Found yourself suddenly thrust into the role of homeschooler thanks to Coronavirus? Looking for some simple and fun learning ideas for learning from home? Let me see what I can do for you.
So here’s the thing.
As a teacher, I don’t expect you to replicate the classroom in your home during these strange and confusing times. I would hope that you’re all just loving hard on your littles but it’s a weird one to balance, isn’t it? I’m ALL FOR giving kids the space to get bored. But I also find it useful to have some ideas to fall back on when my kids apparently lose all ability to think up an activity for themselves and are climbing up the walls.
Trying to maintain normalcy in times that are wack seems near-impossible. So don’t go too hard on yourself if your *lessons* don’t turn out as planned. The ideas for learning from home outlined from here are all open-ended. Don’t be rigid and go with the flow. You never know where it will take you.
Process not product, people!
To make things easier, click here for a printable A4 version of Teacher-Approved Ideas for Learning From Home. Stick it on the fridge!
Start a virtual book club with school mates
Okay if we try and be positive and look for some silver linings, imagine all the books our kids can enjoy during this time.
Missing friends and social isolation is a big worry for our little ones. Rally a group of schoolmates and meet up via FaceTime, Skype or Zoom and discuss the books that are being enjoyed at each home. You could structure each call with a guiding question like “Who was your favourite character and why?” “Tell us about your favourite part of the story.”
Maybe you could use my Book Scavenger Hunt (developed for Book Week a few years ago) as a way to thematically organise each call. For example, “This week we’re going to find all the books about Dinosaurs on our shelves. We will share our favourite Dinosaur book when we call each other.”
And for all those books you’re going to read, how about some of these awesome origami book marks from my friend Maggy at Red Ted Art?
Get out all the board games or design your own
Board games are a totally under-rated way for families to slow down and connect. They also give children a fab chance to practise turn-taking, winning and losing. Take an audit of the board games in the cupboard and pull one out every now and then.
We had so much fun designing these designing these Halloween board games. Designing a board game is such an excellent design and make experience for children.
Set up an imaginary restaurant. Holy moly all the writing practice a child will get playing a waiter or waitress! All that vocab development as you construct a menu. See how such a simple set-up is infused with authentic learning opportunities?
Choose a teddy and plan a birthday party for him or her. Write invitations. Plan the party food. Peruse catalogues or supermarket websites and write a shopping list. Calculate your budget. Create decorations. What parts of the syllabus have we covered here? Writing for different purposes and contexts. Letter-sound relationships. Reading for a purpose. Money. Number. Addition. Subtraction. Learning disguised as play? My favourite.
Play dough is always a winner here. Set up a bakery. Or make some tea party small worlds.
Design and Create an Indoor City
Cardboard boxes are the best. Set some out with some markers and challenge your child to create a city.
Like this pretend play pet tank from the genius that is Amanda at barley and birch?.
Maybe you could create a map of your home?
Just Add Water
This is one of my parenting mantras. When everybody seems to be residing in Cranky City or Tantrum Town, I offer a bath.
If I’m in dire straits, I add lavender oil to the bath water to calm the farm.
If you have cornflour and food colouring in the pantry, you could make bath paint.
Create Something Inspired by a Book
You know that teaming reading with creating is my jam, right?
Grab my free printable of how I set up a READ + CREATE experience with my kids.
If you sign up to my newsletter, you’ll receive a free guide filled with READ + CREATE ideas.
Follow my friend Julie on Instagram. She is an early years teacher in Wales who does amazing book-based art with her students.
I’m lucky to have so many creative lady friends. Cara from hello, moonpie has gloriously colourful bookish art projects too.
Here’s a gorgeous book-inspired mixed media collage from my friend Lisa at The Art Garden. Or how about this whimsical salt dough nests?
Listen to podcasts
I predict I’m going to get very sick of hearing my own voice soon.
Podcasts are a great way to pour vocab and stories into the ears of your children.
Here in Australia, we love the podcasts on offer from ABC4Kids. (I’m not sure if my overseas friends can access these. Sorry!)
I’m looking forward to introducing my kids to David Walliams Marvellous Musical Podcast.
Write a letter to a friend
Write an old-fashioned letter to a friend. Take a few snaps of it and send it via the Interwebs for instant connection and easy writing practice. Or try your hand at some of these cool pop-up cards from Maggy at Red Ted Art?
Go on a virtual excursion
The borders of the world may be shutting down but the world is opening up virtually.
Many zoos around the world offer live streams of certain enclosures.
The Royal Opera House is launching a free program of content for the culturally curious.
My friend Hana runs the Curious Wanderers Society– it’s chock-a-block filled with resources to explore the world from home.
Lastly, what do you do when the proverbial poo hits the fan?
Channel your inner Lady Gaga and “Just dance, gonna be okay.”
Turn the music up and DANCE. (My husband attempted to introduce my kids to rave music this morning. They were not impressed.)
Here’s a super fun activity that teams music with painting.
And finally, you might need some ideas for crafting with paper loo rolls. Here’s 79 ideas for paper roll crafts from Maggy at Red Ted Art.
If you try any of these ideas for learning from home, let me know on social media! I’m @ohcreativeday on FB and Insta.