many parents are finding it challenging to keep the kids occupied, educated and away from their game consoles and phones (for a least a portion of the day).
If you are looking for ideas that can engage and educate your little ones, then read on to discover some great ways to keep your children occupied and up to date with their learning.
National Curriculum resources from Twinkl
Twinkl provides teacher-created resources to schools and nurseries across the UK to help educators with their lesson planning.
During the lockdown period, Twinkl are providing a host of educational games, projects and worksheets for parents to help them with home-schooling. They’ve created a parent hub that is updated daily and all the content is free to download.
The lessons cover all age ranges from pre-schoolers through to Year 11 pupils. All the worksheets contain the answers on a separate sheet, which makes marking your child’s work really easy (if you are anything like me, Year 5 maths is stumping me, so having the answers is vital)!
Laptop loans for Year 10 pupils
The current Year 10 school year will be taking their GCSEs in 2021, making this year crucial for them to expand their learning and prepare for their important exams.
If your Year 10 child doesn’t have access to a laptop and you’re worried they may fall behind, then it’s worth looking into a new Department of Education scheme to loan laptops to disadvantaged pupils.
Get active as a family!
Allowing your children to burn off energy and be physically active is a vital part of keeping them healthy in both body and mind. But without school PE lessons or weekly football practice it can be hard to keep your kids moving, especially when we are only supposed to leave the house for brief exercise periods each day.
There are several resources out there for older children to stay active, but if you are trying to find something fun, creative and engaging for your pre-schoolers then Make, Play, Get Active is offering a sports activity course, complete with a downloadable pack designed by physical activity specialists that includes all you need to get involved with the activities.
Make, Play, Get Active also run regular competitions giving families the opportunity to win sports equipment for themselves and their school.
Snuggle up for story time
We all need some downtime and youngsters love to listen to exciting stories. If you’ve read every book you own from cover to cover (many times) and are looking for some story time inspiration then check out Audible who are offering free access to audio-streams of hundreds of children’s favourites.
Choose from popular books such as The Tales Of Beatrix Potter – or the other famous wizarding ‘Potter’ – for hours of exciting tales for all ages. The site also includes a host of literary classics including Moby Dick and Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, so it’s also a perfect way to chill out with a glass of wine once the kids are in bed!
Get creative with coding
If you are finding it difficult to drag your child away from the games console, then encourage them to visit the Scratch website, where they can learn to code their own simple video game.
The ability to use technology is vital for the next generation of workers, and it’s never too early to build skills in website development and computer coding.
What we really like about this resource is the ability to share your youngster’s finished creation with family, adding a social element as they proudly show their work to their grandparents via a video call.
The resource is aimed at children between the ages of 8 – 16 years, but for younger PC buffs there is a free ScratchJr app which is a simplified version for 5 – 7 year olds.
The Big History Project
This resource is designed for secondary school pupils and was created by teachers, historians and scientists to deliver a series of video-based lessons that explore our history, our solar system and take exciting glimpses of the future.
If your teenager is constantly curious then The Big History Project will keep them engaged for hours as every chapter is full of activities to test their learning. There is the added incentive of earning badges by completing challenging quizzes, so the whole family can get involved and race to see who gets the most badges!
Have an art afternoon
Learning isn’t all about spelling practice and times tables! It’s also an opportunity to get creative, get messy and have some fun. Red Ted Art recognises this and provides hundreds of free ideas to get arty.
Most of the projects can be made with stuff you have lying around at home and is great way to recycle plastic bottles, loo roll tubes and newspapers.
We’ve tried the origami finger puppet which was fun to create and helps to hone fine motor skills. After we’d made our puppets and coloured them in, we made a finger puppet play for our feathered performers!
Cook up new life skills
Lockdown provides an opportunity to teach our children some important life skills, including cookery. It’s a great way to teach little ones about nutrition and encourage even the pickiest of eaters to try something new.
Creating their own pizza is always a sure-fire winner with kids and there are no rules when it comes to toppings, so you can go wild with whatever ingredients you have in your fridge! We love using up veggies to make this colourful rainbow pizza.