With the announcement of schools closing for the majority of children across East Sussex to help minimise the spread of Coronavirus, the YES team have been looking at some helpful tips to keep the kids active, learning and entertained for the duration.

This is not an exhaustive list by any means, and we’d love to hear your ideas or top tips for making the most of the time at home – just leave your ideas in the comments below!

These are obviously unprecedented and worrying times for everyone, and that can also have an impact on young minds. If your child is feeling anxious, the NHS recommends this website which has a useful guide for parents to support their child with anxiety.

Please also take the time to read the latest NHS advice regarding Coronavirus so you can stay informed about how best to keep you and your family safe.

 

Keep them active

When you’re stuck indoors it can be tricky to get the exercise you need – especially for children, who love to run around and burn off energy!

Luckily, there are some great ideas for 10-minute shake ups on the Change4Life website. There’s a Disney-inspired quiz, as well as accessible activities and lots of ‘shake up’ games inspired by Disney and Pixar’s Toy Story 4 and Incredibles 2, and Disney’s The Lion King and Frozen. These 10-minute bursts of fun will really get your kids moving and count towards the 60 active minutes they need every day!

Other popular ideas for keeping active are doing some kids’ themed yoga, like Cosmic Yoga, or why not join the nation’s favourite Body Coach with Joe Wicks’ daily PE lessons – 30 minute sessions every morning for children.

Sport England are also offering lots of great advice on how to stay active while indoors, including Disney dance-alongs for the kids.

Keep them learning

There’s a wealth of apps you can download to help your child learn in an engaging and educational way online.


Why not download a few apps that will both entertain your child and help them learn? No doubt your child’s school has already offered some guidance, but here are a few additional ideas from Pashley Down Infants School Year Two teacher Mr MacInnes, with different apps aimed at different infant year groups:

EYFS:

  • Storytime from CBeebies (free)
    • Endless Numbers (numbers 1-5 are free + IAP*)
    • Pocket Phonics (basic edition – £6.99)
    • Puppet Pals (free)
    • Phonic Street (free)
    • Bee Bot (free)
    • Puppet Workshop – Creativity App for Kids (£2.99)
    • Daisy Dinosaur (free)
    • Crazy Cursive

Year 1:

  • Mr Thorne Does Phonics (£1.99)
    • Mr Thorne’s Phonics Safari (£1.99)
    • Endless wordplay (free + IAP)
    • Squeebles addition and subtraction (£2.99)
    • Pet Bingo (maths – free – highly recommended!)
    • Teach Your Monster to Read (£4.99 app, completely free on desktop!)
    • Crazy Cursive

Year 2:

  • Scratch Jr (coding – free)
    • Tynker (coding – free + IAP)
    • Wonderbox (free)
    • Squeebles Times Tables (£3.99)
    • Squeebles Flip Multiplication (£2.99)
    • Teach Your Monster to Read (£4.99 app, completely free on desktop!)
    • Crazy Cursive
    *IAP (In App Purchases)

For older primary-aged children (key stage 2) you could try the host of resources that are on the BBC Bitesize website. They have lots of subject-specific activities for your child to try. Not only the expected maths, English and science but also computing, art and design, history and even modern foreign languages! There’s also a great range of secondary school-aged resources.

Twinkl is a website which you have to create an account for (if you child’s school doesn’t already use it) and they have a parents’ guide on how to use their resources during the Coronavirus school closures. There are resources for all age ranges, including secondary. They also have lots of free downloadable learning packs you can use, as well as hygiene resources to help remind your little ones of the importance of good hand-washing practises.

 

Keep them entertained

As well as being active and carrying on with educational activities, we all need top tips for stopping the boredom creeping in.

Here’s some of the YES team’s tried-and-tested methods for keeping little ones entertained while at home:

Ready, steady… read!

East Sussex libraries have a whole heap of online offerings to enjoy if you can’t leave the house. There are audiobooks, ebooks and magazines… all available for free! Make the most of the time at home and rediscover the joy of reading with your children. Check out what’s available online here.

Get crafty!

Search Pinterest for easy arts and crafts for kids – there’s too many to choose from! Faves within our team include waterbeads, make your own playdough and some of these eggcellent Easter crafty ideas.

Have a sort out

Encourage your kids to have a de-clutter of toys, books and clothes. Instead of throwing them away, perhaps donate them to a local charity collection or clothes bank (so long as you’re not self-isolating).

Get out in the garden

If you have any outside space, or even a spare windowsill, you’ll be able to get the little ones involved in helping with these gardening tasks for March. Just be wary of keeping 2m away from others where walls may be low or if you’re close to neighbours’ in a front garden, for example.

Cook together

This is a great life skill and there are so many easy recipes to try with little ones, you’re sure to find something everyone will like to eat. It’s also a great opportunity to teach them about weighing and measuring, bringing maths into the kitchen! Change4Life has some great recipe ideas that the whole family will enjoy, including healthy lunch inspo and tasty puddings. Alternatively, if they’re old enough, ask your children to cook a meal for the family. It’ll give you a well-earned break and make them feel grown up and helpful. It’s a great way to teach them about healthy eating too. Please make sure you supervise with knives and ovens if they’re still young.

 

Got any other top tips for keeping kids engaged while the schools are closed? Let us know in the comments below! We’d love to hear them.