Kids love crafts (and many grown-ups do too). Sites like Pinterest are full of craft ideas for kids, but sometimes you don’t feel like wading through all of the pins. When you’re short on time or aren’t quite sure what you’re looking for, there are plenty of craft sites ready to help you out. Whether you want to celebrate National Craft Month in March, find a craft to go along with a lesson, or just do a craft with the kids, we’ve rounded up a collection of the best craft sites to help you find the perfect craft for kids. With over 50 kid-friendly resources, you’ll be getting crafty in no time!
Many craft sites cover all subjects and seasons. These are some of our favorites both for the amount of craft ideas they offer and the quality of the ideas they provide.
Red Ted Art’s motto is “Bringing Color & Art to Children’s Hearts.” This site is full or really neat ideas to encourage children to develop their creative side. Crafts are organized by category and range from making gifts to designing your own board games.
Busy Bee Kids Crafts organizes its craft ideas by time of year, category, and material. For example, if you have a wealth of empty toilet paper tubes, you can see a list of crafts that will help you use them up.
Enchanted Learning’s crafts section includes craft ideas for nearly every holiday and category. The crafts include a mix of printables and simple paper-based crafts. Most are appropriate for preschool and early elementary school.
DLTK’s Crafts for Kids is another quintessential crafts site, with a large selection of crafts for preschool and early elementary school. One section of the site is entirely devoted to printable crafts, which are ideal for those who want simple crafts with little mess.
First Palette includes a large selection of crafts searchable by theme, occasion, and age. Crafts range from toddler to ages 9 and up. While the site does have some printable crafts, many are slightly more involved crafts that will require grown-up participation.
Crayola has a great selection of crafts that can be made with Crayola projects. You can filter by age (12 months-12+ years), category, and color.
Storybook Crafts and Favorite Characters
Younger kids love to create crafts related to their favorite stories and characters. These sites take some of the most popular picture books and cartoon characters and pair them with great crafts for kids.
Kids Activities Blog has gathered up 100 crafts inspired by children’s books. These include crafts from books such as The Very Hungry Caterpillar and Knuffle Bunny.
No Time for Flashcards features a list of 25 books with crafts to match. Find a book you want to read with young kids and a relevant craft beside it. It can’t get much easier than that.
The Picture Book Professor offers many holiday and seasonal booklists that are accompanied by relevant crafts for kids.
PBS Kids crafts for kids page features crafts for many of kids’ favorite PBS shows, such as Peg+Cat, Sesame Street, and Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood. Many of the crafts are involved and require grown-up participation.
Disney Family offers many different craft ideas featuring favorite Disney characters. Many of the crafts are designed to be completed by families, which means they have steps that will be difficult for little kids.
Bible crafts can help kids learn more about key events and lessons in the Bible. These sites are perfect for Christian homeschoolers, Sunday school teachers, and parents who want to bring Bible lessons into the home.
DLTK’s Bible Crafts features a large selection of craft ideas organized by animals, general Bible crafts, Old Testament crafts, and New Testament crafts. Their offerings include printable crafts and many crafts that use items found around your home.
Danielle’s Place offers a massive selection of Bible stories and crafts for kids. Crafts are organized alphabetically by story. Each story is also accompanied by fun games.
Christian Preschool Printables focuses on easy-to-use printable crafts for kids. Crafts are organized by Old Testament, New Testament, and Holidays.
Meaningful Mama created a list of 100 Best Bible Crafts for Kids. The crafts are organized by major stories in the Bible.
With these edible crafts, you can have your crafts and eat them too. These sites offer crafts for a range of ages, from young kids who like to play with their food to older kids who are starting experiments in the kitchen.
Edible Crafts includes a large assortment of edible crafts for kids and adults. Many of the crafts are focused on special occasions.
Kinder Art shares a solid collection of recipes and edible crafts for kids. Many are simple enough to made by younger kids, with some grown-up supervision.
Cute Food for Kids features many neat ideas to help parents make kids’ food playful and fun. While many of these ideas are designed for parents, kids can help with the process.
Imperial Sugar offers many edible art projects that incorporate sugar and also includes fun science experiments as well.
Fun Family Crafts has an extensive archive of edible crafts, including some inspired by kids’ favorite movies.
Science and Nature Crafts
Science and nature crafts are a great way to get kids to have fun while learning more about the world around them. These sites include crafts made from materials found in nature and science experiments to help kids learn more about the world of science.
Tinkerlab features a variety of crafts and other projects designed to get kids thinking. Its offerings include many crafts related to science and nature that are great for upper elementary school.
Science Kids offers many fun science experiments and crafts designed to help kids learn more about how the world works. Ideas range from making eggs float to building parachutes.
The Craft Crow features crafts designed to help kids learn about science while being creative as well. Many of the activities repurpose the same materials in multiple ways.
