Educational Ideas for Kids Stuck at Home

If your students or kids are stuck at home because of school shutdowns, during long holiday breaks, during the long summer break, they're sick for a long period of time, or for homeschoolers, kids will need some ways to keep themselves busy. I have over 20 ways that will keep students busy at home using educational ideas. Most of these ideas can be done independently and will use very little material. I also linked a few ideas where you can purchase these ideas but ALL of these ideas listed below can be done without purchasing any products listed. They are ONLY suggestions.

Here is my list of ideas:
  1. Play games like Monopoly and Yahtzee that teach a skill like money or addition. Play games that teach a strategy like Chess or Connect 4. Stay away from the video games as much as possible. Video games do not help the brain advance forward or learn new things. Board games and strategic games enhance our brains. Click here to read a blog post I wrote about how we should be playing games with children.
  2. Find some paper and staple together to make a journal. Use a notebook or 3-ring notebook, anything will work for a journal. You can do a ton of things in a journal. Write down 10 things you did that day, make a "To Do" list and stick to it, write sentences using the letters in your name, write a paragraph about your day, write poems, or write your opinions and thoughts down. Anything goes. Just write! Click below to see ways to get students to write differently everyday. There are over 80 ideas to journal about. These prompts are great for any grade level. 
  3. If you get grocery ads, have students plan out a meal or a party using the food in the grocery ads. Have them calculate how much it would cost to plan a meal or even a party. Pick out 10 items in the ad and multiply them by 6, 7, or 8 to practice multiplication. Use division to find out how much each unit is in the pack. If you get 10 drink packs for $4.87, how much is each one? Students can make a list of items in the ads to categorize by fruits, vegetables, meats, junk food, drinks, ect. Grocery ads can be used in a variety of ways.
  4. Research the state or country you live in. There are hundreds of places to research. Once you finish one, start another. Find the state bird, state flower, population, rainfall, climate, and/or historic places of each state. Make a book about each flag for all the states or countries. If you don't want to do a state, then research an animal or person. There are hundreds of ideas to choose from. Research Reports can be done on any subject or person and are never ending. My Mini-Reports, below, will help students get started. These are great for research or final presentations. There are 4 reports to choose from; Biography, Country, State, and Animal.  
     Mini Reports Bundle  Mini Animal Report Mini Country Report
  5. READ, READ, READ. As a teacher, I cannot stress enough how IMPORTANT it is to read. You learn a lot when you read. You comprehend, pick up new words, sequence in your mind, and make predictions. Reading helps in ALL subject areas. The more you read, the better you get at it! Practice reading all kinds of genres too. 3rd graders and up should be reading chapter books and nonfiction material. Just sit down and read. If students are out of school, they should be reading at least 60 minutes a day. Complete a book report when finished reading a book or write a summary of each chapter you read. All you need are paper and pencils to describe the story. Stories always have a who, what, when, where, why, and how in them. Students could also come up with questions about the story and then answer them too. Book Talk, below, is loaded with over 90 pages of ideas to do with books. It keeps the conversation going about any book they are reading.  
     Book Reports and Graphic Organizers
  6. Let your kids help you follow a recipe by measuring ingredients. Students will learn a lot when they see cups, 1/2 cups, 1/4 cups and measuring spoons. Find recipes they would be able to make and have them write the recipe out on a recipe card. They can make an album of their favorite foods and start saving recipes. Some will need help in the kitchen but there are many recipes kids can make that don't require the stove, oven, or using a knife to cut. If you don't want them in the kitchen, use the measuring cups and teaspoons to play with. They can fill a tub with water and measure using bowls to see how many 1/4 cups can make a 1/2 cup?
  7. Find some worksheets or review books geared to their grade level to complete. You can find many workbooks at Costco or Sam's Club or even Walmart and Target. I've even found them at the dollar store. Assign pages for them to do everyday. Here are some of my popular worksheets: 
     Fraction Worksheets 3 Digit Place Value Worksheets Multiplication and Division Worksheets
  8. Watch a tv program or show and then write a summary about it. Include characters, the setting, the problem in the show, and how it was solved. Write a sequence of events; what happened first, second, and so on.
  9. Make a calendar of the month. Put in important dates, appointments, birthdays, ect. Get to know the calendar. Know how to spell the days of the week, months, and holidays too. Know how many days are in each month, how many weeks are in a month, and days in the year. Click the picture below to start learning the calendar.  
     Learn the Calendar
  10. Have the students make an agenda of what they are going to do for the day. They should incorporate time which will help them learn about the clock. How many minutes will it take to get these tasks done? Use the clock to write in how much time it will complete each task. For example, from 7:30-7:40 eat, from 7:40-8:00 get dressed and brush teeth, from 8:00-9:00 a.m read. Stick to the schedule. When students know what their day looks like, they will be organized and motivated to complete tasks likes chores or school work. It's good for them to make their own schedule but you can help.  
  11. Take a walk in your neighborhood. Write down things you see, hear, smell, taste, and touch. When they get home, write sentences about each feeling or sensory. Take a walk on another day. Compare what you see from day to day. Write about what was the same or different from each day. Make a Venn Diagram to show the comparisons. What are other things you can compare?
  12. Find a picture on your phone for them to write about it. They should be using paragraph form to write about the picture, or they can write captions for the picture. They should include a who, what, when, where, and why for each picture. The packs below extend more writing. Click the pictures to learn about each one.
     Story Writing Pack Write About It Worksheets 
  13. Write a letter to someone in your family or to your friends. Stuff the letter into an envelope, address it, put a stamp on it, and mail it. Or just deliver it to their bedroom door and tape it to their door. Everyone loves to get letters.  
  14. Students can pick out 20 words from a book they are reading and find the definition of each word and write them in a sentence. Many dictionaries are online or using a real dictionary would also be great. Make a crossword puzzle for your vocabulary words, put them in ABC order, separate them from syllables, and/or separate from long and short sounds. You can do a lot with a list of words.
  15. Write directions for a game you play or come up with a new game to play. Students can write step by step instructions on how to play the game and the materials used to play.  
     How To Writing Pack
  16. Write directions on how you go to school, or to a friends house, or to the store or mall. Pretend you are GPS and instead of saying the directions out loud, write them down. You can find google maps of each city and state online. Once you teach them how to read a map, they should be able to write down any directions to any place. This will help them learn about their neighborhood and state too.
  17. Have them measure all the rooms in the house. Get out a tape measure and find the area and perimeter of each room. Make a map of your house listing all the measurements for each room. Measure in inches, centimeters, and/or feet. Then, they can order the rooms from smallest to largest. This pack below has some fun ways to use area and perimeter by building rooms.
     Area and Perimeter Build a Room 
  18. Make a list of ways to help people. Once finished, have them draw or make a posters of the items on their list. Make posters about life skills or ways to be a good reader or writer. Anything goes.  
  19. Make a set of flashcards on paper or index cards. What do your kids need to work on? Math facts? States and capitals? Vocabulary words? Students can write the word or fact on one side of the card and the answer on the back. Flashcards are great for kids to do independently. They are self-checking and keeps the learning going and active.
  20. Count coins. Empty your purse and pockets and get students to practice counting coins. Have them make word problems using money too. For example; If I have 2 quarters and 3 dimes, how much money do I have? Or if I have $0.36 and spend 2 dimes, how much money will I have left? I have a set of coin counting worksheets and I have a FREE money board to help students count coins. Click the pictures below to read more about them. 
     Coin Counting Worksheets  FREE Money Boards
  21. Know those high frequency words (HFW)! Students should be able to read and spell the HFW by 5th grade. There are so many ways to use these words. Write the words in a sentence, use the words to write a story, put 10 words in abc order, look up each word in a dictionary, separate the words by vowel sounds or nouns, verbs and adjectives. Get creative. Write the words on little sticky notes and post all around the house.  Have students go around the house to find all the words to read. Let students look in newspapers or magazines to find words and cut them out. This pack of high frequency words go all the way to 1,000!
Hopefully there are some ideas you can start using right now to keep kids active and learning at home no matter what the situation is arounds us.

