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  • Yana Crane Photography

Things you can do with kids (and be happy ever) at home

Updated: Sep 27, 2020

With spring break, school closures and C-virus self-quarantine I see so many parents struggle to keep their kids entertained. Nowadays it's almost a basic need - to keep kids busy. Firstly, I want to reassure you that it is ok for children to be bored sometimes: it's actually a good thing because it can spark creativity, it can build self-confidence ("Look what I can do mom!") and inner motivation (they do things because they are bored not because they will get a candy or 1 hour of screen time). Of course it could be hard at first - they will come to you with "I don't know what to do. I'm bored." Sounds familiar? :)

As a homeschooling mom I spend 90% of my time with kids and we never have enough time to do all things we want or started to do. There are so many opportunities to learn and play! Most of the public school-parents don't know about them and I would like to share some ideas.

Apart from regular reading and colouring, hiking and playing in the park here is what you can do.

1. Cook and bake with kids. They love it! (most of them for sure). What can they learn: adding and subtracting carrots, potatoes, buns. Fractions while baking - 1/4 of the cup, 1/2 of the tea spoon. Or they can make veggies-fruit and meal out of the play dough developing fine motor skills!

If your kids are passionate about cooking and are old enough you can enroll them in online cooking academy like this one:

We also love Preppy Kitchen on YouTube. He is fun to bake with!

2. Science experiment! You can do loads of them just with household items.

We really love Mystery Doug videos and different activities-lessons (lots are free), (free science classes and now they have a new content daily)! For Pre-K and elementary school we love TheDadLab on Instagram - so easy fun!

3. Crafts. So many choices here! And it doesn't matter if you have boys or girls, some boys really love to learn how to finger knit or sew a button! You can level up that regular play dough mess creating arts, learning an alphabet or planets (we made cell-parts, planets, Earth structure, parts of the plants and more).

Sewing, making dolls out of fabric, wood, beads etc - so many ideas on Pinterest. You can make simple yarn dolls or Slavic Spring fabric dolls (you can ask me how, most of the instructions are in Russian).

Simple felting (we have a great yarn store in Vernon with wool supplies and I'm sure every city has one too).

Origami! My youngest found a great youTube channel with easy to follow instructions. She is 6 years old and sometimes needs me to show details but mostly she would just pause and fold. And you don't need a special paper, use old magazines, wrapping paper or old drawings you wanted to recycle!

Hello Origami

Toilet paper rolls! I'm sure you will have tons of them left *wink wink*!

Endless opportunities. I didn't even want to dig into my photos for that. Just save it, give it to your kids and let their imagination flow!

Random crafts like building structures and bridges, DNA cells or space ships. Making kid's favourite book heroes out of paper and playing with it while reading another story or creating your own - a new turn, a new ending or beginning and character gets another life while your kids develop creativity and language skills.

4. If your flights were cancelled or vacations postponed go on an adventure from you home! Learn about new countries and cities, cultures and traditions, cook Indian food or sushi, listen to Italian music and The Beatles! If you have Wi-Fi and a computer it is so easy to do. If you also have books - even better! (Or use your local library, you can also place books on hold from your home and just quickly go and pick it up when you get e-mail notification).

You can make your own lap-books with kids and if you own a printer you have lots of free resources out there:

Canada Lapbook

Flags - print them, glue to a toothpick and play with a map using little piece of play dough to attach flag to the country!

Travel with two little dogs - Bella and Harry adventures. They have free colouring sheets and lesson plans of this website. We love the books as well (you can buy them on Amazon).

Treasures of the World museums. As a photographer I love to learn about artists and masterpieces. We have lots of books to go through but unfortunately no access to the real museums with art here. So we use online resources to look at the paintings and sculptures all around the world. Youtube channel we love to watch: Geography Now.

5. Play board games! If you don't have many - print your own games! (Or draw them if you don't have a printer). And I don't even know where to start - there are lots of websites with printable educational and fun games (please don't hesitate to PM if you are stuck with it, I will send you some games on e-mail or show the links). Many amazing moms and dads made them for us to use! Some are free, some cost just a little but so worth the $.

6. Play! Do a treasure hunt (or a scavenger hut) in your backyard. Invite toy-guests for Sloth's Bday party! Do a Fashion Week show (boys love dressing up too!). Play a cave-man (stick-stone tools, cave art, dances, mamoth-papa hunt). Cardboxed are amazing toys - make a ship, a car, a plane and learn about Marco Polo, Amelia Earhart, Michael Schumacher, Columbus or other great explorers!

7. Art history and music projects.

You can study artists, composers and masterpieces together. My girls love to explore art, to make art-projects based on masterpieces and then create their own. They also love classical music and my oldest was dancing with Mozart since she was 1,5 years old. He is her favourite still.

This part depends on your own (parent's) taste and interests. Some people just don't like classical music which we usually learn about. And it is ok. Let your kids listen and learn about bands from your childhood, let them explore different kinds of music out there: rock, country, folk, jazz etc. etc. And almost all kids love to dance!

If you don't have many books on art you can find loads of free information on Internet. I love to print out games, lapbooks and little unit studies about artists. Explore this free resource on Frida Kahlo and many others (don't forget about The Group of Seven, Canadian artists, they are worth to learn about!)

You can browse different artists or plan it and make little lessons dividing them by time period or country, or style. See if your child has an interest in this (and in my personal experience if parent is interested there is a big chance that child would be too).

This is actually a great time to explore - so many museums opened virtual tours now, you can visit most interesting ones online and see masterpieces in better quality then if just Google.

There are so much more things you can learn and do with kids! They are naturally curious and daring, creative and can absorb information better than we think. Take this opportunity to really know them, bond with them and explore together - it is so rewarding in a long term. Just follow their interest, then you'll get better result and the most fun!

And if you happened to be a photographer pick up your camera to document this days!

If you are not a photographer but want to have this memories to cherish, I would love to help - I do in-home sessions and this is my gem!

Some other helpful links see below.

Free Subscriptions during the school closings

Free live Opera streams - Metropolitan Opera

Free Lapbooks and units for different subjects

Award winning Apps

Art lessons for kids (different grades)

Outschool lessons - online lessons, lots of subjects. Some are live, some recorded, many options just search with key word or browse.

About Gameschooling

Open Culture - free online classes, audiobook, lectures etc.

Composers study - fun way to learn classical music and composers for kids

Easy Science for kids

Experiments with Steve Spangler

Khan Academy - free online classes and tests (math, science, social studies)

Free Language printable games

Creativepark - lot's of printable paper crafts including animals, architecture, vehicles and educational.

Scholastic (learn from home)

You can add your own favourite ideas or resources in comments. There are many many more of them and I actually sometimes think how great it would be to have 48 hours a day :)

I hope that helps and you can use some ideas at your home! I would love to share my experience and help to anyone who needs it!

To book your session call (250) 9382734

Or Pm on a FB: Yana Crane Photography

#homeschooling #children #family #dayinlife #lifestyle #documentary

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