32 Awesome Things to Make with Nature from Buzzfeed is full of clever craft ideas. While many of the ideas are designed for adults, they can easily be adapted to be fun for kids too.
Activity Village offers a nice selection of crafts designed to be used with leaves, pine cones, and other easy-to-find objects from nature. Many crafts can be enjoyed by younger kids too.
Rather than wasting paper and other items, why not make crafts from items you can find around your home? Kids can have fun and help save the environment at the same time.
Education.com’s Recycled Crafts section includes tons of craft ideas, from using old Christmas lights to creating a classic tin can phone.
Fave Crafts shares its list of 1000+ Recycled Crafts. This extensive list features crafts for both kids and adults and all of them use recycled items.
Planetpals is all about saving the Earth and it continues its mission through its collection of recycled crafts for kids.
Sometimes right-brained students have a hard time grasping math. Bringing craft projects into the math classroom can help students grasp difficult concepts in fun ways.
Lalymom offers a list of 20 different math activities activities that all use the same main material – craft sticks! These activities are designed for preschool and early elementary school and help kids learn a range of basic math skills.
Nurture Store created a list of 100 hands-on, creative math activities for kids. Many of the items on the lists are crafts kids can complete. Activities are organized by skill, such as addition and subtraction and learning symmetry.
Artsy Craftsy Mom shows 15 different mesmerizing crafts that also integrate Math. Ideas include tessellations and colorful Fibonacci sequences.
We Are Teachers shares a list of 9 math art projects designed to help students love math. Ideas include musical fractions and place value pictures.
Social Studies Crafts
Craft projects can help kids experience the time period or event they’re learning about. Many of these sites offer projects that allow kids to make replicas of toys and tools found in history.
The Crafty Cow is an arts and crafts website for kids and they feature a lot of easy to make crafts that will help you teach history at the same time.
A Book in Time includes many resources for teaching social studies, including pages of crafts and projects organized by periods in American and world history.
Quatr.us offers a “What Should I Do Today?” section with a variety of social studies crafts. The site also has tons of articles on many different social studies topics.
Gifts for Others
Rather than spending tons of money on holiday gifts, why not have kids make gifts for friends and family? These sites offer some great handmade gift ideas.
FreeKidsCrafts.com has over 10 pages of crafts that kids can make as gifts for others. Ideas range from candy towers to glittery acorn necklaces. Many ideas are great for upper elementary and middle school.
101 DIY Gifts for Kids from Kids Activities Blog includes a large selection of ideas for both kids and parents to make.
101 Crafty Gifts to Make from Instructables is a list designed for adults, but many of the ideas could easily be made by older kids and teens as well.
40 Useful Gifts Kids Can Make is full of great crafty gift ideas. It includes gift such as handprint aprons and handmade bowls. Many will require help from a grown-up.
101 Handmade Gift Ideas Kids and Families Can Make from the Artful Parent is a great collection of crafty ideas. The crafts are organized by gift type, such as art gift, gifts for play, and gifts for the home.
Coloring Pages and Cut-Outs
Sometimes instead of making fancy crafts, kids just like to color. Pick up cheap coloring books at the dollar store or print them out from these sites.
KidsKonnect has dozens of free printable coloring pages for kids.
Coloring.ws from DLTK is full of simple coloring pages organized by category and holiday. Print them out and let kids color away.
Crayola offers many free coloring pages, including pages featuring some of kids’ favorite characters, such as the Disney Princesses.
Educational Coloring Pages has thousands of coloring pages for kids featuring their favorite cartoon characters.
HelpTeaching.com’s Early Education printables feature coloring pages designed to help preschoolers learn their letters and numbers.
Craft Kits and Subscriptions
If even searching for craft ideas for kids is too much work, consider getting a subscription to a craft box or purchasing a craft kit.
Kiwi Crate is a monthly subscription box that includes a different craft or maker project each month. It is designed for children ages 5-8, but the company offers other boxes for kids from ages 3-16.
Green Kid Crafts features monthly subscription kits for kids ages 3-10. Each kit is focused around a different educational theme and comes with STEAM activities for kids.
Bramble Box is a pretend play and craft kit that is delivered to your door monthly. Kids will enjoy exploring and reading about a monthly theme, and then creating a craft related to it. Many themes relate to math, science, and social studies, so it’s educational too!
Science Buddies sells kits to help kids learn about science while making their own fun toys, such as vibrating robots and a magic bullet train.
Oriental Trading is known for its pre-made crafts for kits. Many of the kits come in multi-packs, which makes them great for play dates or classroom craft time.
Tips for Crafting with Kids
Before you start a craft project with kids, keep these tips in mind.
- Gather all of your materials in advance
The kids will be ready to get started right away, so you want to make sure you have everything ready to go.
