Here are 8 ways to keep your kids learning ... and entertained

From baking to board games to getting outdoors, a Memorial University professor has advice on helping children with both their bodies and minds.

'Be kind to yourself,' education prof recommends

Kimberly Maich is an associate professor at Memorial University. (CBC)

Kids have been home from school for five weeks, which means it's been five weeks of trying to keep your kids occupied.

School district officials have told parents to not take on home-schooling and instead focus on the health of their families.

Still, you might be wondering what you can do to keep your kids engaged.

Dr. Kimberly Maich, an associate professor in the faculty of education at Memorial University, spoke with CBC News about ways to keep your kids occupied.

Acknowledging that every family situation is different, Maich said these tips might not work in every situation. That said, her main piece of advice for parents is "to be kind to yourself."

Can you learn and be engaged? Yes. See this video about Kimberly Maich's suggestions: 

"Do what you can. Your expectations have to change in a time like this. There is no way that anyone is expecting anybody to be a full time parent and a full time educator."

Here are eight easy ways to keep your kids learning and engaged:

No. 1. Outside time: Good old-fashioned playing outdoors, whether it be playing with a soccer ball in the yard or going for a walk, is important. Maich recommends scheduling some outdoor activity into your daily routine.

No. 2. Board games: Maich recommends playing games like Monopoly and Life with your children because it encourages kids to use critical thinking skills, with a focus on finances. 

No. 3. Start a scrapbook: You're probably spending more time with your family than ever before, so why not capture and collect those memories?

No. 4. Online museum touring: A number of museums are now offering virtual tours as COVID-19 has made it impossible to visit in person. Spend a few hours checking out the Louvre in Paris or the Vatican Museum in Italy. Maich said there are also a number of other online websites that no longer have paywalls.

Kids love to help with baking and other forms of cooking. By talking about ingredients and method, it's also a chemistry lesson. (Kristy Snell/CBC)

No. 5. Make a cookbook: Maich said cooking and baking it a great way for "authentic learning." From measuring out ingredients to seeing chemical reactions, it's like a science experiment in the kitchen. On top of that, you get a tasty meal and a recipe that can go into your own personalized cookbook.

No. 6. Reading, writing, painting: Maich said it's important to keep your kids' literacy skills up. She says a good way to encourage more reading and writing is to set daily and weekly goals, and to reward children once they reach those targets. 

No. 7: Explore a different country online: Maybe it's a daily activity or weekly but have your child research what it's like to live in other countries around the world. What's their national animal? Or most played sport?

No. 8: Screen time: Although there might be a little too much of this happening in these unprecedented times, Maich said it's okay for kids to watch a little more TV or spend more time on an iPad than before COVID-19 set in. That said, for kids who are having a hard time putting down the screens, Maich said it might be beneficial to set up a timer. When the timer goes off, the child has to pick a new activity. 

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