Be sure to check out the other posts in the How To Homeschool For Free series too!
Does your home school schedule include vacation? Are you trying to find ways to keep kids independently entertained? When we are on a break, I let my kids have some online fun that we generally don’t have time for during school days. Here are some links that might keep kids occupied for a while and have them learning at the same time. Most of them are designed for independent playing, but some might require your assistance. The age of your child will also be a factor in how well they can play alone, of course. The last section includes some links and ideas for fun offline, too.
Knowledge Adventure has over 100 online learning games. They have been categorized into different groups based on the age group and grade level. The fun educational games created by Knowledge Adventure games have gained awards and kudos from iParenting Media Award, the Toy Man Award of Excellence and the National Parenting Seal of Approval, to name a few.
PBS Kids offers familiar faces and fun games. Your child might not realize he (she) is playing school when this is the activity. Curious George, Super Why, Clifford, and the Wild Kratts will make learning fun. This has been favorite for all 4 of my older children through the years.
I think I have mentioned Sheppard Software in past posts, but I think it’s worth mentioning again. The games are colorful and simple to understand. They also keep kids’ attention without discouraging them from trying again.
Education Place has six games for students to play that help with speech, language, geography, math and spelling. These are designed to reinforce the lessons that the Houghton Mifflin textbooks contain. They are general enough, though, that any student can play & learn.
Game Classroom has games for language arts and math for grades K-6, which are conveniently sorted according to skill, topic and grade level. There is also a homework help section and an assortment of educational articles covering topics such as kids online safety, homeschool tips, and the top educational iPad apps.
Do you have a student who loves nature and crafts? Check out National Geographic Kids game center and craft corner. There is also a link for NG Little Kids! I was personally impressed by the amount of information & activities available on this website. It looks like one that would hold the attention of a good reader who was interested in nature activities.
For older kids who enjoy role-playing games, Playing History might be of interest. For example, “Argument Wars is a game designed to highlight the role of argumentation and reasoning in civic engagement. Step into the shoes of a lawyer and participate in trials ripped straight out of the history books. In order to win points with the judge, you must analyze your arguments and evidence carefully and be prepared to not only back up yours claims, but to pop your opponent’s bubble when they make a misstep. Can you tip the scales of justice in your favor?” There are quite a few more simulation games, too. I might just try one myself!
Mom’s Minivan has quite a few ideas for keeping kids busy on a road trip. If it isn’t making things out of pipe-cleaners or counting cows, I hope you will find something fun for your family. We’ve consulted this website for several road trips. This mom does have some good ideas, and not just for games to play on the road.
Write and Perform a Play
There is no link for this one. Your kids might be interested in putting on a play for the family. Let them write it and use dress-up clothes for inspiration. Older kids could probably do this without much help, but smaller ones would need a little attention. My girls do this a few times a year and it’s so much fun to see them accomplish something fun and creative.
I came across a blog awhile back with some fun ideas on it. (Thank you, Pinterest!) Rachel Meeks of Small Notebook for a Simple Home tells some of her ideas for keeping things fun for kids of various ages. My favorite was letting the bigger kids have at the family photos and create a slideshow presentation. I know my oldest would love to do that! It would be a present for me in more ways than one. You might explore her website a little more, too, because she has some fantastic ideas for decluttering and living simply.
Education.com has all kinds of great activity ideas for kids that you can do together, or that they can do independently. You can even narrow things down by age or grade level!
Happy Vacation! Get some rest… you deserve it!