By Kathryn Trudeau


The Back-to-School season is in full swing, and all across the nation, little ones are headed off to school. Whether your kids are attending a traditional school or are homeschooled, an education is one of the most valuable gifts we can bestow our children, and -- here’s the best part -- learning can be so much fun for children. 


Check out these 10 activities to make learning at home even more fun.


Sight Word Cookies

Sight words are essential for learning to read, but there’s no reason your child has to be stuck using flash cards. Practicing sight words can be fun!


This sight word cookie game is easily customizable to your child’s age. Simply, use whatever sight words your child is focusing on in school. This game also promotes fine motor skills, social skills, and allows your child an opportunity for dramatic play.


What you need:

  • A cookie tray 
  • A rubber spatula
  • Construction paper 
  • Markers
  • Plastic plates

What to do:

  1. Cut out circles of construction paper; these are the “cookies”
  2. Write your child’s sight words on the cookies
  3. Place the cookies on the tray 
  4. Order your favorite cookie (i.e. request specific sight words) and have your child find the right cookie and serve it to you  

Storytime Meets the Stage

Reading to your children helps promote strong language skills even before they can read on their own. This game allows your child to act out their favorite stories and develop critical thinking skills.


What you need:

  • Your favorite books
  • Props e.g. stuffed animals, capes, magic wands, etc
  • (Optional) Puppet stage

What to do:

  1. Set up the puppet stage if you have one
  2. Sit on the couch and read your child’s favorite books
  3. As you read, pause on each page and let your child act out what you just read 

Tip: Fairy tales and fables work great for this game



Work on Handwriting and Letter Recognition with Sand Letters

Tracing letters is the first step in learning to write full words, but some kids don’t enjoy handwriting because of the repetition -- but that’s how you learn! Give handwriting lessons a fun spin by adding some sand. 


What you need:

  • A hard plastic pencil case 
  • Sand 
  • Index cards
  • Pencil

What to do:

  1. Write letters or sight words on the flash cards -- whatever your child needs to work on
  2. Add about one cup of sand to the bottom portion of the pencil case
  3. Show one flash card at a time to your child
  4. Have your child draw the letter or word in the sand with his finger
  5. Alternatively, your child could also trace the letters with an unsharpened pencil for practice holding the pencil 

Practice Addition with Dominos

Is your child learning simple addition? Combine dominos with math for some at-home fun. 


What you need:

  • A set of dominos
  • Paper
  • Pencils

What to do:

  1. Choose a design for creating a domino scene; spirals make fun designs as they all fall down
  2. As you take out dominos to build, add the two numbers before adding that domino to your scene; use paper and pencil if necessary
  3. For example, if you have a domino with one dot on one side and three dots on the other, have your child add 1 + 3 before using that domino.

Practice Fractions in the Kitchen

Is your child learning fractions in school? The kitchen is one of the best places to learn fractions. You can even work on adding or dividing fractions. 


What you need:

  • Choose any recipe, but baking works best for this activity
  • Any ingredients listed in your recipe

What to do:

  1. Follow the recipe 
  2. Let your child take the lead when it comes to measuring out the items with fractions i.e. ½ cup of milk or ½ teaspoon salt, etc.
  3. For an extra challenge, double the recipe and have your child do the math to double all of the items 

Practice Number Recognition with Hot Wheels

If your little one is just learning how to recognize the numbers, choose this game as a fun way to introduce numbers. 


What you need:

  • Sidewalk chalk
  • Hot wheels or any other small cars

What to do:

  1. Create parking spaces and label each parking space 1 - 10 
  2. Call out a number 
  3. Have your child park the car in the designated parking spot

Bring Out the Board Games

Board games are more than just a fun activity for family game night; board games can teach valuable social skills as well as other skills. For example, a game of Monopoly can be a great vehicle for teaching money skills, counting, and strategy.


What you need:

  • Board game of your choice
  • Snacks

What to do:

  1. Make snacks 
  2. Enjoy the game!

Crank Up the Music

Music can play a pivotal role during your bedtime routine, but music can also be used to make learning more fun. There are educational songs on just about every topic: foreign language vocabulary, seasons, counting, history, geography, and even feelings. Choose a playlist based on what your child is focusing on and blast the music.


For an extra health boost, dance while you and your child sing.


Turn to Art for Enriched Learning

Art for the sake of art is wonderful for children, but art can also be used to explore new concepts and emotions. You can use art to explore concepts that your child is learning at school, but you can also use art to explore questions that your child asks you. For instance, if your child asks about the rainforest, spend some time painting a rainforest scene or coloring pages that depict animals found in the rainforest.

 

What you need:

  • Coloring materials: crayons, paint
  • Coloring pages, paper, or canvas
  • YouTube videos of the subject 

What to do:

  1. Watch a few videos about the subject
  2. Color pictures or paint a scene 

Hopskotch Re-envisioned 

This activity is good because it gets little bodies moving outside; exercise is so good for them! 


What you need:

  • Sidewalk chalk
  • Sight words 

What to do:

  1. Draw a path of squares
  2. Write a sight word in each box
  3. Call out a sight word and an action word
  4. Your child must hop (or skip or run, etc) to the sight word

What about you?

What’s your favorite way to make learning at home fun?


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Kathryn is a self-proclaimed book nerd who has a passion for natural parenting and writing. As a homeschooling mother of two, Kathryn understands the dynamics of a busy family life. She is the founder of the Cor Domum movement, a mission that guides families through life so that they can parent with joy. Read more at  www.katietrudeau.com 

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