Supporting children and families through unexpected times of rapid and unpredictable change in the light of coronavirus
The following resources have been collated from a wide range of sources to provide information for anyone to use as they feel would be helpful. They include information relevant to children across the early years and school age range including those with special educational needs and disabilities.
NB They are not recommendations, purely possibilities.
Information on coronavirus for children
The BBC Newsround site https://www.bbc.co.uk/newsround/51204456 has a comprehensive section on coronavirus with text and video guidance focusing on tips if a child is worried, how to wash your hands, and what self-isolation means.
Covibook – Supporting children and families around the world – Available in 18 different languages
Hello I’m a virus
Story books for children about the virus https://www.elsa-support.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2020/03
Carol Gray has produced a social story (https://carolgraysocialstories.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/Pandemics-and-the-Coronavirus.pdf ) about coronavirus and pandemics. The social story uses large print pictures and provides contextual information about pandemics and viruses in general.
Information for parents of how to support children though COVID19
Place2Be – Guide to helping parents answer questions from their children and to support family wellbeing: https://www.place2be.org.uk/about-us/news-and-blogs/2020/march/coronavirus-information-for-children/
Young Minds – Talking to your child about Coronavirus and 10 tips from their Parents Helpline to support family wellbeing: https://youngminds.org.uk/blog/talking-to-your-child-about-coronavirus/
Covibook – an interactive resource designed to support and reassure children aged 7 and under to help children explain and draw the emotions that they might be experiencing during the pandemic: https://www.mindheart.co/descargables
Mindful and relaxation exercises that parents can do with younger children to help with managing anxiety
Managing anxiety about the virus as adults
Special Education Needs and Disability
National Autistic Society – guidance and helpline for parents’, young people and staff: https://www.autism.org.uk/services/nas-schools/vanguard/news/2020/march/coronavirus-(covid-19)-advice.aspx
Mencap – Easy Read guide to Coronavirus: https://www.mencap.org.uk/sites/default/files/2020-03/Information%20about%20Coronavirus%20ER%20SS2.pdf
The Autism Education – A social story
A social story https://theautismeducator.ie/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/The-Corona-Virus-Free-Printable-Updated-2-The-Autism-Educator-.pdf about coronavirus that has a good level of specificity about the effects of social distancing e.g. not being able to go to favourite place.
CarersUK – Guidance for carers: https://www.carersuk.org/help-and-advice/health/looking-after-your-health/coronavirus-covid-19
Amaze – information pack for parents https://amazesussex.org.uk/faqs-about-the-coronavirus-for-parent-carers-of-children-with-send-brighton-hove/
Public Health England have produced an easy read version of their Advice on the coronavirus for places of education. https://www.easy-read-online.co.uk/media/53192/advice-on-the-coronavirus-v1.pdf
Information for those struggling with OCD https://www.ocduk.org/ocd-and-coronavirus-survival-tips/
General information for young people about managing their mental health https://youngminds.org.uk/blog/what-to-do-if-you-re-anxious-about-coronavirus
Information for those with sensory difficulties who struggle with handwashing https://www.sensoryintegration.org.uk/News/8821506
Story massage have put together a free resource booklet of 36 stories, email them to be sent a copy: email@example.com
Pete Wells has some raucous free sensory stories available on his website – and the podcast is well worth a listen too!
Pete’s home learning kit
The Sensory Projects has project packs for inclusive learning
and also some simple sensory games to play
The Sensory Dispensary have activities available to download from TES SEN website
Access Art resources
Home learning packs from Ashfield school
Soundabout are offering live online inclusive music sessions
Inclusive Teach activities https://inclusiveteach.com/2019/05/13/the-a-z-of-sensory-learning-activities/
Music apps and interactive resources (even some online lessons)
Clicker – accessible word processing
Interactive computer activities from Bridgend School
Riverside home school resources
Inclusive sensory discovery pack for Shakespeare’s The Tempest
31 pages of activity ideas for special school learners (download at the bottom of the page)
Bank of resources from the Northern Ireland curriculum
Sensory and messy play activities for children with additional needs
Website and activity ideas
50 sensory learning activities
Activities including sensory and massage stories themed for the time of year
Positive Eye Ideas Machine
Ways to learn through play
Off nursery / School activities
Top tips with 10 activities that can be done with your children during this period of time off nursery/school: Here are some preparation top tips:
- Setting Up a Family Meeting – calling a family meeting is important to set ground rules and expectations for the duration of this situation. Ask all to participate and look into what is their understanding of the situation, what this means and why are we doing this…it will give everyone a sense of purpose and meaning. Validate emotions as children may feel like things are not fair. Write together a poster with ground rules, decide on the ground rules together, like how many hours of devices and games for example, chores, cooking and ask for everyone’s contribution to the family household.
