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Tips for Home Schooling During Self Isolation

‘How can I keep my Key Stage 1 child learning at home?’ 

Written by my friend whom I met on my course while studying to become a Primary School practitioner at Manchester Metropolitan University, Emma Paton has kindly written this blog for all my lovely website visitors, followers and customers which she intends will provide suggestions of how to keep your children busy, learning but most importantly, happy! Thank you so much Emma and I hope you all enjoy.


The first, and arguably the most important, thing I need to say, is that these times are new and scary for everyone.  Our children are going to be feeling that.  They will be aware of anxieties presented on the news, they will be missing their school and their friends and they will be learning how to navigate this strange, new world.  The home environment is not the same as the school environment.  We CANNOT replicate the job of a school, while at home.  Frankly, it is stupid to even try! 


Key Skills Learning at Home

However, what we can do, is to use this time to make memories with our children and nurture some different skills.  Later in this blog, I will make some suggestions of some suitable activities to support the different subject area of the National Curriculum, but I first wanted to mention some key skills that will help you child for when schools open their doors again.   

  • Fine motor skills – Continue to develop building the muscle strength in your child’s hands.  This can be through playing with playdoh, threading beads on strings, making pasta necklaces, weaving and plaiting.  To continue to develop their pencil grip, encourage them to spend time colouring and painting.  Can they do a small bit of writing each day?  All these play-based activities will help your child with their handwriting. 

  • Teaching your child how to tie their own shoelaces – a valuable life skill. 

  • Completing jigsaws. 

  • Communication (ie speech and language.)  This is a HUGE area that we don’t always place enough value on.  If a child can’t say it, then how can they write it?  Don’t ever undervalue the importance of talking and playing with your child.  In my opinion, imaginative play is one of the best ways to achieve this.  Some ideas include: 

    • Small world play.  Rainbow Sensory Gifts sell a huge range of Lanka Kade gifts, including their Lanka Kade blind boxes.  These would be a fantastic resource to stimulate play and discussion between yourself and your child.  So much play, and conversation can be built around the different animals. You can find them here.

    • Puppet play – making up stories, plays etc with a range of puppets.  Verbally, retelling these stories.  It doesn't have to be anything big, expensive or fancy - this range of finger puppets will do just as good of a job. 

    • Learning how to play a range of board games.  Once your child has learnt how to play the game, can they explain the rules to someone else? 

    • Follow the Rainbow Sensory Parent group on Facebook, where you will get great ideas from parents.   

    • Creating messy play.  Children love being able to play in water, sand, shaving foam, shredded paper etc. 


Mental Well-Being

Another hugely important area I wanted to mention, before I discuss National Curriculum areas, is the mental well-being of our children.  This is something I am hugely passionate about, and so vitally important right now.  I have listed my top 10 favourite children’s books that can help you talk to your child about ways they might be feeling during these challenging times.   

  1. Ruby’s Worry – Tom Percival 

Ruby’s story teaches children that we all have worries and encourages them to talk about their worries with somebody that they trust. 

  1. Ravi’s Roar – Tom Percival 

A great support for discussing anger and losing your temper. 

  1. The Truth Pixie – Matt Haig 

A story which discusses how to love yourself and how life has its ups and downs. 

  1. When Sadness Comes to Call – Eva Eland 

A book about sadness, accompanied by beautiful illustrations, which gives children strategies of what to do when they are feeling sad. 

  1. Sweep – Louise Greig 

A story about how to cope with anger. 

  1. The Bear and the Piano – David Litchfield 

A story about loneliness and empathy. 

  1. Grandad’s Island – Benji Davies 

A beautiful story that sensitively deals with loss and grief. 

  1. My Heart – Corinna Luyken 

wonderful story about love and self-acceptance. 

  1.  The Colour of Happy – Laura Baker and Angie Rozelaar 

A fantastic explanation of feelings, through colour. 

  1. Duck, Death and the Tulip – Wolf Erlbruch  

A book which gently addresses subject of grief.   


National Curriculum 

Moving onto National Curriculum Areas, I have broken this section down into the different subject areas.  Again, I want to reiterate that I do not see value in forcing children into a timetabled structure during this time.  All learning should be nurtured through play and guided by the individual child.  Therefore, these ideas are not to be worked through as a check list, but to give some suggestions for WHEN your child wants something more structured.   

