5 Ways To Learn Under Lockdown
Contributed By: Ms. Maya Thiagarajan, Mentor - Chettinad-Sarvalokaa Education International School
Mangoes are ripening on trees, and the air feels hot and humid. Summer is here!
But, this summer vacation is going to be distinctly different from other summers. Given the global pandemic we’re facing, we can’t take our children out to zoos and beaches, and we can’t enroll them in outdoor camps and send them off to art classes. As parents, we have to be a little more creative than usual to ensure that our children are active, happy, and productively engaged over the next couple months. Here are some tips to help you out!
Tip #1: Let’s Read, Read, Read
Reading together is a wonderful way to bond. Cuddle up with your children and a good book. Read the book out loud, and if your child is in the mood, have a conversation about the book. Remember the goal is to inculcate a love of reading in your child, so keep the experience fun and free of pressure. You read, and let your son or daughter listen. Enjoy the story together! Whether you’re reading “We’re Going on a Bear Hunt” with your preschooler, or reading “Wonder” with your fifth grader, reading together is a fulfilling experience for children of any age.
And if you don’t want to do the reading, you could try an audible book together. Check out this cool site: Audible books for free in many languages: https://stories.audible.com/start-listen
If your children are older and they are able to read independently, you can encourage them to spend some time each day reading. If print books are not available because of the lockdown, try downloading some e-books instead. You could institute “family reading time,” where you all read together for an hour each day.
Looking for book recommendations? Brightly is a fabulous site for parents! Check out their book lists.
Tip #2: We Can Cook
There’s nothing like a lockdown to get us all focused on food. As the days stretch out before us, we tend to spend more time than usual thinking about our next meal. Let’s get kids in on the action in the kitchen this summer!
Try out simple recipes with your children. Most kids love measuring, mixing, and helping out.
Integrate some math in a fun way: if your children are very young, they can count the number of tomatoes and onions you need. If they’re older, you can get them to practice doubling or halving fractions (The recipe says that you need four eggs to make eight servings. How many eggs will we need for four servings?). Get your children counting, measuring, and doing some fractions as they cook!
Tip #3: Art Works Wonders
Find any materials you have at home – crayons and markers are great, but recyclable cans and cardboard boxes and old newspaper can also be put to use. Get your kids to use their creativity and make something useful or beautiful for the house.
And if you would like your child to learn more about art history, check out these leading museums who have partnered with Google Cultural Institute to bring the world’s treasures online. https//artsandculture.google.com
Chennai’s own art education company, Rainbow Fish, is also offering some cool online classes for kids this summer. Check out their virtual art camps. Who said kids can’t go to camp this summer?
Tip #4: History All Around Us
While you can’t physically take your children to historical sites this summer, you can do it virtually with Pradeep Chakravarthy, one of Chennai’s leading historians. He’s got a History program for children, where he brings South Indian history alive through stories and visuals. Check out www.mysticalpalmyra.com
Tip #5: Staying Well
First and foremost, take care of yourself. Children absorb our anxieties, so if we want to help our children feel safe and happy, we need to start by taking good care of ourselves. This is a stressful time for everyone; be compassionate to yourself and to your kids.
Cuddles and affection are always important to help children feel safe, comfortable and happy – now more than ever!
One way to stay healthy and upbeat is to exercise regularly. If you have the luxury of outdoor space (a garden, a terrace), get you child outside and either play together, garden together, or develop an exercise routine to get everyone moving. IF you don’t have the luxury of outdoor space, then develop an indoor routine – yoga stretches, dance moves, pushups and crunches – whatever it takes to keep everyone active and healthy. Your children may be feeling very cooped-up, so get them moving to help them feel better!
And finally, please remember that we don’t have to be super-parents all the time. It’s perfectly fine to give your child unstructured time where he/she can play independently. In fact, it’s important for kids to have some unstructured time to play on their own. And if they say that they are bored, remember that boredom can often fuel the imagination. Limit devices and let them play the old-fashioned way, for play is the work of childhood.