Category Archives: COVID-19 children’s enrichment activities

Enrichment During Shutdowns. Rowling’s World.

June 3-June 5.

Did you know that Jk Rowling is releasing a new children’s fantasy novel, one chapter at time, at no charge as a gift to us all during social distancing? New chapters of The Ickabog are posted daily, but you can start at the beginning, not matter when you first access her website.

It gets even more exciting, because for each chapter, Rowling provides suggestions for illustrations. Children between the ages of seven and twelve can enter their drawings in a competition to have their illustrations included in the book when it is published in November!!! All royalties of of the book will go to people impacted by COVID-19.

So let’s load you up with some great tools for illustrating a child’s fantasy tale. We’re picking a few links on drawing fantasy beasts, followed by a few general links to some of the items listed in her suggestions. These links are deliberately selected for children of all abilities, so if one looks too hard or too easy, just check out a different link.

Rowling’s new book is not a part of the Harry Potter world, however it does feature a legendary beast. Some videos on drawing fantastic beasts might help get those creative ideas rolling (pun intended).To get some more basics on monster drawing, visit this wikihow.

Drawing dragons is always a useful skill, is it not? And some say the Ickabog is like a dragon. Try a simple step-by-step dragon, perfect for any age. Or, if you are up for a challenge, create a more intricate dragon, using the same techniques professionals employ.

Now, let’s look at just a few of the specific items Rowling lists in her suggestions.

Royalty, Simple.

King, Moderate Difficulty.

Cheese, Very Simple.

French Pastries, advanced. (Don’t do this on an empty stomach).

Peacock, Simple. Peacock, Moderate Difficulty. Peacock, Advanced. Dog, Simple. Bush, simple.


For more ideas to get you going, enter “how to draw” plus the name of the item, and you are likely to get a useful hit. These are tutorials: just a place to get you started. Try them out. Master some skills. Then start having fun by changing things up. This is YOUR art, not anyone else’s. Now that you have learned how one person draws a king, what’s your own very unique way?

Enrichment at home: It’s a Rap

May 20 – 21

Rap is basically spoken poetry with a strong emphasis on rhythm and rhyme. Below is an incredibly moving music video made by Carrie Underwood and Ludacris for the 2018 Super Bowl. Ludacris’s rap is embedded in the song. It’s a special kind of poem: an acrostic. Each line emphasizes one letter from the word “Champion”, so that reading the first letter of each of these words down a page of lyrics would spell the word,

Although the next video may be most suited to preschoolers, the truth is anyone would love this rap of Fox in Sox. And fortunately, it’s one of a series. Younger kids will love listening. Here’s a challenge for older kids: see if YOU can rap a rhyming children’s book. A great way to connect with younger cousins or other tots you are missing right now would be rap the a book by video chat or record a book for them.

As discussed, rap is essentially spoken word poetry with a strong instrumental beat. Not all poetry places the emphasis on rhyme and rhythm found in rap and other spoken word poetry. So what makes a poem a poem?

Next is a link to a video on how to rap that adults may want to view before before sharing. It is a clean video with excellent tips on rhyme and rhythm. This was chosen for it’s emphasis on language, however in contains sales pitches and refers viewers to other rappers families may not be comfortable with. Parents can look for other resources using the search terms “rap beginners kids.” For teens, drop “kids” but parents may especially want to screen for content. There are some wonderful videos on the poetics of rap, but they may contain violent language or other material that is not suitable.

Social Distancing Jam Sessions

May 15-17 This week-end’s blog post is dedicated to the community of roots musicians in and beyond Charlottesville/Albemarle who enrich the lives of everyone, young and old.

Have a jam session this weekend. Get your friends to join you on your favorite video chat app, or grab a mask and a measuring tape if you are starting to try a little physical distancing. Please do not share instruments.


This sistrum was made in one of our own workshops, using brass brackets and a coat hanger.

Of course, you’ll need some instruments. These instructions for ten instruments kids can make should get you started. You might not have the exact materials the instructions call for, so improvise. Try buttons for beads, two paper clips for bells. The ideas you come up with may be the best ones. Please see below for information on workshops with our frequent collaborators, Kim and Jimbo Cary.


You can jam with just about anything!!!!

While you’re working on your instruments, play a little roots music to get some inspiration. Some suggestions to look for when you stream music: Putumayo Kids, “American Folk Songs for Children” by Mike and Peggy Seeger, and “Classic Folk Songs for Kids,” Smithsonian Folkways Collection.


