It’s been almost three weeks now since the schools closed and we were urged to stay indoors to slow the spread of coronavirus.
As the days go on and the weather gets warmer, the novelty of staying at home is likely to be wearing off for your child. But don’t worry, here are five ideas for staving off boredom and keeping their brains busy during lockdown.
- Take part in a Noodle class
Your child can brush up on their performing arts skills and learn something new without leaving their house with Noodle’s live-streamed classes. Using Zoom, your child will be able to follow the teacher and see their classmates just like in a normal session. Noodle are offering a range of online classes for different ages, which are ideal for complete beginners as well as existing students. Starting from the new Summer Term (20th April onwards) students from 8yrs and up can take part in an Acting Workshop session as well focusing on character work and text from Shakespeare to modern scripts.
Other classes include:
- Performing arts age 3-5 – Wednesdays 3pm – 3.30pm
- Performing Arts 5-7yrs Thursdays 2-2.30pm
- Performing Arts 8-11yrs Thursdays 2.45pm-3.15pm
- Ballet age 3-5 – Fridays 10-10.30am
- Street Dance age 4-5yrs Fridays 3.15pm-3.45pm
- Noodle Dance 5yrs+ – Fridays 4-4.30pm
- Ballet age 10+ – Fridays 11-11.30am
Most classes are £3.50 each and are booked in ½ term blocks although keep your eye out for additional classes and workshops, which may vary in price as well as private Speech & Drama and singing lessons. Existing students can book classes using the Noodle system. If you are new to Noodle, please register here to see the full list of classes and book a place. For more information, email [email protected]
- Watch a stage show in your living room
The theatres might be shut but you can still catch a show and you don’t even need to get up off your sofa. A number of UK theatres are streaming their productions online for free during the lockdown and this is a great way to introduce your child to the wonders of the theatre. One family favourite available to watch now is the West End musical The Wind in the Willows, based on the classic children’s book by Kenneth Grahame. Andrew Lloyd Webber has also decided to release a number of his musicals on the YouTube channel The Shows Must Go On. There will be a new show available to watch for free from 7pm every Friday and it will remain on the channel for 48 hours. Next up is the 2012 production of Jesus Christ Superstar, starring Tim Minchin, Melanie C and Chris Moyles, which will be added to YouTube at 7pm on Good Friday.
For older children, there is the opportunity to watch some Shakespeare on the Globe Theatre’s Youtube channel Shakespeare’s Globe. Each production will be available to watch for two weeks with the comedy A Midsummer Night’s Dream available from 7pm on Monday, May 4 until Sunday, May 17.
- Bring school home with online learning
From Monday, April 20 the BBC will be publishing free online lessons for children of all ages on BBC Bitesize. The lessons will feature presenters including Oti Mabuse, Karim Zeroul and Katie Thistleton and there will be videos, podcasts, quizzes and games. The BBC plan to offer 14 weeks of learning in core subjects and the organisation has worked with the Royal Shakespeare Company, Premier League and Puffin Books to develop interesting and engaging content.
Meanwhile Twinkl, a website which provides a wide range of learning resources to schools, is offering parents free access to its worksheets, lesson plans and home learning booklets while classrooms are closed. The initial free offer is for one month but Twinkl has said it plans to extend it if the schools remain shut for longer. Visit here to sign up using the code CVDTWINKLHELPS.
If you have a young child who is just starting to read, the website Phonics Play is allowing families to log on for free during the lockdown. With fun and colourful games aimed at helping your child brush up on their phonics skills. Log in with the username march20 and the password home.
- Get tuition from a famous face
You probably already know about PE with Joe Wicks on YouTube but now other celebrities are getting on board and giving up their time to entertain children stuck at home. Sheffield artist Pete McKee has recorded art lessons suitable for all ages which he is uploading to YouTube every Wednesday afternoon. The first two parts of his cartoon masterclasses are available to watch now and cover drawing faces and animals.
Former Countdown star Carol Vorderman has made her teaching website The Maths Factor free while the schools remain closed with online maths lessons for children aged four to 11. Myleene Klass is hoping to pass on some of her musical skills with a new YouTube channel called Myleene’s Music Klass which streams daily videos aimed at children. And children’s author and Britain’s Got Talent judge David Walliams is releasing a free audio story every day.
- Make a virtual visit to a zoo
Family days out might be off the table for the timebeing but you can still get a glimpse of a whole host of interesting animals with a virtual zoo tour. Chester Zoo has held two virtual zoo days so far and the keeper talks are still available to watch on its Facebook page and YouTube channel. If you want to take a look around an attraction which is further afield, San Diego Zoo has a number of live cams so you can watch animals from baboons to polar bears, just remember the time difference – the UK is eight hours ahead so if you tune in during the morning, the zoo’s inhabitants are likely to be fast asleep. However, there are plenty of pre-recorded videos to enjoy and activities including craft ideas, colouring sheets and recipes.