Amid school closures and isolation, it can be challenging to create structure and keep everyone’s spirits up. These resources can help keep your children educated and entertained.
By Anash.org writer
With schools closed and families cooped up together at home, parents are looking for ways to structure their time, organize their environment, and maintain a positive attitude. Social media is full of recommendations, fancy family projects and educational resources.
Anash.org is pleased to present a list of survival tips and free resources. Feeling overwhelmed? Read this first.
Creating a daily schedule helps with transitions and keeping everyone on task.
- Ages 2-4: Create a picture schedule with daily routines. Review together every morning and periodically throughout the day. Going over the schedule to see what you’ve done is a great addition to your bedtime routine.
- Ages 5-7: Create a schedule with pictures and words. Let children choose their pictures; review schedule every morning and evening.
- Ages and 8 and older: Let them create the schedule together with you. For this age, a list format works great. Work together with older children to create a schedule that is satisfactory to both of you. Alternate required activities (Davening, learning, schoolwork, chores) with activities they want to include (calling friends, reading, games, screen time).
- Picture schedules too overwhelming to make? Write a schedule together with younger children. Having it written out will make it easier to implement.
- This is a great time to institute family meals! Enjoy each other’s company over a hearty breakfast, lunch and dinner. You’ll thank yourself later. Note: Hearty comes in many forms, including cereal and milk, sandwiches, and simple wholesome foods.
- Implement davening time right after breakfast. You can do a morning circle with younger children while older children daven as they are accustomed to.
- You can find schedule ideas and printable materials here. Registering for an account is free.
- No schedule is perfect. Tweak as necessary, and be prepared to deviate from pre-made plans as needed.
- Make sure work space is neat and clean so children can concentrate.
- Keep required supplies together in the work space. Here are some things you may want to have nearby:
- Writing/ coloring materials
- Any books, materials or devices needed for lessons
- You can set up work and sensory stations and allow children to take turns in each. Great for young children.
- Reading center with a small rug or blanket and a basket with books
- Writing station with paper and writing utensils
- Sensory station with playdough or rice/macaroni in a bowl (this can get messy)
- Audio station with headphones and a device from which child can listen to Parsha or Pesach songs and stories.
- You can use this time to work one on one with children who need your assistance or attention.
- Younger children can daven along with My First Siddur on Spotify.
- This blog has Jewish homeschooling materials for preschoolers
- Torahgames.org offers free Kriah, Chumash and Parsha games
- Download printable chitas summaries for kids here, and subscribe to a daily audio summary here. Daily Sefer Hamitzvos audio is available here.
- My Maor has daily videos of the Rebbe for kids.
- Chinuch.org has a wealth of downloadable materials on every subject and chinuch topic under the sun. Registering for an account is free.
- Find Parsha pictures and coloring sheets here.
- These songs shared by Rabbi Eli Lipsker go through the Haggadah.
- Torahlive.com has classes, games and videos which you can access free with code TORAH.
- Here are some downloadable Pesach materials for preschool/ younger elementary children:
- For older kids:
- Small Wonder Puppet Theater is waiving the subscription fee for access to all their videos.
- Chabad.org kids’ entertainment page offers over 300 videos, including these Pesach favorites. You can also access games, stories and other fun stuff here.
- Oorah unlocked all of their videos, including the Marvelous Midos Machine.
- Younger children can enjoy videos, stories, games and learning with Torah Tots. Includes Parsha, Pesach, alef-bais, nekudos and more!
- Utilize Zoom to set up virtual playdates with friends and cousins!
- Are your kids saying they’re bored? Fill a jar with activities written on slips of paper, and when your children are bored, let them pull one out! Here’s a list of ideas from Between Carpools.
- For girls: Join a daily online dance lesson at 4pm EST with Shira Dance.
Don’t have internet? These resources can be accessed over the phone.
- The Chassidus Hotline offers stories, shiurim, nigunim and more. Call: 718-735-7333
- Jewish Bedtime Stories Hotline: 718-682-2777
- The Kol Yaldei Yisroel Hotline offers stories, shiurim and songs. Call: 718-569-7500
Know of additional resources that aren’t listed here? Submit them through the feedback form below!