How to keep children meaningfully occupied during Lockdown

How O how, does one meaningfully engage children during this lockdown.  Pre-Corona-geddon, finding a good summer camp was bad enough.  Now I have to create a Summer Camp of my very own!

For children who are older, say 9+, it’s not so difficult. They’re fairly independent with their reading. Furthermore one can even involve them with household chores.

But what about those kids or 4 or even 7.  They’re not old enough to deeply engage with a book. Yes, there’s the dreaded idiot-box, but there’s only so much screen time my conscience can sanction.  More than a point, I can’t bear to see their minds turning to rot.

Below are some activities that I’ve had some success with during the last few days.  I choose and rotate the activities given the children’s mood.

Just a sprinkling the below activities is something that they can do independently, giving me some time to do my own thing. The rest is something they would need an adult to work with them.

Is there something that you’ve tried and is working for you?  Please share in the comments below.  It would be a great help and resource for parents & children all over.

Here’s my list:

Learning Touch Typing

A killer skill that I am grateful to pick up in my school days is touch-typing.  It sure beats hunting and pecking for letters on the keyboard.

Learning typing has helped me:

  • Be able to express my thoughts via my Email newsletter and then my blog. Because once you reach 60 words per minute, you’re essentially typing at the speed of your thoughts.
  • Be productive on anything to do with a computer (or mobile) because I could enter stuff in there fast.
  • No hesitation to pick-up any computer-related skill

So whenever I get the chance I encourage my children to learn typing.  They’re learning typing from Typing Club using this Chrome Plugin to learn typing. The plugin and the website are VERY good. It starts at an introductory level and increments are gradual. The learning has been gamified and after a while gets positively addictive.

Learning Coding

This has been a gem of a find, by Ali.  White Hat Jr. Offers live 1-on-1 coding classes to children as young as 6 to up to 14 years of age. It’s like an online Coding Summer-camp

Have a look at this youtube video to get a glimpse of what these classes are like.

My son, has signed up for these classes and he’s loving it.  I get a thank-you hug after he completes a specially fun class.

What I like about the class is:

  • – The child is actively engaged for an hour
  • – There is a challenging homework given at the end of the class
  • The learning I would say is “pretty good” considering, it’s just one hour of class, taught online to a 7-year old.

Their customer service is outstanding. What puts me off is their cheesy marketing slogans that I constantly receive by SMS and Whatsapp.

Needless to say that these classes won’t have your child develop the next Facebook or Google.  However, my son’s beginning to understand the terms Commands, Sequences, Algorithms and Debugging. Furthermore, I’m beginning to see a shift in my son’s perspective. He now sees that the games he plays with has been “coded” by someone.  And if someone can code such an app, perhaps so can he.

Learning Storywriting

If you have a child who’s keen on reading and story writing, this is an online writing course worth exploring. 

This online course is conducted by Dee White, a Children’s and Young Adult’s author who loves writing, and helping new writers to achieve their dreams.

She has a range of writing courses. All 6 weeks long. Courses to help you begin story writing or to sharpen if you’re already into story writing.

Have a look and see if there is anything you fancy

Reciting Scripture

Building the soul always takes a backseat.  Even on my list, it’s the 4th item.  Of course, soul-building doesn’t happen just by reciting scripture.  It’s by living it.  It’s by having multiple conversations on scripture regarding daily events with one’s family. And by taking those difficult right actions. 

This is an opportune moment to revive that and bring God back in your life, to recite scripture with beauty and passion.  I look forward to the moments during these days when I recite scripture with my children and discuss the eternal lessons that it teaches.

Audible and other Story Podcasts

I’m a huge Audible and Children’s Story Podcast fan for years. These are great alternatives to screen time.  If children are looking for entertainment but have completed their screentime quota, explore audio

If you’re starting out, begin with the audio stories via the Children’s Story Podcast. The Story Podcast is the production of an extremely talented team of two, Daniel Hines and Ananda Weldon. Daniel is the author who writes original stories or adapts classic tales. His words weave magic. The description of the places are so rich that you’re there! And Amanda the talented artist who performs these stories to such perfection that you’re drawn in completely.

A few of our favourite stories are:
The Moringa Grove
The Dog That wasn’t useful
Dinosaur Christmas!
The Brilliant Firefly
Amazing Grace: Machine of the Government
Soft the First Dog

Once the Children outgrow that, steer them to children’s books on Audible. Our favourite authors on Audible are books by Roald Dahl, David Walliams and Jonathan Stroud.

These are great for car rides and now even for Lockdowns.

Did you pick anything from the above list that you can use? Do you have a suggestion to keep children meaningfully engaged? Please share in the comments below.

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