If your house is like mine, it can be seriously stressful to get your kids to sit still and concentrate. I used to fight it. By the end of the day I was tired and frustrated, they were tired and frustrated, and very little work actually got done. Now, I choose not to fight it. Instead, I get creatively crazy and make learning fun for bodies that need to move. These activities that will get hands-on learners engaged.
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Ball Pit Math
This is a family favorite at our house. We have a very large bag of ball pit balls that we keep in our closet. Sometimes we put them in a plastic kiddie pool. However, sometimes we just spill the bag onto the living room floor and have some learning fun. We do all sorts of fun math activities with the balls.
- Sort the balls by color
- Make large dot-to-dot shapes with the balls and pool noodles
- Graph how many balls everyone can hold in their shirts
- Graph how many balls everyone can juggle
- Add/ subtract using the balls as visual ques
- Visualize multiplication by grouping the balls
- Visualize division by dividing some balls among everyone
- Make a large graph on the floor with painter’s tape. Use the balls as the points on a grid and walk out the coordinates
Inside Snow Fun
When its cold outside and everyone seems to be bouncing off the walls, I get a little crazy and bring that white stuff right on into the house. In fact, I have a large plastic table clothe in our hall closet for just such craziness. We gather the snow into pans and bring it onto the table clothe.
For a fun math lesson add measuring cups, dishes and rulers to work on measurement. To have a little bit of art fun, try building mini snowmen, igloos, and other snow creations. Its always fun to try and guess what everyone has created. As the snow melts, you can add a little lesson about the states of matter. If your kids are at that stage, you can also have them practice writing letters and numbers in the snow.
Dance, Dance, Memory Game
When you have boring factoids of information to learn, why not take the dull out of learning them with a dance party? That’s right, a dance party. Turn on your kids favorite music, and start to dance. Then after a bit, pause the music and shout out a factoid like 4+4= or “What is the capital of Vermont?” The first person to answer correctly gets to choose the next dance move. Turn the music back on so everyone can get their groove on with the chosen dance move. This is repeated for as long as you have factoids to memorize or you literally drop from musical exhaustion.
Swat the Answer
This is fun for little ones. I am not so sure I would try this with my older kids or I might end up with holes in my walls. This could be modified for outdoor use if you use a squirt gun instead of a fly swatter. Then the older kids could get in the game too.
What you will need to do to get this set up is make a graph with painter’s tape on the wall. Inside each square, tape the answers to a predetermined set of questions. Arm your kiddo with a fly swatter or a squirt gun and start asking questions. Each participant will smack or squirt the correct answer on the grid. This can be played in teams if you have lots of players.
Scavenger Hunt Worksheet
Take that boring worksheet and cut it up. Well at least cut it up with a purpose. You may want to make a copy of the worksheet if this is something your kids will have to hand in. Place each question into an envelope and hide it somewhere in the house. Then in good scavenger hunt fashion, have your kids find the questions. They must answer that question before moving on to the next. Trust me. When your kids witness you cutting up their worksheet, you will have their attention.
In similar fashion to the scavenger hunt, you will be cutting up the worksheet. But, this time your kids will get the fun of cutting it up. Please make a copy first if this is something they will have to hand in. Have your kids put the worksheet back together and as they do, they can begin to answer the questions. This will provide a little fun brain break, and sometimes that is all that is needed to get the brain to concentrate.
Do your kids need to get their bodies moving in order to get their brains to function? You might want to try these activities that will get hands-on learners engaged. They are sure to get your kids’ attention.