- Setting Up a Schedule – Having a calendar or a schedule outlining different activities will help create a routine and establish predictability. It can be done visually using colour coded signs, see picture above. Although not necessarily needing to be equally dispersed across the day, deciding on a schedule together will help family functioning.
- Deciding on Different Activities – When discussing different activities, it is important to ensure that all family members’ needs are met. For younger children, they may need play and unstructured times, as for older children, it may mean learning online with structured educational activities set by the school. For parents, it may mean the need to have some time to work and communicate with colleagues. Remember it is also important to allow for self-care and time for you, like putting the oxygen mask on you before someone else! What activities can we do from home? You may think it will be a long haul! Here are some ideas of different educational, cognitive and creative activities that can be done at home…
Activities for Home
- Setting Up a Den in the house or a Camp in the garden – This activity can be useful to create a safe place for children and a place they know they can have some quiet time, such as, reading a book, playing with little people, teddies or puppets. You can ask them to contribute to set it up with you, make decorations, put up lights and a sign. Children will find this fun and different. It can create an imaginative world for the child.
- Setting Up a Learning Place in the house and Do Learning Together – It is important that children feel they have an allocated space in the house where they can concentrate and focus on learning. It does not have to be a big space and can even be a shared space. It is more about how we use this space and what we do when we are learning. Setting up some ground rules for this will also be helpful. With a schedule, allocate time to learning in short and fruitful bursts, it is more about the quality and the positive experience of learning rather the quantity and speed at which we do these learning tasks. When you are noticing that learning is no longer fruitful, have a short break, a snack, a glass of water, some movement breaks. Family learning can be rich as we can all learn together and share understanding, problem-solving and information.
- Cooking Together – Cooking is great as it also includes literacy and numeracy tasks, such as, reading recipes or counting and measuring ingredients. Involving children in cooking can be fun and full of joy as they are involved in producing a tangible product at the end. You can also ask the children to finish off the cookies, cake, etc. by decorating them, lots of time can be spent on this.
- Puzzle, Lego, Visual-Spatial Activities – These activities tend to be calming as the brain focuses on putting things together rather than verbal or emotion demanding tasks. Offering these activities in the house will be of benefit to everyone as it will help all involved to be grounded and calm.
- Setting Up a Fun Project – It is important to vary activities, like a carousel. Start with one and move on to the next. When activities are designed to promote different areas of development, children will find this more engaging than if it is tapping into the same type of skills so it is important to also have something creative, a fun project you will enjoy doing together. A fun project could be: making a scrapbook of different drawings, paintings, making characters out of modelling clay, picking up leaves from the garden and finding the name of the tree online, taking photographs of wildlife in the garden such as birds, animals, painting rocks with emojis on them, drawing a cartoon strip or writing a collection of short stories, inventing characters and drawing these, so many things that can be done. Some children may like the challenge of a research project.
- Starting a Collection, Playing Board Games – Stamps, stones, leaves, labels and lots of other things can start collections. Board games, such as snakes and ladders, can be made using templates on the web.
- Sending Messages, Letters and Postcards to Family and Friends – Keep in touch with your social networks via different communication modes either video call or messaging.
- Learning a New Skill Together and/or Teaching a New Skill – There are lots of youtube videos nowadays that can teach skills step by step. Learn to say words in a different language, learn how to do sewing, knitting, crochet, slime, scrapbooking, photography, design a webpage together or design cards online.
- Implementing Routines for Self-care and Mindfulness – It’s ok for all involved to feel this is not a normal situation. It is important to keep communicating, being transparent, responding to questions, presenting the facts as well as not bombarding with facts. Children are curious and like to find out about the world so it is a good opportunity to open their thinking by sharing information, exploring maps, countries. It is also important we are aware of feelings and able to recognise sensations, feelings and actions. Implement some self-care activities together such as doing a calming activity together, reading a book, relaxing, watching a film.
- Exercising – Don’t forget to move and for the full family to move. You can set up some an obstacle course in the garden for example. This can be done using household items like a skipping rope, bottles, a ball. Like do 10 jumps, 10 skips, 10 hoops in the basketball hoop, knock 3 bottles down, etc. You can set up a challenge and time them going through the course. Walking the dog and playing with an animal can also be part of the routine.
