11 things to do with the children during COVID-19

08 May 2020 By Michael Bowyer

As if juggling children with shift work in healthcare wasn’t hard enough! Since the schools have closed to reduce the spread of Coronavirus you might be wondering what you can do to keep them entertained and learning, well here’s 11 things you can do to keep the children happy, from arts and crafts to amazing experiments you can try:

Rainbow handprints

Since the dawn of time mankind has painted handprints on the walls of caves to celebrate existence. You might not want to let your little ones make handprints on your walls but you can have a lot of fun with them (in a nice, easy-to-clean way). Try creating loads of different coloured handprints, cutting them out and letting your children make amazing collages out of them! You could make a butterfly, a heart, a rainbow … anything! It’s essentially a colourful memory of your children best high fives!

Get the whole family involved and create an amazing piece of art you can be proud of well beyond the outbreak!

Milk bottle elephants

With an incredibly sunny spring slipping by, you may have been tempted to try and fit in a trip to the zoo between shifts to entertain your children. Although the zoos are currently closed, you can still have all the fun of playing with the elephants by making some easy Recyc-lephants!

This craft idea is so easy, all you have to do is cut the bottom half of an empty plastic milk bottle and you’re almost done. Next, you cut out arches on the sides and back of the bottle and there you have it, an elephant that just wants to be decorated and played with!

For extra brownie points, take two of those arches which you have cut out and stick them on the sides of your elephant to make ears! This activity not only teaches your child the importance of recycling, but gets their minds working on creative ways to make anything fun.

Shadow drawing

Whilst the beach is a bit of a no-go at the moment, you can still have plenty of fun in the sun, or with the sun, by showing your children how to make amazing shadow drawings to decorate your patio or pathway!

Ask your child to gather their favourite toys that can be easily placed on the ground. Ideally, what you want is for the light to cast a shadow of their favourite items so they can draw around them with chalk. You can also use a table lamp for this if it’s more convenient. They can then add in anything they like to create amazing worlds for their toys to play in! And it’s easy to clean up as you just have to wait for the rain.

Indoor car track

With all the rushing around you’re doing with work and childcare, you might not have realised your children could be rushing around playing with cars too! With just a bit of masking tape you can create roadways, bridges and roundabouts for your children to play with in the house. Hours of fun - just try not to cause a traffic jam!

Plant some cress

Teach your children about the amazing power of nature by growing some cress. All you need are cotton wool balls, a marker, water, cress seeds and a cup to make crazy cress cups!

Get your cup, draw a face on it and get creative with the expressions, then fill your cup with some cotton balls, sprinkle your cress seeds, add your water (don’t drawn it) and set it in a well-lit part of the house or flat then wait. You can have competitions to see whose grow the fastest!

Start a vegetable garden

As healthcare professionals you know the value of caring for something and watching it thrive, well show your children how to do that with a vegetable garden! Strawberries, tomatoes, garlic, and potatoes are all very easy to grow and your children will love the satisfaction of pulling up veg that they planted as seeds.

Leaf painting/printing

Bring a bit of the great outdoors indoors. Bring home some leaves or flowers, paint one side of the leaf and stamp it on a piece of paper and there you go, your own print. You can make other flowers, sunbursts, snowflakes, rainbows and so much more.

Teach them responsibility

Give your child a responsibility. For example, if you have a pet goldfish, give your child the responsibility of feeding the goldfish at a specific time every day. This not only teaches your child responsibilities, consequences, and time keeping but will also boost their confidence knowing your trust them with something so important.

Set a reading challenge

Reading is a great way of engaging and nurturing the imagination for children. Set your child a reading achievement to hit every day or week and watch their imagination get better and better! Now is also a great time to show them different perspectives - show them something from another culture or introduce them to books that show them how to make, grow, or cook things!

Not all children respond to fairy tales and stories, so experimenting with different types of childrens’ books will help your child learn to love reading even more.

Learn a new skill every week

New skills like sewing, knitting and even sign language are invaluable tools that can come in handy in their future and whilst that they’re not in school, now is a great time to teach them something their schools may not be able to support. If you child has a dream of their future career, maybe they want to be an astronaut or a doctor – you could help them learn how to name all the bones in the body or all the major constellations!

Science experiments

Science experiments are fantastic fun for curious minds! You may have seen the videos of Mentos and Coke, but have you ever tried it?

If you need any extra help with finding the resources to have these conversations with your children, we would be happy to help. We can also help you source locum or clinician work in primary or acute care with appropriate PPE, we would be happy to talk to you about it!

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