I nanny pre-school twins (currently 20 months) and as we have been pretty much stuck in one room apart from our walks I have been focussing a lot (more than usual) on learning through play. I’ve bought them a numbers jigsaw, an alphabet jigsaw and they have coloured building blocks so now they can recognise numbers0-9, primary colours quite a few letters and basic shapes all whilst having fun.
Occasionally if we’ve been talking about a specific thing (an animal from storybook for example) I’ll find an appropriate clip of that (real) animal online so they can learn what they may look like in real life as opposed to a depiction. Sometimes we just put on pop music and dance (ABBA is their current favourite, or the Beatles - K loves Strawberry Fields Forever cos it talks about food 😂).
One thing I have noticed is that whilst we still have a structure to our day, we don’t have to be anywhere at a specific time so whereas it often used to be “hurry, hurry or we’ll be late” I can let them take things much more at their own (slooooow) pace .....if it takes us 25 mins to walk to the park instead of 10 it’s fine, they can wander and really discover their surroundings. Yes it’s easier & faster if I put the twins’ boots on but L loves to try to do it on her own and in the last few days has succeeded!
I think this could be applicable for older children too - how often do we do something because it’s quicker, preparing a meal for example, or we don’t have time for their favourite pastime? Perhaps giving older children more choices, for example, “Once your schoolwork is done you can choose an activity for 1 hr (only once may it be TV perhaps)” you may be surprised at their choices.
How often with school runs, after school clubs, homework etc do we have time for that game of Monopoly that drags on and on (and on), yet can teach counting squares, turn-taking, strategy etc?
Lockdown is certainly teaching me to be more inventive with the little ones and whilst I really miss going out to groups I appreciating this slower pace.
I forgot to say also - if it’s not something you usually do; it might be worth rotating the toys. Often they have so many (especially just after Christmas) so perhaps get a few toys out one week and put away the others and then exchange some of them the following week and so on- it helps stop the children being “bored” of their toys.
I write this as we are doing the end of day tidy up- there’s nothing more interesting to a toddler than the toy you are putting away- even though they’ve ignored it all-day 😉
Pauline Daniel. BAPN Membership Ambassador