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For Educators

At-Home Activities for Young Learners

Posted by Jed Norris
Director of Farm Based Youth Programs


To quote a great meme I saw recently, “Wow what a year this past week has been.” 

The silver lining I’ve found in our current situation is that I get to spend more time with my kids. Schools are doing an amazing job getting materials ready to send home, and it’s true, you might have to step in as the math teacher occasionally. But for a big part of the day, you’re still a parent, so it’s ok to have a pillow fight, build a fort outside or inside, or read a book during their usual math time. 

As we’re all trying to adapt to more time at home, I’ve been compiling some fun ideas for you to do with your family. Kids are going to remember less about the coronavirus and more about how their parents reacted to it, so try to take breaks from at-home work, put the computer on sleep mode, and organize your day to play and be joyful with your family.

Offline Activities

Fort Building: We all built sheet forts as kids or went outside and built a fort outside in a forest with found materials. Join in the fun, bring some paper and sketch out an idea, be flexible, problem solve, and then sit inside and have some hot cocoa to share after you’re finished.

Boat Challenge: Fill up a sink, break out the recycling, find some pennies, and see if you can build a boat that holds 10 pennies, now 20, now 100...

Birding: The birds are moving back and filling the forest with songs. Snag a journal, use your voice memo to record their sounds, and when you return home use the web to figure out which bird was calling.

Mud Lab/Kitchen: The weather is starting to warm up, and we have plenty of sticks on the ground for mixing up MUD. Bring out some containers, pull together a box or milk crate for an oven, and get ready for some muddy experiments. Lots of discussions can be had around the consistency of mud, measuring, and foraging — a perfect place for some dramatic play.

Read Lots of Books: Find a couch and spend some solid time reading a book. Have kids old enough for chapter books try pausing every now and then, and ask them to write or draw what they think might happen next. Or, have them draw while you read.

Online Activities

Lunch Doodles: With Mo Willems everyday at 1:00PM. Mo will release a new clip with a doodle. Get some paper and markers and get ready to start your drawing. Pass the paper back and forth so everyone can add a new drawing. Hang it up, name it, and create a gallery.

Virtual Tours: Twelve world-class tours from museums all over the world.

PBSkids: The website for children's programming aired by the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) in the United States.

National Geographic Kids: Child-focused resources about animals, science, history, people and places from around the world from The National Geographic Society.

Storytime From Space: Videos of astronauts reading STEM themed books from the International Space Station brought to you by the non-profit Storytime From Space.

A Children's Guide to Folklore and Wonder Tales: Dr. Hannah Blevins Harvey treats you to dynamic, theatrical, and engaging tellings of cherished tales from around the world through a 12-hour video course at The Great Courses, which you can access with a free trial.

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