The UK and many other countries are in lock-down this Spring to prevent the spread of the Coronavirus. Unless they are key workers all adults are at home but this doesn’t mean they can supervise, teach and play with children continually all throughout the day. They may be working from home or making essential telephone calls to family and friends who are self isolating.
Parents may be caring for babies or sick relatives or attending to administrative and housework tasks, that their young people cannot practically join in with. “There are around 1.8 million single parents – they make up nearly a quarter of families with dependent children.” states the charity Gingerbread. (1)
Fortunately there are many fun and educational activities that kids can do to entertain themselves at home. Schools have been sending appropriate schoolwork for their pupils of all ages to complete via email. When this is all finished and they have exhausted their favourite hobbies there are fresh channels providing content to inspire and teach developing minds.
Everyone who has a family and a TV license knows and loves CBeebies which is a firm favourite for shows, games and stories for the under sixes. (2)
BBC Bitesize will be available from the 20th April to support students of all ages learning maths, English, science and other subjects. There will also be advice on home-schooling for parents. Lessons for children with special needs will be part of the website. (3)
Lessons on screen via BBCiPlayer and the Red Button will be available every day. BBC Sounds has new audio Bitesize podcasts and there is an app for older teenagers. “This is the biggest education effort the BBC has ever undertaken” remarked Tony Hall, Director General of the BBC this week.
The Harry Potter at Home hub is a “free online collection of child-friendly activities, videos, puzzles, illustrations, quizzes, creative ideas, articles and much more..” that the team at Hogwarts promise will amuse budding wizards of all ages. J K Rowling launched the new platform on the 1st of April and is working in partnership with educational publishers Bloomsbury and Scholastic to provide engaging sessions with a touch of magic to lift the spirits at this difficult time. (4)
Oxford Owl gives families with kids from ages 3 to 11 access to eBooks they can download on their tablets. There are also plenty of activity sheets with colouring and quizzes to keep them busy.(5)
Explore Learning is an online learning experience for children aged from 4 to 14. The online parenting website Mumsnet recommends Explore Learning as a “winner”. Explore Learning have expanded their offering with ‘Explore at Home’ to support families in their efforts to keep education going successfully during the school closures. (6)
Funology describes itself as the ultimate parenting toolbox. A jolly combination of science experiments, tricks and arts and crafts, there is definately something for explorers of all ages. (7)
These sites all offer positive sessions in front of a screen, to keep children occupied. As part of a mix of partcipating in practical activities with parents, these web hubs can stimulate their creativity, imagination and also entertain young people. This all helps families get the most harmony and enjoyment out of ‘staying at home and saving lives’ at this extraordinary time.
(1) ‘Single parents: facts and figures’ Gingerbread charity website, 3rd April 2020 Single parents facts and figures Gingerbread
(2) CBeebies Official British Broadcasting Corporation website, 4th April 2020 CBeebies Official BBC website
(3) ‘How Bitesize will support you while you’re learning from home’ British Broadcasting Corporation website 3rd April 2020 BBC Bitesized website
(4) ‘WizardingWorld.com reveals new Harry Potter at Home hub’ The Wizarding World team 1st April 2020 Harry Potter Wizarding World at Home Hub
(5) ‘Welcome to Oxford Owl for Home’ Oxford Owl Educational Learning, 3rd April 2020 Oxford Owl for Home Learning
(6) ‘Keep Education Going’ Explore Learning, 4th April 2020 Keep Education Going Explore Learning
(7) ‘Funology is the Science of Having Fun’ 4th April 2020 Funology science website