Showing posts with label Object Lessons. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Object Lessons. Show all posts

February 19, 2012

Our Top 10 Fun Learning Activities

LOVE these BOYS!

Some days I feel like there are just not enough hours in a day and then other days, the minutes can feel like hours. We like to mix things up with our school lessons and often our days are filled with fun activities, emphasis on ACTIVE. The traditional school mindset in me has to keep fighting the voice that tells me we're not doing enough seat work at the table.

But then I remember why we began homeschooling. It wasn't so we could do busy work or fill out lots and lots of worksheets. Now, personally, I'm a seat-work kinda girl. I love worksheets and writing, printables and lapbooks. I could spend hours quietly sitting and doing school work. All things done at the table...yep, that's me. I love it. But, our boys don't. They'll take it in small doses, but generally, most of their learning happens away from the table, where they can be active and usually loud.     

We love the ability to be flexible with our schedules, being creative and adventurous and following our passions while learning all of the fundamentals along the way. We're ALL for learning our core subjects along with history, science, social studies and art. But we can do most of those things anywhere there's action to be found and a discovery to be made. 

Here is my TOP 10 list of things we're doing with our boys to keep them engaged, learning, challenged and having fun right now.
  1. Scavenger hunts. My boys (I think all boys) love them! Scavenger Hunts can be used for teaching so many different things as well as keeping things fun and interesting. Here's a link to one of our Scavenger Hunts!
  2. Science Experiments. These are so fun and easy to do.We've been doing at least 3 or 4 a week. I also LOVE it when I can teach God's Truth through one of our experiments. Here is an article I wrote about one such experiment that we refer to over and over again and two great Science Experiment books:  We Dare You!: Hundreds of Science Bets, Challenges, and Experiments You Can Do at Home and Naked Eggs and Flying Potatoes: Unforgettable Experiments That Make Science Fun.
  3. Getting outside to explore...and be more intentional about pointing out God's Creation, asking questions as we explore and collect treasures for crafts at home. (great place for a scavenger hunt as well)
  4. More Unit Studies.(here's one we did for little ones about Super Heroes) And this is how we learn with Unit Studies (for all ages).
  5. Go on field trips that pertain to those areas of study. They don't have to be expensive, just planned ahead of time. For instance, we've been working on a unit study about community helpers. This week it's firefighters. So, I am calling our local fire station to plan a tour. We did this a few years ago, but our boys were so little. It was free and the firefighters LOVED the opportunity to talk about safety and show them the firehouse. And at the end, they let the kids get into the trucks and turn on the lights. So cool!!!
  6. My boys think I'm awesome when I show them magic tricks. So I found a couple books and learned some new tricks. Many of them involve science. I do these when we need to switch gears and lighten things up a bit, like when everyone's cranky. You can also learn many easy magic tricks online as well. Some sites even have demonstrations.
  7. Check into their imaginary worlds more often. Instead of ALWAYS using this time for me to get things done or get the next lesson set up, I want to try and spend time checking in, instead of checking out. So, if they're fighting a battle against the gonk droids or the storm troopers from Star Wars, I can perform a stealth maneuver that gets us out of harms way too.
  8. Object Lessons! I love these! They're easy to find online if you google "object lessons for kids" or you can make up your own. All you have to do is gather up some items you already have and create a lesson. Here's an example. I got out a tube of toothpaste and a baking sheet. Then I asked the boys to squirt it all over the baking sheet. I said, "OK, we're going to try and get this toothpaste back into the tube. I gave them some spoons to give it their best shot. They tried all kinds of ways to get it back in. Impossible. The lesson here was that we need to be careful about the things we say to others. We need to treat them with kindness because once the words leave our mouths, they can't be put back in. They totally got it and it was very effective. HERE is a place that lists some great Christian object lessons. And we absolutely LOVE the Family Nights Tool Chest book series for creating some really amazing biblical object lessons. We have several and love every one of them.
  9. Let them create! I want to make it a habit to fill our table with craft supplies and things found around the house that they can create with. I don't do it enough. Usually our crafts are more planned and have an agenda. Let's call it No Agenda Crafting!
  10. Plan fun celebration parties. My boys LOVE a reason to celebrate. So do I. The anticipation and planning of something simple is fun. I REALLY like this Everyday Holiday Calendar for ideas to celebrate real holidays, famous birthdays, historical events and funny things like Banana Split Day!We even create mini Unit Studies around the lesser known holidays.
OK, so I'm throwing in a few more that I just can't leave off the list because these, too, are goals: 
  • I want to read more stories together that include real life heroes and leaders, full of good and moral character traits.
  • Play more games with them.
  • Use conversation starters during meal times to learn more about one another and open up their hearts. We've done this before and I was amazed at the wonderful conversations we had. I'll be pulling these out again.
I'd love to hear what educational, fun and engaging ideas you have for spurring on your kids' love for learning. Leave me a comment about what you do.  
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