Preschool adventures May/June

May and June were months of big changes, although they moved more slowly than the hurtle into lockdown back in March. Going into May, we were all pretty fed up. By then we’d been at home for seven weeks. LO wasn’t coping well with being away from preschool, and we were struggling with WFH with her around. Part way through May we glimpsed some light at the end of the tunnel when it was announced that some primary school years and preschools/nurseries may be able to reopen from 1 June. We spent the rest of the month hardly daring to hope this would happen, and it was only confirmed four days before! LO went back to preschool on 1 June, joining a ‘bubble’ of 15 children. In the space of a few days she became so much happier, slept so much better and was plainly having a brilliant time back with her friends. Meanwhile, we were able to, well, work, without being interrupted constantly! We were very lucky – a lot of children haven’t been able to go back to school yet, and some early years provision hasn’t been able to reopen at all.

As I’ve said before, this isn’t turning out to be the year we’d intended. We’ve tried to make the best of it, because what else can you do in the circumstances, but I can’t help feeling disappointed that LO hasn’t had the chance to do all the things we’d planned. I am so glad we did do all the things we did in Sept/Oct and Nov/Dec 2019!

The activities we have done, rather like much of my March/April update, have been very home-focussed. LO has been watching considerably more TV than she did before lockdown and, on an episode of I can cook, saw a child making a Bakewell Tart. LO was transfixed and wanted to do this too, so we collected the ingredients together (this took about ten days!) and set about making it. It’s actually pretty easy – I made the pastry in the food processor the night before, then LO did most of everything else.

In the middle of food shopping being so difficult we were having trouble sourcing bread and flour, but did manage to get hold of some prepackaged bread mix. So we turned that into bread rolls. Later on, after managing to get hold of some plain flour we also made courgette and sultana bread. These all tasted lovely.

I’m finding with LO that if I suggest doing something she invariably doesn’t want to do it, but if the ingredients/utensils are already out and she happens to see them she’s desperate to have a go. Of course, this means that a certain amount of pre-planning/prep is required, which I don’t always have the headspace for!

I initially thought we’d do loads in the garden, but LO’s interest quickly waned and I was finding it hard to fit in what had to be done, with the limited time we had available. We did manage to grow some tomatoes and radishes from seed. The tomatoes are now enormous.

LO prefers the paddling pool and getting as much stuff out as possible to gardening!

Friends have helped out by posting us things, passing on outgrown toys and leaving bags of half eaten loaves outside to take to feed the ducks! This lovely doll’s afternoon tea set was made by Too Many Hobbies and now takes pride of place in LO’s room. Several friends have used lockdown to have a clear out so we have ended up with various bags of stuff, including dressing up clothes – this is when I ended up taking a small purple furry unicorn for a walk! Yes, she’s carrying a snow leopard!

We have very thoroughly explored the local park and churchyard, this got very boring after a while as we were going every day. There were tiny things I enjoyed, such as seeing changes in growth and watching the trees come into leaf and bud, but it got very frustrating too. We spiced it up a bit by acquiring a children’s magnifying glass which helped a little. It improved a lot once preschool reopened so we were only going to explore four days a week, then again when lockdown began to lift and we were allowed to drive somewhere to take exercise again, which meant Windsor Great Park became an option. The variety certainly helped! One of the frustrating things has been the closure of the children’s play areas, so there hasn’t been much opportunity for LO to climb, balance, swing etc. We’ve made use of a few tree trunks but that’s about it!

Another big help was when outdoor cafes were able to reopen, as both the local park and Windsor Great Park have outdoor huts/vans where you can buy coffee. My first coffee since lockdown started made me go quite lightheaded! But it was nice to have an actual destination and something to go there for again. They both also serve ice cream which has proven a good incentive to get LO to walk…

What have you been doing to survive lockdown with a preschooler?

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