I have an eight year old daughter and whilst she is a bookworm – it can be hard to keep her engaged during long periods of isolation, like those required during the Coronavirus social distancing recommendations.
I’m going to share ten tips on how I plan to keep my daughter engaged during these long periods of indoor time and I hope it will be helpful to some of you:
1) Read Books
It helps that my daughter is a bookworm and is happy reading for hours on end but I know that not every child is in the same situation. My daughter is still at that happy stage that she likes to enact scenes from her favourite books through her menagerie of soft toys. I could write a whole blogpost about her favourite books and will probably do so at one point. Some of her current favourite are : The Laura Ingalls Wilder Series, Chronicles of Narnia, ALL the Enid Blyton’s, Roald Dahl and so much more.
2) Make Puzzles
My daughter recently finished a large 250 piece Winnie the Pooh puzzle. Making puzzles can happily engage children for long stretches of time and also tests their problem solving skills. I helped my daughter with some hard bits. Having someone do the puzzle with you – is encouraging to them.
3) Listen to Audiobooks Together
I’m a big Arthur Ransome fan and have a beautiful hardcover set of his ‘Swallows and Amazons’ series. My daughter has her own paperback set too. A lovely way to spend some time is listen to chapters of the audiobook together whilst reading from your own editions.
4) Practice Your Drawing Skills via YouTube Videos
There are many lovely YouTube videos that share how to draw animals, cartoon characters, birthday cakes and so much more. Set kids up with drawing supplies and the video and they can hone their drawing skills all by themselves. This activity is SUCH a favourite with my daughter.
5) Give Kids a List of Chores
My daughter takes great pride in doing things by herself. Some of the chores she enjoys are – tidying her room (I might need to give her a bit more encouragement on this one), making herself a snack (sandwiches), watering the plants, folding clothes etc. Make a fun chores list with stickers and stars when they get the job done.
6) Play Boardgames
Our favourites are Ludo, Snakes and Ladders and Junior Scrabble. I still haven’t embarked on the endless game of Monopoly with her.
7) Have Afternoon Tea Together
Sharing the ritual of making and eating afternoon tea together can be fun. Make some sandwiches, have some small cakes and a cool refreshing drink at hand.
8) Make a Fun Playlist of Songs that Make You Want to Dance
My daughter loves all the current dance tracks (Maroon 5 and Ed Sheeran are some current favourites). Letting them dance off all that extra energy can be a good thing. I’m looking into sourcing some cool indoor strobe lights for added effect.
9) Provide Some Structure to Their Day
I find, at least for my child, that unless I give her day at home some structure – things can get a bit out of hand. I’m afraid I’m one of those mums who gives their child homework every day, even during the summer holidays. I find that without some feeling of having done some ‘work’ my child is unable to appreciate or give value to her ‘play time’.
Some learning activities that I think my child has benefited from have been learning poems, learning a new language (Bengali in her case), writing short essays, practising spelling, practising mental sums, writing short book reviews and learning from the atlas.
10) Screen Time
I do let my child have some screen time during holidays but it’s always limited. Some of her favourite things to watch are still Disney classics, Winnie the Pooh, BBC Dramas, Swallows and Amazons, The Chronicles of Narnia and The Parent Trap.
I realise that not all children are the same and some of these points may not work for your child, but I do help that these tips can help you create alternative ideas to suit your child.
I’d love to hear your tips of keeping children occupied indoors.