Supporting home learning during the coronavirus lockdown

These are unprecedented times and we cannot emphasise enough how the most important aspect of all of this is your whole family’s mental health and wellbeing.  There will be so many extra pressures on you such as unexpected additional childcare, maybe still having to work and also those with older children who now need home schooling overseeing.

See this link for great ideas, games and advice for supporting your children with attention, speaking, listening, and social interactions at home. Advice for developing children’s speech and language skills

Need 30 minutes to yourself while you’re stuck at home? See this useful document:

Resources to Support Wellbeing at Home

Strengthening Minds – Strengthening Mindsa london-based organisation that supports the wellbeing of children and their families has created an excellent resource called The Strengthening Minds Guide to Staying Home… In Style. This free, downloadable activity pack contains information, games and activities, for families, children, teenagers and there’s a section on mindfulness and wellbeing. It’s definitely worth checking out. Download it from the Strengthening Minds website or from the resources section below.

Nuffield Health – Keeping a journal and doing daily exercise can help us to look after our wellbeing. You can download a free Wellbeing Journal and take part in some 15-minute exercises, created by Nuffield Health here: Wellbeing Journal

Spread the Happiness – Singing and dancing are also a great way to help us feel happy. Spread The Happiness have shared their Nursery Rhymes and Dough Disco videos for free, here: Spread the Happiness 

Cosmic Kids – Yoga and Meditation can help children to relax and stay calm. Cosmic Kids Yoga channel on YouTube has free videos aimed at children aged 3+.

We have been very lucky to have Haslingfield Support Team set up in the village. If you would like your name added to the list of residents needing assistance at this challenging time – or if you would like to be a volunteer – please contact the Haslingfield Support Team on 07545 159828 or email Click here for more information.

The BBC Good Food website has started to include lots of new recipes for making meals on budget meals and includes ideas using basic ingredients, tinned and frozen foods.

For Coronavirus latest updates and

For support for single parents/carers: Gingerbread

For support with your work: Citizens advice

For support if you are struggling to feed your family: The Trussell Trust

How to support your child at home

For general advice and support for parents and carers: NSPCC

So the most important message is simply to spend as much time as you are able to with your child during these challenging times. There are soooo many ideas out there about what to do with your child (they could last you a lifetime!) but really it isn’t what you do with your children so much as simply having quality interactions with them. There will be days when screens are used more than what is ideal, and times when you have just got to dedicate practically all your time to work but as long as they are the exception and not the norm you are doing well! Abby has recently been going on a Parenting Course run by the Child and Family Service called ‘The Incredible Years’ for children aged 2-8 years old. Due to Coronavirus there are now lots of these resources available online here: The Incredible Years

Further support for parents online

Here are some more websites that you might find helpful for supporting children when schools are closed:


Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Safeguarding Children Board website for Parents, Carers and members of the public

Cambridgeshire and Peterborough C&YP Mental Health. Keep Your Head

Think U Know

Women’s Aid


FutureLearn course: Anxiety in Children and Young People during COVID-19

Talking to your child about coronavirus

You may think they don’t really understand and therefore don’t need to know but children are a lot more perceptive than we realise. Talking about this can help them process their thoughts and feelings in these uncertain times. Adults may seek support to explain about the coronavirus situation to their children. The BBC Newsround programme has some good clips aimed at older children which explore and answer some of the questions being asked and may be a good source of information for adults to access.

How to talk to children about coronavirus

Recommendations from ICan when talking about Coronavirus with children.

YouTube: Coronavirus explained using images and Makaton

Cornavirus explained using Makaton by Ineque Safeguarding Group SEND adviser Holly Rankin

Sue Allingham: Explaining the coronavirus to young children

A blog from Sue Allingham explaining Coronavirus to children.

Stories to support explaining coronavirus to your child

Here are LOTS of links to different stories…hopefully you can find one that suits your child’s age and stage!

