Learning through play

All Woman

THOUSANDS of children are facing school closure and isolation in their own homes. These tips from UNICEF will help with learning through play — something that can be fun for all ages.

There are many different types of play that can be both fun and educational. Language, numbers, objects, drama and music games give children opportunities to explore and express themselves in a safe and fun way.

Movement games

• Create a dance choreography to your children's favourite songs. One person does a dance move and everyone else copies. Everyone takes turns being the leader.

• “Challenge” who can do the most toe touches — jumping jacks, windmill toe touches in a minute.

• “Mirror” each other — facial expressions, movements, sounds. One person can start as the leader and then switch. Try it with no leaders.

• Freeze dance: Play music or someone sings a song, and everyone dances. When the music stops, everyone must freeze. Last person still dancing becomes the judge for the next round.

• Animal dance: Same as above but when the music stops, call out a name of an animal, and everyone has to become that animal.

Telling stories

•Tell your children a story from your own childhood.

• Ask your children to tell you a story.

• Make up a new story together starting with “Once upon a time…” Each person adds a new sentence to the story.

• Act out a favourite story or movie —older children can even direct younger ones while learning responsibility.

Change the object

Everyday household items like brooms, mops or scarves can become fun props for games.

Place an object in the centre of the room and whenever someone has an idea, they jump in and show the rest what the object can be. For example, a broom might become a horse or a microphone or even a guitar.

Memory game

First person says, “When COVID-19 lockdown ends, I am going to… (eg, go to the park)”. Second person adds to first person, “When COVID-19 lockdown ends, I am going to the park and… (eg, visit my best friend)”.

Each person adds to the previous trying to think of all of the fun things to do when COVID-19 lockdown ends.


Singing songs to your baby helps to develop language. Play or sing a song, and the first one to guess it right becomes the next leader. Make up a song about hand washing or physical distancing. Add dance movements!

Have one-on-one time

One-on-one time is free and fun. It makes children feel loved and secure, and shows them that they are important.

Set aside time to spend with each child — it can be for just 20 minutes, or longer. It can be at the same time each day so children look forward to it.

Ask your child what they would like to do. Choosing builds their self-confidence. If they want to do something that isn't OK with physical distancing, then this is a chance to talk with them about this.

Ideas with your baby/toddler

• Copy their facial expression and sounds.

• Sing songs, make music with pots and spoons.

• Stack cups or blocks.

• Tell a story, read a book or share pictures.

Ideas with your young child

• Read a book or look at pictures.

• Make drawings with crayons or pencils.

• Dance to music or sing songs!

• Do a chore together — make cleaning and cooking a game

• Help with schoolwork.




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