1. It was a strange year, wasn’t it? With a global pandemic taking its toll on the country and the government advising us all to stay at home, unless strictly necessary. But with the number of coronavirus cases dramatically increasing after the festivities, we have moved into our third national lockdown – which has (yet again!) led to the closure of schools and non-essential businesses.

As primary and secondary schools in England have moved to virtual learning until the end of February half-term, only vulnerable children and those of critical key workers can enter the classroom. However, the government stated that nurseries and other Early Years settings can remain open as usual.

There’s no denying that these are unprecedented times – not just for parents and teaching staff, but children too. Staying sane can be easier said than done. In fact, even harder than trying to keep yourself busy is coming up with fun – yet meaningful – activities to keep the kids occupied during lockdown 3.0.

Here at Setter Play, we design, manufacture and install school playground equipment and, to help, we thought we’d offer a few hints and tricks to inspire youngsters working remotely and those that are in school in smaller class sizes.

4 ways to keep children engaged:

  1. Online learning

Having been told to stay at home until mid-February (at least), pupils will be set online learning tasks by their teachers daily. This proved difficult for many families in previous lockdowns – particularly those with limited access to the internet.

But CBBC is putting three hours’ worth of educational content on every weekday, whilst BBC Two are offering scholastic programmes for secondary school students to keep up with their studies for a minimum of two hours every day. Take a look at the TV shows that the BBC is presenting for primary school children here.

  1. Storytime

Taking it in turns to read to each other is great fun both in the classroom and at home. Many parents read their children a bedtime story to help them drift off to sleep, and some teachers (especially Early Years and KS1) like to end the day with a storybook or two.

A brilliant way to engage youngsters, and to really make the tale come to life, is to try using different voices for each character. And, providing the weather permits, you could take storytime outside, as opposed to sitting in the classroom or saving it until they are tucked up in bed. Many schools also opt for our storyteller’s chair and/or mushroom seats to make stories more compelling.

  1. Daily exercise

Here’s one the grown-ups can get involved with. Whilst gyms and leisure centres have closed – and you’re juggling work, home-schooling, cooking, cleaning and essential food shopping – you might struggle to squeeze in a workout. But the kids are probably missing indoor and outdoor sporting activities too (i.e. football, rugby, cricket, swimming, gymnastics, athletics, etc.). So why not exercise together?

You could plan a home workout? Go for a walk with your household? Or have a kickabout in the garden. There are loads of fun things you can do to keep fit during lockdown, and many which can help children to release energy.

  1. Outdoor play

Yes, outdoor sports venues are out of action at the moment, but playgrounds remain open. Playgrounds are crucial in helping children to develop vital skills, such as communication, hand and eye coordination, balance and teamwork to name just a few. But that’s not all.

Making the most of outdoor play – either during the school day or out of school hours – can have a positive impact on the physical and mental wellbeing of kids from an early age. It can even reduce the risk of obesity and promote creative thinking – encouraging them to use their imagination.

And best of all, kids love nothing more than to run around, whizz down slides and, more importantly, play with their peers. So, whether it be a swing set or a Wendy house in your garden, playground classics at the local park, or exciting school playground equipment like climbing frames with monkey bars, rope ladders and rock climbing, there’s no reason why children should be bored during – and post – lockdown.

If you would like to know more about the school playground equipment we provide at Setter Play, or for more inventive ways to entertain the whole family during these uncertain times, get in touch. Simply call 01462 817 538 or email [email protected], and we’ll get back to you as soon as we can.