As I absolutely LOVE the Lanka Kade blind boxes that Rainbow Sensory Gifts sell, I have tried to provide a suggestion within each subject area for how these could be used to encourage a wider range of learning.  I have also suggested ways to use the chalkboard building cubes that are sold, as I think they are a great resource.  In ‘disguising’ learning through play, children might be more encouraged to take part in their activities.   



This is THE most important element of learning.  Try and read to your child every day.  You can make this a special time by having a special story box, reading to toys, having special lighting.  Also add variety by you reading to your child, getting them to read to you, read key words on flashcards, read using eBooks or audio books and reading a range of fiction, non-fiction and poetry books.  Basically – just read as much as you can! 

Lanka Kade Blind Box Idea – Read information or stories about the different animals. 

Chalkboard Building Cube Idea – Write the names of characters on the different sides of the cubes.  Roll the cubes and describe the particular character.  Alternatively, you can write tricky words or common words and roll the cubes for your child to read each word in turn. 



Lanka Kade Blind Box Idea – You can challenge your child to write words or sentences to describe each animal.  They could then make fact files about each animal. 

Chalkboard Building Cube Idea – Parents to write different words to describe a particular animal on the cube.  Child to roll the cube and use the word in a sentence. 

Any way to get your child to write, if they want to, is good.  Try and capitalise on their particular interests.  If your child loves dogs, then encourage them to write a letter to a dogs home, or make a fact file about a particular dog.  If your child loves football, can they write a letter to their favourite football club or player, or write instructions for how to play the game.  You could even post the letters and hope for a reply, (even if this comes in the middle of the night and is written by yourself!) 

Children can also be encouraged to write letters to friends and family members, or letters of support and encouragement to any Key Workers at this time. 



Lanka Kade Blind Box Idea – The children could survey they friends and family (while social distancing!)  and make a graph of their favourite animal.   

Chalkboard Building Cube Idea – Write different numbers on each side of the cube.  Can the children add or subtract the numbers? 

Other ideas could be to learn how to tell the time.  Or set up a shop and practise how to use money. 



Lanka Kade Blind Box Idea – Encourage your child to create a fitness movement in the style of each of the animals. 

Chalkboard Building Cube Idea – Draw a different move on each side of the cube.  Get the child to roll and join in with the movement for 30 seconds.  (IE star jumps, skipping, jogging, etc.)   

You can also encourage your child to spend time in the garden being active.  Or join in with the Joe Wicks workouts, or the Cosmic Yoga channel on You Tube has some fantastic resources. 



Lanka Kade Blind Box Idea – Chose one of the animals from the box.  Find out what nearby zoos have this animal.  For example, a giraffe.  How old is the oldest giraffe and youngest giraffe at the zoo?  When did the first ever giraffe arrive at the zoo?  Can they find out what the zoo was like at this time? 

Chalkboard Building Cube Idea – Draw a timeline on a piece of paper.  Write down the name and age of different family members on the sides of the cubes.  Roll them and then place each person on the timeline, in order of age. 

You can also use the CBBC Horrible History clips to learn about different periods in history, such as Awful Egyptians...


Lanka Kade Blind Box Idea   Get your child to research where each animal lives in the wild. 

Chalkboard Building Cube Idea – Write the names of different countries on the cubes.  Once rolled, can your child find this place on a map or globe?  Can they find out any more information about this  place? 

You can also use the Go Jetters series to get your child to learn about different places in the world.  Once they have watched an episode, they could try and find out their own facts about the place. 



Lanka Kade Blind Box Idea – Children could write prayers of thanks for the different animals in our world.  If they do not have a religious affiliation, they could write statements about why they are grateful for the animals.   

Chalkboard Building Cube Idea – Write the different world religious on the sides of the cubes.  What can you find out about each of the different religions? 

BBC Learning also has a range of video clips about different world religions. 



Lanka Kade Blind Box Idea – Encourage your child to find out what each of the animals in the box eats.  Can they make a food chain? 

Chalkboard Building Cube Idea – Write a different object on each side of the cube.  Children will have to go and hunt for it and describe the materials it is made out of and the texture of it. 

Use this time to get out in the garden and learn about plants.  

Try to explore different topics.  Play with water and explore floating and sinking.  Use magnets to see what is magnetic around the house. 



Lanka Kade Blind Box Idea – Encourage your child to make a traditional musical instrument from the original habitat of one of the animals.  For example, a rainstick from Africa. 

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