Although learning is fun and Sonlight is a wonderfully delightful way to homeschool, there are times when you or your kids get in a rut. On those days when motivation is waning or bad attitudes are cropping up, a small change of pace can make a huge positive impact. Here are three outside-the-box learning activities our family has used over the years to spice up our homeschool day with a bit of fun. Surprise your kids with one of these activities this week!
1. Dollar Words
For Spelling, Vocabulary, and Math
Virtually No Prep
The rule for creating dollar words is that each letter in the alphabet is assigned an increasing monetary value, with the letter A worth $.01 and Z worth $.26.
The goal is to come up with as many words as you can that are worth exactly $1.00. I write all the letters and their corresponding values at the top of a whiteboard, and then we all write dollar words in the space below.
If your family likes a healthy dose of competition, have a contest to see who can come up with the most dollar words in a certain amount of time. Or just leave things low-key with nothing but curiosity satisfied as you see how many dollar words your kids can think of.
2. Gallon House
For Math and Life Skills
Virtually No Prep
If someone is struggling to keep liquid measurements straight, drawing a gallon house can be really helpful. The house itself is shaped like a G for gallon, with a roof added to the top. The four windows, each in the shape of a Q, symbolize quarts. The quart windows have two people in them, each one a P that represents pints. Each pint person has two eyes shaped like a C for cups. Now you have a visual representation of liquid measurements!
- 4 quarts in a gallon
- 2 pints in a quart
- 2 cups in a pint
You may want to hang your gallon house on the wall as a reference or tape it inside the cover of a math book for easy access. If your kids enjoy drawing, let them embellish their gallon houses by adding landscaping and other scenery.
3. Lava Suckers
Most young kids are intrigued by volcanoes and have a sweet tooth; lava suckers are a fun way to combine both. Kids grasp the concept of liquid and solid forms of lava when they make hard candy.
- molten rock is represented by the hot lollipop mixture on the stove
- igneous rock is represented by the hardened lollipops cooling on the counter
Homemade lollipops have just a few basic ingredients and are simple to make. Do an online search for a recipe, buy some lollipop sticks at your local department store or online, and grab whatever flavoring sounds good to you. If you want to kick things up a notch, you can use candy molds, but placing the sticks on waxed paper and pouring the candy mixture directly on them in little rounds works just fine.
Keep Learning Fun
The primary purpose of each of these activities is to inject fun into your day while reinforcing educational concepts, so be sure to talk with your kids about what they’re learning. If your kids seem extra curious, pull out a reference book for further study.
At the same time, remember that just because something is educational doesn’t mean it can’t simply be fun. Kids will learn something from all three of these activities even if you don’t spend a bunch of time talking about the concepts behind them. Sometimes the best way to learn something is to tone down the academic talk and ramp up the fun factor.