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Coronavirus (COVID-19) – Advice and guidance for parents, carers, children and young people

This page provides important updates from Southampton City Council and NHS Solent services that have been affected, as well as useful links to social stories, Makaton signs and easy read documents about the Coronavirus.  These resources are designed to support you in understanding the virus, how to talk to children and young people about the virus, supporting children and young people and helping them understand feelings they may be experiencing during this time.

This doesn’t replace the latest information and guidance about Coronavirus in Southampton.  Follow this link to our main information page.

The government has translated the guidance for self-isolation and social distancing into the following languages:

  • Arabic
  • French
  • Mandarin
  • Cantonese
  • Polish
  • Welsh

The links are here:

Stay at home guidance

Social distancing for vulnerable people

 

Message from British Academy of Childhood Disability

There are growing concerns amongst many paediatricians that children are presenting late to paediatric emergency departments due to worries about exposure to Covid-19 or not wanting to be a drain on NHS resources. Such delay may be life threatening for the child and also potentially increases the demand for critical care.

It is important that our patients and families know that paediatric emergency departments are safe and functioning well and that if they have serious concerns about their child’s health they should contact the GP and not be afraid to use the paediatric emergency department when it is required.  

Update from Stephanie Simson re: Jigsaw (Chidlren with Disabilities) Team COVID-19 response

A specialist service for children and young people
with learning difficulties and disabilities
 
Jigsaw (SEND 0-25)
            North Block
            Civic Centre
            Southampton
            SO14 7LY
 
            Tel: 023 8091 5702
Email: jigsaw.duty@southampton.gov.uk

27th March 2020

Dear Parents and Carers

Jigsaw (Children with Disabilities) Team response to COVID-19

We wanted to write to you at what is a very worrying time to set out how we felt Jigsaw would be able to continue to work with you. 

You will be aware following the Prime Ministers briefing on the 23rd March 2020, that we are being asked to step up our response to COVID-19.  Given the nature of our client group, it is particularly important that we focus on and respond to all advice that we are receiving from Public Health England and balance this against what we are required to do by law etc.

We have been planning for this in the Jigsaw team, with our partners in Health and Education, understanding that this might be a difficult and anxious period for some families.

There are some key steps that we are taking to help keep your families and our colleagues as safe and well as can be, and to aid our wider colleagues in the resources they might need to deliver safe and effective care.  These steps will impact on our resources within the service during this time and so there will be activities that will be restricted and cancelled for a period of time. 

Firstly, as of 24th March 2020, all visits to home address are cancelled until further notice.

We are looking at delivering alternatives to face to face contact, such as video calls and telephone calls.  This does not mean that all appointments we have made will be cancelled.  As we progress we will be checking with you if you are happy to have your appointment or visit over the phone or by video call.  If you are, and there is no urgent need to meet face to face, then we will be able to conduct our contacts with you in that way.  

There may be times when professionals and families will make the decision to continue with a face to face appointment, but this will only be after serious consideration has been given to the potential impact of this to all involved and the conclusion reached with senior managers that this is the only means by which we can establish your child’s health, safety and well-being.  Prior to any such contact, we will be making contact with you.  We will also be maintaining social distancing as much as possible throughout the visit for our mutual protection and using Personal Protective Equipment to minimise the chances of infection.  We particularly recognise that this is an extremely worrying time, and these measures will only be taken when there has been a risk assessment completed and serious consideration given to alternatives.  We do not anticipate that there will be many visits completed at all.

You will shortly be receiving a text / e-mail from your social worker, advising you of their working hours during this period, how best to contact them, and what to do in the event that you need help before they are next available.  We will continue to operate a Jigsaw Duty system, which will be staffed by social workers from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and from 1:30 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. on Mondays to Thursdays.  On Fridays this will be available until 4:30 p.m. The contact number for this is 023 8091 5831.  Please be aware that there may be some delay in answering your call.  Messages can be left requesting call backs by e-mailing jigsaw.duty@southampton.gov.uk.  Outside of office hours, if your call is urgent, you can contact the Emergency Duty Team on 023 8023 3344.