- Be patient and flexible
It may take kids a long time to complete a step and they may not do it perfectly, but you need to step back and let them craft their own way and at their own pace. If their snowman comes out looking for like a snowball, who cares?
- Prepare for the worst
Crafts are designed to be messy. Cover your dining room table, put newspaper or plastic on the floor, and let kids wear a large paint shirt so you’re not as worried about the mess.
- Have fun
Why let your kids have all the fun? Summon your inner-child and have some fun getting messy and making the crafts with them.
Do you have a go-to craft site or a great craft idea with kids? How about tips for parents and teachers taking on a big craft project? We’d love if you shared it with us.
November 11-15 2024 is Geography Awareness Week.
Geography is an integral part of any Social Studies class. Making connections between a region’s geographic features and its history and culture can broaden students’ understanding of history. Some facts about geography will not only add flavor to a social studies unit but will also wow the students with unexpected answers and fun visuals.
Did you know…
#1. The smallest country in the world is Vatican City at only 0.2 square miles. The headquarters of the Catholic Church is located entirely in the city of Rome. Vatican City isn’t just the smallest country in land area, it is also the smallest country by population. Only about 600 people live there permanently, almost all of whom are clergy or members of the Swiss Guard, responsible for protecting the Pope.
#2. Unsurprisingly, the largest country in the world is Russia. What you may not know is Russia, with an area of 6,592,735 square miles, is almost twice the size of the second largest country in the world Canada, which comes in at 3,855,081 square miles. Over 60% of the land in Russia is forest, while over 4000 miles of the nation is tundra.
#3. Brazil is 11% larger than the contiguous 48 states of the United States of America. As a matter of fact, Brazil is the fifth largest country in the world. It is so big, that all of non-Russian Europe could fit inside of its borders!
#4. Asia is the largest continent in land area in the world. It is larger than North and South America combined! More people live in Asia (over 4 billion) than the rest of the world’s continents combined (almost 3 billion).
#5. The most common city name in the United States is Franklin, with 31. There are 26 cities in the world with a single letter as its name, two of which are located in America: B, Ohio and Y, Alaska. The original name of Los Angeles was El Pueblo de Nuestra Señora la Reina de los Ángeles del Río de Porciúncula. Translated in English it means The Town of Our Lady the Queen of Angels of the Porciúncula River.
#6. Africa includes 54 countries and over 2000 languages spoken. There are over 500 languages in Nigeria alone! The most widely spoken language is Hausa, which is the first language of over 35 million Africans and another 15 million people in other parts of the world.
#7. Canada contains over 300,000 islands, some of which are available for purchase for less than $1 million. The largest of these islands include Vancouver Island and Newfoundland.
#8. About 90% of the world’s population lives in the Northern Hemisphere. The only Southern Hemisphere nations that contain more than 50 million people are Indonesia and Brazil, at 227 million and 192 million, respectively.
#9. The Amazon rainforest represents more than half of the world’s rainforests and produces more than 20% of the world’s oxygen supply, contains 20% of all of the world’s plants and birds, and 10% of the world’s mammal species. 10% of the forest has been lost to agriculture in the last 50 years, with some forecasting the loss of the entire rainforest by 2030.
#10. The color red appears on the most national flags with 155. White is a close second with 144, and green is a distant third with 97. Purple appears in only six flags. Some national flags are almost identical due to a shared history. For example, blue, white, and red are common color combinations in Slavic nations, and many African nations use red, yellow, and green.
Use these facts as an introduction to a fun Geography Awareness Week lesson that can include a Fun Fact Scavenger Hunt. Ask your students to locate silly and surprising facts about each continent.
What other fun geography facts do you know? Leave them in the comments section! Be sure to visit HelpTeaching.com and try our free geography worksheets.
If you enjoyed this read, you might also like what KidsKonnect has to say. Check out their articles today.
November 15 is America Recycles Day. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Americans recycled about 32% of their trash last year. The good news is this is a significant increase over the less than 10% that was recycled in 1980. The bad news is that a lot of our garbage still isn’t being recycled. Although we have come a long way in our recycling practices, we still have a long way to go. America Recycles Day is an opportunity to educate students about the importance of recycling, and more importantly, involve them in the process.
Create Recycling Infographics
Ask your students to research recycling facts and statistics, then create infographics based on their findings. Younger students can get creative and make poster infographics to display around school. Older students can craft digital infographics to post on school websites, classroom blogs, or social media. Get started by assigning our HelpTeaching lessons, Reduce, Reuse, Recycle and The Trash Patrol, then by visiting the EPA’s Reduce, Reuse, Recycle website. Then use an infographic maker like Visme or Piktochart to present them. Below is a sample infographic for reference.
