A few weeks into the COVID-19 school closure, I noticed that my sister-in-law’s Instagram feed was full of fun exploratory and educational activities for her kids. Her two boys are close in age to Edgar and Jonas, and one day I texted her to ask about the activities. Specifically, the when and how of it all.
She referred me to the Instagram feed of Days With Grey, which was FULL of fun and educational activity ideas. The site was created by Beth, a mom and education specialist, and it is creative, fun, and awesome. One of her key ideas is Breakfast Invitations – simple activities to be done at the table, during breakfast, so that kids can play and learn while parents caffeinate themselves for the day.
I love the Breakfast Invitations so much. The way it works for our family is that either Tamara or I set up an activity at the kitchen table the night before. We choose things that are low prep and try to mix it up so that we’re doing different things. Kids are learning all day long, of course, but sometimes the breakfast activity is a chance to practice letters, numbers, patterns, shapes, etc. Sometimes they do mazes or puzzles or Highlights “That’s Silly!” games. Sometimes I break out a toy they haven’t played with in a long time and incorporate it into the activity.
So the kids wake up, and we snuggle or read books and they play. Eventually, they make their way to the breakfast table, and they do their activity while they eat and I drink my coffee.
Here’s why I like this routine:
- It’s a little surprise for the boys every morning. I love anything that intrigues the boys and gets them engaged – especially amid the monotony that is COVID times.
- It’s a way to practice or teach skills – colors, cutting with scissors, whatever pops up. Edgar started getting into playing with money over the summer, so we did a few days of recognizing pennies and nickels and dimes.
- It’s a ritual that allows me to teach them something that I want them to learn. We’re teaching our kids all day every day. But, it’s become overwhelmingly evident during COVID times, it can be hard for parents to take on the more formal role of teacher. So I like the idea of practicing this with Edgar now, especially since (gulp) I worry about life going back to normal by the time he’s supposed to start kindergarten next year.
- It’s a planned activity that’s part of our routine. My kids are great at playing independently, and I’m fine just sort of playing our days at home by ear – sometimes. But sometimes, in COVID times, I find that we’re all getting a little bored, a little restless. So starting the day off with something a little structured and/or creative feels good.
Check out the website Days With Grey if you want to learn more!