Thanks for stopping by today!
See you soon,

Playing Games in the Classroom

How many of you play games in the classroom or at home with your own children? If you are a teacher or parent that does NOT play games, then your students might be missing out. Games can improve knowledge, increase testing scores, and do so much more.

 Games at TPT Store
I love games! When I first started teaching, I quickly realized kids LOVE games too! They are more engaged and are involved in an activity when a game is being played. They have fun and they don't even realize they are learning either. Plus, games provide much needed practice on curriculum standards. 

Did you know that playing games helps with:
1. Sportsmanship- Students learn to be good winners and losers. There are no "In your face or I'm the best" behavior when they win. There are no, "you cheated, you suck, I don't want to play anymore" behavior when they lose. Congratulations are in order and definitely a rematch! Games will help students interact with their classmates and get to know them better. When you get to know your classmates, you will treat them better and hopefully become friends. 
2. New concepts to learn- Student's brains are in overload when they learning something new. Learning new vocabulary words or memorizing math facts can be overwhelming. Games helps ease learning. If students are needing to practice math facts, rolling 2 dice and adding them together can help students practice and be engaged at the same time. Most of them won't even realize they are learning and practicing math facts. When learning new vocabulary words, a fun Jeopardy game can help students practice reading and reviewing words. 
3. Develop skills- Many games will have your students developing many skills when they play games. Think about Monopoly. When they play, they are learning about money, counting money, reading big numbers, and developing an understanding of life like paying bills. 
4. Improve skills- Games will provide practice with skills. When students practice, they become better at it and improve. Think about baseball. If I play everyday and practice, it will improve my baseball skills.  
5. Motivate students- Students are more motivated to practice a skill by playing a game than doing a worksheet. Students will be more willing to participate and become involved when playing a game.  
6. Engagement- When students play a game, they are engaged so much that they don't even know they are learning or practicing skills. 
7. Challenging- Some games challenge students. Some games use higher level thinking or involve strategies to stay in the game. For example, battleship or chess are games that use strategic thinking. These games are good in keeping the brain focused and learning new strategies by making better moves.

