Work on math, language, science, and geography skills at home with simple, everyday activities that kids will love!
There are currently millions of families around the world who are coping with schools being closed due to public health. What’s a parent to do with the sudden onset of DAYS stuck at home? Will everyone go crazy? Will the kids suffer academically? As a homeschooling mom with 12 years of experience, my answer to that last question is a resounding NO! I am confident they will be just fine. Your child may have access to online instruction from his or her teacher while at home, or they may not. Either way, there are so many simple things that you can do at home to keep their brains sharp and their minds learning new things. This can actually be a very valuable time in which your kids can learn new life skills, research things they are interested in, and pursue hobbies like drawing or music.
The activities in this post are all things that you can do with the materials you have at home, and some of them will keep kids happily busy for a LONG time. I know that many of you will need to be working from home as well, and you can’t entertain the kids all day long.
So, here it is. A helpful list of simple ideas for learning at home with the materials you have!
Write and Perform a Play
Kids can write their own play and then act it out! You could choose a certain historical event, act out a familiar story, or just let them do their own thing. They can create tickets to give mom and dad for entrance to the show, etc.
Write a Family Newspaper
Kids can write their own news stories about family happenings! Let them type it up, and they can even email it to grandparents and cousins. Maybe they can even add photos or illustrations!
Write and Illustrate Stories
Your budding novelist can really shine with extra time to write and illustrate their own stories! Discuss literary vocabulary like setting, characters, protagonist/antagonist, conflict, climax, themes, etc. Have a family reading hour with cozy drinks and everyone taking turns reading what they wrote.
Create your Own Comic Strip
Drawing comic strips is so much fun, and it counts as writing too! We have a post with several printable comic strip templates, so head over there and print some.
Polish up Basic Math Skills
Work on addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division facts using an online drill tool, such as the one on Math-U-See.
Or, create a set of flash cards out of index cards and set to work learning those facts!
Create a Board Game
If you have poster board on hand, that would work great for a board game. If not, make a game board out of cardboard from a box (Amazon prime box or a cereal box), or just use regular paper. Kids can draw a path for their game and create their own rules.
Another idea – build a board game out of LEGO bricks!
Here’s an example game idea. You can see more details here: Car Race Board Game
Organize a Closet, Pantry, or Craft Stash
Organizational skills are so valuable. Have kids sort items, decide what to keep and what to give away, and develop a system for storing items that makes sense based on how things are used.
Set up a Pretend Store and Learn to Make Change
This is always a favorite with kids. Set up a store with items from around the house. Have the kids make price tags. If you have a coin jar at your house, you can have them use real coins to pay and practice making change.
We recently wrote about our multiplication store idea in this post about hands-on multiplication activities.
Build a Model of a Famous Landmark
Use LEGO bricks, wooden blocks, or whatever you have to build a model of a famous landmark. But the Eiffel Tower, the Statue of Liberty, the Brooklyn Bridge, the London Tower, the Great Wall of China, etc.
Make this an interdisciplinary activity by also having your child research the landmark and write a paragraph (or a few paragraphs) about it!
Daily Geography Practice
Find a world map or globe. Choose one new place to identify each day. Find the new place on the map, and then review the ones you’ve already done. It’s amazing how much kids can memorize if you just add one fact a day!
Start with the continents and oceans. Then add major countries. Expand to smaller countries, major cities, major rivers, and major mountain ranges and deserts. (Hey, I’m thinking I could benefit from this too!)
Chart the Weather
Print a blank calendar for the month. Have the kids record the weather each day. They can write down the temperature (older kids can do high and low temperatures) and the type of weather (sunny, cloudy, rain, snow). Look up types of clouds, if you want, and record that information as well. Record the wind speed.
Then, you can use all of this information to make graphs! Graph the number of cloudy, sunny, or rainy days. Graph the daily temperature and observe the trends.
Follow Along with Bird Nesting Season
Spring is the time of year when the birds are nesting and babies are hatching! Follow along with live bird cams and observe nesting hawks, eagles, owls, and more.
See it here: Live Bird Cams
Whew! That’s a lot of ideas!
For more learning ideas in specific areas, check out our Math and Literacy Category, or our STEM category.
Lindsey Mar 15, 2020
I absolutely love all your ideas and have been following them for about a year. My classes often watch your videos and I am meant to be hosting a staff meeting on STEM in 2 weeks (if the UK schools aren’t in lockdown by then). I intend to rave about your website and encourage staff to tap into it for planning their ideas. I also run a STEM lunchtime club using some of your ideas (with adaptation sometimes) for ages 5 to 11 and have had to extend it to 2 lunchtimes per week now! Thanks so much Sarah!
Pamela Mar 15, 2020
Thank you Sarah. Appreciate you!!
Jill Mar 15, 2020
Thanks for supporting families and communities with these terrific ideas! What wonderful ways to get families interacting together in fun ways (while slipping some educational activities!) Kudos and you, Sarah!
Renee Mar 15, 2020
Hey Sarah! I’ve been loving your posts for a couple years now! With the recent quarantine and no school here in Ohio, I am suddenly faced with being a homeschool mom to my pre-k, 2nd and 3rd grader while also keeping up with my newborn and 3 year old. We have school packets and of course all of your ideas well as a stock of dollar store craft items.
My big question is if you could give me a rough block schedule outline of how you organize your days to provide schooling and care for children with varying age ranges as well as get your housework done and keep your sanity.
I know this can be a good time to brush up on some chore skills and teach new tasks. But I don’t know how to provide the focused teaching with one child and get dinner started while other kids are starting to argue or need help on their school packets.
Any help on a general guide for how you order your day would be so helpful!
Nancy Mar 23, 2020
Thanks for everything you post. I've a follower this school year, and I am always impressed with what you have to offer and so graciously share. You are awesome!
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