Skip to main content

6 Ways to Keep Kids' Hands Busy on a Virtual Call

In a Montessori school, kids are constantly moving. Maria Montessori called her method an "education of movement" because learning happens with and through movement. In this Covid world of virtual schooling, that movement becomes a lot harder to come by. Especially if you are attending a Montessori school virtually, like Nora. While her school tries to balance the amount of time they are on a virtual call and the amount of time they are away from screens, she is spending SO much more time than I would like on a screen. Typically as a screen free family, she wouldn't have any daily screen time. Now, we're looking at a couple hours a day. 


With this virtual model, her need to move hasn't just disappeared. Nor has the need to learn through movement. So, I've been trying to offer her some concrete ways to keep her body engaged in the digital learning. I've found that if her hands stay busy she is much more likely to pay attention and learn from the virtual class. 

This post contains affiliate links at no cost to you.

Here are seven ways that we have been keeping her hands busy during these calls:  

Sensory Bin

A simple bin from the dollar spot has been perfect for adding a bit of sensory material to keep hands busy. I have left the bins empty of any other manipulatives so that it doesn't become too distracting. She can watch the screen and just run her hands in the material. So far Foam Alive has been the biggest hit, and I like it because it doesn't dry out. 

Cross Stitch 

A simple patterned kids cross stitch kit {similar} has been super engaging for her. She can work just a little bit at a time on it and then pick it back up when she feels the need. Plus, it will be a pretty reminder of her time when she's all done. The work itself isn't too challenging for her so she can do it pretty mindlessly. 

Finger Knitting

Nora has a lot of experience with finger knitting so this is another easy one for us to include. She can sit and knit without help or needing to thing about it too hard. All she needs is a ball of yard. 

Coloring and Art 

Proving just simple coloring experiences has been really great for Nora as well, and super easy to set up. I've rotated a few options for her including coloring in a coloring/activity book {we love these}, using colored pens to draw, and doing leaf rubbings. 

Sewing Shapes 

Again, Nora is good at sewing, so providing some shapes traced on fabric and some floss has been great for her. I provided more structure just so she would be able to do it more mindlessly, instead of creating new or different patterns which might distract from what she is hearing. This would only be something I would use if your child can independently use a needle and thread. 

A Pet 

Our little dog, Mia, has been joining Nora for some of the sessions. I only let this happen during the class read-a-louds where they are just listening to a book. Nora and Mia enjoy a cuddle and a story; it's very cute. 

Now, this doesn't work every time she is on a screen. There are some lessons where she need to be writing, drawing, or moving Montessori materials around. But, for a lot of the time when it is just listening to stories, or kids talking, or whatever these things have been a lifesaver. 

I know that not every teacher/guide will be as accepting (although I URGE them to be if you are reading this!) But, if your child has to learn via a screen this year, give some of these ideas a try. 

Have you found ways to make virtual learning a bit easier for your child? 
---

Comments

Erica said…
Thank you so much for this

Popular Posts

The Ultimate Montessori Toy List -- Birth to Five -- UPDATED 2019

When you are interested in Montessori, it can be difficult to know exactly what types of products you should get for your home. Or which types of "Montessori" materials are really worth the price. There are no rules about types of products can use the name Montessori which can add to the confusion. Not to mention, every toy manufacturer slaps the word "educational" on the package for good measure!

2019 UPDATE: This post has been updated to include a variety of brands and new product finds! Just a reminder that no one child will be interested in all of this or needs all of this. These toys are just here to spark ideas and give you a feeling for some Montessori-friendly options available! 


So, with this post, I'm going to try to help with this confusion! Here's a list of Montessori-friendly toys and materials for babies, toddlers and preschoolers. 


First, let's clarify that there is no such thing as a "Montessori toy." Montessori never created to…

Sensitive Periods from Birth to 6 - A Chart and Guide

Dr. Maria Montessori spent her life observing, studying, and writing about children. During her lifetime of work she discovered that young children move through a series of special times when they are particularly attracted to specific developmental needs and interests. She called these times, sensitive periods. During the sensitive period, children learn skills related to the sensitive period with ease. They don't tire of that work, but seek it, crave it and need it. When the sensitive period passes, this intense desire is gone, never to return. 

That doesn't mean the skill is lost forever once the sensitive period is over. Instead, it just means that it will take a more conscious effort to learn. As Dr. Montessori explains, 
This post contains affiliate links at no cost to you.
"A child learns to adjust himself and make acquisitions in his sensitive periods. These are like a beam that lights interiorly a battery that furnishes energy. It is this sensibility which enables a…

Working from Home with Kids - A Montessori Schedule

One part of my life that I haven't talked a ton about here on The Kavanaugh Report is how I'm a work-from-home parent. Eight years ago I started to work at home while parenting full time. For the first several years, I worked as a legal writer while maintaining this space on the side. When Gus was born, I moved into working on sharing our Montessori life full time. It has blossomed into a full time career sharing content here, teaching courses, and now the podcast! Through it all, my kids have been home with me. 
This all seems more relevant to so many of us now that Covid-19 has closed schools and forced parents to stay at home and work while caring for children. I'm not going to lie - it's tough. It's hard to balance work and kids, especially when children are used to a completely different routine. But, it's not impossible! And, it can even be enjoyable. 

As I talk about in my podcast Shelf Help, we block our days into 3 hours groups. It helps me remain fle…