We will do all we can to maintain as near to normal a service as possible.  However, there will be no face to face meetings and any plans will be discussed with you and other professionals, and drafts sent to you. 

Many of you have benefitted from support from our Health Team.  We recognise the impact of your child potentially not being in school could have on you and your family.  As a result, we will be suspending a number of our interventions and focussing on those around challenging behaviour, sleep and for when families are in acute stress.  Your allocated worker will be in touch with you to let you know if this is going to affect any work that they have been completing with you. 

We are doing our best to compile all the resources that we would usually deliver in person, and will look to arranging telephone or video calls to you to provide you with additional support during this time, e-mail things to you that we think will help us to help you and may even print off and leave resources outside your door.

We are talking to schools and will be giving priority to those families who we believe are in most need, and in light of what else they are receiving.

Our Occupational Therapists have had to suspend all work relating to Disabled Facilities Grants and adaptations and focus on the provision of essential equipment, including for emergency hospital discharges, for the safety of all.  Additionally, they will continue to complete manual handling assessments.  Clearly, this will require entry to properties and close contact with children and family members.  The same risk assessments would be applied as for those with Social Workers, Personal Protective Equipment will be used, and you would be involved in all discussions and decision-making in this respect.

Obviously, we will continue to provide this level of service to you all the time that resources allow. As we move forward with the escalating picture, then it is likely that we will need to focus our resources to responding to those children and young people with urgent and high risk needs.  Some staff may be redeployed to assist in other areas.  This will be an ever evolving position that we will be planning for in service on a daily basis.

What we will do is inform you as soon as possible of any changes to your planned appointments.

What we hope you will do is keep us informed of your physical health and any self-isolating that will need to be factored into our delivery of services and support to you. 

Given that we are not sure what the postal system will look like moving forwards, we are doing our best to keep the Southampton Information Directory updated, to include providing some materials around sharing information, supporting with handwashing and to occupy your child during this time.  We will also use this to be able to quickly update you if there is any need to change our offer, and what this will look like.  Please do regularly check on this at www.southampton.gov.uk/localoffer.

In the meantime, if you have any questions or queries, please can you contact your child’s Social Worker, nurse or Occupational Therapist directly.  We will try and collate these into a Frequently Asked Questions section and put them onto the Southampton Information Directory, as there are bound to be others that will benefit.

If you have any helpful suggestions, or discover any resources that you think other families would benefit from, please would you send them in to the Jigsaw.Duty@southampton.gov.uk e-mail, and we will have them uploaded onto the Southampton Information Directory.

We thank you for your partnership, understanding and patience during this unprecedented time and my apologies in advance for any disruption or uncertainty that you may experience in the delivery of your care.  We will be doing our very best to keep communication clear and accessible.

Yours sincerely

Stephanie Simpson

Team Manager

Jigsaw (Children with Disabilities) Team

Update from Tammy Marks, Service Manager SEND re: school closures

Dear Parents and Carers 

 

I have to start with an apology, as I’m afraid this is a long one! I promise to film a Facebook live soon, so that I can record my responses to make this more accessible to you, but will also create a page on our local offer website to present the information in smaller chunks, as information continues to become available. 

 

Further to my update on the Southampton Parent Carer Forum Facebook page last night, I wanted to update on progress we’ve made in making sense of the government’s instructions relating to school closures, whilst making provision in schools available for vulnerable groups. We are still waiting for definite advice and instructions from government, but given the timescales, we have had to push ahead with planning. 

 

I and other senior education leaders met with secondary, primary and special school Head Teachers today to get a sense of their capacity to deliver on these expectations. I think the first thing to say is how positively schools are working together and with us to ensure that they can do everything they can to deliver an offer for these identified groups of children and young people. I was really heartened by their enthusiasm and the plans that they have already made to enable this from next week – it is a real testament to their dedication to support our families and indeed the country to move through this challenging time. 

