Did you join the homeschooling community during the pandemic? If so, you’ve likely already learned that it can be hard to keep your kids engaged and inspired in their studies. The truth is that learning doesn’t have to only come from textbooks and worksheets! To foster a love of learning in your children, why not introduce them to DIY educational activities at home?
From taking them to the backyard for some hands-on learning to incorporating exercising with learning, we have some creative ideas for you here.
On top of our list, and for all the right reasons, we have science experiments. They engage your child’s tactile and visual senses and help them understand scientific concepts better. Plus, they’re a great way to keep your kids away from gadgets.
There are plenty of creative experiments you can try at home in your own kitchen or backyard, like making a mini-volcano by mixing baking soda and vinegar. You can also create a rainbow using just milk, food coloring, and dish soap. Just make sure you’re not too far away when your kids are working on these experiments. They’ll need assistance and it’s safer to be around.
If you want to first build their interest, there are plenty of kids science TV shows like Emily’s Wonder Lab on YouTube that can help.
Plant a Garden Together
Gardening is an excellent opportunity to educate. Depending on your child’s age and educational level, you can use this activity to teach them about the following:
- Different parts of plants and their purposes
- The life cycle of a plant
- Photosynthesis and the water cycle
- Different types of soil
- Importance of natural elements like water, sunlight, and air for plants
Gardening also works on a child’s soft skills, like problem-solving, by encouraging them to figure out a way to deal with pests, soil problems, and plant diseases.
You can also use this activity to establish a sense of responsibility in your kid. Let them have a plant of their own in the garden that they have to care for alone. You’ll be surprised how invested they get in their tasks.
If you want to add some fun elements, plan a pot-painting day or a pebble hunt. Get your kids to pick a theme for the garden and design it accordingly.
It doesn’t get better than a scavenger hunt. It addresses problem-solving, promotes teamwork, and boosts concentration.
The best part is how easy it is to set up. All you need are some interesting objects like your child’s red car or pink doll and a few simple supplies like pens, paper, tape, and sticky notes.
You can play it indoors or take it out in your garden – whatever is more convenient.
As for the clues, make them educational. For instance, “Find your next clue where a bee collects nectar.”
This activity will also help you assess your child’s learning progress. Ask them questions about what they’ve found during the hunt, and see how well they can answer.
Oh, and don’t forget the treats. An extra hour of Play Station or their favorite chocolate would do.
We know the physical benefits of exercising – improved fitness, better heart health, weight management, and stronger bones. But there’s more. Exercising also boosts a child’s academic performance by increasing concentration and improving problem-solving skills.
So, how about you pair a physical activity with a mind-stimulating one? All you need is some chalk. Draw a hopscotch calculator board in your driveway or backyard. Make your kids hop from one number to another, with each tile having a math operation written on it (addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division). Once they land on the tile correctly, they can move ahead to the next number.
This activity will help them practice their basic mental math skills while also getting some physical exercise in. You can skip multiplication and division if you’re playing with young kids.
Want to work on your child’s vocabulary and communication skills? There’s no better way than storytelling. Storytelling encourages creativity and develops language skills. Plus, it boosts confidence in young children.
Give your child a topic of interest, like a superhero battle or an adventure across the galaxy, and let their imagination take flight.
You can also provide a word bank to your child and encourage them to use those in their story. It’ll build up their vocabulary and improve their sentence structures and formation.
Make this activity more fun by having your kid dress up as their favorite character or make puppets to act out the story.
Arts and Crafts
Bring out those craft supplies – it’s time for some fun. Crafting is so much more than a pastime. It helps enhance fine motor skills, hand-eye coordination, and problem-solving skills.
If your kid is new to craft, start with something simple like a paper collage or salt painting. Draw out a design on the page and have them color it in using their favorite colors and supplies. As they advance, you can move on to more complex projects such as origami animals or friendship bracelets.
If you’re a busy parent who despises the mess that comes with arts and crafts, go for simple paper plate crafts. They aren’t as messy as Play-Doh and painting, but they’re still just as fun.
Cooking and Baking
Although we’ve put this last on the list, cooking and baking activities are in no way lesser than the other activities. They help your child learn a valuable life skill, and you get to enjoy yummy treats as well!
You can start with something simple like making pizzas or cupcakes. Teach them how to follow instructions and measure ingredients accurately. Depending on their age, they can participate in the entire process or just do some of the easier tasks, like adding the toppings or sprinkles.
You can also use this activity to teach your kid about the importance of a balanced diet. Introduce them to macronutrients and tell them why each one is important for their bodies. Use creative and relatable examples to encourage them to eat more of that nutrient. For instance, tell them how protein helps build muscles so they can lift their adorable pets!
Let’s say goodbye to typical lessons and boring textbooks and make learning fun and exciting — just like it’s supposed to be. Use free resources like YouTube to find relevant tutorials, or just jog up your creativity to come up with a new activity of your own. The mission is to teach kids in a manner such that they retain what they’ve learned and apply it to real life.
Pick age-appropriate activities for your curious learners. If it’s too simple, they’ll lose interest faster than they lose their socks. And, if it’s too complicated, they’ll get frustrated and give up midway. So make sure you find the right balance and enjoy the process!