Updated: Apr 3, 2020
While education isn’t traditionally considered within the scope of wellness literature, it has become apparent to the staff writers here at Gesundheit Carolina that parents and caregivers are not only facing the responsibility of keeping their families safe and healthy, they are now having to learn how to teach. Our primary concern during this pandemic is maintaining the overall well-being of those in our community. Below, you will find a few tips on how to facilitate learning to minimize stress for children and adults during these unprecedented times.
Parents and caregivers have recently, and unexpectedly, become the new teachers. Some will feel at ease with this new responsibility, while others will feel overwhelmed or inadequate. As a certified early childhood educator, I have put together a list of ways for these new teachers to keep their children learning, moving, and enjoying themselves during this time. These reading activities can be used in conjunction with or in addition to current school work. These activities work best for grades 1st - 3rd and could easily be modified for younger and older children.
Tips for making reading fun for kids
Get Outside: Set up a space for your child to read in the yard or on the porch. Maybe set up a tent, put out a nice chair, lay down some large blankets, etc. This is a great space for you to read to them, too! If getting outside isn't possible, set up a reading nook by a window.
Act it Out: Assign members of your family different roles in the book your child needs to read. If you don't have enough people for all of the characters, take on double or triple roles! Make it dramatic and enjoy yourselves. Children learn best through fun!
Voice Jar: With the help of your child, create a jar filled with slips of paper that state different voices to use while reading. Each time you or your child is reading aloud, choose a slip of paper from the jar to set your voice. Some examples: robot voice, grandpa voice, opera voice, Dory voice, etc. A good ground rule for this exercise is that to play this game, you have to be able to understand each other. If the voices get too difficult to understand, 'normal' reading voice resumes.
Rolling Readers: Have any toy cars lying around? Let your child use these to track their reading, instead of using their fingers to guide their eyes! Ground rule with this - if it gets too distracting, back to fingers we go! (Other ideas for reading tracking: Barbie Dolls, laser pointers, magnifying glasses, etc.)
While these are labeled as reading activities, they could easily be used for other subject areas. Please feel free to make them your own.
Don't forget to give your children "brain breaks" during this time. These breaks are necessary to allow children (and adults) time to decompress in-between subjects or when you notice that focus is drifting. My favorite go-to for brain breaks for children of all ages is Go Noodle. They have a variety of activities to engage all different types of movers and shakers - and it's FREE!
If you have any questions regarding these activities or need help modifying them for the needs of your family, please leave a comment below and I will do my best to help. Happy learning!
Don't forget to check out our tips for making math more memorable and fun!
The activities listed above are from my personal classroom experience. While these are my own ideas, I recognize that other educators may have had similar, if not the same ideas as I. These tips are not meant to copyright any other educator, nor are they meant to replace the school work assigned by any teachers.