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Simple Homeschool Activities To Make Learning Fun
Sabrina, mother and teacher from Play of the Wild, shares her favourite homeschool activities and tips to help parents home school their children whilst the schools are closed in the UK – and make learning at home more fun!
For the last month, our family, like many others across the world, have been trying to home school our small children. While it is nice to have lots of quality time with children while they are little, it can also be a challenge to try to teach them whilst also having to work.
I am lucky to have taught EYFS and KS1 for a number of years and would like to share some simple homeschool activities to make learning at home fun. Most of these homeschool activities can be done at different levels depending on the child’s stage (they might be ready for mark-making, beginning to write letters, or even to write words or sentences).
Keep in mind that it is a stressful time for everyone, so make sure that you make things as easy on yourself and your children as possible. Don’t feel the need to push them to do something if things aren’t working. You can always go back to it later or try doing it a different way.
If you want to do some slightly messy homeschooling activities, then you may want to have a tuff tray or tray to help keep the mess contained, whilst also letting your children explore, play and learn. Old clothes and puddles suits work well for keeping children from getting too messy. Also, if you would like your children to play a little more independently, then open-ended homeschool activities where children can explore and build with blocks and other loose parts is always a good option.
Writing & Mark Making Activities at Home
Outdoor Chalk Fun
Children can enjoy writing on the pavement and making marks using large chalk.
Painting on large surfaces is a great way to prepare children for writing. This activity can be done on a large piece of paper on the floor, put up on an easel or against the wall – I also let my children paint on a tuff spot positioned upright or else down on the ground.
Sand & Glitter Writing
Writing in sand or glitter is a lovely way for children to make marks or practice writing letters. Many children enjoy the sensation, and as it is not permanent, they are often less worried about making mistakes.
Developing the pincer grasp is essential for children to be able to hold a pencil. Learning to use scissors, tweezers and droppers is a fun way to develop the pincer grasp. Children can cut up things like paper or leaves to practice scissor skills; they may pick up small objects with tweezers or do fun science experiments with vinegar and bicarbonate of soda using droppers.
Play Dough Activities
Playing with play-doh and plasticine is a fantastic way to build strength for writing. Children can roll it and cut it, mould it into cakes, carve it, cut it, stamp it, add loose parts into it, and much more.
Reading Activities at Home
Spelling & Reading Games
Spelling and reading games such as Alphabet Lotto, Match and Spell and Pass the Word all are excellent options for children to learn letters and simple words. They also provide practice in decoding for reading and to segment for spelling (depending on their age). I like using the letters from these games to make my own games. For example, if my son needs to get some energy out, I put out some letters and then say the letter’s sound or the letter name. His task is to run across the room to find the letter, and then run back and put it in a basket.
Reading books together is a beautiful activity and also helps develop vocabulary and reading skills.
Learning High-Frequency Words
Children can practice reading high-frequency words or use them to make simple sentences (for example, either you or they could move around cut out words to create a sentence).
Maths Activities at Home
Puzzles are a great homeschool activity for developing problem-solving skills as well as building hand-eye coordination.
Number games can help children to learn to play cooperatively, follow the rules and take turns. One of our favourite maths games to play during the lockdown had been the Game of Ladybirds. It is great for helping children to learn to subitize.
Children love collecting objects. Getting children to count and match them to numerals is a great way to practice counting and to learn the value of numbers. You could also encourage them to count other things they are playing with, such as blocks on towers or their teddy bears.
Science Activities at Home
Gardening is a lovely way to develop scientific knowledge and skills. Children will learn about what plants need to grow and thrive and how to care for living things. Children can benefit from growing just a few plants in your windowsill or pots on your balcony. You can also try growing plants from seeds, bulbs and cuttings to help them learn about different forms of plant reproduction.
Baking together is a fun (and yummy) way to explore chemical changes.
Experiments with bicarbonate of soda and vinegar or citric acid are a fun and safe way to explore chemical reactions.
Children can go on minibeast hunts around the garden to observe where they live and what they eat.
Sensory Play Activities at Home
If you are interested in doing some sensory play activities at home, then these are some great potential options:
I hope these homeschool activities will give you some learning and play ideas that will help you get through homeschooling until the schools open again.
The most important for young children is to help children enjoy and love learning. Good luck!
Sabrina is a mother and teacher who is passionate about providing children with the opportunity to play and learn, particularly in the outdoors. She is currently taking a break from teaching to raise her children but has created the website, playofthewild.com to help parents and teachers provide learning opportunities through play, gardening, and the outdoors. As well as teaching in EYFS and KS1, she was also her school’s science coordinator and helped developed a gardening based curriculum for KS1 and KS2.