We are now approaching week 2 of official Lockdown. For those with children, it is perhaps becoming clear why, in usual circumstances, the role of teacher and parent are generally mutually exclusive. You're undertaking a role that has been socially abnormal for well over 300 years. It's ok to be finding it tough, exhausting, or frankly impossible - everyone is.
Below are our next 5 tips for entertaining your children creatively. As usual, if you have any of your own advice, please leave a comment to share your own suggestions.
1) Make a flip-book:
I was always really envious of kids at school who came in and proudly showed off a flip-book they’d made in show and tell. Imagine how good show and tell is going to be when kids go back to school after a potential 6 months off - competition is going to be high and your kid needs to have some great skills up their sleeves if they’re going to be admired! The video linked below could be good to watch with kids to help them start off making a flip-book. Instead of the light that it recommends to use, you could use a tablet or phone screen, set to a very bright setting.
A stack of paper/ cards (maybe about 30 sheets)
2) Make toilet-roll animals:
As we all know, the country has quite literally bought itself out of toilet roll. We have created a supply chain issue that may take up to 4 months to rectify. By this logic, in the coming months, there is going to be a lot of discarded toilet paper rolls. You could recycle these, you could stare at them wistfully and think of better times, or you could use them to make the 2020 zoo alternative. Making toilet paper animals is a great way to use materials you would otherwise throw out at home, and could offer a great alternative to watching reruns of Animal Park on TV.
Empty Toilet-roll rolls
Extra card or cardboard (could also be taken from your recycling pile)
(Optional) Any other crafting materials you have to hand
For some inspiration, see: https://hative.com/homemade-animal-toilet-paper-roll-crafts/
3) Draw what I describe with your eyes closed:
Children are competitive little creatures. They thrive on the opportunity to beat a friend or sibling. This game needs only a pen and paper (and maybe a blindfold if your child is prone to cheating). Think up some scenes and ask them to draw them blind. You can then compare whose blind drawings are the best.
In a similar vein, never underestimate the power of a highly competitive game of pictionary if you have enough children/ players at your disposal!
Maybe a blindfold for potential cheaters.
Times are dark, but paper folded into the shape of a crane is a traditional beacon of hope in Japanese culture. In Japanese tradition, if one person folds one thousand orizuru (origami cranes) together into a sunbazuru (literally one-thousand cranes), they are granted one wish. I’m not sure if you can spread one-thousand cranes out and share them between one household, but regardless, making and hanging threaded origami cranes in your window would be a clear visual symbol of unity and optimism for better times ahead. It would also kill many, many hours of unoccupied time, and could very easily become a long-term family quarantine/ isolation project.
Sheets of square Paper. Coloured, or plain.
Thread (optional) for those looking to make a Sunbazuru.
This video is a good starting place for learning to make the cranes :
And, this link takes you to a free copy of the story of Sadako and the Paper Cranes, which would be a great story to tell to kids making Orizuru for some context on the Japanese tradition:
5) Ferment things
We all know that children love anything that is mildly repulsive. Mud-pies are probably temporarily off the cards, so what better time to put this love of all things revolting to good use than some productive anaerobic respiration. Although getting all the necessary equipment might be difficult right now, and perhaps could require some home deliveries, this is a great ongoing project that will satisfy children’s love for all things slimy, teach them about anaerobic respiration (kinda), and result in some delicious homemade food/ drink products.
Komucha is a great one to start with, because the Scoby (starting culture) grows in the jar and looks like a jellyfish! It may require a few out of the ordinary purchases, like a large glass jar, and a shop-bought kombucha, but will be truly worth it for the most beneficial and low-maintenance pet of all time!
Large glass jars
1 bottle of shop bought Kombucha
Tea Towels, or clingfilm
Here’s a good Kombucha scoby recipe: https://www.thekitchn.com/how-to-make-your-own-kombucha-scoby-cooking-lessons-from-the-kitchn-202596
For those of you struggling with homeschooling specifically, the government has set up a helpline for questions regarding education during the current school closures.
Call: 0800 046 8687
More targetted advice for parents is available via Parentline. Their phone operators are working from home to continue to offer support and advice to any parents who may need it. Their website offers lots of useful advice too.
Call: 0800 28 22 33
Best of luck to all the brave parents out there. Do share any success/ total disaster stories with us if you try any of these techniques. For now, stay sane & stay indoors!