Host a Bottle and Can Drive
Bottle and can drives are great ways to encourage recycling and raise awareness, plus they double as fundraisers for schools and organizations. Students can help organize the event by contacting the local recycling center ahead of time, spreading the word in your community, sorting on the day of the drive, and arranging for collection bins and transportation of collected materials to the recycling center. For another simple and profitable way to encourage recycling, set up an ink cartridge recycling program at your school.
Attend an Event
Whether you are looking to get your children involved in a recycling event, enter a contest, or participate in a community clean up day, you can find something to do on America Recycles Day. There are over 2,000 events registered for America Recycles Day. Find one to attend in your area here.
Reduce Food Waste
With the approach of Thanksgiving, America Recycles Day is perfectly timed to encourage children to reduce food waste. Learn about composting or start a compost at home or school. Have students create a step-by-step plan to explain how they plan to reduce food waste at home. Better yet, have your students organize a food rescue program or donations for the local food pantry. Get started with these tips.
If you plan on having your students create crafts for holiday decorations or gifts, then consider having them do so using materials that would otherwise be tossed out. Here is an excellent list of recycled crafts for kids. Also, use this writing prompt for eco-friendly gift ideas.
Reduce Electronic Waste
E-waste is an ever growing concern and electronic items should never go in your daily recycling container. But, your students’ old phones, tablets, and MP3 players can help someone else. Encourage students to donate unwanted electronics for worthy causes. Shelter Alliance and Cell Phones for Soldiers are just a couple organizations that accept cell phones donations. Learn more about how and where to recycle and donate electronics here.
Host a Clothing Swap
According to the EPA, almost five percent of municipal solid waste comes from clothing, footwear, and textiles. Consider organizing a neighborhood or church clothing swap where children (and adults!) can bring clean, gently worn items and swap for “new” items that fit. Anything left over can be donated to local organizations like The Salvation Army or Dress for Success. Also, see about coordinating swap boxes with local sports leagues for common sports items that children outgrow, like cleats. Athletes can leave outgrown pairs of cleats and in turn, take a pair from the box that fits.
Over 60% of America’s garbage isn’t being recycled. Some people still don’t understand the importance of recycling. Others don’t realize how much of their trash is actually recyclable. Encourage your students to inform people about the importance of recycling. Write letters to the editor of the local newspaper, give speeches at city council meetings, or create pamphlets to give out to their neighbors. Encourage people to check with their local recycling provider to make sure they are following correct recycling guidelines.
Finally, and most importantly, ask your students to brainstorm ideas on how to best promote recycling in their school and community. Their excitement for the projects they develop, plan, and complete will be the most successful and rewarding activities!
If you enjoyed this read, you might also like what KidsKonnect has to say. Check out their articles today.
Hold a Veteran’s Day Ceremony
There’s no better way to show the importance of this day than to devote 30 minutes to a whole school ceremony highlighting the special place that veterans hold in our country. The US Department of Veteran’s Affairs has created a handy step by step guide to hold an assembly in your school, including instructions on how to post the colors and suggestions for remarks and speakers.
If you can’t host vets in person, consider a video call or a pre-recorded video featuring interviews.
Take a Vet to School Day
The History Channel has a Take a Vet to School Day program, complete with How To Guides and Planning Guides by grade. Of course, you don’t have to involve a national program to invite veterans into your classroom. Invite your students’ relatives to sit in on class for a celebration of their service. Have the children read letters of thanks and ask the vets to say a few words. It’s a day your students and the servicemen and women will not forget.
Make Crafts and Care Packages to Commemorate Veteran’s Day
Younger students will love to use their creativity to show their thanks and respect for veterans. Celebrate the social studies themes of Election and Veteran’s Days with a display that encompasses both events. Ask your students to write thank you cards expressing gratitude to our service members. Contact the local VFW or Veteran’s Hospital to act as an intermediary and deliver the cards. You can use this thank you card template or download free thank you cards from Operation We Are Here to get started. Or maybe your class can send items to military personnel stationed overseas. Many organizations will assist in sending care packages to soldiers, such as Any Soldier, Operation Gratitude, and Adopt a Soldier.
Teach Your Students About the Contribution of Women in the Military
Too often we are saddled with stereotypes of the past that are unfortunately passed on to our children. There has always been a vibrant and vital role of women in our military, but it’s important to emphasize the history and facts of those contributions. The Pennsylvania Veterans Museum has a terrific lesson plan about the role of women in the military. The Veteran’s History Project has a mini unit on the role of women in World War II.
Take a Virtual Field Trip to the National World War II Museum in New Orleans
This museum offers numerous opportunities for distance learning, including as many as 15 virtual field trips on topics that include Pearl Harbor, D-Day, Iwo Jima, African Americans, and Science and Technology. They also offer Skype programs that provide a lesson plan and Skype session with a museum expert who will guide your students through the content.
