Tag: stay at home activities for kids

School Routine And Themes during COVID-19

School Routine And Themes during COVID-19

Following on from my blog yesterday on “At Home Activities” to keep the kids busy during our “social distancing”, a number of you asked about routines and structures. I’ve seen a couple of great timetables around on the internet, but I personally wanted to keep mine as close to our South African school day as possible.

I’ve designed an easily printable version of our typical timetable, this is also scheduled around my usual breaks with work. I can leave them to get on with activities, and then set up a new one when I normally take a break. I think we all have to just learn to be a lot more flexible with this new normal and cherish the time we have together. I’ve also created 5 “themed” weeks, for me personally, this is a life saver in terms of planning. So download and read on, and I hope this can help you in some way.

Preparation and Themes

Trust me when I say, this is for your own sanity! With a little bit of forward planning and foresight, your days will be a lot easier. If you can print out activity packs ahead of time (I’ll give you a list of my favourite resources at the end), and prepare any sensory activities or mini worlds the night before. Working with a theme every week helps to tie in an activities, and it assists in learning. I’ve tried to keep mine aligned with a preschool/kindergarten curriculum, however, my eldest is in Grade 1 and he still repeats some of these themes.

Weekly Themes:

1. Autumn

  • Ideas: Create an Autumn leaf sensory tray.
  • Art: Create an Autumn Leaf collage from leaves picked up during a walk outdoors
  • Fine Motor: Grab some paper and some crayons and do some leaf/bark shading
  • Create a “Hand print tree” cutting out (practise those cutting skills) an outline of their hand print on different coloured card.
  • Read: “We’re going on a leaf hunt” by Steve Metzger

2. The Ocean

  • Ideas: Create an Ocean layer sensory tray. Use sensory materials such as rice or jello to depict the different layers of the ocean, and talk about what type of fish and underwater creatures are found at various layers.
  • Art: Create a DIY Jellyfish out of paper plates and string.
  • Re-purpose recyclables to create ocean creatures (plastic bags into jelly fish etc).
  • Sea Salt Art.
  • Create some “trapped fish” in ice and let them work to release the animals from the ice.
  • Create an Ocean scene out of cardboard.
  • Cut out the shape of a fish and using bubble wrap, paint the scales on a fish.
  • Create an underwater sensory bottle.
  • Gross Motor: Practice the “Crab Walk”.

3. Lifecycle of a Plant/ Garden

  • Gross Motor: Go on a nature walk and see how many types of flowers/plants you can identify.
  • Math activities – cutting out flower shapes and using paper clips as leaves, count the number of leaves on the flower.
  • Cut some kitchen roll holder/toilet paper rolls into sections and use them to “layer” different parts of the flower.
  • Fine Motor: Pressed flowers.
  • Grow some seeds.
  • Create a garden potion.

4. Wildlife

  • Create an “African” themed sensory tray.
  • Identify and separate the animals into herbivores and carnivores (explain the difference). Let your child put the animals into the correct “habitat”
  • Create some binoculars out of toilet roll and hide some animals around the house/garden. Create a scavenger hunt safari where your children have to find the animals.
  • Talk about the Big 5.
  • Make a giraffe hand-print.
  • Make a lion out of paper plates and pasta.
  • Read: How the Cheetah got its tears by Avril Van der Merwe, how the Zebra got its stripes by Justine Fontes

5. The Five Senses – This can sometimes be a long one, so don’t worry if it goes over a week.

  • Hearing – Make your own music shakers and rain makers.
  • Blindfold them and get them to follow a course by listening to your voice.
  • Smell – Scented Paint activity (add oils or juices into different coloured paints)
  • Create lavender or coffee scented play-dough
  • Homemade paint with spices and seasoning (turmeric, cloves, cinnamon etc)
  • Touch – Make some oobleck or slime, talk about how it feels in your hands.
  • Create a Mystery bag, throw some items into a draw string bag and get them to guess what they are.
  • Create a Texture Tray with off cuts of material. Get the children to describe how it feels.
  • Sight – Play a game of I-Spy.
  • Hide Objects around the room and get the children to find them with a magnifying glass.
  • Taste – Create a Mystery taste tray, blindfold them and give them something sweet, salty, sour etc and try to identify what it is.
  • Apple Test – Get 3 types of apple (red, yellow, green) – children should taste them and distinguish the different flavours.
  • Bake something – Bake some cookies or muffins.

