Covid has many of us spending more time at home than ever before, and we’re less busy than we used to be with fewer activities to keep our kids entertained. Add in the fact that seeing family members (especially those who live out of state) has become more difficult and risky, and you have a recipe for boredom and isolation for everyone.
While we don’t know what our decision will be next school year, we chose to homeschool our kindergarten-age child this year. Due to the pandemic, I know many families have chosen the same or are completing public school virtually. And even for those families whose kids are attending in-person school, other activities and visits with family members have become less frequent depending on individual health situations.
My family has found something fun and educational (win-win!) to help with boredom and to increase family interactions. I wanted to share in case your family might also find this to be a fun, unique, and educational opportunity for your kids. (However, I can’t take the credit, as this idea was suggested to me by my son’s therapist.) Also, let’s face it — another school shutdown is a definite possibility in the winter, so this could come in handy for families who are possibly faced with another extended period with no in-person learning.
Try a grandparent class!
Twice a week, my son’s grandparents hold a “class” for him. Yep, they are his teachers during these classes — but it’s a lot more fun than it might sound. Classes are usually focused on making crafts, simple educational activities, or physical education. You might be thinking, “How does that work?”
We simply use FaceTime on my phone (I’ll be investing in a tripod soon!), but you could also use Zoom or a variety of other video communication outlets. Each week, we set a time and a class theme. For instance, my son’s grandmother calls her class “Mimi’s Craft Class,” and she plans out a simple craft for them to do together during class. She tells me the supplies needed and we get them ready before class. Then, when class begins, my son’s grandmother walks him through the craft (when to cut, glue, what to draw, etc.). She has all the supplies on hand, as well, so that they can do it simultaneously. My five year old absolutely loves this, especially because he loves crafting right now. An added benefit is that he gets to chat and interact with his grandmother during class — they are bonding and connecting more and he’s learning more about interpersonal interactions (he’s on the autism spectrum, but this is beneficial for any child!).
My son’s grandfather used to be a physical education teacher, so he has held a kindergarten PE class for him: “Pop-Pop’s PE.” He walks him through exercises that they can do together. So easy and fun! Any grandparent or family member can do this. No PE background necessary!
Crafting classes, PE, and simple educational assignments are probably fun and easy for most grandparents (or aunts, uncles, etc.!) to plan and do with your children. A simple cooking class could also be fun! For older kids, maybe something like a “book club” with a family member could be engaging, or learning unique skills from family members, like knitting.
Be consistent. Treat it like a real class!
I think the key is to make it consistent. Keep a class day and time, even if it’s just once every week or every two weeks. Kids will likely get excited when their family member “class” is coming up! It’s a great way for parents to take a break from teaching, for kids to spend special time with family members, and for them to have fun in the process (and maybe learn some new things, too!). My in-laws always look forward to these classes, and it gives them special time with their grandson. For families who don’t think a regular class is feasible, with the school holiday breaks coming up, this could be something fun to try out a few times during that period.
Do you have any other fun ideas for a family member-led class for your kids? Please share!