It’s so important to ingrain a sense of respect for our service members. There is no better way to do that than to use appropriate, creative resources to show young people how special our soldiers really are. This is another great opportunity to discuss citizenship and patriotism. For more on that topic, check out 10 Activities to Celebrate Constitution and Citizenship Day.
Do you have any lessons/activities you use to help students understand Veteran’s Day or show gratitude to those who serve our country? If so, we would love to hear them.
If you enjoyed this read, you might also like what KidsKonnect has to say. Check out their articles today.
For kids who are traumatized or dislike ghosts, ghouls, and skeletons, Halloween can be a rough season. It’s hard to know what’s lurking around the corner at pumpkin patches, corn mazes, trunk or treats, and even the local grocery store. Still, that doesn’t mean you have to skip Halloween altogether. There are plenty of ways to celebrate Halloween without bringing in the darker side of the season. Here’s our list of non-spooky Halloween activities you can try this year.
1. Paint pumpkins
For some kids, carving pumpkins can be too spooky, especially with their crazy faces, but what’s stopping you from painting a pumpkin? Choose some bright colors and focus on funny faces or cute patterns, such as dots and stripes.
2. Bob for apples
If you’re having a Halloween party, throw in a traditional bobbing for apples game. While it may not be the most hygienic, kids will have fun trying to capture the apples with their mouths.
3. Watch a pet parade
Check your local newspaper or activity guide for a pet costume parade. These parades are usually free from spooky costumes and, instead, focus on adorable animals in silly costumes.
4. Head to a fall festival
Many fall festivals are held during the day and focus on the fun side of the season. To ensure the festival will be free from spookiness, consider attending one sponsored by a church where it’s less likely that ghosts, skeletons, guts, and gore will make an appearance.
5. Read a cute Halloween story
Read a story such as The Legend of Spookley the Square Pumpkin which focuses more on accepting your differences and fitting in than trying to scare kids on Halloween. Another cute Halloween book is Pumpkin Cat by Anne Mortimer. Elementary Librarian has a great list of Halloween read-alouds for more ideas.
6. Hold a non-spooky costume party
Invite some friends over for a costume party where only fun, happy costumes are allowed. Consider coming up with a theme, such as favorite cartoon characters or storybook characters.
7. Trick or treat with friends and family
Rather than going trick or treating around your neighborhood, set up a time where you can trick or treat at the homes of different friends and family members. Do it during the day so you won’t see any scary masks or other costumed people out and about.
8. Have Halloween craft time
Rather than making a spooky bat, Frankenstein, or other scary craft, just pull out some orange and black paint and construction paper, along with some glue and googly eyes, and let kids come up with their own creations.
9. Make silly monsters
Monsters don’t have to be scary. Focus on crafting monsters with silly faces rather than scary ones. You can give them cute names too.
10. Create leaf art
Go outside and gather some leaves. Make leaf creatures by adding eyes, noses, arms, and legs or use the leaves to make collages and other fun pictures.
11. Paint with a pumpkin
Cut out different shapes from a pumpkin and use those shapes as stamps. Dip them in paint and press them on paper to create unique works of art.
12. Make slime
Slime is often associated with Halloween, but that doesn’t mean it has to be spooky. Make or buy some slime and have fun getting your hands messy.
13. Play in a sensory bin
Slowly introduce kids to some of the spookier aspects of Halloween through a themed sensory bin. You can throw in a few small plastic bats, ghosts, or spiders if your child can handle them in small doses. You may also want to add plastic pumpkins, some dirt, or black beans. For extra texture, add some orange or black water beads.
14. Go on a candy hunt
One of the best parts of Halloween is getting to trick or treat, but you don’t have to find candy in traditional ways. Hide candy around your house or in your yard and send kids on a fun scavenger hunt to find it or set up different trick or treat stations in each room of your house.
15. Focus on educational activities
Try Help Teaching’s 100 Educational Pumpkin Activities to bring math, science, and literacy practice to the holiday.
If you do decide to head out to some more traditional Halloween events, be sure to call beforehand to see if there will be any spooky elements there and walk ahead of your child in any corn mazes or on any paths so you can be prepared to turn around if any scary elements appear. You may also want to bring along some headphones or a pair of sunglasses to help your child tune out the spooky sights and sounds.
Physical fitness is essential to our health and has a big influence on our mental wellness too. Yet, with full work schedules, equally busy children, and lockdown restrictions, making the time for exercise too often falls to the bottom of the list. While May is officially National Physical Fitness and Sports Month, any time of the year is good for becoming more active. And being physically active is way more fun and much less of a chore when done together, we’ve put together a list of 100 fitness activities for the whole family. Whether you have toddlers, tweens, or teens, we’ve got you covered not just with fitness activities, but with improved family time too!
Host Backyard Games
Whether you’re in your yard or at a park, there’s nothing like open space to inspire movement. While they may not always show it, your children will get a kick out of seeing you acting like a kid again. Consider inviting friends and neighbors to join you in these outdoor games. You can even combine these activities into a full-fledged backyard Olympics!