To summarise all 5 senses do the “Popcorn” test – “LOOK at the kernals, LISTEN to them pop, SMELL the delicious aroma, use your sense of TOUCH to fill your bag and finally TASTE the delicious popcorn that you made.

There are some fantastic online resources to guide you for activities, and most of them offer free printables. Some of my favourites are:





Stay At Home Activities To Keep The Kids Busy During The Corona Virus Lockdown

Stay At Home Activities To Keep The Kids Busy During The Corona Virus Lockdown

Its official, South Africa has declared a state of natural disaster and with that our President has released some pretty hardcore regulations for us all to follow to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Schools will be closed for more then a month to see how things pan out and most families will be practising voluntary self-isolation. Queue LOTS of home time and kids climbing up the walls. I don’t think there has ever been a more apt post then this. Save it to your bookmarks and refer back to it, whenever you need quick easy activities to entertain the kids.

One of the central recommendations experts make in order to maintain some sense of security for your kids is to create a schedule. Focus on educational activities for the morning, or arts and crafts for the afternoon. Make sure your kids are getting enough outdoor time.

Start compiling items like sensory activities for younger children and put together baskets full of activity books and games for older kids. Take an afternoon and head to the crazy store and grab a bunch of items to store together.

Create a Scavenger Hunt – hide things around the house or garden and write down a list for the kids to go and find (draw pictures of the objects if they are too young to read)

Create an Obstacle course – a friend did this with the kids when we went around for a visit and they absolutely LOVED it. Send the kids to race to the wall, then hop across the yard on one foot, then skip to the tree etc, you get the picture.

Paint Outdoors

Go on a bug hunt

Make your own bath bombs

Wash the car – never underestimate how much the kids love this.

Build a bird house or make a bird feeder

Have a Pyjama party

Watch the clouds

Play with water balloons

Make a batch of home made playdough

Play Charades

Play Hide and Seek

Build Engineering structures

Good old colouring in

Make a sculpture out of cardboard

Paint on Cardboard

Play some board games

Set up a mini library at home and read books

Do some science experiments

Play Cards

Create something with Beads

Make some story stones – the images on the stones become characters in a story that everyone can tell

Play I-Spy

Plant a garden

Build some lego

Create some some salt art

Download and print some worksheets from the internet

Play catch with your kids – seriously, the power this simple game has is extreme

Have a puzzle morning

Stick some numbers or objects into plastic eggs and hide them around the house. As they open up the eggs they can tick things off the list

Grow some veggies

Play a round of bingo

Grab some paper and crayons and do some leaf and bark rubbings

Create your own stress balls – these are great for fidgety fingers!

Host a pretend cooking show (with the kids of course)

Bake some treats

Build a Fort

Make a Marble Run

Do some crosswords

Do some sensory play

Make your own DIY Jellyfish (arts and crafts)

Make your own musical instruments

Create a suncatcher

Create something with air drying clay

Create a nature weave

Make some paper planes and have a competition to see who can get them the furthest

Make some finger puppets

Play with Foam Paint

Create some egg cartoon creations

Draw on the bricks with sidewalk chalk

Make some slime

Make some science crystals

Try some origami

Make a fairy garden (yes even boys will love this)

Make your own “wizard wands” out of sticks

Paint with bubble wrap

Make your own DIY Flip book

Make some chickpea foam

Make your own fridge magnets

Set up some tin can, carnival style throw games

Make your own water wall

Create a town with a cardboard box

Make some lemonade

Play a memory game

Paint with vegetables – potato or apple printing

Create a Dino Dig

Do some mazes

Do some sticker art

Set up some “bath” stations for your toys

Decorate some T-Shirts

I know its going to be hard for people to feel “trapped” at home. Sometimes I get into a space and cant think of anything to do with the kids and I often end up succumbing to TV if it weren’t for lists like this. So save this, print it out and whenever you need to try to stick to the game plan and turn to something more constructive.

We will get through this, one day at a time. Lets cherish this quality time, it’s the worlds way of telling us to slow down a little. Appreciate the small things xx