 

Our teachers and school staff are going to be as crucial to this effort as our NHS workers. Without them, the health service cannot continue to meet this challenge and I know that some of you whose children will continue to have access to provision at your child’s school, will rely on this heavily to support you through the coming weeks and potentially months. Please help us to look after them. 

 

What is really clear to us all is that as of tomorrow, Friday 20th March, schools as we know them today, will close. What will replace them is provision that whilst having structure, will more likely, at least in the initial weeks, resemble something much closer to summer schooling. They will be providing shared provision for a mixture of year groups whilst trying to adhere to as much social distancing as possible. If you’ve ever worked with kids, you’ll appreciate this challenge! 

 

The coordination task at hand is huge. Schools are managing significant numbers of staff being either in vulnerable categories or having to self-isolate. To maintain safe staffing levels they will need to rotate staff in, likely on a weekly basis, so that if one member of a group faces isolation due to sickness or contamination of the COVID-19 virus, forcing others to isolate, the next group can step in. 

 

Things that apply to all schools: 

 

Absolute priority will be given to children of key workers, and children in need of protection. 

 

Some of you will have already been asked to complete surveys to enable schools to identify which category your child falls into. Please complete these so that schools know the scale of the task and can coordinate their offer accordingly. 

 

If your child does continue to access provision, please notify schools with as much advance notice as possible if you intend to keep your child off due to sickness or isolation reasons.   

    

Due to the daily changes that are occurring with children and staffing in terms of decisions to self-isolate and therefore not attending, with the knock on impact these changes have on school transport arrangements, we have supported schools to start the day at a slightly later time, if they feel that this is necessary. Please see your child’s individual school for their timetable arrangements. 

 

We’re aware that some parents may be frustrated because some children will be offered a place whilst others are not, but please remember that you do not always know an individual’s personal circumstances and they may not want to share that with you. Please be kind to one another and trust in the professional judgement. 

 

All schools reserve the right to send children home, with insistence on appropriate isolation periods, for pupils presenting with symptoms linked to the COVID-19 virus. 

 

Mainstream schools:

 

We’ve asked schools to inform us if they will struggle to open due to staffing levels so that we can negotiate moving staff from other schools. 

 

It is our expectation, unless in extenuating circumstances, that all schools at this stage run individual school provision for their pupils. Head teachers agreed with us that to open schools in clusters (so some children attending a school that they don’t currently attend) would serve to unsettle children who already have a huge transition to face, with inconsistent staffing and lots of change to their normal routine. Where possible, we want to keep things familiar. As things progress, this may be subject to change but we are committed to limiting the impact on vulnerable children. 

 

You’ll see in the Q&A attached that I have been clear that children with EHC Plans do not have to attend sessions offered – just please communicate with your school if you do not wish for your child to attend. 

 

We have asked mainstream schools to use their professional judgement as to which additional groups or children they might be able to provide support for beyond the defined groups. This is however down to the individual school and will be subject to staff availability. Whilst the government have gone some way to defining groups of children, we are asking schools to make decisions on supporting children and families who do not fall into these groups, based on individual circumstances. 

 

Special schools: 

 

Whilst all children in special schools have an EHC Plan, currently it would be physically impossible and unsafe to offer to provide for all of these children. I discussed in detail with special school Head Teachers today, defining these groups as a city but because the schools are all so varied in terms of the needs of the children they support, we agreed that the Head Teachers would determine their vulnerable groups and prioritise offering provision to those, where they have safe levels of staffing to do so. I’ve given clarity on vulnerable groups in the Q&A that is attached. 

    

For special schools especially, due to the ratios of staff that are required, schools may need to offer a “part-time” provision to manage the number of children falling into the individual schools’ vulnerable categories. As an LA we support this approach. 

 

Full time offers will be prioritised for children of key workers and children in need of protection. 

 

You can expect to receive letters from individual schools informing you. 

 

I appreciate that parents will have lots more questions so keep sending them Claire’s way and I’ll keep updating and will get onto Facebook when things have settled. For now, please see my responses to your initial questions, attached. 

 

Stay safe and look after your neighbours. 