Carver Rec Center session with Kim and Jimbo.

When your instruments are finished, find a live stream concert and play along in your living room. Charlottesville’s Front Porch is streaming three times a week. The Atlanta Children’s Museum has Music Mondays. Or stream a video of a musician you like to play with and jump in. The Enrichment Alliance has had frequent collaborations with Kim and Jimbo Cary. For this post, they sent us a link to a video to a song Jimbo wrote for The Animal Rescue League.


Kim and Jimbo Cary collaborative concert.

Kim & Jimbo are available for online music workshops for children and families and also live  at-a-distance  performance/workshops for making and playing homemade instruments and more. Visit kimandjimbo.com or contact kimandjimbo@gmail.com


Now you’re ready for an old time jam Invite your friends to join you by way of a chat app, or jam with your family. Follow the social distancing guidelines. Finally, here’s one critical tip for jam sessions: they’re not supposed to be perfect; they’re supposed to be fun.

April 15. Home Quarantine Enrichment. We’re egging you on!

Okay, enough with the eggs already. Easter was three days ago. What to do with all those eggs? Well, you can put them in bottles. Or transform them into beautiful vases. Or just make them disappear.

Art and Literature

Egg Vases. Use your empty eggshells to create a lovely vase. This one uses a white egg, but shells from dyed Easter Eggs would be beautiful. Consider decorating your eggshells with bows or glitter.

Science and Math

Who knew eggs could be this fascinating?

Egg in a bottle. Make a hard boiled egg drop down into a bottle without even touching it. Don’t be a spoiler! This experiment is especially fun if you don’t tell the kids what’s going to happen to the egg. The activity is extremely popular with kids. It does require close adult supervision, because it involves burning a slip of paper.

Disappearing egg. This activity was posted earlier this week on the Virginia Discovery Museum website. They are posting activities daily, with a material list for the week also provided, so visit VDM@Home for more ideas.

Movement

Move the furniture if you try this inside!!! Your going to need a LOT of space. Better yet, take all that energy out of doors.

April 13. Inclusive Enrichment Activities During COVID-19. Field Trip Day.

Science and Math

NASA Virtual Tours of numerous facilities, many of these are truly out of this world. How about a visit to the Hubble Telescope or the International Space Station? But if you are looking for something a little more down to earth, virtual tours of several different NASA research centers can also be accessed.

Art and Literature

Gallery Hunt. If the International Space Station is a little too far from home for you, check out the tours and activities at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts. This site has a virtual backpack you can fill with treasurers as you tour the museum.

Movement

Yoga Studios. By now, you’ll probably be ready to stretch and relax a little, so drop in on a yoga studio for some soothing stretching.

YMCA360: Try the kids’ yoga classes at the YMCA, and while you are there, check out some of their other on-demand classes.

Yoga For Down Syndrome: Offers some modified postures and instructions. And although the name implies it’s for a specific audience, really it is good for anyone who could benefit from some simple modifications.

Wheelchair Yoga: Move along with the instructor in these postures, adapted for people with mobility differences.

April 10/11. Inclusive Game Night Ideas During Home Quarantine.

Due to a power outage, this post was delayed and will cover the 10th and 11th.

Drawing Room Games.

Today’s activities link you to games that involve drawing. You don’t have to be a great artist to play, in fact, a lot of the hilarity happens when the drawings are less than perfect. We have adapted one activity for players who are non-verbal or unable to hold a pencil. We also have additional suggestions for modifying these activities. All of these games can be played using apps like Zoom or FaceTime. Please tag us at enrichmentalliance when you share your fun.

Draw my picture. Two players back to back, each is drawing the same thing. Or are they?

Drawception. A personal favorite, this hilarious game is a little like “Telephone” but with a delightful twist that makes it ten times the fun.

And the list goes on. We gave you links to two great examples. Want to keep going? Here are 15 more! But why stop there? Invent your own drawing games. Find Enrichment Alliance of Virginia on Facebook and share your rules with us.

Adapting Drawception. For non-verbal players and participants with fine motor differences, fill a basket with objects, especially small figurines, matchbox cars, and other representative items. Set up a barrier such as a trifolded piece of cardboard large enough to conceal the scenes created by the players. Put the basket behind the barrier. For this modified game, begin with the image, not the caption, Have the player pick a small number of objects and arrange them behind the barrier. They may take a picture of the scene to share later or, if playing remotely, to send to a friend.

