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How to keep preschool and primary aged kids entertained during coronavirus school closures – and keep you sane!

Coronavirus is spreading like, er, the unpredictable virus that it is, and it seems the thing most of us mums are talking about is the school closures.

Obviously we don’t want anyone getting ill, or our kids’ education to suffer. But what we’re also panicking about is how the hell WE are going to cope with having them home all day – and for f*ck knows how long? 

I’m not sure all the wine, gin and chocolate in the country is going to be enough for me to survive having all three of my boys – aged four, two and two – home all day, every day, indefinitely.

If you read my blog or follow my Facebook page, you may have guessed I’m not really one of ‘those’ mums who has a whole timetable of ‘fun and educational’ activities up my sleeve for such times as this coronavirus pandemic.

Twin toddlers making a red velvet cake
See that arm? That’s not mine…

Nope. I can stretch to Duplo, Lego, Mobilo, Play Doh, Kinetic sand (at a push), cutting, sticking, junk modeling from the recycling bin and colouring. Absolutely no painting, messy play, slime, or (heaven forbid) GLITTER in my house. After that little lot is exhausted, it’s time for the TV. Netflix and the ridiculous amounts of kids’ films I record each Christmas are my saviour. This was the last time I tried painting…

You’ll have also noticed that my boys fight. A lot. An AWFUL lot. Like constantly. One out of the three (usually poor Twin Two) is always crying because someone (usually shitbag Twin One) has hit/punched/kicked/scratched/pushed/bitten him. 

So you can imagine right now, I’m beginning to wonder not only what is going to happen with the coronavirus pandemic but also, how it’s all going to pan out at home. If the four year old gets homework sent from school (please teachers, send LOTS!) the chance of him actually having a moments’ peace to get on with any of it, is pretty minimal. 

When he first got reading books home earlier this year, I experimented with what time of day was best to do them, thinking bedtime was a no-no because we were all too tired by then. 

I tried after dinner, forgetting that food gives kids their second wind. The twins set up their very own race track running at full speed from the front door, down our reasonably long hallway, through the kitchen to catapult themselves over the arm of the settee in a pretty impressive somersault landing on the spot we were trying to read. Over and over again.

All that was missing was one of those old-school pommel horse vaulting things that we had during gym lessons, and they’d have had even more fun. 

So the amount of actual ‘learning’ is likely to be minimal during coronavirus lockdown. (But if you do want help with ideas for homeschooling check out my post here.) I’m kind of okay with that, considering he’s only four and in Foundation. GCSEs/A Levels and the chance of this affecting his grades and eventual lifelong success is a long way off at this point. But I fear I may have to up my game on the ‘activities’ front. 

Clearly I have no clue, so have asked my fellow bloggers (who are obviously way better at this type of shizzle than I am) for some ideas. Don’t thank me, thank them. 

Activities to keep kids entertained during coronavirus school closures:

  • Mini family sports/obstacle course around the garden, act out favourite stories/puppet shows, make a photo diary for photography skills, cutting skills, writing and sticking. From Anna at Twins and Travels.
painting branches with brightly coloured paints
  • Growing your own flowers, fruits and veg. Use plastic fruit containers to create little propagators and grow them from seeds, bulbs and tubers. Talk about how they grow, need sun etc, depending on age. Our playgroup used a caterpillar to butterfly kit last year so might try that at home too if it looks like we’ll be home after Easter. Twinkl parents are also offering a free month of educational resources. Our school and playgroup use them so we will definitely be taking advantage of them too. From Lynne at New Mummy Blog.
can you make an egg bounce science activity
  • Create a water compass. It’s pretty simple to gather supplies, all you need is a shallow dish filled with water, a paper clip, a leaf and magnet. It was a great excuse to get outside and the children had fun looking for colourful leaves. From Jenny at The Gingerbread House.
how to make a water compass
  • Use Duplo and do counting and sorting into colours and simple maths. They can also use it to create ball run games and mazes. From Faith at Me Be Geek.
simple maths activities with toys
  • We’re on day two of self-isolation and today we’ve used Wii Sports for PE. It turns out I’m quite good at boxing! From Erica at The Incidental Parent.
how to make your own play dough in five minutes
  • Make a dinosaur sensory activity box using green slime-coloured Gelli Baff. My son loves dinosaurs so it’s a really good way of stretching his imagination by creating a habitat for his dinosaurs. For me it’s a good way of expanding his vocabulary and exploring new ways to describe things. From Jane at Hodge Podge Days.
dinosaur activity tray
making leaf prints during coronavirus schools closures

Making hand washing fun by making your own squishy dough soap. By Play and Learn Every Day.

So there you have it, a few ideas to start you off during the coronavirus lockdown. There are loads doing the rounds on Facebook, and online. Such as this one. Although I have to admit I don’t even know what some of these things are!

100 indoor activities to do during coronavirus school closures

These are much more up my street:

Funny timetable for coronavirus school closures
Shared by Elena Watt in the hilarious Whinge Whinge Wine Facebook group

Stay safe people! And sane if at all possible…

PIN image on how to keep kids entertained at home during coronavirus school closures

How did I do?

If you liked this post, why not read Top Websites and Learning Resources for Homeschooling or Keeping Toddlers Entertained At Home? Or have a read of The Best Homeschooling Resources by Children of Wanderlust. And how about you hang around and check out some of my usual tongue-in-cheek type of posts in the Mum Life section. There’s all sorts in there from my take on potty training, the lies we tell our kids, the best and worst things about having twins, whether you’re a yummy or slummy mummy, and all the stupid things I feel mum guilt over.

If you like a bit of social media madness, pop over to my Facebook page where you’ll be able to have a laugh at what ridiculousness goes on in my house with three very small boys on a daily basis. Warning – there is often sarcasm, and usually swearing. There are also great travel reviews and some AWESOME giveaways. Feel free to join my Twins, Tantrums and Cold Coffee – Shits and Giggles Parenting Group too, where everyone shares their hilarious stories.

If you like what you see, how about you check me out on Pinterest,  Instagram and Twitter too.

And if you want to work with me, feel free to give me a shout here or at helen@twinstantrumsandcoldcoffee.com and I’ll get back to you.

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