If you are living in a place that’s still under the Covid-19 lockdown and the kids have not been able to get out much, chances are that tempers are simmering. To uncoil these agitated neurons and bring the temperature down, we have brought you a list of fun, practical, and engaging learning activities that will keep the kids busy and curious, (and off your back, if you are leaning that way).
These learning activities include life skills, games, education, make-believe, and even a little bit of spirituality thrown in for good measure.
1. Learn Yoga & Meditation
So, let’s start with spirituality. While yoga and meditation started as spiritual exercises, research has concluded that their benefits are more multidimensional. According to Harvard Business Review, the benefits of yoga (and other mindfulness exercises such as meditation) to kids are immense and lifelong.
Children who spend at least 10-15 minutes a day practicing yoga/meditation can enjoy all this:
– Greater physical flexibility, balance, posture, and strength
– Better memory and focus
– Improved self-confidence
– A stronger mind-body connection
– Reduced anxiety and stress
Here are a couple of YouTube videos you can follow along as you start practicing yoga with your kids.
2. Become a Graphic Designer
I have chosen graphic design because it combines technology, art, and creative design solutions. Since most children like drawing and creating art, learning graphic design can become a precursor to a career choice.
While younger kids can enjoy an introduction to graphic design with tools and apps such as a color wheel or a type matching tool, for older kids and especially kids who are already familiar with graphic design, it may be time to get introduced to Adobe Illustrator.
The app is a mecca for professional graphic designers. If you feel overwhelmed, a quick online search can introduce you to tons of resources that can help you make sense of this software. Afterward, it can be incredibly easy with regular practice. Design tutorials such as this helpful advertising logo guide can further make this journey a fulfilling success.
3. Learn a New Language
Children, especially younger ones, are great at learning new languages. Learning to speak new languages is not only fun but also inspires creativity, problem-solving, and flexible thinking. If you’ve got a toddler at home and you are multilingual, don’t be afraid to speak to them in all of your languages. If you are thinking the child will be confused, the opposite will happen. It’ll enable to child to think in more than one language and be more creative.
For older kids and for parents who do not know multiple languages there are tons of apps available online which offer easy and interesting methods to learn different languages.
DuoLingo is one such app. Gus on the Go is another. Kids Learn Mandarin is an app that teaches children Mandarin Chinese. You can also browse your App Store or Play Store to look for more apps and check them out for yourself.
4. Make a Vocabulary Jar
A vocab-jar is exactly what it sounds: a jar filled with words. But these words are carefully chosen. Depending on your children’s reading level, pick words that your child can easily say and understand. Then start the game of who can use the word in most sentences with the correct context. This way, you will teach children that words can mean more than one thing, that a word can be of different types, and how context can radically change the meaning of the word.
5. Become a Child Journalist
As a parent, I know a thing or two about kids who ask a lot of questions. While you never want to sniff out your child’s curiosity, there’s a limit to how many hundreds of questions you can answer without losing your mind.
So, channel your kids’ zeal to questions in a better way: help them become a journalist. Enlist the help of a family member or a friend, someone with interesting life stories, or a penchant to describe things in colorful ways. Help your child prepare a list of questions to interview them. The interview can be in-person or on video call but you can make a whole deal out of it.
Your child can put on some nice clothes, a mic can be arranged, and the interview can be recorded. Later, the child can be taught how to transcribe and edit the interview. You can then send it for publishing in the local paper, on a blog, or even reproduce it at home in a purpose-made journal.
If your child has a real interest in it, the practice can become a seed for a new hobby.
6. Learn to Play Chess
While the rest of our games had a learning angle to them, this is a game for the pure purpose of playing and pleasure, though it is great for brain development, too. Chess isn’t too difficult to learn. Children 5 years old and above can easily understand the basic rules of the game. If you want to see if you are child has what it takes to be a professional player, you can introduce chess to them even as young as three years old.
If you do not know how to play chess or have time-constraint that prevent you from teaching the kids, apps such as Chesskid allow the children to learn chess on their own, playing against the computer. The app is free to use and you only need to create a free account.
Staying indoors while the world is opening up can be a bummer, especially for kids. Children may not understand how incredibly important it is and they are sure to feel more frustrated and stressed than usual. We hope that the variety of activities we have shared here will keep the kids engaged for weeks, till you all are allowed to go out again. Till that time, keep designing, meditating, and learning.
We’ll meet outside soon.