We asked our on-call paediatrician, Dr Josh Levin (who is also dad to three daughters aged two, six and eight) to find out how he is going to keep his children healthy and learning at home while the schools are closed.
Get outside and play
“Physical activity is essential for kids,” says Josh. “It helps develop strength, agility and balance in addition to being a great way to help kids burn up some energy.” (For more information on the UK guidelines to using green spaces and protecting your family and others, click here.)
Image: Getty Images
“Art projects are a great way to get children’s creative juices flowing,” he says. His three daughters love to draw, paint and make jewellery. “They don’t even realise that all these activities are ideal for fine motor skills – holding a crayon or a paintbrush and threading a bead onto a piece of string are great to develop tactile strength.”
It’s story-telling hour
Making up stories is a fun, engaging way to help children use their imaginations. At the Levin home, each girl takes a turn reading a story and a parent transcribes it. Then each girl illustrates their story and ‘reads’ it out loud back to the family. “It helps build vocabulary, letter recognition, and fine motor skills. And it’s lots of fun!” say Josh. If you need help with ice-breaker question ideas, check out our Conversation Cubes.
Make musical instruments
Logic and problem-solving skills are actively encouraged at the Levin home. “We get out boxes, tape and string and let the kids make their own musical instruments. The best part is when the girls play their instruments and host a dance party to their own music.” Sounds like fun to us!
Make it family affair
Instead of family game night, make it family game day when school is cancelled! At Josh’s house Sum Swamp and Space Mission: Nonsense Words are a hit. Kids of all ages can play and they don’t even realising that they are learning logic! Looking for more fun family game ideas? Check out our post on 10 family games for the whole family to enjoy. We’ve selected a range of games for all ages, starting with children as young as two.
Image: Learning Resources Sum Swamp Addition & Subtraction Game
PS. At the Levin household, puzzles take pole position as the family’s favourites: “… they are fantastic for spatial learning and fine motor, and more complicated puzzles are a great way for my older daughter to help out her younger sisters.”
Maths is everywhere
“There are so many easy ways to teach counting at home,” says Josh. “My girls get out blocks and line them up in rows and count them, or they stack them, count them and knock them down… and do it all over again.”
Main image: Getty Images