When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, working from home full-time wasn’t an adjustment for me; I’ve been doing that for years. However, working from home full-time with a two-year-old (Jack) and four-year-old (Frankie) at home was uncharted territory for me. It’s a balancing act that millions of parents are suddenly trying to master quickly and with a little bit of grace, if we’re lucky!
In between work phone calls, emails, video meetings and market research, I’m also trying to keep some semblance of normalcy in my kids’ lives. Thankfully, they are close enough in age that they can play well together, so they spend a lot of time playing with playdoh and kinetic sand, as well as coloring, painting and exploring their sensory bins. I’m equally thankful that Jack still naps, and I can use that time with Frankie to work on things she would otherwise be learning in preschool.
Last week, we tried to take advantage of the sunny weather and warm temperatures. We went outside with learning in mind and chose one of the Outdoor Play Experiences that our Hatch content team developed: Counting Counts!
I started by drawing a number line, 1-10, on the driveway with sidewalk chalk and put a box around each number so Frankie could easily see the separation between the numbers. As a “warmup”, I asked her to stand on the number one and walk the number line, saying each number out loud as she stood on it.
Next, I had her stand a few feet back, and, as I called out a number, she ran to it and hopped on the number. We did this several times with me calling out a different number each time. After that, I gave her a bean bag and asked her to toss it on the number that I called out. As this went on, she definitely got more comfortable tossing the bean bag and adjusted how close/far she stood from the number line. She discovered how much power she needed to toss the bean bag based on where she stood relative to the line. Soon she took over calling out numbers and cheerfully suggested we do it “one more time!”
For the last part of the activity she used a squirt bottle to try to erase the number that I called out. After I called out a few numbers, she took over picking which one she erased next. This sparked conversation, because she explained to me why she chose each number. For example, she chose four first because that’s how old she is. Then she chose five since that is the age she’ll be next. After that she chose the number two because that’s how old her brother is. We were also able to talk about which color she liked best since all the numbers were written in different colors.
Of course, this activity got Frankie thinking about her numbers and their sequence, but it did so much more. She was able to get some physical activity as she ran, jumped and tossed the bean bag. It got her talking about what different numbers represent to her and why she liked certain colors. We even snuck a little science into the activity by squirting the numbers with water so she could observe what happened when the chalk got wet.
We will definitely be taking advantage of more Family Connection Activities during these stay-at-home days!