Being together as a family is an important part of life. Whether it’s an evening at home, days that you become homebound or days that consist of being at home with your children all day, having simple, yet fun activities for families at home is important.
As a mother of four children who homeschools, I find myself looking for creative ideas to nurture a love of learning in the environment around the children. I believe that children need a lot of time to be free, creative and resourceful with their imaginations.
In raising our children, I try to give them a world focused on experiences, such as time with family and friends and a lot of time spent in nature. Growing up as a child, my fondest memories never involved material possessions. The memories I love most are the days spent with grandparents, time spent walking through the woods, swinging on a swing and long talks on the porch with friends.
Listed below are creative ideas for fostering a love of learning and time with family that children will remember for years to come. Some of these activities are ideas that families can do together, and some are things the children can do for themselves.
Tips for Teaching Your Children at Home
Creating a world of learning for your children does not need to involve sit-down bookwork or a lot of money for buying items for projects to do together. The world around us supplies learning experiences each day, in some way, and these are a few my favorite ways to encourage learning for our children.
Nature Journals Give each child a notebook, and have them begin gathering leaves, flowers, or other bits of nature that they put inside of their nature journal. Then, help them name what they have gathered and label each one. There are many times that I am unsure of the names, but I find that using my local conservation departments online resources helps us name the local wildflowers and trees in our state.
Scavenger Hunt Children of all ages love scavenger hunts. You can make your own scavenger hunt list or print one from online. Give each child a small sack, their list and a pencil. This is a great activity to get them outside and looking at the world around them as they find the items on the list.
Bird Watching In our home, we do a lot of bird watching. The birds gather at the feeders, nest in our trees and even come on to our porch. Give children crayons or colored pencils and have them draw the birds that they see. Then, try to name each one. Again, there are many online resources for naming birds and even some sites that allow you to hear the sound each one makes.
Virtual Fieldtrips Many online zoos and museums offer free online virtual fieldtrips. This is a great way for children to see the world outside of where they live and to learn about a wide array of other interesting things.
Bake Together Having children involved in the kitchen fosters their love of learning and math. In our home, this has become one of the quickest ways to teach our children about fractions and learning to follow directions. In the end, they create something that they love to eat and can be proud of their accomplishments.
Reading Set time aside each day for a time of reading. In our home, I keep fictional books, biographies, science books, and even conservation magazines out for the children to read. Another great possibility are audibooks. There are many online options for listening to books, or audiobooks can be borrowed from a local library.
Fun Family Activities to do at Home
In our home, we value family time. We spend a lot of time at home together, working together and playing together. There are some activities that we all do together and there are other activities that are for the children. Here are a few of my favorite family activities.
Family Pizza Night Family pizza night is an important night in our family, and everyone knows that Friday night is specifically set aside for pizza. Some nights, I cook pizza crust from scratch and allow everyone to build their own pizza. But a lot of times, I buy pre-made pizzas and we cook them at home. It has become a simple tradition that everyone looks forward to.
Family Game Night Game nights are a lot of fun for families. What you choose to play will depend on the age of your children. Young children enjoy matching games and simple board games that do not involve a lot of instruction or reading. As children get older, the games can become more difficult and complex. In our home, we play card games every night before bedtime.
Seasonal Activities Spring, summer, winter and fall all offer seasonal activities that families can spend time working on together. In the spring, starts garden seeds indoors and then transplant them to a garden outside. In the summer, enjoy late evenings catching fireflies or watching stars in the sky. In the fall, enjoy bonfires and roasting marshmallows together. Winter is the season to be warm and cozy inside, but if you get snow, head outside and build a snowman together. Each season offers something special that families can enjoy together.
Keep it Simple I have personally found in our home that keeping life simple is the best for children. Offer children boxes, empty paper towel rolls, some tape and a space to create. I have always been amazed at what the children will create and how many hours this will keep them busy. Another choice is to give children blankets and pillows to build forts inside the home. Our children will each create their own space and spend hours playing in their forts.
The world around us and our children supplies everyday learning experiences. I hope that this list helps you come up with creative, yet simple and practical ideas for spending time at home with your families!