1. Make and run an obstacle course
2. Take on the high seas with a game of pirate ship
3. Design, build, and play your own mini-golf course
4. Seek treasure or discover nature with a scavenger hunt
5. Play a game of soccer, volleyball, flag football or another team sport
6. Run relay races
7. Strategize as a team in a game of capture the flag
8. Get messy – play in the mud, have a frozen t-shirt race, engage in a shaving cream battle, or even slip on a water slide covered in chocolate syrup
Lend A Hand
Volunteering can keep you moving while you help out others and your community. Depending on the volunteer opportunity your family may be packing, cleaning, stacking, running, or building! So lend a hand, teach your children the importance of social responsibility, and work in some physical fitness while your family spends meaningful time together. Sites like VolunteerMatch can help connect you with the right cause for your family.
9. Help out at a bottle and can drive
10. Clean up litter along roads or trails
11. Participate in a run or walk for charity
12. Join a community building project like Habitat for Humanity
13. Collect, organize, and distribute food through your local food bank
14. Volunteer at a meal center
15. Explore new places while giving back – plan a family volunteer vacation
16. Lend a helping hand around the yard or home of a grandparent or neighbor in need.
Roll with Rainy Days
Rainy weather can be challenging for families with rambunctious children. Kids need to move, but a string of poor weather can dampen their spirits. Don’t let the weather impede your fitness goals. Instead, roll with the rain and keep the family moving!
17. Play indoor hide-and-seek
18. Challenge the family to a game of fitness bingo
19. Build a blanket fort and play in it
20. Make cardboard box cars, then race them
21. Crank up the tunes and do a freeze dance (think musical chairs)
22. Have a pillow fight
23. Play follow-the-leader
24. Dress up and walk the runway in a family fashion show
25. Play charades or other movement games
26. Pretend to belt out tunes in a family a lip sync battle
27. Put on a family talent show
28. Read and act out a movement story or video together
29. Kick up your heels and play a dance video game
30. Get outside and go puddle jumping
They’re not glamorous, but chores must be done. On the plus side, chores help burn calories. Divide tasks and make a morning of getting some things done around the home and yard. Turn on some background music and agree as a family on something fun to do together once the chores are finished.
31. Mow the lawn
32. Rake leaves – jump in the pile before picking it up
33. Try on old clothes, pass down or donate ones that no longer fit
34. Paint a room
35. Chop and stack wood
36. Walk the dog
37. Wash and clean out the car
38. Clean the windows
39. Sort through books, donate ones no longer wanted or needed
40. Vacuum the rugs and mop the floors
41. Run errands – walk if you can or park the car at the further spot in the lot
42. Plant a family tree
Teens may be more reluctant to spend time as a family than younger children. Engage them with these high adventure activities and embrace your wild side along the way! Due to the need for specialized equipment and professional instruction, adventure activities can be more expensive than other fitness options. However, check coupon sites as they often feature significant discounts to places that offer these activities.
43. Ride into the sunset on horseback
44. Rage the rapids on a rafting tour
45. Scale a wall at a rock gym
46. Get tangled up in a ropes course
47. Go mountain biking
48. Vacation by going on a family camping trip
49. Try indoor skydiving
50. Participate in a mud run or obstacle race as a team
51. Take a SCUBA certification course
52. Play laser tag
53. Train together for a CrossFit competition
Explore Someplace New
Getting kids out of their everyday environment can open their eyes to the larger world and spark excitement and curiosity. Whether you fly across the county to visit a new city or explore a local museum, a day of walking and discovering a new place adds up to a lot of steps! Be sure to check with your public library first, it may offer free or discounted passes to museums.
54. View works of art, explore history, or learn science at a museum
55. Visit a national park – families of 4th graders get free annual passes here
56. Take a walking tour of a city
57. Ride your bikes the length of a rail trail
58. Climb a mountain
59. Brave a cave tour
60. Put on costumes and join a historical reenactment
61. Go letterboxing or geocaching
62. Play on a playground your kids haven’t been to before
Make A Splash
There is nothing like playing in water during the heat of summer. Kids can spend all day splashing in a pool or digging in the sand, so join them! Many communities have public beaches or pools that are free or at a reduced cost for residents.
63. Run through the sprinkler
64. Ride the waves on a boogie or surfboard
65. Try paddleboarding
66. Have a squirt gun battle
67. Team up for a water balloon fight
68. Paddle a river or lake in canoes, kayaks, or paddle boats
69. Jump over waves
70. Hit a home run with water balloon baseball
71. Register emerging swimmers for lessons
Take On Winter Weather
Winter brings a unique set of challenges to staying fit. Don’t let the weather keep your family indoors. Rather, bundle up and take advantage of the fitness opportunities that come with snow and ice! By trying a new winter sport, your family may fall in love with an activity you can do together for years to come. If you don’t own winter sporting equipment borrow from friends or look for places that offer daily rentals.
