Recently a parent sent me a WhatsApp message. “Thank you, Hafsha. We have just visited Buckingham Palace and the Taj Mahal – all in one afternoon! Tomorrow, we are off to see the Pyramids! Thank you!”
The message connected with me on so many different fronts. Firstly, I pondered at the amazing ways technology has enriched our lives. Imagine visiting both these wonderful palaces in a lifetime, never mind in the same afternoon during lockdown! Imagine stepping into the footsteps of those who walked before. How did they live? How did they heat the rooms? What did they eat? How did they home school their children?
I also thought about the learning opportunities and the rich conversations that followed the virtual visits. The pictures drawn, the stories written, the role plays that filled rooms with laughter and the wonderful memories created in a time of so much chaos and worry.
The unprecedented times and school closures have forced parents to become teachers too. Not an easy task when they are trying to manage everything else too, from changes in family routines, parenting, pressures on household budgets, managing their own and their families wellbeing and anxiety, all coupled with some parents working from home.
So if it’s time for your family to have a free virtual day out to the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam or the British Museum in London or one of the many hundreds of places on offer do book your free visits at the sites below. Remember to add to the joy, by getting creative and making passports, boarding passes and the sandwiches for your in-flight meals!
The following also have lots of free fabulous online resources and advice guides for families.
Also, there are lots of YouTube channels offering craft and fitness sessions etc. Some we like include:
Kids Learning Tube https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC7EFWpvc1wYuUwrtZ_BLi9A
P E with Joe Wicks at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sX05HHni9Wk
Daily Yoga with Adriene at https://www.youtube.com/user/yogawithadriene/videosoga
If it’s Shakespeare you’re after then the ‘Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre are sharing free plays and films online at https://globeplayer.tv/
Remember the importance of reading and sharing books with your children is imperative and also part of many families daily routine. Do take a look at the large range of children audio books available for free during school closure at https://www.audible.co.uk/
Cooking and baking offer up so many learning opportunities from measuring, counting healthy foods and growing cycles. For inspiration do take a look at Wagamamas restaurant, free virtual cooking lessons, ‘Wok from Home’ on YouTube, Instagram and Facebook. For great baking tutorials check out the yummy doughnut tutorial at https://www.breadahead.com/
And finally for when we all just need some time to ourselves, do take a look at the free meditation and sleep exercises at https://www.headspace.com/
This time will soon pass and whilst we will reflect at the awfulness of it lets also reflect and think about some of the wonderful things we learnt, shared and created with our families, whilst staying indoors. So be brave, bake the doughnuts, decorate the cookies and just laugh as you all try and pick up the tiny decorations as they spill all over the place. Stay safe and well.