Every parent wants their child to have a good education. If your child is unable to attend school, it is natural to worry about how it will affect your child’s education. Your child’s education will not be permanently stunted by this, rest assured. The most important thing right now is your child’s mental health. You want your child to remember that they had a vacation from school, spent time with family, learned to appreciate and help others, and more. This is a time to focus on spiritual health and the love of others.
Structure is important for children during this time, but so is the feeling that they are being connected to on a personal level. While many of you are doing double duty, I suggest taking time each day to do one of these simple things. These will help your and your child’s mental health, and some will help you manage things around the house during the COVID-19 outbreak.
To help struggling parents, I reached out to some teachers and former teachers. They want you to know that they still care, and that you are not alone in this.
Cook with Them
Have your child help with the cooking. This may seem like pawning tasks off on them, of having them do chores, but it has far-reaching academic implications. Check out these kid-friendly recipes!
Cooking helps students practice basic math, including fractions. Since many adults still struggle with fractions, cooking is a good skill to learn.
Cooking is a life skill. Someday, they will want to eat a meal that did not come in a takeout box.
Baking is a chemical process. Let them explore how much of each ingredient to use, and why.
Add in some imaginative play by letting them turn the whole kitchen into a restaurant. This will help them learn social skills, and even etiquette, if you want to teach it to them.
Try this solar oven activity to really explore some scientific concepts.
Use the Environment
Let the child pick something to explore. This works for every age, though the topics may be different.
If the child picks the topic, they will be more driven to work on it independently if you need to multitask. They are also more likely to remember.
A young child may examine how a favorite toy is made, or test to see which toy car is fasters, and try to figure out why by building different ramps. A teenager may do an experiment to see what cooks fastest in a microwave, what affects how evenly it heats, and more.
This may take a little time, but outdoors are a large part of a child’s education. It is also largely neglected in some schools.
If you work from home, send them outside to explore something specific. Ask them to tell you everything they can learn about an anthill, or count how many flowers are on a given type of plant, on average.
Go for a walk with them and have them tell you what they observe. Tell them to use all their senses. What does it smell like and look like? What do they hear? Which tree has rough or soft bark? If you know enough about wild plants, or have a garden, have them taste things, as well.
Set up a hoola hoop and give the child a magnifying glass. This can work at any age, but younger children may be more interested. Ask them what they see. The world is a big place, but there are many things that happen on a tiny scale that we never notice.
If you are not sure what to do, try this scavenger hunt. All you need to do is print the template and go.
Recycle and Upcycle
Most people throw away a lot every day. If you have clean things that you need to throw away, such as paper towel rolls, paper, cardboard packaging, or rinsed-out plastic bottles, give them to your child instead. Younger children may like this more, but so will artistic or mechanically-inclined older children. For older children, include things like tools you were going to throw away. Get creative.
- build a monster trap or catapult
- make a sculpture
- build a spaceship or boat
- make an instrument
- cereal box house
Your children spend all day in a class with people of similar ages, but the real world is made of many ages and many viewpoints.
Have them write a letter to a grandparent they cannot see in person, to help them feel connected. Start a game of tic tac toe or chess by sending the letter or email back and forth.
Join a program for writing letters to elderly or others. There are plenty out there, and it teaches empathy. It also helps them learn about people from different backgrounds and time periods.
Talk to friends online. Your child does not need to be isolated, just because they are not seeing friends in-person. Have them invent their own countries and negotiate a peace treaty activity like this one. You can use an online chat website like discord to make a free chat server that only you and people you invite can access.
Links to Free Activities You Can Use:
- Scavenger Hunt
- Kid-Friendly Recipes
- Build with Junk
- Peace Treaty
- Solar Oven
- Plant Seeds
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