30 March 2020

Play Corner

Dear parents and all caregivers of children, A challenge lies ahead of us all. The recommended measures of social isolation give the best results in fighting the COVID-19 epidemic, but they also bring changes in routines for all family members. It is natural to feel scared, anxious and uncertain. Children can also feel confused, sad, afraid or…, 1. My hideout – idea for small children and preschoolers, A Hideout can be anything a child chooses as their safe place. It can be built from any material and anywhere in the house. Pillows, bed sheets, blankets, chairs, tables, the nook under the stairs or a cardboard box. If you are playing with a baby, it can be just a fence made of a large book, magazine or pillow. Anything can be used. Let the child…, 2. My picture book – idea for younger school-age children, Use the time you are spending together with your children these days to talk to them about different topics – spending time with the pet, what it was like when they lost their first tooth, or went riding a bicycle for the first time, about celebrating birthdays, about their first goal in a match, etc. Ask them which of the topics you discussed…, 3. The spider web, With wool (or a similar material) build a spider web somewhere in the house (for example between furniture or under the dining table or in a hallway). The idea is that children have to go through it without touching the wool. Three more movement and fun activities to try: Dance to the music: Turn the music on and swirl around with your babies.…, 4. Cook with your child, Do you know that there are many benefits of preparing the food with your children, which include social-emotional development; language; cognitive ability and physical development. Some simple cooking tasks for your toddlers and preschoolers are stirring pancakes batter, rinsing vegetable or setting the table. Kids enjoy cooking with their parents…, 5. Make a computer with recyclable materials, Children will build their own computer and keyboard from recycled materials. The idea is to use cardboard or paper boxes for the screen, an egg box for the keyboard, and then paint letters and numbers on the keyboard and put a picture or screen. Encourage play with children by sending imaginary messages to friends who are far away. A variant is to…, 6. Dance and sing together, When you dance with your child, he or she has the opportunity to learn about, experience and accept their body in relation to space. Dance and movement will release the accumulated tension from the body. Singing with your child has an impact on their behaviour. Who says discipline can't be as sweet as a song? Singing will bring you closer, no…, 7. Family orchestra - idea for younger school-age children, Use the time you are spending together with your children these days to make rhythm instruments together, to play them together and create your family rhythmic exercise for each day to come (you can use it to start the day off). Your orchestra will bring joy to the family, listening and following each other, but it will also bring physical…, 8. Play with flashlights, Get a flashlight out and teach your children how to make shadow puppets on the wall. That can be a lot of fun especially if you make a story with the shadow puppets. Play other games with flashlight: for example, can your child jump to the circle of light projected by the flashlight? Can he or she reach it by their hand so high up on the wall?…, 9. Tell me your story, Making up and telling stories helps develop children’s imagination and creativity. Pick 5 household items, without any special order, the first things you see. It can be a glass, piece of cloth, key, plate, pen, coat, wallet, etc. Put them in front of the child and tell them to tell you a story that involves all the items. Get comfortable and…, 10. My plans – idea for younger school-age children, We often think that we have all day to do something, and children often think that they have all afternoon to do their homework and other chores. But then, time runs out. Many things in our lives depend on how we use our time. This is the opportunity for your children to learn together with you about the importance of planning various life…, 11.  Playing traditional games (from when you were a child), Another interesting activity that parents and caregivers can do with their children at home is playing folk or traditional games. As simple as they seem, these games help stimulate children’s brains as well as their physical health. Kids these days might not know much about folk games you played as children. Therefore, today is a good opportunity…, 12. Let’s get mathematical, For everyone that loves math! Hereby are some fun and simple math games that parents and caregivers can try at home with your children! Do you know any other games? Share with us! COUNTING GAME: Using counting sticks that you can find at home such as chopsticks or straws to teach children count and do some basic math. SHAPE MAKING: Recycle your…, 13. Make a video, Parents and children collaborate on a mini video making project to tell a story using a child’s color or black and white drawings. Parents and caretakers can help the child develop their story and film the video. Stay in touch with your loved ones It is worth putting in the extra effort to nurture and strengthen your relationships with family,…, 14. My art, “My art” is a game that provides children with the opportunity to experience how various objects