 

All the best 

 

Tammy 

 

Tammy Marks 

Service Manager – Special Educational Needs and Disability

Southampton City Council

Frequently asked questions of parents of children with SEND and EHC Plans

COVID-19 – Frequently asked questions of parents of children with SEND and EHC Plans.

 

Version 1 – 19th March 2020

 

NOTE: All responses below are subject to change as and when we receive definitive direction from the Department for Education.

 

What happens if we don’t have an EHCP yet but in the initial request, or assessment process, or waiting to be issued etc.?

New Applications: Any requests that we received prior to Tuesday 17TH March at 12 noon, have or will be considered for assessment.

We asked settings to temporarily postpone sending in new applications whilst we ensured our systems were set up for us to remotely process these applications and hold decision making panels. This was only for a week and we have sent a letter to all head teachers and SENCO’s inviting new applications. We are really grateful for everyone’s support with this.

We have asked settings to prioritise applications for children who will be approaching transition points. The impact of setting closures will undoubtedly have an impact on timescales for completing assessments. We want to ensure that children who are transferring between phases, have the right support in place.

Assessment Process: We are pressing ahead with assessments already agreed, but we may have to get a little creative with these. 

Where Education Psychologist’s and Therapists etc. are able to see children in schools, we have asked that schools do what they can to allow this so that we can get some assessment of them in context (at least in a semi-learning environment). It might be that your child is invited in for one day, but this will depend on the individual needs of the child and indeed the individual school and its circumstances at the time. 

Some parents have chosen to self-isolate their children and some EP’s, therapists and so on are also self-isolating or in vulnerable groups. We are recommending that we carry out “virtual” assessments where we can, by using phone calls, email and previous information from observations from people who know your child best. In all cases you will be consulted on how best to achieve this. 

If it is agreed that an EHC Plan is needed, we would then instruct an early annual review when schools are open and settled back in and amend the plan if this is required. 

Another alternative is to put the assessment on hold until schools reopen, however, there is no saying how long this will be so my personal recommendation would be to push on to achieve the best in these circumstances, so that your child at least has the protection of the plan. Reviews and amendments can happen later. 

We really appreciate that this is far from ideal, but we are living in unprecedented circumstances and I hope that everyone can appreciate that the priority has to be to protect the most vulnerable people in our society. 

EHC Plans waiting to be issued: These have not been affected. The only challenge that we have with the instruction for those in big office buildings to work from home, is the printing of plans and getting these sent out! If you’re happy to receive these via email for now (password protected) let your assessment coordinator know. The more flexible you are, the quicker we can get things to you. 

Note: Only those with an EHC Plan are classified as being in a vulnerable group. We do not currently have the resource in schools to offer beyond this group. 

What happens to families that have children with EHCP’s but are not comfortable sending their children to school as more at risk (complex health/medical conditions) or due to school environment being so drastically different that kids will not cope? Can parents choose not to send kids to school and not be penalised? 

We do not expect parents to send their child to school if they are not comfortable doing so. There will be no penalty for this. We just request that you keep an open line of communication with your child’s school. 

It’s important that you appreciate that schools are going to have a very complex challenge in coordinating staffing ratios for the pupils that will be in school, so there should be no sudden expectation, if you change your mind that your child should be in school the next day. Each school will make decisions about the capacity of their staff and will be expected to accommodate groups in priority order, starting with children of key workers and children in need of protection. 

NOTE: For children in need of protection (on a CP plan) we will be working closely with social workers to encourage the take up of the offer of suitable provision at your child’s school, in line with child protection planning. 

Many staff at SEN schools have kids with no additional needs or EHCP’s but will have to stay at home to look after their kids etc. so again staffing of the SEN provisions will not be workable in a lot of cases?

We are still waiting to hear the official government definition of ‘key worker’, but we have asked schools in Southampton to consider staff working in schools as key workers themselves, to enable their children to be in schools so that they can go to work. 

Is the definition of vulnerable kids, the ones that are open to social care etc? If so, on what basis, on a child in need plan, in care, child protection plans etc?

