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NEWS > Alumnae News > Joy of Staying In, Part 2

Joy of Staying In, Part 2

We’ve been sifting through the many emails and articles currently circulating with ideas about how to keep your children occupied at home, and filtered out some of the best we’ve seen.
As always we would love to hear from you, so if you would like to share any suggestions or ideas, please do get in touch by emailing:

Those of us with older children will realise how fast time flies, so if you’ve got younger ones, make sure to use this time to have fun together, play cards, draw pictures, watch movies, make dens or dinosaur cities in the kitchen, read lots of books and go for walks where possible.

There will be days when it is difficult to get things done, but if we encourage our children to use their imagination and try to be patient with each other (time alone in bedrooms with books or music is a must for parents and children alike), we will get through it.

Most of this is common sense, but hopefully there are some suggestions here that might be new or of some help:-

Top tips for toddlers
  • Allocate jobs ie ‘help’ sorting the laundry or dividing toys into categories.
  • Use educational TV
  • Keep them active when indoors by having jumping, skipping, dancing sessions - it will tire them out and give you a bit of a workout too.
Top tips for ages four-six
  • Making dens and forts
  • Colouring in/creating worlds for their toys
  • Help with meals
Top tips for ages seven-nine
  • Set treasure hunts (one for the garden might read ‘two long twigs, four daisies, three smooth stones’ etc)
  • Get crafty
  • Encourage reading
Top tips for ages 10-12
  • Arts and crafts activities
  • Learn how to cook (let them choose the recipes)
  • Set educational challenges
Top tips for teenagers
  • Allocate jobs (either paid or unpaid ie to teach you about social media or taking turns to prepare meals)
  • Suggest projects (maybe decluttering their room/the shed or set up a window box)
  • Make plans - possible college choices, future holidays
Fresh air
With signs of spring in the air, if you are able to access your garden, here are some suggestions for helping the children and you to make the most of it:
  • Picnic in the garden
  • Nature treasure hunt
  • Pebble painting
  • Build an assault course or run your own sports day
Talking to Children
While we want to protect our children from the worries of the outside world, this is simply not possible in the current situation, especially as children become older. Regular advice columnist John Sharry, founder of the Parents Plus charity, has written a useful guide for parents in the Irish Times, on how to talk to children about coronavirus – and what to say.

There are loads of resources out there to meet the needs of children of all ages and stages – especially if you have adequate Wi-Fi.

Nickelodeon has launched a site to help kids understand Covid-19. It has videos, tips and ideas – all free of charge. Some of the networks favourite characters can be seen doing relevant activities, such as SpongeBob practicing social distancing, the PAW Patrol puppies doing dance moves to promote exercise, or the Bubble Guppies showing children how to wash their hands properly.

A brilliant, free, example of this is Quizlet, which some of you may already be familiar with, and which you can access here. It’s a website that lets students study via learning tools, such as flashcards, and fun, but educational games. It is the world’s largest student and teacher online learning community, which more than 50 million active learners every month from 130 countries studying more and 140 million study sets on every conceivable subject and topic.

Quartz, a website that specialises in high-quality journalism aimed at business leaders and professionals, has put together this excellent article about learning resources for parents and kids cooped up at home.  There are things here to augment school assignments and help fill the other hours in ways that you, and hopefully your kids, can feel good about. Click here to read it.   

Tom Rose and Jack Pannett are qualified teachers and sports coaches and run an activity business that helps children learn.  They also broadcast their own podcast, visit for more information about planning and prioritising the core subjects, establishing routines and how to reduce stress.

An American site called has put together a very comprehensive guide of their favourite (mainly US) authors who are offering online read alouds and activities on social media. Who could resist Oprah Winfrey reading The Hula-Hoopin’ Queen, or Oliver Jeffers reading a book everyday on Instagram Live?

Other ideas:-

Make a playlist for each other.  Yours could be songs from your adolescence if you want to share maybe another side of yourself with them.

Use the time to clear out their wardrobes and make up donation bags ready to take to charity shops, when that is possible again.

Is this the right time to get your kids into yoga?  With even a Frozen themed online class or a Hungry Caterpillar work out, check out this curated list of suggestions from

There are lots of virtual versions of board games: link up with friends or family, wherever they are, and play interactive draughts, Connect Four, or word games.  Try or get the popular Words With Friends app.

Watch box sets at the same time as friends or family and discuss it live on WhatsApp.

Browse podcasts outside your usual interests.  The New York Times has just put together a fantastic list of recommendations.  Click here to read it.

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