Updated: Mar 25
All across the country, heck the world, parents are bracing themselves for four weeks, eight weeks, twelve weeks?!? Of home schooling.
Take a deep breath, I've got you.
I happened to have a mini me, (not so mini anymore) and have lived through a fair few years worth of intense gorilla style warfare *cough* I mean school holidays I've learnt a couple of tricks over the years. In these strange and frightening times I've created Fairy Tale Adventures. Cheap, fun educational activities based around a different children's book to keep your kid's entertained, and learning.
You read the book together, night time reading is great but you could also let them read on their own.
Have a go at some of the themed educational activities based around the book. Feel like a smug parent. Easy. Every activity is for 3 and up. Simple to set up, uses things from around the house and is in line with isolation rules we're all facing.
This time we're exploring the amazing world of Pippi Longstocking.
A nine year old girl who isn't quite like other children. She lives in Villa Villekulla with her horse, and Mr Nilsson, a pet money.
Pippi is described as "She was so incredibly strong that there wasn't a policeman in the whole wide world that was as strong as she was. She could lift a horse if she wanted to. And she did." So lets do an experiment about how things can be stronger than they look.
Things You'll Need
Two Raw Eggs (the same size) Masking Tape
Weights, (anything you have around the house)
Stiff Cardboard Scales
Lay out what you’re using for weights, on a table and get everyone to guess how much weight they think the eggs can take before they'll crack. Write down everyone’s guess.
Take the masking tape and wrap around the centre of the eggs, leaving a space between the ends of the tape.
Use your nail scissors to make a small hole in the eggs, just where the gap in the tape is.
We need the eggs to be empty, so cut through the masking tape on each egg, using the hole to get going. Neaten the edges up as much as you can, so you end up with four lovely equal sized half-shells. This is a good time to let your kids see how delicate the shells are.
Raw eggs can be dangerous to some folk so it’s best for everyone to wash their hands and inside the eggshells before continuing.
Turn your eggs dome side up, and place in an equally spaced square, lay the cardboard on top, creating a sort of table with egg legs! It works best on a flat hard surface.
Start adding your weights, one at a time. Make sure everyone’s watching for the first crack that’s when we stop. After the crack, get your weighing scales, weigh what the eggs managed to support. You'll be surprised.
Who got the closest guess? Would the colour of the eggs have made a difference? How about the number of eggs used from two to four? Tailor the questions to your age group.
I couldn't have an article about Pippi without a recipes for Ginger snaps. Super easy to make even small uncoordinated humans can do it. Pippi liked to cut heart shaped biscuits out on her kitchen floor and feed them to her horse but I like mine dipped with dark chocolate and mini-me like hers sandwiched with vanilla ice-cream.
"The whole world is full of things. Which means there's a real need for someone to go searching for them. And that's exactly what a thing-searcher does."
UPDATE: The UK Government is telling us that it's important to stay INDOORS. The outside/sunlight does not kill the virus, it's not a vampire. So help our NHS and either park this activity until after the lock down is over, or use your garden , (if you have one).
Things You'll Need
An old box
Time (this is a labour of love but super cheap to pull off)
A bag, to keep your treasures in
Step by Step
Lay some ground rules for your children. Some things are off-limits, wildflowers, cute little animals, dog poo. Here’s a handy guide to flowers by the Guardian, aka ones you can pick, ones you can't. Otherwise, just use your common sense; you know your own child, work around your situation.
Get out there. A forest, seaside, park, if you have a garden that works too, just somewhere safe. No-one wants to pick glass out of their kid's fingers. Here are some of the things I and mine found; leafs, conkers, pine cones, clovers, and acorns. I'm betting the beach would offer a treasure trove of ‘goodies’. Work your location and you’ll be amazed what your kids find.
Bring what you find home, talk as little or as much as you have time for. We like to research and label everything but as you've already guessed, we're a pretty nerdy family. If you're up for it here's a good place for identifying leaves, and a super site for Sea Shells. Otherwise sit back with a nice cup of tea, safe in the knowledge that your one of Smug parents now.
This one does require a printer, and I realise that a lot of people would probably use a work's one or a library, and now that might not be available but I'd already drawn Pippi and couldn't just let her languish in my hard drive. So here she is. This activity is self-explanatory, cutting out and colouring; the backbone of our curriculum if all the mountains of crafts my daughter bought home from school are to go by.
Pippi Longstocking was written by a woman called Astrid Lindgrennée. For older children, have them create a portrait and a bio of Astrid. When and where was she born? Did she write other children's' stories? Did she have a job before writing stories?
In chapter six, Pippi organises an expedition involving a wonderful picnic. Why not have a picnic in your garden, or an indoor picnic? Make a real day of it by recreating the picnic Pippi made for her friends. "Delicious sandwiches with meatballs and ham, a whole stack of pancakes with sugar, pieces of sausages and pineapple puddings."
Make a sock monkey puppet like Pippi's friend Mr Nillson.
In Chapter Four, Pippi goes to school and tells a story about a snake that 'ate five grown Indians, plus two little children for dessert'. Have your child create a fact sheet all about snakes. Where do snakes live? How many kinds are there? Do they really do eat people?
That's all for this round folks. Next time Alice in Wonderland.
All of the above are just suggestions. Remember as long as your kids are fed, watered, and not roaming around like a pack of feral cats; you're doing ok. These are strange and challenging times, letting the kids watch telly, or be on their phone or spend hours painting glue onto their hands to peel off, it's fine. You're doing great.
Stay Safe everyone.