In light of the recent situation surrounding COVID-19 we and many of you out there have had our “little darlings” at home with us now that the schools are closed and the environment we are all trying to work with is, shall we say, challenging to say the least. I am sure you have all seen the post of a mother putting her child in the dog crate whilst she works and although tempting, we are going to try and avoid that for as long as we can! Before going into recruitment, I was a Nanny for many years and it is now time to pass on some of that sanity saving wisdom to all you wonderful parents out there trying to keep the cork in the bottle and the child out the dog crate! I have made a list of some activities that require few ingredients and little supervision so that you and your child can get through lockdown successfully and gaining as little grey hairs as possible.
1. Give your child a sandwich bag and send them out into the garden to pick up as many different natural things as possible, leaves, flowers, pinecones, etc. once they have found them give them a glue stick and a large piece of paper to make a nature picture.
2. Make a shopping list of things to get at the shop and ask them if they can illustrate the list with little pictures next to each item to make it easier to read and to test their knowledge of the items.
3. Ask them to bring down some of their teddies from their room (this could end in the entire contents of their room so be clear!) pull out every plastic cup, bowl, plate, you have put a blanket down and they can set up a teddy bear’s picnic for them and their fluffy friends.
4. Egg hunt! It’s almost Easter after all so when you’re up in the morning and getting your first of 50 coffees in you for the day pop out into the garden and hide some eggs, if you haven’t got any eggs then use anything, egg cups, small toys, (I once used plastic coloured shot glasses!) they can represent eggs and the next time you have to brave the shops grab a packet of mini eggs as a prize, then let them find them, whether you tell them there is more even when all are found that is completely on your conscience!
5. Pull out a box of old photographs (preferably ones you have backed up on a pc) let them have a look through them, surprisingly this will entertain them for quite a while alone, then give them a large piece of paper and tell them to make a nice collage of all your family, give them stickers if you have some too and a glue stick to stick them down, hours of entertainment for school-age children and who knows, perhaps a frameable outcome too!
6. Now this one is going to sound very old school, but my brother and I had weekends of fun doing this we were young … Den making! Give your child/children a pile of sheets out the airing cupboard and a bag of pegs and let them go to work, it’s amazing what they will come up with!
Don’t forget the simple things as well, children are allowed to be bored sometimes, it is when the most amazing things happen inside their imagination when they have to use it most, let them make new games for themselves, give them little resources and see what they do with them, a pile of Lego, a plain piece of paper and pencils, a bag of dressing up clothes, let them learn without instruction and its incredible what they will accomplish.
Stay safe, stay sane and most importantly stay out the dog crate.