Having school at home is hard—you now have a calendar for yourself and for all your children’s Zoom meetings and homework assignments. You’ve figured out new routines for your family, and it’s working, mostly. There are good days and bad days. Still, you wonder if your children are learning what they need to because some days, no work gets done. There are many activities you can do as a family that feel more like play and less like school. The ideas below may not be part of your child’s official curriculum, but they still offer opportunities for learning.
Literacy and Reading
- For young children: Spread a small amount of shaving cream on a table, call out letter names or letter sounds and have your child write the appropriate letter in the shaving cream. Variation: Have your child use clay to roll out and make the shapes of different letters.
- For children of all ages: Use pictures from magazines, advertisements, and newspapers to create word collages that show the meanings of new and challenging words. A picture to think about will help your child remember the meaning of the word. Let your child pick the word from one of these many thematic lists. Older children might enjoy this list of 20 Rare Words to Fascinate and Delight.
- Dig up all of the picture books in the house and start reading! This is a fun activity for children as old as middle school. They will enjoy the trip down memory lane and will learn to appreciate the stories in new ways. You can even use the books to prompt conversations about character, point of view, figurative language, mood, and word play.
- Ask your child about a topic they would like to learn about and have them spend 30 minutes each day researching it. Have them share what they learn with you at dinner.
- Play Scrabble, Boggle, or Word Up. If enthusiasm for these games wanes, check out these 16 Scrabble Variations.
Math and Science
- Elephant toothpaste—Lots of science concepts behind this fun, foaming experiment.
- Slime—Steve Spangler has great pictures to help you make slime. His site also explains the science behind the experiment and ways to take it further by varying the viscosity (which, by the way is a great vocabulary word—worthy of a word collage!).
- Play dough—You might already have a recipe for play dough, but this video from the Royal Society of Science shows how you can use the activity to explore some simple, but important science concepts with your child.
- How Much Does It Weigh? Have your children gather items from around the house and put them in a box or spread them on the rug. Pick each item up and have your child guess the how heavy it is. Then, weigh it on a kitchen or bathroom scale. You can play this game with the whole family. Give everyone a piece of paper divided into two columns. In one column record the guess, and in the other record the actual weight. Change things up and give players the opportunity to hold the item before guessing. Read more on this math game and others.
- Up the ante with these variations on classic board games and card games. Uno, Candyland, and Sorry will never feel the same!
More ideas coming next week!