Dr. Dog eBook by Lydia Monks and Professor James Logan

An EBook for children illustrated by Lydia Monks and written by Professor James Logan from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.

Coronavirus: A book for children

A book aimed for 5-7 year olds about Coronavirus illustrated by Axel Scheffler.

‘Gruffalo stayed in the cave’: Axel Scheffler and Julia Donaldson’s coronavirus cartoons

Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler have also produced a series of illustrations with many of their familiar characters to encourage families to stay at home.

Animation and storybook explaining Coronavirus to children from Ineque Safeguarding Group

Home Learning Hub

Lots of resources to explain coronavirus to children and talk about how to stay safe.

#COVIBOOK: supporting and reassuring children around the world

This is a social story for parents to share with children about how to talk about Coronavirus.

Other tips

Read, read, read!

Children having books read to them is the most important activity you can do. Your relationship is strengthened, children have the whole world opened up to them and they are exposed to a wide vocabulary. This is the biggest indicator of life outcomes! It’s important here that ebooks and those on screens are not as good-a physical book with an adult is the best; this is particularly important for young children.

Keep it simple!

Get them involved in helping you with daily chores; there is so much to be learned from this! Yes, it takes longer but the benefits to your child, their language learning and relationship with you are immeasurable. Helping pair socks when you do the washing gives mathematical opportunities for counting and matching. Cooking together (especially bread!) gives knowledge and understanding of how scientific changes occur, and maths of measuring and numbers, attention and listening for following instructions…this list goes on!

Boredom is Good for Children!

It is good for children to get bored! It encourages creativity and builds emotional intelligence and empathy. Too much ‘scheduled’ time can mean children rely too much on adults directing their time….so don’t overwhelm them with loads of different activities all the time. There has been lots of research into this and you can read more in this article: surprising-benefits-of-letting-your-children-get-bored

Use Household Items

There is so little need for elaborate toys! Unfortunately the toy industry has taken advantage of well meaning parents/carers and constantly go on about ‘educational advantages’ of toys. The classic situation of a child being more interested in the box than the toy is spot on! For example, fill a sink (or a plastic box and take it outside!) with bubbles and put on the side some objects from your drawers and cupboards, such as a jug, a spoon, a pair of tongs, a meat baster, a funnel. Whatever you think they would find interesting! Children LOVE using adult stuff! Their favourite role play is copying adults…that’s why having a Home Corner is so important at a Preschool setting. Below are some great activities that are free and easy to do at home!

Toys and playing with your child

Appropriate Toys

Here are some pointers to what toys are appropriate:

You know your child!

Do activities that interest your child-if they are really into frogs at the moment, sing frogs songs, draw chalk shapes on the floor outside, write numbers in them and encourage them to jump between them, make green playdough. Keep learning fun and relevant!

Support your child’s play

Here are some top tips about playing with your child:

Home learning environment

Did you know a child’s home learning environment is proven to have the biggest impact on a child’s life outcomes? Again, a lot comes back to quality interactions, such as the conversations you are having and how your support their play. Also, getting resources set up around your home that interest your child is key. As with properties of toys list above, trying to give a selection of open-ended resources is really helpful, such as blocks, Lego, even sticks from the garden! A book area is really beneficial, with books facing forward in a box.

Also, a simple outdoor kitchen (mud kitchen) gives children so many learning opportunities. It doesn’t have to be complicated! Just a few old bits from the kitchen and a washing up bowl; it’s amazing what children will come up with from so little!

This website has lots of support and ideas:

Keep it active

If you can be outside in your garden or do activities with big movements then do! Young children need lots of practice of their physical skills and spending time outside in the fresh air has massive benefits to mental health and wellbeing. Try to get outside at least once a day-it is good for you too!

Sources of activity ideas

EasyPeasy app

You have all been signed up to until the end of May. Loads of great games to play!


