Resources, Tips & Activities For Learning At Home With Kids
Well, THAT escalated quickly! At the beginning of last week (this was written on 25 March) we were happily sitting in our office in Bowral. Now, we’re working from the dining table surrounded by children continuing their education at home. And let’s just say, if there was a subject on asking for snacks every five minutes, our kids would have topped the class! Sheesh!
It’s a new normal that many Southern Highlands families are getting used to, right? Many schools have provided learning plans, schedules and guidance and they’ve done a great job in these unprecedented times creating something so quickly.
But there is also a huuuuuuge world of additional resources out there and here in the Highlands (my son is currently listening and watching a Texan guy teaching him how to draw a bird online – it sounds like we’ve got a cowboy out in the lounge at the moment!).
So we’ve created a quick guide of some resources and tips to help you navigate your way around the challenge of kids learning from home, keeping them engaged creatively and burning up their energy efficiently (and not on wrestling matches with their siblings - speaking from experience here - double sheesh!!)
ONLINE CRAFT CHALLENGES
The Highlands very own Natalie Miller is a super talented creative (her list of talents are too many to list!) and has started a fun weekly creative project for you to do with the kids at home. Follow Natalie on Instagram (her Insta feed is gorgeous too if you’re just after some pretty and positivity in these hectic times) and get involved. She has instructions that you can download for free from her website and away you go!
Bring the zoo to you! Search up an animal on Google on your smart phone – be specific: perhaps one of your kids favourite animals. Scroll down until you see one that has View in 3D. Click on that, hold your phone up and move it around for a few seconds. The animal will appear on your camera screen in your house! (or wherever you're directing your camera screen) Loads of fun for the kids.
There might be a bit of extra time on screens at the moment and that is totally fine! Everyone is doing what they can to go get through, but if you want a bit of inspo for getting younger kids playing creatively – sooooo good for their development – here’s our 6 Creative Play Ideas For Kids article we wrote recently.
We discovered this awesome Facebook group – AUS School Closures: Home Activities for Kids, Tweens & Teens. There are so many great ideas for keeping the kids busy while we find our new normal. They are practical and doable (and everyone has quite the sense of humour in this group too, so it’s a little light relief for you!).
We also recommending following parenting experts such as Maggie Dent and Dr Justin Coulson at this time. They always provide solid and grounding advice to us parents winging life! Maggie shares a lot from other parenting experts too, so she’s a good go-to.
BOOK HIM, DANNO!
The world of books has opened thanks to the interwebs. Wingecarribee Libraries have their online borrowing service - Borrow Box. Storyline Online is another favourite. Famous people read kids books in online videos – hello Oprah!! And Audible have just added a whole stack of audio books to their Discovery page. It’s free and you don’t have to sign up. Just listen. Very cool.
INDOOR GAMES AND ACTIVITIES
Keeping kids physically active is soooo important at this time. We’re lucky that many of us in the Highlands have space to get active in backyards and front yards. At the moment, we’re still allowed to get out of the house (practising social distancing) for exercise, so bike rides and walks are awesome, but what if the rains come and we’re stuck inside? Here's a free printable below from the team at Big Life Journal. It has stacks of ideas for indoor games & activities to get children moving - from little ones to teens.
This platform has lots of free and engaging content for kids (just make sure you have your security and privacy settings on, so you don’t end up with weird, random stuff popping up). We love the Woo Tube channel, which is where Sydney Maths teacher, Eddie Woo uploads stacks of tutorials. ABC for Kids have their own YouTube channel for little-uns. And P.E With Joe on The Body Coach channel is super popular at the moment too. It's a great way to keep the kids active with 20 - 30 minute videos. Do it together! There’s lots more so just punch a search in.
Most of the amazing galleries, museums, landmarks and zoos around the world live stream or have really cool virtual tours online – wander around the Louvre (you can practice your French!). Get back to nature with a virtual tour of Yellowstone National Park, or go to infinity and beyond and check out the surface of Mars . The San Diego Zoo’s website for kids also rocks with videos, activities and online games to keep them busy (and learning!).
And social connection is so important at this time, but not so easy to do, right? The House Party App allows the kids to connect with their friends. It’s a cross between FaceTime and Snapchat and allows your kids to connect with their buddies in a visual chatroom. Follow your regular cyber safety rules (no rando’s!) and let them catch up and see each other – it’s nice for them to check in on their friends.
And one more thing….don’t stress! It’s a lot to ask parents to work from home, supervise learning, feed kids (and yourselves), keep the family life ticking over while all this craziness is going on around the world….so just be kind to yourself. If it’s too much for you and everyone, take some time off. A few hours, a day – whatever you need to reset.
Good luck everyone!