Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Covid-19, Day 3 of NYC School Closures

Has it really only been three days? Life last week feels so far away. Nonetheless, we are lucky, and we're trying to find fun where we can.

This morning while their dad was on conference calls we went to the Botanical Garden nearby. It's a nice open garden, where we were able to practice social distancing and enjoy spring. Before entering I reminded them not only to keep their distance from others, if we saw anyone, but also not to pick up random items, even if they should be recycled. We observed different buds, discussed what they might turn into, and plan on going back in a few days to see how they're changing.

At some point we just laid down and stared at the sky. I found myself taking a few deep breaths and thinking maybe it would all work out well.

Then my oldest found a lost pacifier and decided it would be hilarious to put it in her mouth and pretend to be a baby before I could stop her.

I'm proud to report I managed not to scream at her and I also didn't let my fears dissolve me into a puddle of tears.

What I did do was hug her and talk to her. I talked to them both. I tried to impart the seriousness of the situation. Not only can we not touch anyone outside our family and have to keep a safe distance, but we also can't put things in our mouth that others might have touched. Because otherwise we might get sick, or we might get our friends sick.

Because of the virus, she said in a tired voice.

Yes. Because of the virus, I replied.

She was upset. She said we couldn't do anything fun. That we couldn't see friends and we couldn't go to play spaces. I replied that that was true. I told them I was upset too. And that I also couldn't do the things I wanted to do, and that I missed my friends too. I told them that we needed to find fun where we could. We needed to keep our distance, that we need to wash our hands, that we need to stay home, or close to it.

And that if we do all this, then hopefully the virus will go away and we'll be able to do all those things again.

That's my hope.

Tuesday, March 17, 2020

Covid-19, Day 2 of NYC School Closures

My 3yo, working on drawing Piggie
Day 1 went well enough. We read some, we hung out on the hammock, discussed witches, and spent some time drawing with Mo Willems. 

We are huge Mo Willems fans over here. We first fell in love with Elephant and Piggie, both in English and in Spanish. Then Pigeon helped us get ready to go to school. And more recently, Zoom Squirrel helped my kindergartener get comfortable with the idea of losing her tooth.

And now Lunch Doodles is helping us work on some our doodling skills while we're stuck at home. The instructions Mo Willems gives are not only clear and easy to follow, but they also reinforce early literacy skills.

Lunch Doodle is live at 1pm EST, and is also available any time after. You can find it on YouTube at the Kennedy Center Channel, or just click here.

We also did a very brief Virtual Field Trip to the San Diego Zoo. Cute short videos, with interesting animal facts. We also tried Yellowstone Park, but couldn't quite figure out if it was just pictures. The pictures are amazing, though. Here's the link to Virtual Field Trips. 

Day 2 started with a very dramatic meltdown. The 5yo wanted to draw like Mo Willems but is struggling to draw Gerald. She can't draw him perfectly and is frustrated by the idea that she'd have to practice and work at it to improve her doodling skills. 

Fortunately, she was excited to go read on Epic! Epic has a 40,000 digital book library full of comics, nonfiction, audiobooks, and kid-friendly videos. The interface is very intuitive, the books are great, and it allows for different profiles for different readers. Plus, they have free access for students at the moment. Here's the link: Epic!

We had a birthday here today, so that was a good reason to work on some math while baking. One bowl chocolate cake, with leftover homemade raspberry jam as filling, and homemade frozen chocolate icing. The kids agreed that since it was his birthday, dad should get to do the sprinkles. 

 We also checked out Go Noodle on YouTube. It was grey and gloomy today in NYC, and I couldn't motivate the kids to go for a walk. We tried a dance party, but the 5yo was a lump on the couch. Fortunately I remembered Go Noodle, and that I'd heard that sometimes they use it at her school when the weather is not good and they need to do indoor recess. She got excited as soon as it was on, and started telling us all about Go Noodle. 

The Go Noodle | Get Moving videos have catchy songs with repeat after me lyrics and fun moves to follow. I took advantage of this and joined in, as my home office setup is already making me achy.

It's been challenging keeping them busy and getting work done. Working in shifts has worked ok so far, but it's been intense. We're figuring things out as we go. For today, chocolate cake helped. We may or may not have eaten half a cake in one sitting.

Here's hoping your day had some sweet moments in it.

Less cake!

Monday, March 16, 2020

Quarantine Resources for Little Kids

Covid-19, Day 1 of NYC School Closures.

Hello, all!

For those who don't know me, I'm a mamá of two. They are three and five at the time, and this is going to be interesting. I'm an organizer and a planner, and I'm trying to provide my kids some structure for their benefit and ours.

I've seen an overwhelming amount of fantastic resources being shared on social media, and as I struggle to keep track of them, organize them, remember them, I thought I'd collect them here. I'll update as I gather more. I won't be able to vet all these, but they come from trusted resources.

If you see anything that should not be here, please let me know. It's been a long while since I've blogged and I'm a little rusty at this, but I hope it's easy to see where the link are. Also, I'll be looking for bilingual resources to add soon.

Emotional Well Being
First of all, let's deal with talking to the kids about what's going on. Here are two helpful articles shared by Counselor Sánchez, the school counselor at LEEP, where my oldest attends Kindergarten.

Create a Schedule
Even if it's a super flexible one, it is helpful to have a go to when kids ask what's next. We're currently putting together our own version, but here are some I've seen circulating.

My friend @nycsharaton put together the following game board style calendar. We're probably doing a version of this.

She used Heidi Dickey's Visual Schedule Cards for this.

For older kids and confident readers, lists can also work. Here are two different versions.

The one on the left was a repost from @steelmylunch by @kristenanniebell. I can't find the source for the one on the right.

Khan academy also shared this guide.

Virtual Field Trips
Go to Mars, or the Louvre! All from your living room.
Virtual Field Trips

Listen to a Podcast
Kids love podcasts! Who would have thought? Our very favorite is Circle Round by NPR. Our kids just can't get enough of their stories.

Here's a list of kids podcasts posted by commonsense media, if you want to explore more,

Get Moving
Ballet! Dance with Daniella Ballerina on YouTube

Do some Yoga! We love Cosmic Kids on YouTube or you can get the app. Yoga through stories.

I've heard good things about GoNoodle, but I haven't had a chance to check it out extensively.

We got this one from Susan Fox at Park Slope Parents. It's a list of live streams from children's musicians around the globe: Kid's shows Corona

Suzi Shelton, probably our very favorite Kindie Rocker, is going to be doing live facebook shows daily at 4pm EST.

For some Spanish/English bilingual music videos, check out Nathalia.

Learn Something
List of educational companies offering free online resources: Amazing Educational Resources.

Fluency and Fitness seems to combine both learning and movement.

Read Something
Lots of free books online, will dig a little deeper. Also there are plenty of youtube videos of people reading kids books. I'm planning on starting to add my own too, since I don't think there are as many available in Spanish.

Make Something!
Doodle with Mo Willems! If your kids are Elephant and Piggie fans, you should check out Lunch Doodles with Mo Willems.

Draw something, keep a journal, get the play-doh out.

I need some good links for crafts that only require things you might already have in your home.

If all else fails, here's a giant list of random things to do with kids when stuck at home.

Remember to be kind to yourselves and to others. We're all doing our best. Thank you all for sharing these wonderful tools. If you have some you'd like me to add, please let me know.