and body parts can be used to create art. Put watercolours, temperas or edible food paint into plastic containers. Put a paper on the floor, as big as possible. You can use any paper, parts of old wallpaper, newspapers, papers already written on,…, 15. My photo album – idea for younger school-age children, In the conditions when children are staying at home, they draw and write things that interest them, and very often their work is intended for people they hold dear. At these times when they are not seeing their grandparents and other members of the extended family or their friends, you can suggest that they draw or write something for each of them…, 16. Organize a treasure hunt at home, Make a set of clues to advance in the search for treasure inside the house. The clues can be clever questions that make them discover corners or things around the house that they may not have known what they were for. The treasure can be something your child really likes to eat or a "voucher for" doing some special activity with you. For younger…, 17. Organize the house with your child, Parents or caregivers could take this opportunity to teach some of the most basic life skills to your kids. Clothes folding could be one thing! Other ideas: organize the toys with your child (big, small, cars, games et.); Organize the shoes in the hallway. Take exclusive time for your child and yourself, without news, phones and without the “virus…, 18. Make a shadow puppet, Children are often trying to “catch” their shadow which is always “running away”. Very often they are amazed at the size and shape of shadows. Shadow is a phenomenon that arouses the curiosity of children of all ages.  To play with shadows with young children you need a source of light (the Sun, table lamp, flashlight), flat surface to project the…, 19. Shadow theatre at home – idea for younger school-age children, This is an opportunity to organize a shadow theatre at home together with your children. Children can stage the play, and you will be the audience. This is also an opportunity to record the play and share it with their loved ones (grandparents and other relatives, friends). To organize this theatre you only need a lamp and a bed sheet. Shadow…, 20. Let’s get messy! Make Playdough, Kids love creating with playdough and it’s even more fun if they participate in making it with you. This is great, kids can be creative, and it also builds strength in their hands for fine motor skills.  You can find the recipe here: https://teachingmama.org/how-to-make-jello-playdough/  , 21. Imagine what a cardboard box can be , If you can find a cardboard box, get creative with it. It’s funny how kids love playing with simple things like cardboard boxes! You can turn them into a little fort, a boat, a rocket ship, you can paint on them, put stickers on and if you cut out funny stuff from old magazines you can let the kids glue them on. There's no limit.  , 22. Play ‘I spy’ or “I see”, Practice some math and language skills by playing the simple game “I see” or “I spy”. Keep it simple, start by saying e.g.  “I see in this room something blue”, and let the kids ask you more clues on the object you have on your mind and want the kids to guess it. They can ask as many questions as needed until they found out what it is. Some more…, 23. Our garden, If you already have a balcony with flowers or houseplants, involve children in plant care. Also, you can plant a fast germinating seed. For example, common bean. It is enough to put one bean into water-soaked cotton wool or in an egg shell with some soil, and put it in a warm and sunny place. Water it regularly and in just a couple of days you…, 24. When the bean finds its way to the light – activities for younger school-aged children, Here’s the opportunity for children to see the importance of sunlight for the life of plants in a practical example. In this regard, older children can continue with growing beans. They can put the container with the growing bean in a shoe box, close it, and cut a hole on the side.  They should put the box next to a window with lots of sun and…, 25. Wash clothes, toys or dishes with your child, Take your toy cars/action figures/dolls/ little animals, etc. Place them up by the sink. Filled the sink with soapy water. Have a bucket of water on the other side to rinse the toys off. Lastly, dry them with a towel. With this activity kids also learn how to follow steps and they can also do this by themselves with parents just watching. With…, 26. Make a short video with your child, Find a situation with your children that has made them laugh a lot, something very fun that has happened to you as a family. The idea is to make a little "storybook video" with the story of what happened.      Involve your child in everyday family routines The new circumstances have led to families spending most of their days at home. While such…, 27. Bathing fruits and vegetables, Involve your child in preparation of the lunch or snacks, by washing vegetables or fruits together. Encourage your child to take the groceries you are preparing and put them in a bowl. If necessary, help them turn on the tap to wash the groceries. Talk to the child about what interests them regarding this activity, why fruits and/or vegetables are…, 28. Relaxation activity: Baths and Water Play, Whether your child splashes about or leans back and slowly dumps water into different bath toys, the sensation of the water, the sound of the tub filling, and perhaps the smell of bubble bath or a few drops of essential oil can all calm a child!   