Today marks 8 weeks of staying at #safeathome for us Rices as a result of the coronavirus global pandemic. 🙏🏽 Although we are very thankful for our family’s health and ability to work from home, it’s been 8 weeks of two jobs, two kiddos and zero child-care and managing that new normal has been very challenging. I am so proud of how our little family has managed to survive these trying times, though. Curious to know how we make it through each work day? With LOTS of communication, virtual babysitting from our parents and the virtual learning resources below. Of course, each day is absolute rollercoaster of emotions and by noon I’m ready for about 50 cocktails….but I have a feeling one day soon we’ll missing the perfectly imperfect disaster of a juggling act that have been the past 8 weeks… 💕
Our Kiddo Quarantine MVPs
For the first 5 or so weeks of this new new normal we were lucky enough to have two daily virtual learning sessions for Chick. They were a lifesaver! Once those ended, we had to get creative for both the kid’s and our sakes… Below are the virtual learning resources what we’ve found most helpful:
Circle Time with Ms. Monica:
Ms. Monica, an early childhood educator and behavior specialist, goes live on her YouTube channel with her preschool circle time classes every weekday at 9AM for about half an hour. The lessons stay up so you can watch if the timing isn’t convenient. She started doing these daily preschool circle times in April, so there’s a bank of videos waiting for your kiddo, too! The circle time videos are engaging and fun. Kiddos focus on learning one letter and shape per week. They also talk and sing about colors, the weather, days to the week, etc.. For the most part, Chickie (4yrs old) is able to give her full attention to the class. Teddy Bear (1.5 yrs old) pays attention to about half of it. You can find the classes here, with new ones premiering every weekday at 9AM.
Music with Drew
Drew is a kiddo music teacher based in Toronto, Canada. Drew teaches free online music classes via Instagram Live every weekday morning at 11AM! The class stays up for 24 hours on Drew’s Instagram but I really recommend trying to watch in real time. The classes are SUPER engaging! Drew sings out the names of kiddos watching (if you send him a message with your kid’s name during the live) in his hello and good bye songs and as you might’ve seen on our Insta Stories, these shout-outs have become a BIG deal in #casarice! 😆 Chickie LOVES listening for her friend’s names, too. It’s such a nice way for our resilient, 21st century kiddos to stay connected. I recommend Drew’s class for kiddos around Teddy’s age, too. It’s by far the online resource Bear engages with the MOST- he claps, dances, makes monkey signs- it’s incredible!
Khan Academy Kids App
This free educational app is GREAT for preschoolers! It has logic, math, writing and reading games. One of Chicks favorite features on the Khan Academy Kids App is that is lets her read books all by herself! The app displays the book pages on the iPad screen (we use this stand) and highlights the words as a friendly voice reads them out loud. The Khan Academy Kids app is geared towards kiddos ages 2-7. You can even adjust the app’s offerings based on your babe’s learning level and skill like this, all for free- incredible!
We have to be really careful with Chickie and screen time. If we do even minute too long she turns into a monster child. It’s REALLY BAD. Podcasts have been a great alternative to screens this quarantine that still manage to keep her entertained, freeing us adults to get some work done. If you are not familiar with podcasts, I have a whole post on them here. We typically do a Podcast for Chick when Bear naps. She LOVES it! Some of our favorites include Bedtime Stories for Rebel Girls, Stories Podcast and Little Stories for Tiny People. One of my go web-sites, NY Times Parenting, came out with this really comprehensive list of kid-friendly podcasts, too. If you find any you love, could you please share?! We haven’t found a good one in Spanish yet but the search to continues, so stay tuned..
Cosmic Kids Yoga
We discovered Cosmic Kids Yoga during week one of quarantine and BOY has it been a lifesaver! Teddy is much too young for it, but Chickie (4 yrs old) pays close attention to the entire 30 minute (free!) classes and does close to every single yoga move. It’s super impressive! All the classes are led by teacher Jamie and themed, so you can start with whatever movie your kiddo is loving at the moment– we began with Frozen Yoga and Chick was HOOKED. The ‘themed’ strategy is seriously GENIUS! Jamie goes through the entire movie storyline, introducing yoga poses, breathing exercises and mindfulness in the process. The result is a class that feels familiar and easily engages kiddos- they know what to expect and when to expect it. It engages BOTH their bodies and minds. Truly, I can’t say enough good things about these classes! They are free and you can find them on You Tube— there’s over 400 classes. The Frozen, Moana and Trolls classes are our current favorites.
Songs for Littles
These NYC based online music classes for kids, are super fun and entertaining, especially for littler babes like Teddy. Music for Littles also has some circle time classes via You Tube and a ton of general videos- songs, shapes, letters, days of the week, etc… Although Songs for Littles isn’t part of our everyday schedule, I keep these sweet videos in my back pocket for times when I need a little extra help!
Bonus: Interactive Books, Crafts and Games
While not a virtual learning resource, we’ve also been using interactive books, crafts and board games to entertain Chickie and Bear while on lock down. We typically bust these out while Bear naps from 12-3PM, which is when we try to put our heads down and work for three hours straight– an impossible task when baby Bear is up and running. I tagged out favorite games, craft kids and interactive books below. The train book has been AWESOME! We got it from Usborne books through my friend Courtney, but I’ve included an Amazon link. The Poke a Dot books are also Teddy Bear favorites.
And there you have it, friends- out most used kiddo resources during this quarantine. I hope they are helpful! I will compile an adult resource list next, including our suggestions for date-night plans at home. How does that sound?
I am sending so much love to you and yours during these crazy scary times and I hope our little corner of the internet brings some joy to your everyday, whatever your everyday looks like. Remember mama, this too shall pass and in the meantime— it’s 5PM somewhere.. 🥂😅😜
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