My son is now a kindergartener and we’ve decided to homeschool him this year, at least until after we see how 2021 looks. It’s a familiar territory for us, since I made a point of starting early learning with him since he was a baby and homeschooled him for Pre-K 3. The entire idea of homeschooling is something that used to make my brow furrow until I had a child of my own and began practicing it . . . and it’s now something my son and I both love and truly value.
I’ve learned a secret to homeschooling that has helped demystify it and make it more approachable for both parents and kids: homeschooling lessons don’t always have to be formally organized, Pinterest-perfect projects to be effective.
The activities we do together are not always structured but they all have one common theme: they are based in fun! As Mister Rogers always taught us, children learn through play. Play is their job . . . it’s their way of finding out about the world around them and experiencing every new life skill in their sweet and fun-loving way. Oftentimes, my son just thinks we are playing when he is in fact learning a basic foundation of early childhood education.
- is appropriate for his age
- meets his educational needs
- matches his personality and interests
I’ve put together this list of 100 of my favorite homeschooling activities to spark inspiration for other parents of young children. While we do use textbooks and worksheets, this is a list of fun, creative DIY homeschool activities that kids can do with their parents. It’s a combination of my own ideas, things I’ve done in my youth, and adaptations of ideas I’ve collected in my research. The best thing about this list is that I’ve categorized it by the subjects covered in preschool and kindergarten curriculums, making it easy for you to select activities based on your child’s educational needs. Most of the activities are appropriate for young toddlers through first grade students, but many can be adapted for any specific age.
- Remember that play is learning!
- These ideas and other homeschooling activities are “sparks of inspiration” that you should adapt to your child’s age, learning style, and interests.
- Remember that kids can learn and retain a lot more and a lot earlier than you think! It doesn’t have to be an advanced lesson about a subject for them to retain the basic information that sets them up for success.
- Homeschooling lessons don’t only have to be at home! Field trips outdoors provide great science lessons and even trips to the grocery store can teach kids about basic math.
- Rewards (which don’t have to be monetary) are incentives and make children really feel special.
- Stock up on supplies like paper, crayons, markers, colored pencils, paints, Play-doh, safety scissors, gluesticks, tape, toothpicks, paper plates, paper cups, and plastic condiment cups. And save things like paper towel rolls!
- Remember that neither you nor your children need to be Pinterest-perfect! (Louder for the influencers in the back! 😉 )
3. Paper Plush Friends: Draw a character or choose one from a coloring book and cut it out while placing a plain sheet of paper behind it (to double the cutout.) Attach the two cutouts together by taping around the edges until 3/4 of the way closed (so it has a pocket opening.) Stuff the paper pocket with cotton balls and then tape the pocket closed for a puffy 3-D character!
8. Three crayon challenge — child chooses three markers or crayons while closing his or her eyes and then creates a picture using just those colors…then try mixing the colors to see what they create.
9. Tissue paper art in the style of author Eric Carle
10. Parent draws a few random lines and shapes, kids use their imagination to turn it into a picture
11. Create a rainbow out of fruits and vegetables for a yummy snack
12. Look at pictures of your child’s favorite characters and talk about what foods are the same colors as the character. Shop for or gather up those colorful foods and create character food art together.
FINE MOTOR SKILLS & SENSORY
26. Fingerprint in the kitchen with various textures like tomato paste or frosting
35. Hidden letters: Use white crayon to draw “invisible” letters and words on white paper. Kids can then use water colors to paint over the secret messages and reveal the letters and words!
36. Alphabet Bingo
38. Paste objects or pictures from magazines that start with a letter on a piece of paper shaped like that letter (for example, glue feathers on a piece of paper shaped like F)
VOCABULARY / READING
48. Circle sight words as you read a book together
50. Read & Create: Read a story together followed by a Craft related to the story (for example The Very Hungry Caterpillar and a paper chain caterpillar or Curious George and a paper plate monkey)
THE WORLD AROUND US
66. Sing Days of the Week song and practice writing the name of each day
70. Make four seasonal trees in a row and have child paste seasonal clipart beneath each row that corresponds with the correct season.
77. Practice writing home info and talk about street, town, county, state and country.
80. Make American flag toast with cream cheese and/or bananas, blueberries, and strawberries/raspberries!
81. Visit the grocery store and take a “produce tour” to learn about where various vegetables and fruits grow. Purchase a few and research their crop when you’re eating them at home!
90. Make a solar system mobile with a hanger a, string, and several painted styrofoam balls.
MUSIC & PERFORMING ARTS
98. Make music with glasses filled with various amounts of water