Oh what crazy times these are…
I know, It is day one or two of quarantine and you are ALREADY worried about how you are going to keep these kids busy and YOURSELF sane… But don’t worry I have you covered. I am a Kindergarten teacher from Milan, Italy so I have 3 weeks of quarantine planning experience under my belt to get your through this situation…
Routine! Do not give this up!
The routine is the first thing that seems to go when everyone is stuck inside together. But this is something that the kids need to make it through this period of time. Sure, let them sleep in an hour longer but as soon as they wake up get the academic routine going. If they are younger kids: toddlers, kindergarteners, and younger elementary schoolers, I highly suggest following the plan that the school usually follows. Here is an example of a school schedule:
8 to 9:30 WELCOME (obviously you are at home but while kids are being dropped off by their parents other kids are playing. So leave this time as open play)
9:30 to 10:00 CIRCLE TIME (that is right, grab a book and get reading, talk about the days of the weeks, and our numbers)
10 to 10:30 SNACK (to make it fun you can put on a educational youtube video to keep them entertained)
10:30 to 12 ACTIVITY (this could be printed worksheets or projects)
12 to 1 LUNCH (to make it more hands on for the kids have them help you)
1 to 2 FREE PLAY (this could be any games but try to stay away from electronics as remember you are now the teacher and the parent! So save this for “after school” fun)
2 to 3 ACTIVITY (again this can be a worksheet, a flash card game, or hands on projects)
Art: The art projects below are used with things you ALL have at home! Let me explain them going left to right!
- Dot art: To make dot art all you need is a piece of paper or if you would like it to be a little more advanced and if you have a canva I highly recommend using that! For the younger kids use Q-Tips to create the “dots” just make sure there is enough paint on the Q-Tip and that the kids do not press to hard (if they do this can create a white spot in the paint)
- Blow Paint: For Blow painting you will need a heavier paper, as with normal paper it will rip. You will also need “liquid watercolor paint” or you can just make your watercolor more liquidy, put a dot on your paper, and use a straw and blow!
- Watercolor Crayon Painting: Want your littles to work on staying in the lines? It can be challenging BUT the best way to get them to practice is by drawing a design in crayon. The crayon will then work as a barrier and the paint will not be able to bleed through it!
- DIY Sheep: Let you kids get their hands dirty! That’s right mom, hand over the glue and let them have some fun! Take a paper plate and some cotton balls and let your kids sheep come to life!
- Fork Flowers: Sometimes painting can get boring, I know, it sounds crazy! That is why all the different paint activities I have recommend all have different application methods than just the normal paint brush! This time grab a fork out of the drawer and let your kid get dippin’!
- Beaded Snail: Your kids might be over painting at this point, however, they will never be bored with art projects so take out some beads and if they are “too young” to make friendship bracelets let them beautify their new snail friends shell!
Cooking: This can help you as well! The younger the kids learn to help out in the kitchen the better! And since living in Italy I have learned that cooking with my family is the most memorable times! From left to right:
- Bagel Pizza: Everyone knows how to make Bagel Pizzas, however, to make them more kid friendly have your kid make them! You do not need to us anything that could be dangerous to your kid: so hand them over the sauce and the toppings and let them go to town making all the silly faces they want!
- Cow Sandwich: This might be a little too “Don’t Play with your food” so what better way to keep your kid interested with your cooking than showing them a magic trick of how cool their parent is!
- Fruit and Cheese: Simple but sweet! What do kids love more than cheese and fruit? Honestly, if you ask me, I could NOT answer that! So hand over the kebab screwer and let the kids poke the fruit through.. But if they are on the younger side challenge them to make a design on their plate,
- Cereal Bars: Obviously with this one you will have to help them through it! But this is the perfect time for them to get their hands dirty! OF COURSE WASHING THEIR HANDS BEFORE, let them squish together the ingredients and push it into the pan! Here is a recipe I like: Fruity Cereal Bars
- Nutella Pizza: SAY WHAT? Blow your kids mind by giving them a tasty treat that they did not know existed! Nutella on pizza? YEAH RIGHT, I actually did not find out this was a thing until I moved to Italy! After you cut up the fruit let the kids place them! Here is a good recipe to follow: Nutella Pizza
Science: Let the kids get their brains working and science projects are always a fun way to do that! Especially since you look like the Genius parent:
- Ice Cream from bag: What better way to keep children entertained for a longer period of time than rewarding them with ice cream. But not just any old ice cream some that they made personally! Let Delish walk you through the process: Bag of Ice Cream
- Slime: I do not think kids ever get over slime, heck I am an adult and I would still play with slime if I got the chance! But what is cooler than buying slime? I will tell you, it is making it all on your own, picking the color, and adding glitter: Magic Slime
- Lava Lamp: Lava Lamps were part of our childhood so let’s have our kids make it part of theirs! What’s even more interesting about this lava lamp? You will get to tell your friends you made it yourself and here is how: DIY Easy Lava Lamp
- Flowers Change: People change but so can flowers? What a neat way to teach your kids the science behind flowers and how they can survive even after they have been cut! Flowers changing colors was one of my FAVORITE science projects as a kid! All you need is some white(ish) flowers and some food coloring! Let the rest work its magic!
Active: Your kids will be off the wall if they can’t go outside. But lucky for you in America you have backyards and Wii Fit, so use that to your advantage!
- Backyard Obstacle course: Use what you have as this does not be to be too advanced or thought out. Have the kids do it for best possible time! This will get them to do it over and over again trying harder and harder!
- Wii Fit: If you still have the old Wii I highly recommend breaking it out for some active time AS I DON’T THINK I HAVE EVER WORKED OUT HARDER THAN I DID DURING WII BOXING
- Don’t touch the web: This is a cute one! If you do not have a backyard I highly recommend using your hallway to your advantage! Set up tape, rop, OR all that toilet paper that you overstocked on and make a hallway that your kids have to try to escape without making the “alarm” go off! I stumbled into this blog and she has GREAT indoor activity ideas, check her out for more: Indoor Activities
- Kids Zumba: This has been the latest craze in Italy whenever the kids are needing to release some energy! Italians do not have backyards but they do usually have a decent size living room! So get your youtube hooked up to your tv and start sweating! One of my students favorites: Zumba Kids
Math and English: Worksheets, Worksheets, Worksheets… AND VIDEOS! That is right you heard me! Sometimes the best way for kids to learn is through a video if they are not with their teachers… As much as kids love Mom and Dad they do not always listen to them, especially when it comes to learning!
Math: Of course do the normal worksheets that teachers would normally do with your kids in class but as a teacher I have noticed kids love when I mix the art with math! Try out these addition clouds! Also put on a video so the kids can get a different form of learning while they are away from school: Addition and Subtraction Video
English: Just like math the same goes for English! If your child is still learning the alphabet I highly recommend that you do the art alphabet with them! Go ahead and check out A is for Alligator and when you are ready for the next letter just do a search on her page! For videos my personal favorites for teaching are: Alpha Blocks
Alright, I hope I have given you enough to survive through week 1 of quarantine and if you would like more blogs about what to do with kids while in quarantine please comment below!