We’ve asked schools to offer provision, where they are able, in priority groups. Those in bold must at least receive an offer. The others should receive an offer, if the school has capacity to do so: 

  • Children in need of protection - Child Protection Plan
  • Children Looked After - in care
  • Children in Need where there are concerns about parental capacity
  • Children they are concerned are in need of protection but for whom has not yet met threshold
  • Children in need - where parents are assessed to need breaks from their caring at the substantial and complex level (Jigsaw and core social work teams)
  • Any other group a school agrees at the discretion of the Head Teacher

Will school lunches carry on as normal, will canteens be open or parents to send packed lunch etc?

For those attending, school lunches in canteens should be available. This is subject to change, dependent on supplies. Check with your individual school if you’re unsure. 

What if family are in low income bracket and don’t have a laptop/pc to use or simply can’t afford one? Will loans of laptops etc be available?

This will be down to the discretion of the individual school, based on the resources they have available to them. 

What happens with transition processes, to secondary school/college etc.?

Good question. There are many unknowns at the moment but me and other senior education managers are meeting with head teacher reps on a weekly basis and will issue more detail on this in the coming weeks/months. 

If families are planning to apply for an EHCP, has the EHCP application process been put on hold and postponed for the foreseeable?

Yes – we’ve paused the receipt of new applications until further notice. We are awaiting guidance from the Department of Education on how we should proceed with any future applications and will update when we have this detail. 

Home to school transport for SEN kids – will this still be available and how will this work as a number of escorts are older etc and staffing will be lower (due to illness, social distancing/protecting themselves, self-isolation) etc? If home to school transport is not available, can parents decide not to send them as many will not have means of getting kids to school etc.?

This will be a changing picture as per all other key groups of staff. I’ve spoken with the home to school transport Service Manager today and as of tomorrow, they’re struggling to meet the demand. This should reduce on Monday, with less kids expected to be in school, but we’ll be reviewing this daily. In some cases, we may need to ask parents to transport their children if they are able or give the option for the child to stay home. We’ll minimise disruption as much as we can, but we need to prepare parents that there likely will be last minute changes on this front. 

If we choose to send our kids to school as there is provision available (EHCP families), will we still receive theH2ST personal travel petrol budget?

Yes, if you’re doing the transporting. 

Assume independent schools are included in this and how will the government make sure they support parents through this?

We’re still gathering what information we can from independent schools. Please for now contact the lead at those schools. We’ll issue more on this in the coming days. 

Will a helpline be set up for parental guidance/support around school closures?

No, we’re finding it hard to keep our standard call centres open as it already stands. We just don’t have the workforce for this. All schools are responsible for communicating with parents’ updates on their own circumstances and are asked to share that with the LA so that we can field questions from parents. 

I will be in daily contact with Claire and commit to doing some Facebook live question and answer sessions (once I’ve managed some sleep!). I’ll do regular briefings and will keep adding to the frequently asked questions. 

SEN Children that have siblings (that aren’t attending school) will not understand that they still have to go? Can parental choice not to send them, be made in this situation with no repercussions etc?

Yes – we understand this and if parents think this is what is best, we will support that. Just make sure you communicate with your child’s school! 

In a lot of cases (particularly SEMH and ASD) and if kids are off school, school is school, and home is home – will kids/families be penalised if they can’t feasibly get kids to complete homework?

No. We will share as many resources with schools to share with you as possible on top of what schools will already be sharing and sending home. But each child is different. 

My advice both as the SEND Service Manager and as a parent of children with ASC would be STRUCTURE! 

I’ll be planning my sons weekly timetable with them so that they can have ownership of it (making them more likely to cooperate, I hope!), but it will include learning material from school, downtime, electronics time, active time, creative time (although there will be no glue and pasta!) and I’ll aim to stick to that as much as possible. Ultimately, at some point, our children will need to return to school and if it’s a long time from now, it will be a shock to their system. The more you can replicate some form of a school pattern, the better your child will cope in the long term. 

Top tip: The Body Coach is doing a live PE session that children can do from their front room via his YouTube channel every morning at 9am – I really recommend this! 

