In the not-too-distant past, you didn’t need to worry much about keeping your pre- and primary school children (aged 3 to 12) entertained. They could head to the neighbourhood playground to run around freely. You could drop them off at an enrichment learning centre. Or, you could leave them in the care of your parents. However, because of the current Circuit Breaker measures, these options are no longer feasible (nor legal). If you're struggling to get a handle on your new household dynamic, don’t worry–here’s how you can keep your children entertained.
Cook Up A Feast Together
As a result of the pandemic, you may be cooking at home more than you're used to (hopefully, with these nutritional products). So, why not take the opportunity to recruit the help of your children? In addition to serving as a form of entertainment, cooking provides a great learning opportunity for your kids. Not only can you pass down traditional recipes (thus celebrating your cultural heritage), you can also take the time to explain various math and science concepts involved in cooking (like measuring ingredients, or how yeast leavens bread–there are a few examples online if you're looking for ideas). To make things even easier, you can order a baking kit for delivery. While they may seem a bit expensive, these kits often include all the ingredients necessary for the included recipe, so you won't need to worry about grocery shopping.
That being said, it's important of course to keep a close eye on your child, due to the number of hazards (e.g. open flames and sharp knives) in the kitchen. Nonetheless, the responsibilities that come with cooking offer slightly older children a great way to build confidence and a sense of independence. Additionally, you can teach your children about the safe handling of kitchen tools, which will help them now as well as in the future.
Keep Them Learning With Free Educational Resources
With home-based learning (HBL) in full swing, you may question the effectiveness of virtual classrooms for your children and worry that they might fall behind when it’s time to return to school. Fortunately, you can support your children's education at home with free online educational websites. These websites not only promote continued learning, but also can keep your kids entertained. For example, Geniebook provides free online live stream lessons, suitable for children aged 9 and up, in English, Math and Science. You might also want to consider Khan Academy, which offers free personalised learning content for students aged 4 to 16. Subjects include Math, Science, Technology, Arts & Humanities and more.
Alternatively, you can download popular games and education apps for your child to play with. Some are free, while others cost about S$3+, and they're specifically designed to keep fun in mind–and are therefore likely to hold your child's attention for a longer time. Such apps still expose kids to subject matter knowledge (like Khan Academy Kids) and promote cognitive skills development (like Minecraft), so you won't have to worry about them spending too much time on "mindless" entertainment even as they're having fun.
Occupy Them With Art & Crafts Activities
While cooking and educational games are great options for entertaining your child, you may also want to consider setting up an arts and crafts station so they can explore their creativity. In addition to fine-tuning their motor skills and their grasp of math concepts (like geometry and measurements), arts and crafts can also cultivate your child's imagination.
While many arts and crafts supplies stores have temporarily closed for the Circuit Breaker period, you can still purchase materials safely online. While some online stores charge shipping fees of up to S$20+, you can save money by buying from platforms like Lazada (in fact, with certain credit cards, you can also access special Lazada savings and shipping rebates). Regardless, if you’re concerned about cost, there are plenty of easy crafts ideas (from YouTube and Pinterest) that rely on household items like toilet paper rolls and cereal boxes.
Make Use Of This Period To Bond With Your Children
The current Circuit Breaker period is bound to take some adjusting to, especially as the little ones are no longer able to run around freely at the playground. Nonetheless, if we all play our parts and stay home, eventually we'll be able to return to our daily schedules. In the meantime, stay fit, healthy, and make use of the opportunity to spend quality time with your children–they grow up in the blink of an eye.