Have fun at home!
GoNoodle – videos designed to get kids moving.
Seusville – lot of activities, crafts and games based on the world of Dr Seuss
Thinking games – this website has links to a whole host of games designed to improve logical thinking skills
Highlights Kids – a popular US magazine for children, this site has lots of ideas for craft activities, recipes and an ‘explore’ section covering science questions and experiments
Art for Kids Hub – this Youtube channel shows you how to draw a variety of things from animals to cartoon characters and even cars
The Imagination Tree
Creative art and craft activities for the very youngest. https://theimaginationtree.com/
Paw Print Badges – Free challenge packs and other downloads. Indoor and outdoor. https://www.pawprintbadges.co.uk/
Chat Play Read
Tiny Happy People
Hungry Little Minds
Cbeebies Radio – Listening activities
Learning at home
Ted Ed – Stay Curious https://ed.ted.com/
Twinkl – free home learning booklets from EYFS through to GCSE, you can download them here:
Oxford Owl – free e-books for ages 3-11, and range of how-to videos for maths. They also have a parents’ page which explains how spelling and grammar is taught in schools. If you ever wondered what a ‘fronted adverbial’ was, here’s your chance to find out!
Discovery Education – English, Maths & Science activities for KS1 & KS2 and also a section on coding
Scholastic – this US company have put together 20 days of cross-curricular projects to work through at home. The correct grade will need to be selected to match the UK year group:
– PreK and Kindergarten = Reception and Year 1
– Grades 1 & 2 = Year 2 and 3
– Grades 3-5 = Years 4, 5 and 6
– Grades 6+ = Year 7 onwards
BBC Bitesize – videos, quizzes and games covering the entire curriculum for primary, secondary and post-16 students
Topmarks – collection of educational games covering all topics
Toy Theater – Educational online games https://toytheater.com/
Chatterpack – a list of home Ed resources https://chatterpack.net/blogs/blog/resources-list-for-home-learning
Teachit Primary – resources and games to print for English, Maths, Science and Foundation subjects. Sign up for an account is required to download the free resources.
Teachit also have a range of resources for secondary school students. The website address is teachit + topic name e.g. English would be www.teachitenglish.co.uk, Languages https://www.teachitlanguages.co.uk/
British Council – Resources for English language learning https://www.britishcouncil.org/school-resources/find
Oxford Owl for Home – Primary https://www.oxfordowl.co.uk/for-home/
Smart videos for curious minds of all ages: The Kids Should See This https://thekidshouldseethis.com/
Crash Course – YouTube videos on many different topics https://thecrashcourse.com/
Teach your monster to read
Phonics Play – phonics games which follow the Letters & Sounds phonics programme. Pick the phase the child is currently on using the menu at the side.
Phonics Play is currently free for all users during the school closure period.
Storyline Online – a catalogue of videos featuring celebrities reading children’s stories https://www.storylineonline.net/
Unite for literacy – a US online library which provides free access to over 400 original picture books
CoolMath4Kids – interactive games covering the four operations (+ – x ÷) and fractions
Pet Bingo – an app for practising the four operations, children get to earn pets and care for them
Snappy Maths – maths worksheets for quick mental arithmetic sessions, like doubles & halves, number bonds and times tables
Science Museum Group – Videos, activities and facts on lots of different science topics for all key stages
Science for Kids – A New Zealand based site with lots of science experiments and games for kids
Switch Zoo – the idea started from creating new animals by switching parts, includes lots of information about habitats, biomes, feeding animals and animal sounds
Mystery Science https://mysteryscience.com/
Crest Awards – Science awards that can be completed at home https://www.crestawards.org/
Topics (History, Geography, Art)
Virtual museum tours
Big History Project – Secondary https://www.bighistoryproject.com/home
National Geographic Kids – covering animals, science, history & geography, a website full of fascinating facts.
3D Geography – free paper templates for making models, plus lots of geography information and resources
Geography Games https://world-geography-games.com/world.html
National Geographic Kids – Activities and quizzes https://www.natgeokids.com/uk/
Tynker – marketed as ‘coding for kids’, this website is currently offering free access to its premium content
Code.org – founders of the ‘Hour of code’ tutorials, this website offers computer science courses for students from reception through to A-level
iDEA Awards – Digital award scheme that can be completed online https://idea.org.uk/
Blockly https://blockly.games/ Scratch https://scratch.mit.edu/explore/projects/games/
Duolingo – a free platform for learning languages. You can learn from a computer, or download the app.