Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Some fun and free activities for kids at home.

Let’s be honest, I am not a real homeschool teacher by any means. To call what I do homeschool belittles what real homeschool parents do. Our “school” time is just me doing fun activities with my kids, but for some reason it makes me feel better about our days and our life to call it "school." Everett was pretty adamant about not wanting to go to school this year, so I told him that if he chose not to go to school, we would do school at home each day. I think we both benefit from having some structure in our day with designated time for “school.”

It turns out that I really love being my son's teacher. 

We started our school time this year with a curriculum from Learning Resources, and I was impressed by how good it was. I highly recommend it. 

If I don’t have a lesson or activity planned for school, we take out the curriculum box and do some activities, and Everett loves it. 

There are endless activities in the curriculum box that are fun, but I realized that I like creating "lessons" for us to do together. 

Our lessons have highs and lows. Everett says things like, “Mom, you have the best ideas.” “Mom, you are the best teacher ever.” “Mom, I love school so much.” “Mama, I loved this adventure. It was great.” “Mom, can we learn about bees in school? Can we build a mountain in school? Can we learn about polar bears in school?” And he is often overly excited to show his dad what he did in school that day when he gets home. However, he also gets frustrated sometimes.

These were some school lessons that were really fun for all of us, and were all done with things we already had around the house (free!). 

Activities shown below:
  • Getting toys out of ice using tools
  • Creating parachutes for toys
  • Creating Oobleck and reading Bartholomew and the Oobleck
  • Puppet show: Retelling a story through puppets 
  • Creating a city out of blocks and writing a story about it
  • Using a roll of blue tape to create roads for cars in a city
  • Cereal box transformation

Freezing toys in ice and using "tools" to get them out:
Confession: I don't really like the movie Frozen, and I kind of wish Everett never saw it. Frozen is the reason that I am hesitant to show him any more movies with princesses ever, because he is obsessed. For this school lesson, I figured if I can't beat them, join them. Or something like that. I froze his Frozen characters, and he had to use tools to get them out of the ice. I gave him one tool at a time: paintbrushes, syringe, infant nose sucker, plastic knife, metal spoon, pizza cutter, screw driver.

It was really fun.

Creating parachutes for little toy people:
We have a little toy Everett and a little toy Cambria, so for this activity, we used grocery bags to create parachutes for them. We read the book Gravity first, which is one of Everett's favorite books to check out from our local library. To make the parachutes, we used measuring tape to cut the grocery bags into squares. We attached a piece of string to each corner. Then we taped the string to the toy Everett and toy Cambria. Then, Everett went up the spiral staircase and let them fly. He did it again and again and again. He also had epic bedhead this particular morning, and that is always worth documenting. 

Making Oobleck:
First, we read Bartholomew and the Oobleck by Dr. Seuss, and then we went outside to make some Oobleck. The recipe I used was easy (just corn starch and water). We added green food coloring after awhile to make it like the oobleck in the book. Obviously, this was really messy, but Everett had a lot of fun making the Oobleck, playing with it, and using the hose after. 

Retelling a story with puppets:
We did this for school after a library field trip where we saw a Jack and the Beanstalk puppet show. Everett loved it so much. We created a puppet show at home, and I asked Everett what he wanted his puppet show to be about. He wanted to make a Jack and a Giant, so I asked him how we could make them different from the puppet show we saw. He said he wanted to make them monsters. So, we did a Monster Jack and the Beanstalk puppet show. 

Everett chose the colors and shapes and objects for the puppets, and I cut. He pasted and colored. We practiced by doing the puppet show for Cambria, and then when Matt came home, he was our audience and we performed (I'll spare you the video Matt took). 

Build a city, write a story about it, and then create some roads for cars:
First, we read Iggy Peck, ArchitectLittle Blue Truck Leads the Way, and Cars and Trucks and Things that Go. Then, Everett created his own city with his blocks, and decided that he would make it an animal city. Next, he wrote a story about it. Lastly, I gave him a roll of blue tape to create roads for the cars in his city all over the living room.

Cereal box transformation:
I gave Everett a cereal box and told him we could make it into anything he wanted. He chose a spaceship, so I drew it and he colored it. Then he created a story about it, and I wrote it on the back. This was really simple, but Everett loved it.

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