Play & Home Learning Every Day


As schools around the world are closing and more and more children are home with their families I know that there are plenty of parents and carers who are looking ways to keep their children happily playing and learning at home (often while they are trying to get some work done too.)  So I will try to use this page to collect some of our favourite activities for home learning that we have done in the past, as well as other resources that I have found.  (This page is a work in progress and will be constantly updated).

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It is all about finding the balance that is best for your family during these difficult times.  I think this means including as much play time as possible.  So I hope that this post doesn't make anyone feel pressured or think that there is only one way of doing this, schedule or fly by the seat of your pants, screen time or no screen time, the most important thing is to get through each day together and to keep each other going.  I am going to try to make it fun and keep us all distracted from the news, so on our first day of home playing and learning on Monday we will be setting up our own school.  We will give our school a name, we'll decide on school uniforms (I'm assuming this will be a mixture of Princess dresses and football gear), maybe we'll even make up a school song!  The children can set up their own little work space at the kitchen table with pencil pots, magazine files to hold their work and coloured folders for each subject.  Or they can make their own little desks out of side tables or boxes that they can decorate.  We'll take first day of school photos and make it all an adventure that we're taking together.

We are going to follow a detailed daily schedule, because my children thrive on routine.  Of course this won't be the same for every family, but here is an idea of how I plan to structure our days (definitely subject to change!) I'm trying to include a lot of activities that children could possibly do independently, which should leave us time to get our own work done as well as manage the household. (You can download our schedule here). We will complete worksheets and assignments set from school, but we will also be using anything and everything from around the house to play with in between.  We will also be as active as we can and get outdoors as much as possible.  (I have updated our schedule, but if you liked the older version it can still be found here)

I have also created a basic daily schedule that will hopefully be more suitable for families that want a little bit of structure but have to be working all day.  But if even that is too much structure for your family I would recommend to alternate doing something active with doing a sit down activity.  To try to get any assignments set from the school done in the morning when children are most receptive to new information and to have a dig around to find some materials that they can use to get creative during other times of day.  Most of all have fun (this is taking its toll on all of us, so even if you're swamped with worked taking half an hour out of your day to play with Lego or a board game could do you a world of good too!). We are also going to be keeping a journal which is something that the children should be able to do independently.

Here are a few ideas for the different activity times that we will be doing:

Play & Home Learning Every Day - Morning Active Time

Play & Home Learning Every Day - Maths

I have set aside a big chunk of time each day for Maths and English, but this doesn't mean that I think that my children will sit still for that long and write a bunch of sums!  Because I have two children I know that I might need one on one time with each of them for these subjects, so I plan to put out some activity sheets as well as physical maths toys for them to play with while I work on school set activities with the other child.  They may only spend 5 minutes doing written Maths per day, and that's absolutely fine!

Play & Home Learning Every Day - English

Play & Home Learning Every Day - Creative Play

  • crafts
    • buy some simple craft kits if you don't have lots of craft supplies at home
    • paint rainbows to hang in your windows
    • make a pencil pot for your new school desk
  • sensory play
  • junk modelling
  • collage making
  • play dough
  • create with building toys (Lego, stickle bricks, blocks, etc)
  • make a track for toy cars out of cardboard tubes
  • use sidewalk chalk to write positive messages for children to read when they walk past your house
  • small world play
    • playing out scenes with dolls
    • make your own farm with toy animals
  • online drawing classes

Play & Home Learning Every Day - Topic

Play & Home Learning Every Day - Smoothies and Books

  • We started Smoothies and Books a few years ago over the summer holidays, setting out time each day for a healthy snack and independent reading.  It's an opportunity to build a cosy fort or put up a play tent, read some books and get lots of nutrients from a smoothie.
  • If you run out of books at home have a look at your local library website, ours offers the option of borrowing ebooks as well
  • Zoey and Sassafras - free ebook (one we love!!!)

Play & Home Learning Every Day - Me Time / Quiet Time

During this time I think that it is especially important to be focusing on our children's feelings and keeping the lines of communication open if they are worried about anything.  I have a list of many resources here to Explain and Explore Emotions with Children During Lockdown, I also recommend:

  • journalling
  • meditation
  • making a cosy space to cuddle up and read a few books or have a quiet chat
  • quiet crafts (making bead bracelets)
  • mindful colouring
  • writing cards or letters to friends or family members that we are missing

Play & Home Learning Every Day - PE

  • dance
    • put on the music and have a dance party (maybe even with friends on a video call!)
  • ball skills
    • take a ball out in the garden and set up some items to kick it around, bounce it over, roll it past
  • yoga
    • set up a mat inside and follow along to a yoga video or use some yoga cards to make your own sequence
  • coordination
    • set up an obstacle course in the garden
  • kids choice
    • children can choose their favourite way to be active, maybe go for a bike ride or a walk (keeping your distance from others of course)

Play & Home Learning Every Day - Board Games

We are big fans of educational board games, in fact I've now written a whole post on Board Games for Playing and Learning at Home so you can see which games we recommend.
  • we have reviewed many fun games that we would recommend as part of the Blogger Board Game club
  • educational games
  • family games
  • card games
  • computer games and apps

Weekly Lesson Plans

There are quite a few websites that now offer weekly lesson plans for each year group that can be a very helpful way to fill in the subjects on your schedule if what is provided by your school is not enough for your child:

To see all of our posts with home learning tips and other resources for families while we Stay Home please click here.

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 * This post contains affiliate links, I receive a small percentage of the cost when items are purchased through these links at no extra cost to you.*

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