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A Parent’s Guide To Social Distancing

The prospect of weeks socially distancing and staying at home as a precaution to COVID-19 can feel understandably daunting. Our busy lives are being flipped upside down, transforming our usual patterns and activities. Many parents have asked what activities they should be doing with their young ones, and how to manage parenting whilst working from home. We need to remain positive, and use this as an opportunity to strengthen family bonds, explore new ways of living and support each other. 

We’ve put together some starter ideas on activities and resources parents with nursery aged children could be using to keep children entertained and parents at ease; as well as some key tips to managing this time.

Routine

Children feel most secure when they follow a daily routine. The routine needs to meet all families’ needs but should include time for play-based activities, exercise time, family time and free play. Scheduling TV/film time, for example, could give you some time to work from home…or just relax. 

Access to the outdoors will be crucial both for physical and emotional well-being, but please remember to take all recommended precautions to ensure your and others’ safety. We need to explain to children to keep an appropriate distance from others, and we would recommend avoiding play parks and visit open spaces to truly ensure safety. 

Rules

Goal-setting might feel like a bizarre exercise to be doing right now, especially with your children. However, sitting down together and discussing goals and golden rules to how you can all best support each other to be happy is a great idea to start the time together. It’s also a good opportunity to introduce the routine you’d like to follow. Our nursery children will have some ideas about rules through circle time activities they have been involved in during nursery. Younger children are able to say what they like, e.g. smiling faces and what they dislike e.g. loud voices, etc.

Exciting activities 

Rockets!!

Children of all ages love rockets – who doesn’t love rockets?

When activities are dwindling and hysteria is rising – think rockets. 

Our biggest tip to parents when wanting to engage children in an activity is to start with a theme. When we introduce topics or activities to small children we prefer to use a story or a theme to create excitement and engage the children. Our imagination runs wild at the mention of rockets – space, super speed, big planets, tiny people – all great stimulus for fun-filled activities to keep your children entertained. 

Activity ideas  

  1. Draw, paint or scribble rocket and space paintings – think crayons, marble painting, paints or collages with old magazines. You could even stick them up on your window for passers-by to enjoy too.
  2. Take things up a notch by building your own rocket –  out of boxes, cardboard tubes or whatever else you can find. Building and creative activities give adults and children a great opportunity to discuss 3D shapes and their properties – just be sure to supervise.
  3. We all know we can’t get on a rocket without our space suits. How about designing and decorating space suits, or fashioning your own from your own wardrobes.  
  4. You can watch videos of astronauts jumping out of the International Space Station on You Tube, then recreate your own first steps on the moon.  
  5. If you’re lucky enough to have outdoor space, creating and running around for paper rockets could be a fun way of getting active and some fresh air. See this video on designing your own paper planes.
  6. Children enjoy singing number rhymes, your children may already know ‘5 little men in a flying saucer’ which also reinforces number recognition and sequencing. 
  7. 5-4-3-2-1 – blastoff! children enjoy counting down before playing racing games, again it helps with number recognition, sequencing of numbers and encouraging exercise.
  8. Bake and decorate your own planet cookies
  9. Creating and building things from “moon-dough” – playdough that you can make with a few ingredients from your kitchen.

Starting with a theme takes you and the children to interesting and importantly, attention-grabbing places! You may also be surprised at how children will take control and invent their own ideas. There are some great early years texts out there to spark the imagination too. 

We recommend:

“Whatever Next” by Jill Murphy Jo

“How to catch a star” by Oliver Jeffers

“Zoom, Rocket, Zoom!” by Margret Mayo and Alex Ayliffe

“Roaring Rockets” by Tony Milton and Ant Parker

Most of all it’s an opportunity to share ideas and, most importantly, have some fun!

Don’t forget to take some photos, and some commentary – we can add these to your child’s journal. We’d also love to hear your ideas and, with your consent, share those with our Little Bear’s families and friends to keep us all staying positive and making the most of our (often rare) family time altogether.

As the days pass we are seeing more and more online classes being offered to families. Here’s a few we have seen so far (come back to see if we’ve added more):

For nursery children

Live story reading from early years author Chris Houghton at 5pm via Facebook

For school-aged children

Daily live workouts for kids with Joe Wicks, starting on Monday at 9 AM via YouTube

Live kids cook along with Family Feasts on Tuesday 24th March at 12 PM via Instagram

You could also arrange video calls with friends and family. FaceTime, Google Hangouts or Zoom are free platforms for video calls between two or more people. 

Other helpful resources

100 things to do indoors
Roald Dalh: Things to do at home

Take a Virtual tours of museums via Google

Daily lessons for early years from Scholastic: Learn from home

Action and Movement songs for movement for early years such as this Youtube video 

You can also print free online colouring pages for children on https://www.crayola.com/free-coloring-pages/ 100 things to do indoors
Roald Dalh: Things to do at homeTake a Virtual tours of museums via GoogleDaily lessons for early years from Scholastic: Learn from homeAction and Movement songs for movement for early years such as this Youtube video Free online colouring sheets for children by Crayola

Free children’s audio books via Audible