As we reach the sixth week of lockdown and home schooling (almost the length of the summer holidays!), Mumbler Annie, is sharing her experience of the lockdown with us and some useful tips.
Annie, is a Youth Support Worker normally, however with the Young People’s Centre where she normally works being closed, she has been home schooling her son and concentrating on creating her unique, personalised artwork with Phab Artist and Phab Art.
“I have a 5 year old son, Reuben. We have been finding the lockdown mostly good, but we have had some bad days too! Here’s a few of the things we have been doing…I hope it gives you some ideas and inspiration.
First of all…this photo is just before lockdown…how crazy that I can’t even imagine taking my child into the shops now…this image seems so surreal.
We had a walk in the woods on Mother’s Day 23rd March…we had to take the stick home or it would’ve been melt down city! It’s still in our garden!
When the lockdown began, I sat down with Reuben and we agreed on a list of rules, which helped him to realise (sort of!) that I wasn’t just his slave and he might have to take some responsibility to do some things to help around the house.
We wrote a daily schedule which went out the window on day one, so now just refer to the Doncaster Mumbler Daily Schedule, which I have stuck on my kitchen cupboard! Sometimes it is hard to have a structured day, but if all else fails we always make sure we do some of his home learning tasks each day and read a book or two!
I found a great tip on Facebook. Each day I provide him with a snack pack and he is allowed 1 cup per day to drink out of. This means that he cannot keep asking for snacks throughout the day and i’m not left with loads of washing up! Quite surprisingly he has taken on board that we are rationing food (to a certain extent) and he cannot just have anything he wants, whenever he wants it.
I’m quite an arty, crafty person and never normally get the time to do all the crafts I want with Reuben, so this is the perfect opportunity.
I wrote down all the crafts that we wanted to do and then put them in a jar, so each day we try to pick out at least one of them to do.
If your child is anything like mine and sometimes no interested in doing the activity…I just start doing it anyway and usually he will join in! Sometimes it works, others it doesn’t…I get most of the ideas off pinterest, facebook groups or there are lots listed here .
Who knew there could be pro’s to my impressive hoarding capacities? The numerous recycled items I have kept for rainy day activities have really come into play during this lockdown!
We collected all the Bear cards from Yo-Yo packets and realised that they all have perfect activities to keep us occupied with everyday item you have round the house. So far we have only done a few, but we will definately be working our way through them for the next couple of months.
We’ve also found some great activities to do in magazines we’ve bought…just for the toy. They are full of exciting activities and stickers too! They are similar to the worksheets that we have been given by the school and on Twinkl, but also get them learning about other subjects whilst practising their spelling and numbers too!
Make Learning Fun!
Reuben loves to play games all day, so we are constantly having fun, but I try to find a way of implementing some maths, science or spelling into it, without Reuben noticing he’s learning.
We have had so much fun making dens and building ramps for his vehicles; there’s always something that can be made out of nothing!
We have had nearly every single game out and it really is nice to be able to give Reuben undivided attention and actually enjoy the time to play the game, instead of rushing around and needing to be somewhere or do something! He still has to learn that he doesn’t need to win every time though!
Keep Active!! PE Class!
We always make sure we get some exercise – I have been doing Joe Wicks and Bootcamp at Satori Health on You Tube – a gym class that I would normally attend. My trainer has kindly been doing FREE and LIVE workouts every Monday, Wednesday and Friday morning. Have a go! I have never been fitter in my life and it really sets you up for the rest of the day!
Sadly, Reuben is so un-interested in joining me to work out, so we make sure we get outside every day. Luckily the weather has been incredible for us, so he has really enjoyed scooting and cycling and I have been jogging alongside him. Isn’t it amazing…the feeling of fresh air on your face after you’ve been cooped up all day?! We will never take our freedom for granted again!