Will schools confirm via letter/email how parents obtain support for homework and day to day of home schooling etc?

You should expect to receive regular communications from your child’s individual school through whichever means they can communicate the most effectively! 

Does this apply to early years and post 16 settings? 

The principles and priority groups are the same, however, I’m hoping to speak to key colleagues representing these areas tomorrow to gain further clarification and give detail where this might vary from the school approach. Our turnaround on this has been very short so please do bear with us.

Update from CAMHS

CAMHS West Team
Child and Family Services
2nd Floor Adelaide Health Centre
Western Community Hospital Site
William Macleod Way
Millbrook
Southampton
SO16 4XE
 
Tel: 0300 123 6661
 
www.solent.nhs.uk
18th March 2020

Dear Parents and Carers,

 

CAMHS response to COVID-19 

You will be aware following the Prime Ministers briefing on the 16th March 2020, that we are being asked to step up our response to COVID-19.

 

We have been planning for this in our Specialist CAMHS team and understand this might be a difficult period for some families.

 

There are some key steps that we are taking to help keep your families and our colleagues as safe and well as can be and to aid our wider NHS colleagues in the resources they might need to deliver safe and effective care.  These steps will compromise our resources within the service during this time and so there will be activities that will be restricted and cancelled for a period of time. 

 

Firstly, as of today, all groups and drop ins are cancelled until further notice.

 

We are looking at delivering alternatives to face to face contact.  This does not mean that all appointments will be cancelled.  As we progress we will be checking with you if you are happy to have your appointment over the phone.  If you are, and there is no urgent need to meet face to face, then we will be able to conduct our appointments in that way.   Some clinicians and families will make the decision to continue with a face to face appointment over the next couple of weeks.  As long as both are comfortable and neither party have symptoms or are self-isolating/needing to engage in social distancing then we will support this.  We recognise that this will not be possible for all and that you may prefer to postpone to a time when we are back to business as usual.  This will be a conversation and agreement that will need to be made between yourself and your clinician based upon your individual family circumstances and the mental health needs and risks of your child/young person.

 

In summary, what we will do is provide reviews and discuss with you whether the appointment can be via telephone or if a face to face is needed.

 

What we require from you, if you have a planned appointment, is for you to tell us immediately if you or any member of your family has symptoms and/or are self-isolating.  We will need to collaboratively assess our next steps on a case by case basis.  Please do not come into the clinic.

 

As we move forward with the escalating picture then it is likely that we will need to focus our resources to responding to those children and young people with urgent and high risk needs.  Some staff may be re deployed to assist in other clinical areas.  This will be an ever evolving position that we will be planning for in service on a daily basis.

 

What we will do is inform you as soon as possible of any changes to your planned appointments.

 

What we hope you will do is keep us informed of your physical health and any self-isolating that will need to be factored into our delivery of care to you. 

 

We also ask that you keep us informed of urgent changes in your child/young person’s mental health so that we can assess accordingly with you.  Such examples may include increasing risk of harm to self or others, reporting of any unusual symptoms such as reporting being able to hear or see things that others can’t or a change in eating habits with food intake being restricted coupled with weight loss and/or excessive exercise.

 

We thank you for your partnership, understanding and patience during this unprecedented time and my apologies in advance for any disruption or uncertainty that you may experience in the delivery of your care.  We will be doing our upmost to keep communication clear and unambiguous.

 

Please may I take this opportunity to remind you of both our direct dial number, 023 8103 0061, the Child and Family Service line number, 0300 123 6661 and our team email address, SNHS.CAMHSWEST@nhs.net We anticpate that sickness and absence from work will impact upon our availabiity to answer calls and respond to emails but we will endeavour to do so in as timely as fashion as possible. 

 

Yours sincerely

Chantal Homan

Service and Quality Manager

CAMHS West

Closure of Child Health Clinics during Coronavirus Outbreak

Solent NHS Trust and Southampton City Council are working closely to meet Government guidance during the Coronavirus outbreak. Please be advised that as from Monday 23rd March all Family Points and Child Health Clinics will be stopped until further notice.