At other times, even playing with floating toys in a large container of warm water can have a…,  , 29. Relaxation activity: Starfish and Tornadoes, Draw a picture of a thermometer. Draw a starfish (or another peaceful creature familiar to the child) at the bottom and a tornado at the top. Ask if your child feels calm and peaceful like a starfish or revved up like a tornado. When your child is feeling over-energized, brainstorm together about ways to feel more like a starfish. For example,…, 30. Relaxation activity: Freeze Dance, Play some lively music on your phone or computer.  Encourage your children to make up any kind of dance to the music (show them at first).  After a few minutes, stop the music and say “FREEZE!”  The child “freezes” in the silly position taken at the moment the music stopped.  Begin the music again and continue as often as they enjoy it.  , 31. Relaxation activity: Belly Breathing with Stuffed Animals, Let your child lie on his or her back and put a stuffed animal on belly. Have them breathe in and move the stuffed animal up, then breathe out and bring the stuffed animal back down. This helps teach children to use their belly to take big deep breaths.  , 32. Blowing Bubbles, Children must blow carefully and slowly to make the bubbles, which will help them take deep breaths. Blowing bubbles using your own hand as the bubble wand is also great for tactile input and can be soothing. They can do this by dipping their hand in the bubble mixture and either blowing through their fist or by making a circle with their thumb…, 33. Relaxation activity: Flower and Candle Breathing, A simple activity is to tell children to breathe in like they are smelling a flower and breathe out like they are blowing out birthday candles.  Demonstrate for them (may be hard for the youngest— try another activity perhaps).  , 34.  Relaxing with Yoga, If you know simple yoga poses, get your child involved. Try the simple child-friendly yoga poses to calm down emotions and see how it feels.   Lazy Cat Wakes Up.  Pretend you are a lazy cat that just woke up from a lovely long nap. Have a big yawn. And a meow. Now stretch out your arms, legs and back – slowly like a cat – and relax. Use screen…, 35. Around the world, Organize a virtual trip for your family. First, decide where you as a family would like to travel, pick a destination. Then, start exploring that place (city, mountain, town). For this, you will need to use “screens” and the internet, and you can use virtual tours of some cities. This way you will together get familiar with interesting customs,…, 36. Feathers and Statues, Pretend you are a feather floating through the air for about ten seconds. Suddenly you freeze and transform into a statue. Don’t move! Then slowly relax as you transform back into the floating feather again. Repeat, making sure to finish as a floaty feather in a relaxed state.  (Parent—end with a hug!)  , 37. Build a Silly Story, Children age 4 and older may enjoy this.  One person in the family starts a story, and then other family members add to it in turn.  For example:  “One day David went for a walk.  The first thing he saw was a . . .” Then turn to the next person (maybe the other parent says “purple giraffe!”, making it simple for young children but fun and exciting…, 38. Squeeze a Stress Ball, Take the ball(s) in one or both hands and squeeze and release. Experiment with squeezing the ball. Find a way that is right for you, adjusting the speed, pressure, and timing of your squeezes to whatever way you like.  , 39. Be a Turtle!, Pretend you are a turtle going for a slow, relaxed turtle walk. Oh no, it’s started to rain! Curl up tight under your shell for about ten seconds. The sun’s out again, so come out of your shell and return to your relaxing walk. Repeat a few times, making sure to finish with a walk so that your body is relaxed.   Imagination improves your health…, 40. Paper hats, This is a game of role playing and imagination. Make a hat from newspapers or any available paper. When a child puts on their hat, they can become a cook, pirate, wizard. Encourage them to look at themselves in the mirror and start a conversation with the new personality they see in front of them. You should also join this conversation and the…, 41. Invisible ink – idea for younger school-aged children, This activity has several layers of meaning, from the most obvious ones – drawing and writing, to expressing one’s desires, including for children who find that hard to do, to getting to know one another. That's why you can organize it in many ways, depending on your assessment of what will have the best effect in your family's circumstances. The…, 42. The world in my plate, Although we often say, and we've also been told many times “don't play with your food”, we now know that playing with food is actually a great way for children to develop imagination and creative thinking. It might even increase their appetite. You can make all sorts of things from food. Potatoes can be rocks, broccoli can be trees with canopy,…, 43. Little confectioner, This is a chance to make biscuits together. And not just any biscuits, but honey biscuits. This is your chance to talk to your child about honey: Honey is a liquid (this may seem a little unusual to the child, but you can use honey to teach them that there are liquids of different densities, e.g. comparing it to water) Honey is the only insect…