Learning in Lockdown

Having been suddenly plunged into a world of remote learning once again, my son was asking this morning how he could help my grandchildren. Many grandparents like myself are part of a support bubble and may also be anxious about how they can support so I thought I’d just share a few ideas to use with young children. None of these are rocket science and I’m sure that as grandparents you do many of these but might not have realised just how much learning is in many of these activities. Learning is real life and not just what can be gained from a worksheet


Reading with grandchildren is one of life’s pleasures – that feeling of a warm snuggly body gleefully finishing off the sentence in the Gruffalo or worrying about the stick man are hard to explain. Use the book as a stimulus, let the child choose, ask questions or just enjoy listening. Often when they are calm and feeling safe they may open up about something they are worried about.

My friend bought my grandchildren ‘worry monsters’ who have a zip pocket for messages – these are great to have and my grandchildren often ask to write a note.

There are a variety of versions of these


Toppsta is a good site – it has reviews from children’s books and there are Giveaways regularly – you just have to agree to write a review


Oxford Owl has a free e book library for 3 – 11 year olds


Unfortunately, Libraries are closed at the minute but planning a visit is a good conversation starter

Scrap book/diary

Is your fridge a monument to modern abstract art created by your grandchildren? Make or buy a cheap scrapbook – get them to stick their drawings in, glue in leaves/feathers etc that they find on their walks, take photographs and ask them to write what they were doing – or tell you if they are v young.

Can you remember what we were doing last week?

Can you put these photos in order?


Not my forte but I have a good children’s baking book that I can just about manage – think about the questions you ask

Sequencing – what do you think we add next ?

Weighing – how much flour? That’s too much how much do we need to take out?

Time – how long – using your kitchen clock or setting a timer (your phone will have one)

Temperature – what will happen if it’s too hot?

Decorating – patterns or abstract (silly question I know!)

Eating – how many marks out of 10 would you give your cake and why?

Your garden

I am fortunate to have a greenhouse but a few pots and some soil will give you lots of scope

Bulbs planted now for spring – identify flowers – stick picture on plant pot – go through months of the year – what do we need for it to grow? Where is the best place to put it?

Cress – plant on cotton wool in a paper cup – stick your child’s photo on the front – or get them to draw it – the cress will look like hair

This is a link to one of my Pinterest boards with lots of ideas

Tomatoes – I had a lightbulb moment last year at the age of 61 – did you know if you plant a slice of tomato – cover it lightly with soil – you will get lots of tomato plants!

The iSpy books from our youth have been updated and we use these to spot birds and creepy crawlies in the garden

A magnifying glass makes a good present – let children explore and see what they can find.

The RSPB run the big garden bird watch every year in January – it’s free to join in and they will send you a pack if you register


Go for a walk

Scavenger hunt – things to find on Pinterest board above.

How many steps do you think it is to that gate?

Use a stick to measure which puddle is the deepest.

Which way shall we turn?

My friend @creative star talks about a penny walk – toss a coin at every junction to see which way you will go (her books are amazing) https://www.crownhouse.co.uk/publications/dirty-teaching

Look for numbers/patterns/colours

Can you identify clouds?

What do we need to wear to suit the weather?

Layla’s café

This is a regular feature of my kitchen-

Old cups and saucers (has to be real food though – she’s canny!) a label for the door, a menu, cost of items and a pile of coins – hours of fun but lots of maths and literacy

Lj and Tommy can now create a perfect coffee in my Nespresso machine, – sequence, ingredients, safety, colours, amounts, timing – and a coffee for mama at the end – bliss x

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