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Lockdown/Stay Alert inspiration from the Early Years team

Date 14.05.2020

Our Early Years team set their students a task during lockdown, to develop fun but engaging or educational resources for parents who have young children that would keep the kids occupied. Some of their work is compiled below. Follow Early Years Inspiration on Twitter for more.

Arts, crafts and outdoor activities

Tanya Richardson, Senior Lecturer in Early Years, kicks things off with a mini tutorial about outdoor play based on her experience with Forest Schools.

The equipment you need to take part is:

  • A bucket of water
  • Standard kitchen utensils (that you don’t mind getting messy!)
  • Sticks, stones, pine cones
  • Paper/card/cereal packet and double-sided tape
  • Marshmallows
  • Sweet/biscuit tin lid.

Student Imogen demonstrates how to make a ‘natural paintbrush’ for garden-based art sessions.

Dana shows how to keep young ones entertained with the help of some paint, fairy liquid, straws…and her own very artistic children Max and Ryan!

Dana and her children also created an activity to help children talk about their lockdown days using garden stones and pebbles.

Numbers and counting

Student George created a simple numbers activity.

Student Nur shares an activity (see images below) based on Malaysian mother setting up a mini grocery shop to let her children spend their chore earnings. Parents can use this time to teach their children the importance of earning and spending their money wisely. Have some Monopoly/play money to hand; further instructions can be found on Facebook.

Lockdown Early Years shopping activity

Reading time

Student Aisling reads Itchy Bear by Neil Griffiths.

Student Beth reads Fox’s Socks.

Katie reads The Tiger who came to Tea by Judith Kerr.

Students also created their own stories

Kati, Lucy, Charli and Lois composed a poem to help children understand the importance of the Government’s pandemic measures.

Taylor, Leah and Josphin created an adventure story in which some well-known cartoon characters battle the coronavirus. “To infinity and beyond!”

Student Beth and children Ayo, Isoken and Beth went on a ‘Germ Hunt’ to teach Coronavirus a lesson: germ hunt coronavirus.pdf.

Student Dana’s sons Ryan and Max were so happy to be involved, they had a go at making their own video stories.

Ryan’s ‘Our Kings Wood Adventure’ can be seen here.

Max’s ‘Pretty Things’ can be seen here.

They also composed ‘A Rainbow Story’ (‘scrub’ through the video at 46 secs to 1:02).


Eunice Lumsden, Subject for Early Years at the University of Northampton, sums up their work: “We already know that our students are absolute stars but they really have made a mark with these lockdown activities and suggestions.

“Perhaps they may seem common-sense or obvious, but it’s important to remember that sometimes the simplest and most fun suggestions for engaging young minds can be the best. I hope that you enjoy our students’ suggestions as much as they have enjoyed creating and sharing them.”