As most parents are finding out right now, teaching is HARD. In all my years working with kids and teaching I observed a lot, and I mean a lot about kids. I have a pretty good pulse on what motivates kids and what holds their interest while still being educational. Here are 10 fun things to do while you are homeschooling!
- Create a "Geo City" (grades 2-6)
This is a great math activity for kids typically in grades 2-6 (depends on your child, they could do this at a younger age with help!) A geo city is a city made from paper, usually on top of a poster board. All of the buildings are made from geometrical shapes that kids make. I always had my kids make a certain amount of shapes so they got practice making each, i.e. "you need 4 rectangle buildings, 3 cylindrical buildings, etc." I would also have them create streets that were perpendicular, parallel, etc. Kids LOVE to do this and will spend a long, long time on it. I had a group of kids once that didn't want to go to recess because they wanted to stay in math so they could continue working on their cities!
2. Use Legos to re-tell stories (grades k-6)
Something I really loved to do as a teacher to help with reading comprehension and visualization was to have my students use legos to retell a story. I would read the whole class a short story or a chapter from the read-aloud book and then have them get into small groups (at home it can be individual or with siblings depending on ages.) I would then tell them to build what they saw in their head that happened in one scene of the book or in the chapter we read. Again, kids LOVE this. I have kids who I taught in my first year still tell me that they loved getting to do that and it helped them learn to really pay attention when reading,
3. Research & Build a Google site to show a country's culture (grades 2-6)
This is a great Project Based Learning activity you can do with kids and it's easy! Kids in grades 2 and 3 may need some assistance, but will be able to do most work independently. Kids will pick one country they are interested in and research the culture of it. They will collect information in a Google Doc as they go and then use Google Sites to create a website about that country and its culture. You can find my complete plan here.
4. Practice Fractions with Baking (grades 2-6)
This is a very EASY and fun way to help kids understand fractions. Baking is all about fractions and being exact with measurement. Most kids love to help bake and if you let them take over the baking (with supervision, of course) they will go nuts. While they are starting to measure to make their baked good, ask them about the fraction they are using, i.e " If the 1 cup wasn't clean and we had to use another measuring cup to get 1 cup what could be use?" Here is an easy and delicious recipe to bake!
5. Create a Nature Scavenger Hunt (grades k-6)
Being stuck inside is really hard for kids because they are bursting with energy all the time. One great way to get out for a walk and do something secretly educational and fun is a Nature Scavenger Hunt. You can easily make this using Google Docs or Word. For younger kids I keep it simple and put things like " Squirrel" or "mountain". For older kids, I like to make it more of a riddle and include landmarks when possible, for example " What Mountain Range do you see when you look West?" You can find lots of pre-made ones of Pinterest.
6. CS First or Scratch Jr. (K-6)
CS First is a great website made by Google to teach kids the future of literacy, code. CS First is great because it teaches the fundamentals of compute science and coding. Scratch Jr. is another great coding app/website for learning coding. One thing I did with Scratch Jr. was to have kids code a scene of a picture book or book chapter they read. Scratch Jr. is also great because it is geared for kids as young as kindergarten. You can find CS First here, and Scratch Jr. here.
7. Become a Weather Watcher (grades 1-6)
I would highly recommend signing up for Mystery Science. It is a FREE and fantastic curriculum for science that has great videos and experiments you can easily do at home. One of my favorites is the weather unit about being a Storm watcher. It has kids learn about the different clouds and teaches them to be able to tell when a storm is coming. Part of the lesson is making this folding book ( the instructions are with the lesson.) Kids love making this book and getting to observe the clouds and weather. Its also a great way to get outside and get some fresh air!
8. Use TikTok to summarize a chapter in a book (grades k-6)
Right now, TikTok is all the range and SO many kids are using it. I think a great way to use it for educational purposes is to have kids create a unique/funny video to summarize a chapter of a book they read or even act out key parts of the chapter. Kids will not want to stop making these, I promise. The deal could be the more you read, the more videos you can make!
9. Budget a Trip (grades 3-6)
This was one of my classes favorite projects to do to learn about budgeting. What I did was give them $4000 to go on a trip to anywhere in the United States. They had to bring themselves and 3 other people, total of 4 people. They had to budget a weeks worth of vacation including travel, hotel, 5 days of activities and food. They then had to research prices of things and then decide if it would fit in their budget. They then put their plan into a Google Slide presentation. This could easily be done at home as well and kids love the challenge of trying to stay in budget. I had many kids who's families actually took the trip planned by the student because it was so well budgeted...maybe an incentive for when we can all leave our houses again?
10. Write & Draw a comic book (grades k-6)
This is a really creative and fun way to get kids to practice writing. Kids love making comic books and coming up with creative stories. I typically try to give them a few ideas to pick from at younger ages because they can have a hard time narrowing down what to write about. It can also be helpful to read them a book first and then have them create their own comic book version. For example, I would read my class Snowman at Night by Caralyn Buehner, if you don't have this book here is a Youtube video of it being read. After I read the story I ask kids what their snowman would do at night and have them create a story about it. You can do this with a comic book and have them make the story of their snowman into a comic book, then they can write and draw the different scenes. You can do this will any age group K-6, you just pick a book appropriate for their level. I would suggest that kids in 5th and 6th grade don't need a book to go off of, they typically can come up with ideas on their own.
If you liked these ideas, comment below! I have many more and would love to share! Or if you have ideas, I'd love to hear them!