Parents, with all the scare surrounding COVID-19 and social distancing, many of us are stuck at home and so are the kids. There are many activities parents can do at home for their kids and I am sure that you have read it all. But we, at InclusivEd, wanted to contribute to that list of activities that you can do at home during this period which could be useful for the future as well. All these activities are suitable for neurotypical and neurodivergent kids. They can be adapted according to the child and his/her skill set.
Parents, you can pick a few items around the house to add to your pop up shop. It could be food items or general things around the house. Price each item accordingly. Make play money or use monopoly money or even real cash and give your kids a budget. Instruct them that only within their budget, can they buy items from your shop. It is your choice if you want them to keep the items safe or if you want to take it back at the end of the game.
A pro tip: Use items that you know would catch their interest.
- Teaching or Reinforcing the concept of money and the value of it.
- Building an interest in budget making
- Teaching them to buy items only which they need thereby inculcating sustainable buying habits.
There are many online and offline memory games that could be made use of. One game that I am sure most parents would remember, where we put different items on a tray and show it to the group once. We then hide the tray with a cloth and ask the group to write down what they remember. With kids, you can start with lesser items at first and then keep increasing them. You can also make it competitive and interactive by asking other family members to join in. Each of you could take turns to be the one to place items on the tray, even your kid can do so. You can do it on a bi weekly basis and see if items are remembered even after a gap or with distractions. You can adapt the game in various ways according to your goal.
Pro tip: To make it more interesting and educational, you can put flashcards that have the picture and the word on a tray and ask children to remember them. You can also then either put only pictures or only words and see which one your children remember more.
- Building working memory
- If the child is writing or typing, then you are building that skill as well.
- Observing and building short term memory
- Teaching kids the skill of winning or losing a game
No Fire Cooking
Cooking is a great activity which all kids (neurotypical and neurodiverse) can benefit from. It is also an important life skill for kids for when they become independent. To start with, look for recipes where there is no fire or oven needed. You can write or print out the recipe in bold and large font. Make sure to read the instructions with the child as well as measure the items in advance. You can help the child with the recipe at first. Do not rush too many recipes at once. Let the child practice the same recipe over and over again till they are able to do it on their own. Use recipes that relate to the child’s interest.
Pro tip: Video record the making of the food item first by yourself and if possible edit it with subtitles. It will help children who are more visual learners to have something before them and they will relate to it more as the person and the environment is familiar. If the recipe is only printed, please use pictures and numbers to make the steps and make it more visual.
- Life skill
- Calculating measurements
- Building reading comprehension skills
- Building identification of utensils and food products (life skill)
- Building motivation in a skill
Often times, parents or caregivers may not have the time or space to talk about emotions and what it means to express. There are plenty of games online as well as activities one can do to ensure that children learn self expression of emotions. One such activity that can be done is using ‘I am feeling…..’ sentence starters during the day to express as an adult how you are feeling. Role model for your child on how to self express. It is very important that children understand that they CAN and are ENTITLED to say how they are feeling, whether positive or negative. Your reaction as a parent also matters at that time. This isolation period can be stressful for both parents and children so please do use this time to practice and promote emotional self expression and regulation.
Treasure Hunt and Public Speaking
Now we all know the popular game of treasure hunt and it is especially useful during this time when the whole family is stuck indoors. My twist to the game would be to add a few sentences as part of each clue and ask the person who found the clue to read the sentences out loud. Parents, role model the tone, the volume, the body language while speaking the sentences. Many kids find it difficult to speak aloud or verbalise their thoughts which can be quite frustrating therefore we can use this time to help build their confidence. For non verbal kids, you can use the communicative devices or any other forms of communication that you use. You can also place pictures in sequence or sentences that have a sequence at each clue to help them with their sequencing skills.
Pro tip: Large font and simple sentences help ease into the game. You can keep increasing the difficulty level once the child has got the hang of the game.
- Building confidence
- Building strategy and analytical skills
- Team building skills
- Building reading skills
These are my five activities to do at home during this self isolation period. I hope you find them useful. If you would like to give me feedback about the activities, I am open to positive or negative, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or post on our facebook page. Stay safe everybody!