By Emily Jensen, VP Private Banking at IBERIABANK and Childcare Resources' Board Member
As my family and I began to recognize all of the ways our world was changing as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, one thing remained constant – we still had two little boys, ages three and five, who needed to learn, stay engaged, and have fun while we navigated working from home and caring for them. As such, we began to fully realize the impact of their preschool program, both educationally and socially, and we sought at-home activities that would be enriching, entertaining, and enjoyable for the entire family.
Early on, I scoured Instagram for ideas and Amazon for workbooks, but ultimately found some of our favorite lessons involved items already in our household. Our five year old, whose school year was cut short in the middle of learning basic sight words, began to use a magnetic alphabet set to perfect spelling the words he knows. We’ve also used the pieces for a game with word families, such as those ending in “at” or “it” to see how many words he can make. A portable magnetic board has made these lessons a hit both inside and outside, while our refrigerator doors are always on standby!
Our youngest turned three during quarantine and while his attention span isn’t quite as long as his brother’s, he’s always eager when crayons and markers are involved. Therefore, when I found a roll of Kraft paper lingering among my wrapping paper, we put it to good use as space for him to be creative on our playroom windows. He’s drawn countless pictures, often scribbling for as much as an hour, but when it’s time to learn, we’ve used the space for teaching colors and tracing shapes. The best part? It’s simple to hang and remove, and little scribbles that make their way onto the glass are easily cleaned.
We’ve invited our children to help us more around the house, and invariably, these daily tasks have become lessons. From counting the socks in a load of laundry to finding specific letters on canned goods as groceries are put away, we have modified our responsibilities to find ways to include our children.
While the challenges of this time have been many, and while we are no replacement for the environment of their preschool, we have adapted and learned together to make the best of the situation. And, when all else fails and everyone needs a break, we’ve learned that popsicles always make it better!