As schools are closed, and kids and parents are stuck at home, it can be hard to maintain structure that will keep your child occupied while still learning new concepts. The Boh Center of Child Development at Ochsner Hospital for Children is here to help by providing daily activities that are engaging, educational and promote your child’s development. Check in weekly to try each new activity that your kid will love – in fact, they won’t even realize they are learning!
One way to teach concepts and gain deductive reasoning skills is to play “sink or float.” If you have a water table, or simply a big pot, fill it with water and get small objects to toss in. Some ideas are a paper clip, ping pong ball, flower petal, marble and a penny. Before you toss the object in, make predictions as to whether or not the object will sink or float. Keep track of how many you each get right and the winner can receive a prize!
As an added lesson, if your child is old enough to understand buoyancy, find resources online to explain why some items float while others don’t.
To help with emotion recognition and processing emotions, use paper plates and draw faces. Give your child an emotion to draw, then tape popsicle sticks and make masks to hold. Conduct a miniature play where everyone acts out the emotion they drew.
Another way to learn about emotions using your drawings is to paste the pictures on each side of a box, making a cube. Then, roll the cube like a giant dice and whatever emotion picture you land on, act out the emotion or create a reason why the person may feel that way.
Work on your little one’s math and planning skills. Label items in your pantry with a price tag and give your child $5 and tell them to go “shopping.” Teach them the value of money while having fun. Take turns being the shopper and the cashier.
Take it a step further by giving them different recipe options. Have them see how much each recipe would cost to “buy” all of the ingredients from the pantry and make the final recipe that is within the budget.
Set up a science center for your child using three different plastic water bottles. In the first bottle, collect rocks to put in the bottle to make a shaker for your child to listen to the sounds it creates. In the second bottle, add water with a drop of food coloring and shake it up to simulate weather such as a storm or tornado. In the third, fill the bottle about one-fourth of the way with water and use it as a magnifying glass to see how different object such as leaves or flowers look up close.
Make an obstacle course in the house or outside to help your child enhance their planning skills, as well as problem-solving skills and teamwork. Use boxes, toys, furniture or whatever you have on hand to create a course that requires them to move over, under, through and around the objects in the way.
Set up a timer to see how fast they can complete the course and see if their record improves throughout the day.
The information in this blog post is accurate at the time of publication. However, as the situation surrounding COVID-19 continues to change, it's possible that information has changed since being published. While Ochsner Health is trying to keep our blog posts as up-to-date as possible, we also encourage readers to stay informed on news and recommendations by using the CDC website.