Well, here we are again, lockdown and homeschooling is back on the menu! You may be happily bounding along with the juggle, deftly logging onto Zoom and being the first parent to print out the worksheets without so much as a curse word uttered (well done you!) or, like so many others, you may be wondering how you are going to handle doing it all again.
Whilst we do not profess to be quite at the level of our outstanding Teachers, here at Weasel and the Bug we do have some ideas of how to keep bums on seats and have a little bit of fun in the process. Hopefully this will help the juggle be a little less chaotic, keep one plate spinning as it were.
Pre school (Nursery)
We all know that the most important thing a child can do is play. It is how they learn just about everything. Play at nurseries is focussed on the child’s interests at that time, so be prepared for your little bug to go from LOVING train sets to only wanting to dress dollies the next day. This is all good, and not a sign that the play you did the day (or even hour) before was not enough.
Small world play is excellent at this stage, think Maileg mice, dolls houses, pretend shopping trips to the kitchen. All this helps build your child’s confidence once they are in real world situations and helps them build language and coordination through play. Not forgetting the fact it is also super adorable as your toddler insists on dragging a melon and loaf of bread around the kitchen whilst charging you ‘twentim pounds’ for the privilege of visiting their shop.
Messy play is, depending on your tidiness inclinations, a fantastic way of carving out a nice chunk of the day. Make some gloop with cornflour and water and practise scooping with different size spoons, or rescue some Lanka Kade animals who have found themselves stuck in the mud– pop some biodegradable glitter in there or smash up chalk to make it colourful and increase the sensory aspects. If the thought of gloopy mess everywhere scares you, put down an old blanket or towel under the bowl or tray you are using and remember it is probably best not to put the small one in the brand newDuns. We also love to have a bowl of warm water and soap nearby so practice washing hands afterwards (vital life skills) but also to give the toys and spoons a good wash afterwards and practice some dexterity.
For a more focussed activity, lacing games are brilliant and virtually mess free (hooray). Try using The Animal Threading Card Kit as a puzzle where you make up all the animals using the pieces, then get the thread out and prepare for some focus (tongue sticking out is essential here) as you lace the puzzle pieces together to create your own animal. Running around imitating said animal afterwards is optional but encouraged. You are also left with something nice to show off to the grandparents over Zoom and doorstep visits.
Early years (Reception class)
A little bit more focus, but also a lot of fun is needed here too. Supplemented by workbooks from teachers and catch up calls you want to find way to channel your inner kids TV presenter and make everything seem a little bit more enjoyable.
If, like me, you did not know what phonics were before your own little one popped up with their ‘oo’ and ‘sh’ sounds, andyou don’t want a repeat of ‘That’s not how my teacher says it’ may we suggest the Phonics Magnet Set and First Words Magnet sets. A handy reminder for yourself and your little one when you pop for a snack about the importance of sounding it all out. You can also make simple words or phrases using these tiles, which are not limited to living on the fridge. Play phonics bingo with these sets, or match the word with the object such as cup, hat, ball, shoe. If you want to get crafty draw the pictures first then play the word match game – two lessons in one!
For some imaginative play you can use the Red Knight Pen as a magic storyteller. Make up a story with your child and have them draw pictures as you go along with the help of the Knight pen, he is quite the art connoisseur after all.
Shop and pretend play is also a whole lot of fun at this age, but take things up a notch with a till and a clock to play with. Start shouting ‘5 minutes to closing’ as you play supermarket and move the clock hands, or make sure you keep tabs of your sales in the salon with a magnetic money chart. Using real life things in a kid safe way again helps build knowledge and confidence, and when you can go back into shops your little helper can find the pound for the trolley all by themselves! Use real world items to learn addition and subtraction, pair up socks, collect all the hair bobbles or cups lying about the house and count them all. Live your dream of being the person we all learnt about who bought 100 apples but only gave 3 away to his friends whilst sliding down a hill for no reason. The last example might be too much but hopefully you get the idea.
We do hope that this little blog post helps you in some way. Whether it is just a chuckle, or games you go on to play with your little one. Homeschooling is hard, life is somewhat unpredictable at the moment, but hopefully this helps. All of these ideas can be adjusted to suit your own little one, if you want more ideas or just a chat The Weasel and the Bug message box is always open – or you can pop over to our friendly Facebook group ‘Chatter Bugs’ to meet likeminded people. Stay safe and take care of yourself