How to homeschool toddlers during the coronavirus pandemic?
I know that some of you are worried about your little ones’ development and so I would like to give you some tips on what areas of learning to focus on and what simple activities you could do.
I recorded a video so if you would rather watch that… 🙂 here it is. Otherwise, you can continue reading below the video.
First of all, I feel like that there is somewhat a big pressure on parents to do their best at work and homeschooling at the same time. Now, I cannot give you an answer on how to schedule your day, but still, I would like to take away the pressure or some portions of it at least.
My personal opinion as an early years teacher is, that you do not need to “continue” nursery at home. Not now, not in the middle of a pandemic. There are so many things that you are already probably stressing about and the education of your toddlers should not be one of them. Moreover, this new lifestyle will affect your children’s behaviour, which more likely to be not so helpful either. So, I ask parents, I ask you to breath and prioritise what should come first, and being flexible and open-minded would definitely help you through the days.
How can you help your toddlers to develop and improve their skills at home?
Well, homeschooling toddlers should not make your worry at all. I say, you should focus on the basics and if you have time, space and energy, you can do some extras. By basics I mean, that you provide a safe and loving environment, you give your attention, you communicate with each other and play together and let them play alone.
If you need some guidance, you can have a look at the EYFS (Framework for under 5s in the UK) and get some tips on what areas to focus on and what kind of activity could help your children to develop and improve the certain skills.
But if you do not want to use the EYFS, that is absolutely fine. Also, you do not need to be an activity master for your children to learn about things, but some creative activities could be fun and very educative as well.
Simple activities without preparations – Play, play, play
1. Teach your toddlers about the world by talking and asking questions
Toddlers can learn very quickly and memorise things very fast. Their brain works like a sponge so take advantage of these years until they are toddlers. Let them learn by you naming things and commenting on things and by asking your children. For example, when you are walking outside, you can ask your little ones to look around and find an animal and then talk about that animal and ask questions.
You can do the same activity inside, too. You can talk about seemingly not important things; for example, you could draw your toddlers’ attention to how things work. Tell them that the remote controller needs batteries, that you have to charge your phone sometimes and so on… Plus, if you would like to teach phonics, you could ask your children to find an object in the room that begins with the sound ‘k’ or open a book or magazine and ask your little one to find the letter ‘a’.
2. Do lots of reading and singing…
…to improve your toddlers’ communication and listening skills, memory and expand their vocabulary.
Reading is a fantastic activity. I have never met any toddler who did not like to listen to stories or at least looking at or chewing on a book. There are lots of ways that you can spice the reading activity up. You can act out the story using puppets or objects; you can act it out together. You can read the story in your own way and add more things to it, change the story, and so on.
Singing is excellent too, and you can do it anytime when you are preparing food together, or tidying up etc. You can sing nursery rhymes, old/modern songs, silly songs that you came up with… Singing songs will improve concentration, expands vocabulary and mental health.
3. Play together and let them play by themselves
When you play together, you develop your toddlers’ social, emotional and personal skills: they will learn how to take turns, how to share, how to work together and follow rules. When you leave them to play alone (but with supervision), they will explore and discover things by themselves which will improve their problem-solving skills, creative and critical thinking skills.
4. Do activities that could develop and improve fine and gross motor skills.
Working on gross motor skills will help your kids to perform everyday functions such as walking, running, jumping, sitting etc. You can do all sorts of physical activities together indoor and outdoor such as throwing, rolling, stretching, yoga…
Regarding fine motor skills, improving them will benefit your little one in many ways. Fine motor skills are needed for writing, drawing, dressing up/changing…You can do arts and crafts activities, encourage your toddler to play with buttons, zips and threading toys etc, any activities that involve the hands and fingers.
5. Work on their math skills.
Again, you don’t need to think about extra creative activities and there are activities that don’t need much preparation (just google it, I am sure you will find plenty). Focus on numbers up to 10 or 20, simple shapes (you can teach them about more complex one as well, but that is not required) and talk about sizes and time.
6. Arts and crafts activities…
…to improve your kids’ creative thinking skills, fine motor skills, boost their imagination and help them to express themselves. You can do drawing, painting, cutting, tearing, singing, dancing…you can teach them how to take photos, record a video..acting out a book etc.
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