We also find that face-timing my kids friends makes a huge difference to our day. It gives you the human interaction that you mentally need and you don’t realise how much is boosts all of your energy. You finally get to chat to another Mum and can swap ideas for things to do too! Keep in touch with your friends and family in any way you can and especially those who cannot get out or don’t have access to the interwebs!
Reuben very rarely paints with me, so this was very special for me being an arty mummy and he really enjoyed doing this. He loved the idea, saying that if we painted a rainbow, we and other children could go on a hunt to see the rainbows when we went on our daily walks or scoots. We also put a bear in the window, so everyone can go on a bear hunt too!
Just the simple things in everyday life, such as when we are making Jelly, i’m asking him to look at the cubes dissolving in the boiling hot water and asking him questions ‘Why’ and ‘How’, to get his brain thinking.
Have you tried Rainbow Skittles? It looks so much better when you do it with the normal colour skittles, but this was all we had. All you have to do is place the skittles around a plate, however you wish, pour water on them and wait. The colours dissolve into the water! We love this, it’s magical everytime! For more exciting images, see Pinterest.
Playing on the mini keyboard was hours of fun and I have a larger one, so I got Reuben to have a go with that too. I took half a morning printing out the lyrics to his favourite song, Scooby Doo and colour coded all the notes so he could play it on his keyboard! I must be mad but it was worth it though! He loved it and started to learn his favourite song in no time!
We’ve have had a few crossed words, when Reuben has demanded food right that minute…so after after a glass of wine and some deliberation, I asked him to come and cook his dinner with me, so that he knew what hard work went into making it! He really enjoyed being a part of it…but the novelty wore off. He has learnt not to demand food (so much) now though!
This was really simple and fun, whilst learning!
Nerf Maths – I drew numbers onto plastic cups and then gave Reuben a maths sum to work out and he had to hit the right cup! Hours of fun!
Well…I don’t know if you have ever finished your meal before your little one and thought, I’ll just dip my biscuit into my tea whilst they finish their dinner? Please don’t do this!
It was major meltdown city! So…once he had apologised for his outburst, I said he could have a biscuit if he could spell ‘biscuit’. Such a mean Mummy! Good spelling lesson though and a lesson learned for me too!
Build a ‘Pyramid’ or “Perament” as Reuben would say! He actually came up with the idea himself and just started building the pyramid with plastic cups. Then he enjoyed knocking it over with a soft ball and building it again…over and over!
We potted up some little pots we got for free at M & S just before lockdown. I found all the seeds and bulbs we had, then we dug up the front garden bed and planted them all together. I’m not very good at gardening, but Reuben absolutely loves digging and getting mud everywhere! Such a great activity to do in this lovely weather too!
Playdoh is such a good tool to pull out of the cupboard any day! Reuben absolutely loves it! One of the Bear/Yo Yo Activity cards was to make a blobfish with Playdoh. It was such a fantastic activity for Reuben – he took time to create something he was really proud of (and only a mother would be proud of too, bless him!) I think I took my blobfish making a bit seriously (!) but it was actually quite therapeutic!
We have spent many nights doing this puzzle just before bedtime. It really seems to chill him out? We love a good jigsaw, it really stimulates his brain and is good for anyone who has children like mine; he is really focused whilst he is doing something that is visual and practical. To help us learn the elements (this was actually more for me!) we have been learning a song, which Reuben has now learnt some of the words to! Go to YouTube The Periodic Table Song.
Enjoy and embrace it!
Every day is different. We usually have one or two days during the week where we will mostly play, and others where it’s more structured. And some days we have spent in completely different rooms for our own space…and sanity! We are just doing the best we can in these crazy, but weirdly special times, that we will never be able to get back, with our loved ones.
I understand that not everyone is at home and can spend all this time with their kids, so for those who are working, i’m sure I speak for everyone when I say how truly grateful I am to you for keeping the country going!
Stay safe and enjoy this surreal time with your loved ones. Follow me on Pinterest for all sorts of ideas for crafts and activities from toddlers, to young people of all ages!