Follow ‘South Cambridgeshire Child and Family Centres’ page on Facebook for lots of great ideas and resources

Hungry Little Minds

Lots of great ideas to help engage with children at home and chat, play & read together. The activities are in age groups from 0-5 years and there is also a list of quality approved apps that support language and communication development.

Family Zone. National Literacy Trust

The National Literacy Trust have developed a comprehensive web portal for parents. It will be regularly updated with new and useful content to engage children at home, while benefiting their reading, writing and language development.

Small Talk

Small Talk is another website from the National Literacy Trust with lots of ideas to help develop language and communication skills at home for ages 0-5.

Tiny happy people

Support communication skills at home with this BBC website.

Cbeebies: The Baby Club

Play, sing and listen to stories with your child from your own home.

ABC Does

The early years community have been submitting ideas for fantastic things to do at home to ABC Does. New ideas are being added all the time.

50 things to do before you’re 5

Use Bradford’s ‘50 things to do before you are 5’ app to give you some ideas for fun and practical experiences to share with your child.

Practitioners can message them directly for ideas/letters to send home to introduce the 50 things via Twitter @50TTDBradford

Early Years home learning pack

Scholastic have released free home learning packs for all key stages, including EYFS.

Scouts: The great indoors

Here are some ideas for fun and engaging indoor activities from the Scouts.

50 Things to do in your back garden

50 things for embracing nature in your garden from the National Trust.

Playful Families Library

Free to download Messy Play and Loose Parts Play booklets from Play Scotland.

Cbeebies: 7 tips for gardening with kids

10 gardening projects for kids

Both these websites have good ideas for gardening with children.

50 outdoor activities for young children

65 things to do outside

65 things to do outside – lots of activities to do at home from Groundwork East.

Cosmic Kids Yoga

Yoga, mindfulness and relaxation for children age 3+

Parental Engagement Network: Family Home Learning Cards

Family Home Learning resources to encourage children to be interested, curious and explore the world around them from the Parental Engagement Network in Manchester – free while schools and settings are closed and a new set will be released every Friday.

Joe Wickes. The Body Coach

Joe Wickes, The Body Coach, will be leading the nation in a live 30 minute PE lesson every weekday at 9.00am on his YouTube channel.

Family Days Tried and Tested

There are many virtual tours of museums and galleries around the world that you can access for free.

Mindstretchers Academy

This virtual nature school will help families support inquiry-based learning inside and in the garden at home. It will also allow children to virtually interact with their peers around the world.

Think U Know: Jessie and Friends

Online safety education for families at home

Playful Childhoods

30 ideas for indoor play from Playful childhoods that are fun and cheap to do using things you have around the house.

RSPB: learning for kids

Lots of games and activities from the RSPB

Book Trust Home Time

A new digital hub from The Book Trust to help entertain children and families at home.

I CAN: activities to develop speaking and listening


Lots of resources and activities for different age ranges available for free from Usborne.


TTS have produced free home learning activity books that can be downloaded for EYFS, key stage one and key stage two.

Number Fun Live

A daily maths broadcast for 3-7 year olds

Number Fun

30 days free access to maths games and activities.

LEYF Nurseries

Home learning ideas for different EYFS age ranges from LEYF.

Harry Potter at home

A new Harry Potter home hub with lots of activities and resources.

Many authors and publishers have story recordings and live storytelling, for example:

The Gruffalo

Julia Donaldson has launched a weekly live broadcast via The Gruffalo Facebook page to share stories and songs with families at home. You can watch it live on Thursdays at 4pm.

Michael Rosen on YouTube

Michael Rosen’s YouTube channel has lots of fun poems and stories to watch together.


Oliver Jeffers will be leading a live Stay at Home Storytime session on Instagram every day at 6pm, where he will read and talk about one of his books.

Apps and websites to use at home (remember to try to limit screen time!)

CBeebies Storytime – interactive books and bedtime stories

CBeebies Playtime Island – fun and educational games

Teach your Monster to Read – phonics and reading for 3-5s

Easy Peasy – Fun games to help get ready for school and for life