First in the country’s history, Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin announced yesterday, Monday, 16 March 2020, that Malaysia will be placed under a restricted movement order starting from March 18 to 31 to help curtail the spread of Covid-19.
“The order was made under the Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases Act 1988 and the Police Act 1967,” he said.
The order involves the closure of all preschools, government and private schools, fully residential schools, international schools, Tahfiz centres, primary and secondary schools, pre-university educational institutions, private and public institutions of higher learning and skills training institutes.
All government and private premises would also be closed, except for those providing essential services during the same period. Places such as museums, theatres, indoor playgrounds, science centres, and cinemas will as well be closed.
This brings us to the next question, what can I do at home to entertain the kids? And remember that, kids get bored easily, before we get to that, do read our article on How To Talk To Your Kids About Covid-19.
Play matters. Providing an appropriate space for play is one of the most powerful ways an adult can influence children’s play. And, what’s so great about this is that they are free and fun and you can do this at home. Here are some fun screen free activities you can do with the kids at home.
The majority of us here at one time or another during their childhood, have made a fort out of sofa cushions or blankets. It was fun. Writing about this in fact brings back memories. Sobel, the author of Children’s Special Places: Exploring the Role of Forts, Dens, and Bush Houses in Middle Childhood, explained that developmentally, there are two big factors that drive this play:
1) Kids are figuring out their nearby world. They want to learn how all the pieces in their life fit together.
2) Kids are becoming more independent. They are also starting to create a separate self from the one defined by their family and their parents.
Messy Play With Rice
Children learn best through hands-on experiences. And Rice play is an ideal sensory play material for children. What’s more, rice play is also easy and economical. Everyone can do this at home. Rice play is a wonderful invitation to play. It provides plenty of opportunities for kids to get creative and explore their curiosity.
All you need is a packet of rice, some food colouring, a mixing bowl and baking tray. That’s it! What happens next is, give your little ones some toys such as plastic spoons, forks, funnels, cups, eggs, trucks or any other suitable play items to encourage creative and imaginative play.
Playing with Playdough
What are the benefits of playing with play dough? It improves fine motor skills, socio-emotional skills, creativity, language and literacy, among others. We interviewed the founder of Dough Little last year. You can read the interview here; Chatting With: Dr Mei Mei, Founder of Dough Little.
The benefits of playing dough is almost endless, particularly for the development of children in their early years. Playing dough enhances creativity, imagination and communication through role playing and building of ‘scenes’. The act of squishing, kneading and rolling enhances our little ones’ fine motor skills development which will help in pencil grip and writing at later stages. Playing dough is also shown to be therapeutic and calming, particularly with soft textures and scented ones like Dough Little’s. Other reported benefits of playing dough include improvement in attention, literacy and numeracy, and development of hand-eye co-ordination – Dr Mei Mei, Founder of Dough Little
Research has shown that art activities are important for brain development in early childhood. One of these is sensory play, such as finger painting. There are many benefits of finger painting. One of them is that it gives children opportunities to paint with their fingers, where, at the same time, children can learn through their senses. You can read the research on finger painting here; Effects of Tactile Sensations during Finger Painting on Mindfulness, Emotions, and Scope of Attention.
Reading aloud to young children not only promotes emergent literacy and language development, but it also strengthens the relationship between child and parent. A study published in the Journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics, demonstrates that when a child is being read to, the part of his/her brain that processes visual imagery, story comprehension, and word meaning, improves significantly. Read out full article on Reading Aloud To Children: Why It’s Important. The article is also available in Bahasa Melayu.
Easy And Doable Science Experiments
Why not try a fun science experiment right now? Here’s list of great science experiments with instructions that you can do right at home, courtesy of SCIENCE FUN For Everyone! (SFFE).
- Storm in a glass (View Instructions)
- Making a volcano (View Instructions)
- Milk Art (View Instructions)
- Surface Tension Art (View Instructions)
- Orange Fizz (View Instructions)
These are just ideas. Depending on your kid’s age and her energy level, you can easily adjust the the activities to suit your child’s needs. Do suggest us other screen free activities we haven’t mentioned here in the comment below. Good luck and please, stay safe!