If you are working from home until further notice, you aren’t alone. If your kids are joining you, say no more! Coronavirus (COVID-19) is changing the way businesses operate overnight and forcing schools and daycares to shut down. Last week you were in conference room meetings and grabbing a coworker for a quick impromptu session. Today, you are learning how to collaborate solely with video conferencing calls while your toddler is screaming or destroying the next room. Believe us when we say, you aren’t alone!
Smarter Systems VP of Strategic and Global Accounts, Lori Cook, found herself in the same situation when her kids’ school and daycare shut down. With the indefinite reopening status, she’s preparing for the weeks ahead. She came up with eight ideas to help entertain her 3-year-old so she can continue to get her work done.
1. Sensory bins
Cook says this keeps her toddler busy for hours! In this particular bin, she’s got dry noodles,
toy dinosaurs, shovels, and construction trucks. Chances are you have all of this (or similar items) already lying around your house.
2. Color Buckets
This activity will focus on color sorting. Cook grabbed red, yellow, green, and blue buckets and the same color Legos. She plans to work on identifying colors by asking her 3-year-old to put the Legos in the correct color bucket.
3. Sidewalk chalk
Who doesn’t love sidewalk chalk? Cook plans to work on shapes with sidewalk chalk. She plans to take breaks or make calls outside on the beautiful days so her son can play.
4. Construction paper and stickers
Here’s a simple enough project but one that will entertain. Cook says this will be another chance to work on shapes, and even letters and numbers. She plans to ask her son to trace outlines she draws with the stickers. What toddler doesn’t LOVE stickers?
5. Ice trays/pompoms
Now is the perfect time to work on those fine motor skills. All you need is an ice tray, some pompoms, and large plastic tweezers. This is a great way to mix play and learning!
6. Shaving cream
If you’ve never tried this, here is the time! Shaving creaming is easy enough to clean up, especially if you just let your toddler play with it the bathtub or shower. Cook describes letting her son draw letters/shapes/numbers in it, and she even lets him drive his toy cars through it. Desperate times call for desperate measures.
7. Easter eggs
Tis’ the season! Like most families, you probably already have some at home leftover from last Easter. Now is the time to pull them out, grab a few small “prizes” and hide them. Cook lets her two boys hide them for each other. She even puts coins or small toys that she finds lying around the house inside to encourage longer hunts. Finding Easter eggs is a favorite pastime and should allow for some uninterrupted time for your work.
This activity only requires two bins, a large spoon or ladle, and those plastic Easter eggs. These bins are about half full of water. Cook’s toddler takes the spoon and moves the eggs from one container to the other. He calls it “fishing” and loves it!
While these are fun and inexpensive ideas, we fully realize this won’t be the long-term solution. We hope that it will help in those critical moments when a quiet house is a must. Give yourself some grace. We’re all in uncharted waters here. Now head out to your local Dollar Tree and grab some goodies. You’ll be glad you did. Smarter Systems is here to help!
If you have older children check out these free distance learning resources here.