72. Downhill ski or snowboard
73. Cross-country ski
74. Go ice-skating
75. Build a snow family
76. Have a snowball fight
77. Make snow angles
78. Shovel the driveway
79. Shovel a neighbor’s driveway
80. Explore the woods while snowshoeing
81. Go ice fishing
82. Hop on a sled
83. Try snow tubing
Create Healthy Eating Habits
Eating healthy is an essential part of any fitness plan. With hectic work, school, and extra-curricular schedules, setting aside time to prepare and share healthy meals can be challenging. But, we all must eat, so take the opportunity to teach your children lifelong eating habits while spending some quality time together!
84. Pack a healthy picnic and hike to a scenic spot
85. Take a cooking class as a family, check nearby grocery stores as some offer free programs
86. Set up a schedule where each family member is responsible for planning and cooking a meal
87. Involve children in packing their own lunches
88. Go to your local farmer’s market together
89. Go fruit picking at a nearby farm or orchard, then try a new recipe with the fruit
90. Cook one meal a week that features locally grown, seasonal food
91. Gather favorite family recipes and publish them in a cookbook – check out Blurb
92. Plant a home vegetable garden or potted herb garden
93. Join a community garden
94. Volunteer at your child’s school and help raise a school garden
95. Spice up dinnertime by planning a weekly themed meal night – from Meatless Mondays to Fancy Fridays, your kids will look forward to this new family tradition
Make Time for Mindfulness
The end of a harried day is the ideal time to come together as a family and create time for a few mindful moments. There are many wonderful free mindfulness videos and audio recordings available online or through your public library.
96. Practice yoga along with a video geared for kids or families
97. Dim the lights, get comfortable, and listen to a guided meditation recording
98. Try progressive muscle relaxation
99. Do some calming breathing exercises
100. Lay on a blanket in the yard or park and focus on the sounds around you or stargaze
How does your family stay fit and active? Share your ideas in the comments. Visit Help Teaching and browse our collection of free physical education printables!
Don’t let nebulous ideas slow you down as you count down to this October’s World Space Week. Rather, shoot for the moon with these astronomical activities for celebrating World Space Week with your class or family.
Rendezvous with the International Space Station
Take this week to celebrate global cooperation in the near reaches of space by learning about the International Space Station (ISS). Check out the view from the space station. Get kids outside on a clear evening to look for the space station passing overhead. Visit NASA’s Spot The Station site to find when to view the ISS from your location. Screen a few of NASA’s Human Research Program videos with your students or read about Sleeping on the Space Station with this worksheet.
The Red Planet continues to capture headlines and our imaginations. Take advantage of student interest in our planetary neighbor by exploring what we know about Mars. Have students participate in the Planet Four: Terrains citizen science project by examining and mapping images of Mars. Control a virtual rover with Experience Curiosity. Find more Mars-related games and activities at NASA’s Mars Exploration site and try our reading passages, Earth vs. Mars and One-Way Ticket to Mars.
Moon to Mars, Mission Artemis
Artemis missions will land the first woman and first person of color on the Moon. The plan is to establish a sustainable base camp with an eventual plan and the giant next milestone: sending astronauts to Mars from the moonbase. While building the resources and technology for this goal, there are also plans of exploring all of the moon’s surface, sending astronauts and space robotic explorers. According to the official Artemis mission page, at the top of this list is the moon’s southern pole. Kick off your unit with this Moon Surface Features lesson and navigate the surface with Google Moon.
Escape with Science Fiction
Read classic or modern science fiction with your students. Go beyond what is scientifically accurate or misrepresented and discuss themes as well as what the story conveys about society, both real and fictional. Use Help Teaching’s Science Fiction Literature worksheets and Elements of Science Fiction lesson as a starting point. Then, ask your students to put on their creative thinking helmets and write a piece of science fiction. Here are some writing prompts worksheets to get you started:
Kindergarten and 1st Grade:
My Space Adventure
If I Were an Alien
Journey Into Space
Alien Welcome Committee
My Trip Into Space
4th and 5th Grade
One Way Ticket to Mars
Finally, decelerate by watching a sci-fi movie! Perhaps your high school students will enjoy the interplanetary adventure The Martian.
Visit an Observatory This World Space Week
If you have access to a telescope, World Space Week is a great time to use it! Students may not have ever had the opportunity to actually observe planets, stars, or the Moon up-close through a telescope. If your school has a telescope, plan a viewing party with students and families. If you don’t have access to a telescope, some libraries offer telescope lending or viewing opportunities. Likewise, many observatories offer public viewing options and accommodate student field trips. To find a local observatory, check with nearby universities or try one of these publicly accessible telescopes.
