This weeks guest blogger is Emma from Just a Normal Mum! Emma has gave us an insight into how she and her two little ones are filling the days in isolation. The rigid daily timetable wasn’t long being put to one side and replaced with outdoor play, exercise, camping & time in the veg patch!
A must-read for ideas on how other mummies are coping in these strange times. Give Emma a follow on her instagram @justanormalmum!
I guess our home learning style has evolved over the last few weeks to include what we enjoy, pretty much being outside as much as we can, appreciating everything around us and incorporating key learning activities. I have tried not to get worried about running a “formal” school by including learning ideas into our days, such as learning about germination as we plant seeds, learning about the seasons as we watch the fruit trees blossom and little experiments during water play.
Kick start the day…
Our day always starts with exercise which starts the day in such a positive way! Either the awesome Joe Wicks (please tell me you have done a full week and ached like me?!) or a family run down the lane and back -there is often moaning and coercing to get trainers on and they want to carry favourite teddies but they have been brilliant when they get going! This also normally incorporates our egg deliveries to the local self-isolating elderly who are watching for our daily wave as we go past!
We then usually swap trainers for wellies and look after the chickens, collect the eggs and see what is going on in the garden. We are definitely really appreciating and making the most of having eggs in the current times!
Let the activities flow
We usually have a little plan for the day, when lockdown started I set off on a mission with a busy timetable and lots of plans and very quickly realised that was not going to work! We quickly dissolved the rigid timetable and now mix in some outdoor play, exercise, creative time, chill out time, some phonics and numbers (how awesome is Twinkl!), and we are big book lovers! The activities tend to just flow from one to another and the children don’t necessarily see it as timetabled and learning as such. One of the biggest challenges I have found is engaging a five year old and a three year old (just turned 3 with a lockdown dinosaur birthday last week) who have different abilities, interests and attention spans. Normally there is a play activity set up so the three year old can have a bit of time to himself to explore while my daughter and I do some more learning and tasks sent from her school to complete.
We have been theming our days (makes it so much easier for me!) Our themes have included pirates (treasure maps and hunts), grow you own day (making seed packets, planting seeds and germination), fairies (creating our own fairies and making a fairy garden), Rainbow day (colour scavenger hunt, experiments and making a stone rainbow), Wildlife Day (putting up bird and bat boxes and using Wildlife Trust treasure hunt pack) Festival Day (tent up and had a mini garden festival!), Cafe day (designed their own cafe, menus and costs), Elmer day (celebrate our differences, made an Elmer and used pack from official Elmer website) Italy day (purely so we could make homemade pizzas and ice creams!), Wild Animal Day, Numbers Day, Body Day, Under the Sea Day….
Our crafting I would say is fairly rustic- you know when you see something on Pinterest that looks amazing and simple to do, we try, we really do try, but our version always turns out a lot more rough and ready looking and nothing like what it should, but the kids are always proud of what they have made as we put it on display somewhere, the fun is in the making!
We have baked too, because Mummy needs cake and biscuits!! Obvious learning potential mixed in, along with the joys of bowl licking!
The amount of resources that have been made available on social media and online has been immense, sometimes almost too much to sift through! But it is one of the things that has completely overwhelmed me, how the everyone has come together to provide so many resources and information and enjoyment for the children in particular. We have virtually visited our favourite places, watched story times, magic shows, little festivals, dance lessons, adventure tales, sing alongs, zoomed…. it has opened our eyes to the amazing people out there and giving their time to keep the children entertained and smiling.
Every family is different, different circumstances, interests…. it is about finding what suits the rhythm and interests of your your family, you know what works best.
Spring has Sprung
So far each day one of the things I have enjoyed the most things is just appreciating the simple things. Watching how Spring has been springing, each and every day seeing the blossom and leaves coming out on the trees, spending this time together, the two of them quietly playing together enjoying each other’s company (sometimes!), learning about nature while surrounded by it rather than from a classroom.
We have also never (ever!) spent so much time in our little veg patch! Hopefully this year with the kids old enough to help and be interested we will have a bumper crop, you never know! We have planted seeds and watched them grow already, we need to keep up the enthusiasm for watering though! I am hoping it will waken their tastebuds to new vegetable flavours they would have never eaten before.
We normally holiday in the uk and are missing our camping this year having invested in a tent last year. So camping in the garden is the new holiday, literally, at home! Camping is so much fun for the kids (small and big!) whether in the Peak District or the back garden, it makes no difference! Putting the tent up, sleeping bags out, chasing each other round the tent in pjs, it’s all just a great little adventure for them!
I say all this and it sounds like the most amazing time but believe me there are daily squabbles, fights, he did this, she said that, it is my turn, not it’s not it’s my turn, the grumps, the huffs, the tiredness, the can’t walk any further, the refereeing and the endless meal making. But these times are like no other and I hope we all look back on them to be able to look forward with a new appreciation of what is important and the simple pleasures in life.
“Life is about the journey and not the destination”
Check out our other guest blogs here – we have more tips and tricks for being on lockdown with kids!