A second player looks behind the barrier and writes down or dictates a caption on a piece of paper which is then folded in half. The figures are returned to the basket and put out in view of other players. The caption is passed to the next player, who tries to illustrate the caption either by drawing or through same method of creating a scene behind the barrier. Proceed with the above rules for Drawception using these modifications.

Other Adaptations for Differing Abilities. Here are a few more ideas for adapting these games for people with fine motor challenges:

  • Engage gross motor skills instead by drawing with large chalk on a sidewalk or driveway,
  • Or using paint and cotton-balls, draw on chart paper or other large paper.
  • Work in pairs drawing side-by-side, step-by-step. (Team Member One draws a circle; team member two draws the circle, etc).
  • Work in pairs, taking term. Team Member One draws a circle; Team Member Two draws eyes in the circle.
  • Work in teams and let one person dictate while the other draws.
  • Use play-dough instead of drawing.
  • Copy paste images from the internet or Boardmaker
  • Use your assistive device.

April 8. Tapes and Shapes:Inclusive Enrichment Activities during COVID-19.

Tapes. Shapes. And LOTS of stories.

Movement

Tape Mazes and other cool gross motor activities. Who knew a roll of tape could be so much fun? No painters tape on hand? Try masking tape, string, or yard. Or go outside and create with sticks.

Science and Math

Tangrams offer intriguing activities for people of all ages and abilities.

Tangram patterns provide mind-stretching puzzles that develop spatial relationships and problem solving skills, but the most important thing: they are super fun. Tangram pieces can also be used to create freestyle artworks while developing the same skills. We’ve linked one set of printable patterns, but it will be simple to find your own, suited to your children’s skill levels, simply by entering “tangram patterns” in your search engine.

Art and Literature

Free Audible stories are available for download throughout the pandemic.

ASL Stories. For deaf and hard of hearing children, this YouTube channel has stories for readers of different ages.

Field Trip Day. April 6.

Science and Math

Home Safari at 3:00 Daily. Come on a Safari! The Cincinnati Zoo is hosting a daily tours highlighting different animals and sharing activities to do at home.

Art and Literature

The Art of Autism. Go on a gallery tour. During Autism Awareness month, Apple is offering a gallery of art works created on iPads by people with autism. These beautiful works will probably inspire you to create some art of your own.

Virtual Jam Session. And the Children’s Museum of Atlanta is offering a jam session today. Visit their website anytime for this and more daily virtual activities.

Movement

The Brooks Family YMCA Virtual Membership offers live youth fitness activities Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays at 3:00. Visit their website to learn more about this and other great ways to get moving.

Movie Night. April 5.

More Magic. Yesterday, we suggested this quarantine would be a great time to read or re-read the Harry Potter Series. Here is a very diverse list of movies about magic. This list has movies suitable for everyone to from young children to adults with notes to help you decide if the themes are appropriate for you and your family.

Maybe you’d rather make your own magic.

Notice how the artist is tracing the figure from the previous page and then making a very small change.

The whole concept of “moving pictures” evolved from the illusion of motion caused by watching a rapid succession of images that are just barely changing. Make your own movie flip book with a few sheets of paper stapled in one corner.

Rock On! April 4.

Art and Literature

What could be a better time than to dig into the Harry Potter series, whether for the first time, the second, or the 30th? This series is especially suitable for older readers. For younger readers, see below.

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone is perfect for today’s theme, and can be downloaded at Jefferson Madison Regional Library. Remember, you can download a temporary library card, too.

An audible download is available for people who read by listening.

Here’s a guide to finding your own rock, but don’t stop with one. You’ll need two: one to keep and one to share in the next activity.

Movement

Painted Rocks Hunt. Join the painted rocks craze. Paint a rock (if you celebrate Easter, it could be fun to paint it like an Easter Egg.)

Now hide your rock somewhere in the community, and post a clue on Cville Rocks. If you don’t live in Cville, you might have a similar group in your community. While you’re on the page, look for posts about other hidden rocks, and see if you can find them. PLEASE, DURING THIS TIME OF SOCIAL DISTANCING, TAKE PICTURES BUT DON’T TOUCH THE ROCKS YOU FIND! And when you take the pictures, don’t forget to tag enrichmentalliance on Instagram.

Science and Math

Make your own rock. Even after you find your own rocks, it’ll still be fun to make one yourself. Don’t forget to tag us at enrichmentalliance.