As parents, you were probably already worried about your children having too much screen time before Covid-19 changed your lives. But why not use that technology for good? We’ve rounded up some of the educators, influencers, organizers and parents – many of them right here in the UAE – who are coming up with inventive ways to do just that. Along the way they are managing to engage little ones – all without a mindless scroll or blank stare in sight.
Reading with @TheMothershipDXB
Trusted Dubai broadcaster and influencer Helen Farmer is putting her professional storytelling skills to another good use: at 9am every morning she is taking to her Instagram account to read a book to her young daughters – and your children as well. Farmer has pledged to read books by authors you may not have heard of, as well as some classics that take you back to your own younger days.
Chapters Fitness & Soul
The Abu Dhabi group aims to give pre-and post-natal fitness support to mothers and also offers some great tips on how to keep the kids occupied indoors through their Instagram account. They’ve got ideas for indoor camping trips, scavenger hunts, making dinosaur fossils and even a mommy and me spa day.
This fun multi-sensory music and movement group for children from three months to four years old is run by mums in the city who know how hard it is to keep kids engaged. Usually they host classes for specific age groups in various locations across Abu Dhabi and Dubai, but during these socially distant times, they have set up a YouTube channel for parents and children to sing along at home. We hear they are mesmerized.
On my social media channel, Abu Dhabi Review, I’m bringing the idea of Pen Pals back into the modern digital world. Writing letters using a pen and paper is becoming almost obsolete, so the idea is to reintroduce it, helping kids refine their handwriting, spelling and creative writing skills. The aim of #UAEPenPals is to create connections amongst the younger generation. Parents just need to make the connection with other parents, then get their child to write the letter, sending it along via Whatsapp or email account.
World Book Online
This digital library has made their collection of 3,000 eBooks and audio books free for children to access and listen to from home. The books are suitable for all ages, and kids can find anything from books about amphibians or mammals to crafts and classics such as Alice in Wonderland, The Jungle Book and The Wizard of Oz.
Let’s Go Yoga
Abu Dhabi’s popular yoga teacher, Sasha Quince, who usually provides yoga workshops for adults and kids alike, is launching a regular kids yoga exercise session through her Let’s Go Yoga – Sasha Quince Facebook channel. Every Tuesday afternoon your little ones will be taken through an adventure which incorporates a story line, breath, movement, relaxation and mindfulness.
Scouts UK have released more than 100 inspiring (and time-consuming) activities for children as part of their #TheGreatIndoors campaign. It has all the absorbing games, crafts and experiments your kids can handle, involving an assortment of everyday items and materials.
Asha Sherwood owns Abu Dhabi Review, an online and social platform that gives you the scoop on everything happening in the capital.