Games in the classroom are proven to improve skills. When students are engaged and involved, their learning goes way up! They will remember more and exercise the brain with much needed skills and strategies.   

In my classroom, I set up a station for games to be taken home to play. I use it the same way they would if they were checking a book out of the classroom library. I take a gallon size plastic baggie and glue the directions on the front of the bag. I provide all material that's needed for the game and put in the baggie like dice, scratch paper, pencils, task cards, gameboard, and game tokens. Students sign a sheet or card letting me know what game they took home and the date they took it home. Once they return the game, they can check out another game. If students like to play a certain game, think about how you can let them take it home to play. 

I have a ton of games that are educational, engaging, and challenging for your students for a variety of classrooms. 
 Snakes and Ladders Snakes and Ladders Vowel Sounds Games
Spelling games are great for the whole class, with partners, or as individuals. Check out the Spelling Games and Centers.
 Spelling Games for the Classroom   Beetle Spelling Game
Phonics Games! These are great for beginning readers.
 CVCE Games  Games for CVCE Words
Super Power Thinking are great for adding and subtracting by 1s and 10s.
These games come in 2 versions:
 Super Power Thinking Add 10 Games  Super Power Thinking
 SuperPower Thinking Games Super Power Thinking Zebra Theme
Dice Games are engaging for students. 
These are great for learning facts.
 Addition Games using Dice Adding 10 Addition Games 
 Multiplication Dice Games Multiplication Games using Factors 4_9
 Spring Games Addition 
 Time Bingo for the Classroom Time Bingo Cards

Here are board games you may like:
Connect 4

Here are games for the classroom:
Coin Counting Game
Bingo Sight Words
Silly Sentence Game
Bananagrams Spelling Game
Addition and Subtraction Bingo

Have fun playing games.
See you soon,

Save Our Earth Recycling Projects

There are many things we can do to save our Earth. Keeping the Earth clean will help all of us in the long run. We know there are some things we should be doing to take that one extra step to do our part. One of those is recycling and reusing. Reusing your household items is easy to do and easy to model good recycling habits in front of our kids. Let's all be superheros and save our Earth! I have a few fun ideas to use in the classroom during Recycling or Save the Earth Week. 
We can reuse many items at home. Here are some ideas that I've done myself:

I turned my tin Coffee Bean powder creamer can into another container that's pretty! I wrapped material around the tin can and glued it. I store my candle votives in it. I also made one for my buttons and I've made a few to give away as gifts! So easy and so needed to reduce these containers in the garbage or landfill.
Next, I turned my spaghetti sauce jars into solar jars for my yard. I love this idea!!! I have these jars all over my backyard. It makes my backyard so pretty at night! (My backyard is pictured below. You can see a few jars around the pool.) All you need are these solar lids to put on the jars. They come in a pack of 6 and fit around regular size Mason jars. This is a great way to recycle your jars of food. Just rinse and clean the jars and put a solar lid on it. Click the link to see the solar lids from Amazon: Solar Lids for Mason Jars
I turned my vitamin plastic jar into a jar for my loose change. It's a good way to show your kids how to save money and also how to reuse items. The wrapper on the plastic jar came off easily and poof, a reusable jar to hold small things like craft items or classroom manipulatives in without it going everywhere. 

 Recycle Project for Students
I wonder what your students could come up with if you gave them an opportunity to turn an item they would normally throw away and turn it into something great and reusable? I have a super easy recycling project idea for kids to do as a homework assignment. Students make the recycle project at home, write a report about it, and present it to the class. All you have to do it print it and explain about it to the students. Here is a FREE template about the recycle project. It explains everything! Click the picture on the left to download the note to parents, a rubric to score students, and writing paper to write the paragraph. 

The students come up with some great ideas! These ideas will inspire other students to start thinking about reducing, reusing, and recycling. This is my favorite project of the year!    

I have a funny book to read during reduce, reuse, and recycle time or anytime of the year. Hopefully your library has it in stock, but if not, here is the link: The Wartville Wizard book
This wizard is sick and tired of people littering in his town. He puts a spell on everyone who litters. If they litter, the litter sticks to them. People in town are upset because they have litter stuck to them. Find out what the people have to do to make the litter unstick so their lives can get back to normal. 

 The Wartville Wizard Sequence
I have a FREE sequence sheet of The Wartville Wizard. I cut the 11 strips apart and glue them to the bottom of a blank piece of paper. After I read the story, the class and I put the story in order by sequencing it . I give 2-3 students a sheet with a sequenced sentence at the bottom. The students illustrate a picture about the sentence. Then I assemble all the sheets in order and staple on the left to make a classbook. I set the classbook in my classroom library and students get to read this story over again and look at the pictures their classmates drew. If you want to learn more about class books, click here

Here are some more recycling books you may want:
Recycle! - book
Why I Should Recycle - book
Stuff! Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle - book

Happy recycling!
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See you soon,