This year has been wild. Between living through a pandemic, political tension, and schooling at home, it’s safe to say everyone could use a break! Throwing in some fun activities into your day could be just the reset your family needs!
Here at Home School in the Woods, we’re all about keeping learning hands-on – whether it be using a cardboard box to sail the ocean blue or putting on an apron to bake Abe Lincoln’s favorite cake. Whatever it is, these types of activities can do wonders.
Today, we want to talk about some of our favorite hands-on activities for kids. No matter what your past year has looked like, we hope these ideas bring your family joy and renewed strength to conquer each day, no matter what it may bring!
You might be wondering why we’re so big into hands-on activities. The fact that it’s fun is one element, but in reality, it’s so much deeper! For starters, keeping learning hands-on can better help kids remember what they’ve been taught.
Using your senses to learn can make all the difference and help young people understand complex subjects in a more meaningful way. Not just this, but it can help them express themselves and think outside of the box.
Of course, it also makes learning more enjoyable. There’s nothing worse than knowing there’s a stack of books waiting to be read on the downstairs table! Switching things up and having those “off days” can keep kids motivated and coming back for more.
So, what kind of hands-on projects can you incorporate into your homeschool during this pandemic? We’ve got a list of learning activities below!
Make Costumes and Play Dress-up
One of our family’s favorite things to do any time of year is get dressed up in authentic costumes and put on a show! It’s a great way to learn about something new in history, all while having fun and bonding as a family.
Your child could dress up as a favorite character from a book or history. They could recite a famous speech, eat a historical meal while in costume, or head out to the backyard to reenact an important battle.
We have an entire video on how to make dress-up clothes on a shoestring budget with ideas on where you can find affordable dress-up clothes. We even have another video on how to make an easy, no-sew mob cap!
Break Out the Board Games
Who doesn’t love a good board game – especially one that helps you learn about something new! Designating a board game night can be a great way to help kids solve problems in a hands-on manner and work together.
There are so many excellent educational games out there that you can introduce your children to. Our Time Travelers and Projects Passports include homemade educational board game materials that can help your kids learn about important subjects throughout history.
Many homeschool moms have said their kids go back to our games time and time again, not even realizing they’re educational games (talk about a parent’s dream come true!).
Explore God’s Creation
Many fun things nowadays cost money – not to mention there aren’t very many places you can go during a pandemic! One thing that’s free and a guaranteed good time is exploring the great outdoors.
Pick a day or two a week to take the classroom outside and get some fresh air. Learn about something new in nature, explore local landmarks in your area, participate in a scavenger hunt, or go geocaching. The options are endless!
Get Cooking in the Kitchen
We all need food to survive, and cooking for the kids day in and day out can be a lot for us moms! So why not get a little help? Most kids love helping out in the kitchen – even if it’s just dumping ingredients in a bowl!
Getting that little bit of extra help in the kitchen isn’t just beneficial to us, but, of course, for the kids, too. Cooking involves following directions, measuring, timing, decorating, and so much more. These skills help subconsciously touch on subjects like math, science, and reading.
Believe it or not, you can even get in a history lesson! There are so many historical food recipes out there that can help kids better learn about a time period or person. Practically all of our studies include recipes from a specific era, but there are plenty you can find online.
Check out our blog post, Adding Interest to History with Recipes, where we have several free historical recipes you can make with your kids. We also have a blog post on National Pizza Month where we share our family’s favorite healthy homemade pizza recipe!
Try Your Hand at Unique Crafts
When all else fails, bring out the crafts! We’re not just talking about cutting snowflakes (although that is super fun), but projects that have an educational story behind them. There are plenty of unique crafts from the past out there to choose from, like corn husk dolls, decoupage, penny rugs, punch tin, and so much more!
We have an entire blog series called “crafting through the ages” where we cover plenty of one-of-a-kind crafting projects from all different time periods. The best part is that they’re all reasonably easy to do and make for great keepsakes!
What Activity Will Your Family Do?
We hope this article has helped give you some ideas to try when the days are slow and you and your kiddos are feeling a little cooped up! At the end of the day, it’s all about staying flexible, being patient, and meeting your kids where they’re at (and also yourself!).
Do you plan to try any of these hands-on learning examples? Do you have any more ideas to add to the list? Tell us in the comments below! And don’t forget to share this article with any other homeschool moms who could benefit from these ideas!