By Melissa Meehan
Whether the weather outside isn’t great, the dreaded pandemic has caught up with you or you’re scambling to keep the kids entertained while you work from home over the school holidays – we’ve got you covered.
Yarra Ranges early childhood teacher Jodie Kist has more than 20 years in the industry and was more than happy to share her knowledge and guidance with Kids Today on how to engage with your children when they are at home with you.
She’s worked at Chirnside Park’s Community Kids centre for 14 years.
As summer winds down and the cooler, wetter days are upon us, a visit to the playground can’t always be on the cards – but Jodie says the great outdoors should be an option rain, hail or shine.
“As a mum of two older boys, I get it, you want to find a balance between doing things with them but also giving them the independence to do some things on their own,” she said.
“But spending time outdoors is important and the weather shouldn’t affect that as long as you are dressed appropriately.”
Jodie says getting out in the rain is beneficial to children young and old as it allows them to explore their senses, as well as take part in activities that link back to maths and science.
It’s as easy as getting some containers from the kitchen and watching them fill with rain, she says.
And then in turn let the kids use items they find outside to mix in with that water and scoop, mix and create.
Another favourite is going exploring on a nature hunt, Jodie says.
“Mud, gum leaves, gum nuts, bark, feathers – you name it,” she said.
“They can all be brought home and added to something else – you might make a funny face out of the items you find, or make a potion in the puddles. Anything goes.”
But if outside isn’t an option, there are many ways to keep the kids entertained and engaged inside without touching the remote.
“Science experiments are great fun and can be created using common household items like bicarb soda, dishwashing detergent and water,” she said.
“Even adding food colouring to jars filled with water and creating a rainbow on paper towel… there are so many things you can do.”
Her favourite, and a bonus for parents with fussy eaters, is getting kids involved in cooking treats and every day meals.
Giving them a sense of ownership often helps those kids who are fussy try new things – plus reading the recipe counts as literacy, and measuring the ingredients as numeracy.
Give Jodie’s suggestions a go, and tag us in your photos on social media.