As the National Children’s Commissioner for England’s ‘Digital 5 a day’ campaign has noted, it’s important that all learners maintain a healthy balance between online and offline activities during school closures. Here, multi-award winning primary school teacher turned EdTech consultant, Jodie Lopez, outlines some fun offline activities to try at home.
Family game – everyone writes the first sentence of a story. Then fold over the paper so the written part is not seen. Pass the story on to the person to your left. They write the next sentence (having not seen the first) and then fold over and pass on again. After doing this for at least 10 sentences per story unfold and read what will likely be some hilarious nonsense!
Can each member of the family pick an instrument from the kitchen cupboards and can you then get together to form your own kitchen band? Who will play the spoons? Will someone make the pan drums? And how about an ice cream tub and some elastic bands to make your own guitar? Be creative and have fun!
Find any old and worn or broken toys around the house. Can you fix any? Even if you don’t want to keep them could you up-cycle them to donate to charity after the isolation?
Like Lego? Set some random challenges for competitions so that everyone has a set amount of time to make something based on the brief. Examples: Make a robot using only white bricks/Make a vehicle using less than 10 pieces/Create a desert landscape/Make a Lego scene from your favourite film
Water Play is a favourite at nursery/school but not often at home. It’s time to set the bathroom up for home learning! Supervised opportunities to play at the sink are welcomed by little ones. Add some plastic cups or a toy tea set to role play washing up. Or if you want some help around the house this is the ideal time to let them join in the real washing up!
Count up the savings
Have you been saving some pennies in a jar or piggy bank? It’s time to dig it out and start counting. A great chance for children to practice counting with real money. Set up a play shop and let children use the money to buy and sell things. Add up, find the right coins to pay for different items, work out change, and you can even offer them some of the money for real if they help with the housework!
Indoor Scavenger Hunt
It’s time for kids to channel their inner Sherlock Holmes.
Outdoor Scavenger Hunt
If you have a garden, you can also get your children to channel their inner Sherlock Holmes in an outdoor environment. Please only do this if it is a private garden where you won’t come across other families.
Reading is the single most important thing you can do regularly with children of all ages. Them reading to you where they can even a little bit, but also sharing stories and reading books to them. A shared book instils a love of reading and is quality time well spent
For children in Key Stage 1 particularly, but all through Key Stage 2 as well, handwriting practice is really key. Getting in time to do 15 minutes of writing a day – use the Handwriting Heroes videos if you want to ensure they get letter formation correct – will really help those muscles stay strong to save them from finding it harder when they go back to school.