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Activities with Children

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As parents, we've all been thrown into the deep end as schools have cancelled, extra-curricular activities are shut-down and the daily routines of life are pretty much on hold until further notice. Although schools have scrambled to transition work to online, there are still a number of hours to fill, while many of us also work from home. Thankfully, many resources have been curated and shared in on many social media platforms. Below is a list of 10 fun & interesting ideas you may want to check out for your children (and yourself!) Hang in there parents... we'll all be alright!

 

Right below is a helpful publication created by the British Psychological Society:

  1. A Google Document that dubs itself the "Giant List of Ideas for Being Home with Kidsfor during the Quarantine/Social Distancing

  2. A Website named "Amazing Educational Resources" also lists many wonderful resources literally from A to Z and is constantly updating its database. It is laid out in spreadsheet form, alphabetized with categories and descriptions to help navigate through the long list more easily. 

  3. Livestream Activities Center - Many of the shows seems to be for younger children (pre-school-3rd grade), however, there are still some shows that would be of interest for any age. Listed as a spreadsheet format, show times are listed from 8 AM - 8:30 PM. Many of the livestreams come through FaceBook.

  4. The Spanish Experiment - If your children are learning Spanish, this is a great site that offers well-known children's stories, translated and read in Spanish.

  5. The French Experiment  - This is a French version of the above.

  6. The Italian Experiment - There is an Italian version!

  7. The German Experiment - And finally, a German version!

  8. Virtual Field Trips - 20 "trips" you can take, brought to you by Adventures in Familyhood

  9. For anyone that might need help scheduling out the day, "The COVID19 Daily Schedule for Working Parents" may be the much needed example. 

  10. The Kids Activities Blog offers a list of companies that are offering free subscriptions due to school closings

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This post originated on FaceBook from user/public figure Jamie Grayson on March 24, 2020. It gives perspective to the way we can approach this time with our children. (Some emphasis given are mine).

There Is Enough Time

"My aunt was a Montessori teacher for many years and shared this on her private fb wall. I know many of you are in a “learning from home” situation, and many of you are stressed out with lesson plans that seem overly-complicated especially if you have multiple children. Like my sister. So I thought I would share this because it is a very very very good read.

Via Chris Trostel, an elementary Montessori educator in Alaska:

Do real things. My advice: Do not try to recreate the classroom at home.

School is a laboratory where certain kinds of real things happen. It is set up in a very particular way with very particular participants designed for particular outcomes. It is unique, special, rather lovely when done well and perhaps impossible to replicate.
The home laboratory is something entirely unique and special and rather lovely in it’s own right – and impossible to replicate anywhere else. Different kinds of real things are done at home. Value and appreciate the opportunity to be home and do some real things.

Children who do real things - in collaboration with others - learn real skills and grow up to be independent humans who know how to cooperate and collaborate and contribute to society.


Certainly, home provides an opportunity to build on the school experience – and there are thousands of websites and ideas out there for doing so - but now is a special a time where family experiences can be valued and appreciated in an entirely expansive and beautiful way.


Because parents and children have unexpected time together and there is no need or call to rush anywhere, we can embrace this once in a lifetime event and be together; and, for once, there is enough time. You may ask,
Enough time for what? Well there is enough time …


***
To work together
Spring clean! There are many practical life activities to learn and do: making beds, washing and folding laundry (teach children how to use the washing machine and dish washer), plan dinner and breakfast menus, dust, learn how to make beds, vacuum & sweep floors, clean bathrooms, organize the cupboards, wash dishes, dry and put away, disinfect door knobs, mailboxes, common surfaces. Clean the car, the garage, the boat, the refrigerator. Cut and stack wood. Sweep the driveway. Rake the yard. Get garden beds ready. Plant garden starts indoors. Observe and admire your work.

 

***
To play together
You may be amazed what can be learned about money, resource management, justice, logic, problem solving, reading, math, democracy…but especially what can be learned about each other by playing games. Play board games and the old childhood games that are disappearing: Hide ‘n Seek, Sardines, 4 square, Tag games, Kick the Can, Capture the Flag, Hop Scotch, Jump Rope & Double Dutch, Jacks, Marbles, Mother May I, Red Light/Green Light, Spud, Cat’s Cradle, Musical Chairs, Hot & Cold, Battleship, Tic-tac-toe, Slap Hands, Catch, Blind Man’s Bluff, Marco Polo… Observe and relish your play.

 

***
To move together
Go for a run, a ski, a bike ride, a kayak/boat ride. Walk the dog. Build a fort or secret land. Enjoy the change in seasons, watch and listen to the returning birds, observe (smell) black cottonwood trees leafing out, take weather readings and predict the weather, move your bodies, walk with your breath. (NB: ‘phenology’ is the scientific study of seasonal change). Observe and remember your adventures.

 

***
To cook and dine together
You’ll do a lot more eating together than maybe anytime since your children were babies. Show them how to cook your favorite dishes (maybe something your parents made). And show the children how to set a proper table, how to have a conversation over a meal, how to serve tea, work on manners (grace and courtesy). Try to eat two meals a day together as a family. Starting and ending the day around the family table is a gift of talk and time. Observe and appreciate your food and family time.

 

***
To sing and make music together
If you don't play an instrument, listen to your children practice their instruments. Sing a lullaby you sang to them when they were infants. Make a family song book and illustrate it. Listen to favorite artists and talk about what you like about their music (not their ‘image’ but their music). Singing together is a powerful way to build up the family structure – and by the way if only the prettiest birds sang – the forest would be silent. Where would our forests be without ravens and eagles and Stellar’s jays squawking across our mountains and valleys? There is beauty in the effort together. Observe and enjoy your music.

 

***
To make stuff, make art together
Be crafty, construct stuff from wood scraps, Legos, felt and yarn bits. Play dolls. Get out the glue and tape and papers and cloth. Sew, knit, crochet, make Origami, paint, compose music, write stories, make puppets, write a puppet play (or any play), perform a reader’s theatre after building the sets. Dance. Invent stuff. Practice the scientific method. Find the area of a room, the house, the yard, the street. Draw a map... Observe and admire your creativity.

 

***
To be quiet together
Make quiet. A small silent time everyday resets things, brings the family in balance.
Being quiet together is a powerful model for being still with one’s own thoughts. Reading, daydreaming, drawing…there are lots of ways to be quiet – but it is so dramatically powerful to value quiet and make it together. Observe and take delight in the peace.

 

***
To have fun together
Make laughter. It will be remembered best and most of all.
Read a funny story aloud. Tell jokes, tell stories about each other (and childhood stories), call grandma or grandpa and have them tell stories about their childhood (or your parents), forgive mistakes and laugh them off, chuckle at your inventions, creations, music…Observe yourselves and take yourselves lightly.
Think and play and move and work and create and laugh together.

 

This is a time to connect, not correct.

 

Have compassion for one another in this new time.
 

Everyone is generally doing the best they can under the most unusual circumstances.

 

Be together. There is enough time. Do real things.”

 

- Jamie Grayson

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