We appreciate that families will still need advice during this time and have the following options available:

  • Health visiting in Southampton operates a ‘Duty’ system where a member of the team is available to offer advice, Monday – Friday, 9.00 – 4.30. Please phone  0300 123 6661 and ask to speak to the duty health visitor
  • Solent Pulse, our text messaging service, where you can leave a text query, this will be answered on the same or next day. Text 07491163277
  • Wessex Healthier Together website for a range of health advice -  https://what0-18.nhs.uk/

 

If your child does need to be seen for a specific health or weight issue your health visiting team will be able to offer an assessment by phone to determine whether you will need a face to face  bookable appointment in a local children’s centre.

 

We thank you for your understanding at this challenging time.

Guidance and helplines

Talking to your child and answering their questions

Easy read documents and social stories

Mencap - Easy Read guide to Coronavirus 

Public Health England have produced an easy read version of their Advice on the coronavirus for places of education.  You can download it here

Makaton hygiene symbols

 

Activity ideas to do with children and young people whilst home from school

  • Frozen toys
    “You’ll need to prepare this activity a day or two ahead. Find a large plastic box that will fit in your freezer, quarter fill it with water, put some toys in and freeze. Add three more layers (for a longer activity), and then turn out your ice block. The children then have to get the toys out of the ice, using a selection of tools (e.g. spray bottles with warm water in, toy hammers etc).”
  • Water play – include ladles or slotted spoons to scoop things out and place in bowls, or to move from one tray to another.  You could use sticks/leaves that they’ve collected from the garden/forest, or some of their favourite toys
  • YouTube song session
    Similar to what they may do in school, search for children sing along songs on YouTube, do this as an activity together, it’s a good time filling activity before lunch etc.
  • Try Coin Rubbing:
    “A timeless classic that even adults can get involved with. Simply gather up a few different coins, place a sheet of paper over the top and use mixed crayons to ‘rub’ a colourful pattern into the paper.”
  • Boost Your Brain with a Smelling Game:
    Fill a selection of small containers (old, painted, jam jars work best) with a mix of fragrant ingredients such as lavender, coffee or soap. Place a seal over the top using a piece of fabric and a rubber band and then ask your child to identify the different smells. If you don’t have jars, just use what you have (plates, cups, dab onto paper).
  • Glittery Calm Down Bottles – “Be careful when you work with glitter! Aren’t these so fun and pretty though?? I think my nephews would be fascinated by these.”– Don’t have to use glitter. You can use buttons etc. If you don’t have a glue gun use whatever glue you have and tape around the lid so it can’t be undone.
  • Home-made sand – apparently mess free!!
  • Bake
  • Play with bubble wrap
  • Make a fort with blankets, sheets and pillows
  • Have a little tea party, don’t forget to invite some toys / dolls / teddies
  • Have a dance party
  • Jigsaw puzzles
  • Reading time with blankets and cuddles.
  • Play with different fabrics (soft, rough, fluffy etc). Can use things like scarfs, tea towels, t-shirts, jeans.
  • Explore the garden. What can you see? Different types of leaves, flowers etc.
  • Physical activity - YouTube has some great children’s dance/exercise videos.  Ask your children to move like different animals – be creative!
  • Draw pictures or write letters to send to loved ones or friends – become pen pals with your neighbours
  • Measure things around the house for example, how many footsteps to cross the kitchen?  Include guess work and then measuring
  • Form a band, make “junk” musical instruments and perform your favourite songs together
  • Read together
  • Practice yoga or mindfulness – especially great for starting the day, or those moments when the band got a little too loud!
  • Facetime or call loved ones/friends and tell them all about the different activities that you have been doing and show off some of your best dance moves, favourite drawing, read to them etc.
  • Messy play – cornflour and (cold/cool) water makes gloop, cold left-over spaghetti
  • Simple science experiments with household objects, this link has over 60 different experiments (and a guide with 100’s of different activities and resources to support you)

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