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Unplug & Unwind


Research has indicated that too much screen time can have a negative impact on children, but what’s a parent to do during the days of online learning? Yalla has a few suggestions to make offline time as attractive as online time.

Many parents are searching for ways to protect their kids and regulate screen time. Instead of taking their devices away (and possibly sparking resentment), try finding offline activities that that your child enjoys. When students are excited about participating in offline activities, they naturally spend less time on their devices. Aside from reducing screen time, offline activities provide students with the opportunity to grow, learn new skills, and offer bonding opportunities.

 

Yalla has created a list of offline activities that can positively impact students. We encourage you to look over the list, talk about it with your kids, and if you’re keen share with us some new activities you’ve discovered—or rediscovered—to unplug.

 

Legos

Playing with Legos is as popular a pastime with dads as it is kids. The practise fosters a range of abilities, including motor skills, spatial skills, and problem solving. Whether you’re following a planned activity or building things from scratch, Legos are a great way to unplug and have fun. Families can spend time building sets together or using Legos to act out their favorite stories.

 

Read More Books

Reading is important at every age, and this is a great time to pick up a new book or read new ones to and with your children. If you haven’t already seen it, we’ve introduced a weekly Great Reads series brought to you by one of the city’s leading librarians with recommendations for most age groups. Parents can encourage reading by reading out loud to their children at a young age and showing interest in the books that they’re kids are reading.

 

Puzzles

Puzzle over a puzzle one of these long days at home. They have the ability to positively impact children by developing or improving hand-eye coordination, fine motor skills, gross motor skills, problem solving, shape recognition, memory, goal setting, and learning to work with their environment.

 

Board Games

Game night is a tried and true method for families to spend more time together. Not only can board games satisfy your child’s competitiveness, they can also help them master new skills such as communicating verbally, taking turns, the ability to focus, and lengthening their attention span. Families can use board games to nurture a healthy relationship with winning and losing and to spend more time together.

 

Card Games

Not only are card games inexpensive, but they also provide a fun offline activity for families with children of all ages. Card games can teach math, memory, self-confidence, and strategic thinking. Parents can set a positive example for their children by following the rules of the game while not taking winning or losing too seriously. For younger children, memory card games or educational flash cards are great. Families with older children and tweens can play games like War, Uno, Skip, Go Fish and Old Maid. Parents can play more complex card games with their teens like Hearts, Rummy, and Spades.

 

Crafty Kits

Though you may be stuck inside, you can still order in and crafty kits are nice for artsy kids. Arts and crafts can help boost a student’s academic performance in subjects like math and literature. Activities such as painting and pottery also teach kids problem-solving and communication skills. Craft kits in particular are great for both children and parents because they offer easy-to-follow guidelines and clean up is a breeze!

 

Writing or Journaling

Keeping a regular written record (formal journal or even a pocket notebook) of thoughts, feelings, happenings, and dreams reaps many benefits for young writers. The journal is a non-judgmental friend, a therapist, and will be a historical reference to significant events in the writer’s life. Research has identified many physical, psychological and emotional benefits from journaling.

 

Drawing & Sketching

Drawing is one of the earliest forms of artistic activity that children learn how to do. With all the attention on adult colouring books, it’s clear that adults have discovered the relaxation benefits of drawing and sketching. Children have a similar experience, with the added advantage of motor skills development. Drawing is an inexpensive hobby that requires few materials, so you can easily entertain your child this way almost anywhere.

 

Playing an instrument

Parents understand that music can help develop your child’s brain. Learning a musical instrument improves a child’s neural processing and reading skills, along with their ability to focus. Students who take music classes are more likely to graduate from high school and attend college. However, if you want your child to stick with this hobby, you should help them find a musical instrument that actually enjoy. This is a great time to listen to different instruments and see which ones strike your child’s fancy.

 

Gardening

Gardening can be tricky when all you’ve got is a small terrace at your flat, but it’s not impossible. When you can get back out, head to Mina Port to buy some small herbs, pots, and soil for your mini garden. Measuring out the soil and water can help with mathematics, while learning about the lifecycle of a plant can improve your child’s understanding of biology. You can also use gardening to encourage healthy eating habits! Grow simple plants–like herbs, garlic, or even spinach—and use the ingredients to cook a nutritious meal. Your kids will be proud to show off their handiwork at the dinner table!

 

Cooking

All children should learn the basics of cooking, and this is a great time to hone your family’s skills. Although your little ones may delay dinner with spills and mistakes, the investment will pay off. If you start early enough, your teenager may be willing to take over kitchen duties once or twice a week. Learning how to cook is especially beneficial for picky or unhealthy eaters. Making a dish from scratch can help your child develop a more sophisticated palate and it will give them a sense of pride once the food is finally served.

 

Baking

Helping out in the kitchen can boost your child’s math, language skills, and even their emotional development. Since baking requires waiting, it can help your children learn the value of patience. Talk to your children about what they may like to learn to bake. If your child has a sweet tooth, this could be a great activity for them. Once they start to feel comfortable in the kitchen challenge your child to double or half their favorite recipe, this will help develop their math skills. Bread is also an easy one to start with and generally delivers delicious results!

 

Blanket Forts

It’s always a perfect day to build a fort when you’re a kid and virtually anything (from an old box to kitchen table) can be made into one! Building forts helps children create a rule structure of their own and provides a sense of control. Encourage your children to build blanket forts while setting expectations. Outline which materials (e.g. blankets, sheets, couches) they can use and how they should deconstruct their forts and put all its parts away when finished.

 

Paper Airplanes

A fascination with flight and airplanes is a gateway for STEM learning for younger children. Making and playing with paper planes can lead to discussions about aerodynamics (the forces that impact plane flight): thrust, lift, drag, and gravity/weight. Older children can also learn about plane movements like roll, yaw, and pitch.  The most amazing thing about a paper airplane is that all you need to make one is a sheet of paper—nothing more. You don’t need scissors, glue, tape, or paper clips. A few folds, a couple of adjustments, and you have a superb paper flyer.

 

Volunteering

Though there are scant opportunities for volunteering for kids in the UAE, there’s always something anyone can do right here and right now. If this virus has moved you to action, kids who like to sew can right now to learn to sew masks for desperate healthcare workers around the world. Stitched Together is a Los Angeles-based Facebook group outlining exactly what your older kids and families in general can do to help, and it’s surprisingly low tech.

 

Colouring Books

Colouring improves fine motor skills, encourages focus, and nurtures creativity. Colouring and drawing also trains the brain to focus. For parents and teachers, these inexpensive activities require limited preparation and are well-suited to travel. Additionally, you can order these anytime online, so you’ll never run out.

 

Sewing

Aside from being a valuable life skill, sewing offers a lot of benefits to students. Sewing and weaving activities help young children develop manual dexterity and manipulative skills. By using their hands, children more fully integrate learning experiences. Children will continue to develop fine motor skills and concentration, while building self-confidence with successful experiences.

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To check out more tips and activities you can do this extended spring break, CLICK HERE.

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