5 free, fun and easy things your child can do from home (that require very little help from you)!

So I started this with the title 5 things you can do for your child this Easter and realised that the one thing many parents are seeking, is the opportunity for some peace and time away from supporting home-learning. So instead, here are 5 ideas that should keep your little ones (and not so little ones) busy, proactive and entertained, whilst you can take time for yourself!

  1. Create a journal room. Dare I admit to once watching Channel 4’s Big Brother? On there was the now infamous Diary Room, where participants could go to off-load, articulate their thoughts and get things off their chests. Whilst this was designed for the audience’s benefit, it must have also supported the mental health of the contestants too. A space to take some time out, to work through their anxiety and thoughts, safe from their fellow housemates’ eyes and ears. So why not take this idea and make it a positive space to boot. A journal room can be somewhere that your child can go to record their reflections on the day; list the things they did that made them happy; talk about what they found out, made, watched or read. They can of course share this with you too, and in years to come, have a piece of live history documented by your own social correspondent.
  1. Read aloud. A parent recently contacted me on social media to ask about how they could support their child to build confidence when reading. Reading isn’t easy for many children, and reading aloud to an adult can sometimes compound any fear or anxiety around finding reading hard. So why not get them to read aloud to a loved pet, or a younger sibling? In the absence of this, they could just read aloud in the garden where no one is watching them. As they grow in confidence, encourage them to choose just one sentence or paragraph that they want to share with you. Whatever you do, resist the urge to correct or prompt. Let them enjoy the sound of their voice, and the enjoyment it gives others, and take pride in successfully reading some or all of the words. You can always pay them back by reading aloud a few pages afterwards!
  1. Find a pen pal! Harking back to the good old days when the excitement of receiving a hand-written letter from your friend was palpable! Encourage your child to write a letter or two. The lucky recipients are endless: grandparents, their best friends from school, mates from Scouts, Cubs or a previous holiday, or even the neighbour over the road. Not only will this help to build on their writing skills, it will also bring great joy to the reader and may even result in a letter back. Better still, get them to write to their teacher or their Head Teacher. I can tell you from personal experience how much this will mean to them and will help to keep that sense of link between home and school. I would bet on the fact that the teacher will write back!
  1. Get them to embrace their inner Joe Wicks! I recently received an email from a parent whose Year 3 daughter had written a work out for the family and wanted me to give it a try. Having ascertained what a ‘surrender’ is, I am now ready to take on this challenge and will happily let her know once I have done it (if I survive the surrender, of course). Why not get your child to design a work out for the family. You don’t need any equipment and they can be inventive with any outdoor or indoor space. Sofas make great props for tricep dips; cans of beans can double up as weights and a dressing gown tie can work as a resistance band! They can trial a few Joe clips first, then come up with their own. This can work for reception children right up to bored teens and will have a beneficial impact on everyone! 
  1. Create your very own cinema. They can research and choose a film, then set up a space in the home as a cinema. Make some popcorn, brownies or hotdogs, sit back and enjoy some down time. Perhaps, over the coming weeks, each member of the family can ‘educate’ the others with their favourite film EVER. See it as an education for all! The only rule is that if you put a film forward, you also have to sit through everyone else’s! They could even review their film in the journal room after! In all seriousness, this downtime is essential too and no one must feel bad for downing tools, snuggling in front of a film and enjoying some escapism. 

I hope that these activities help. My aim was to make them as broad as I can in terms of age ranges, and they should be inexpensive too. Enjoy!

Thank you to Clementine Stewart for writing these 5 things. Clemmie is Senior Head of Preps at Surbiton High School, Vice-Chair of Governors at Langford Primary School and TEDx speaker.

Look out for Clementine Stewart and Rebecca Glover at TEDx Kingston with Do Snowplough Parents Remove Essential Grit’ which will be online soon.