If you’re still in need of fun ways to celebrate World Space Week, sojourn to the World Space Week website and download one of the educator resource guides or locate a nearby event for more out-of-this-world activities!
Geography Awareness Week is celebrated every year during the third week of November. The goal of the week is to get people excited about geography and help them learn more about the world around them. Every year, Help Teaching presents fun facts to help you get excited about this special week, and this year is no exception. We have rounded up 10 fun facts about one of the most majestic and awe-inspiring geographical features on Earth – mountains! Keep reading for our mountain facts for Geography Awareness Week!
1) What is a Mountain?
There are no universally agreed upon rules for what makes a mountain a mountain.
It’s generally acknowledged that a mountain is a landform that is taller than the surrounding area and bigger than a hill. Of course, there is also no agreed upon definition of a hill either. This controversy is famously portrayed in the 1995 feature comedy film The Englishman Who Went Up a Hill But Came Down a Mountain starring Hugh Grant.
Because there is not an official definition of a mountain, countries define what a mountain is in different ways. For example, in Ireland and the United Kingdom, only a landform over two thousand feet tall is considered a mountain, while in the United States, a mountain can be thus named as long as it’s over one thousand feet tall. This means that a mountain in one country might be considered a hill in another.
Mountains are found all over the world. Each of the seven continents have its own mountains. Here are some fun facts about the mountains on each of the continents.
2) North America: Oldest Mountains
Many geologists believe the Appalachians are over 480 million years old. It’s thought they were formed during the Ordovician period when the North American tectonic plate crashed into another plate during the creation of the super-continent of Pangaea. The Appalachians may have once been as tall as the Rocky Mountains, but have perhaps been worn down over time.
3) South America: Longest Mountain Range
The Andes extend over 4,300 miles through Venezuela, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, Chile, and Argentina. It’s believed the mountains were pushed up when the Nazca and Antarctic plates started slipping under the South American Plate. The highest volcanoes in the world, and the highest mountains outside of Asia, are located in the Andes mountain range.
4) Asia: Highest Mountains
With more than ten mountains over 26,000 feet in height, the Himalayas are the tallest mountains in the world. The biggest jewel in the crown of Himalayan peaks is Mount Everest. With a height of five-and-a-half miles, Everest is the tallest mountain in the world.
But hold on… there is some dispute over whether or not Mount Everest is actually the tallest mountain on the planet. Mountain height is measured by how high the peak of a mountain is above sea level, not how tall the slopes of the mountain are. The base of Mount Everest sits in the Tibetan Plateau, which is more than 13,000 feet above sea level, meaning that the slopes are around 15,000. Denali in Alaska, on the other hand, has a base that is less than 3,000 feet above sea level and slopes that are almost 19,000 feet.
It’s believed the Himalayas are among the world’s youngest mountains formed when the Indian continental plate collided with the Eurasian plate. The Indian plate moves 67mm per year, which means that that the Himalayas are still growing!
5) Africa: Tallest Free-Standing Mountain
Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania is a volcano that is not part of any mountain range. The mountain has three distinct volcanic cones, two of which are extinct, but the third is only dormant and could erupt again at some point. It is unclear when Mt. Kilimanjaro last erupted, but it is suspected to have been during the 19th century. Because of its height, Mount Kilimanjaro is one of the only mountains in Africa to have a permanent snowcap.
6) Australia: Smallest Mountain
Not every continent has tall mountains. Mount Wycheproof in Australia is officially the smallest mountain in the world. To most of the world Mount Wycheproof would barely be considered a hill. The mountain measures in at a staggering 486 feet above sea level. You would have to stack up almost sixty Mount Wycheproofs to reach the height of Mount Everest.
7) Europe: Most Photographed Mountain
Though it is impossible to accurately verify, residents of the town of Zermatt, Switzerland claim that the nearby Matterhorn is the most photographed mountain in the world. Even without that designation, the Matterhorn is an extremely popular tourist attraction and its image has become a symbol of Switzerland.
8) Antarctica: Mountains Covered in the Most Snow
Did you know that even Antarctica has mountains? They might not be the highest or the longest mountains in the world, but the Gamburtsev Mountains are the only mountains that are completely covered with snow. No one has actually seen the mountains because they are currently buried under two thousand feet of snow and ice. From 2007 to 2009, scientists used ice penetrating radar to survey mountain range. From their findings it has been determined that the mountains probably are around 6,500 feet tall and resemble the Alps in Europe.
9) The World’s Tallest Mountain: It’s Not What You Think
Ok, so every school kid knows that the aforementioned Mount Everest is the tallest mountain on the planet, right? Not so fast… the truth is there is a mountain taller than Everest from base to peak, but it so happens to be mostly underwater! Mauna Kea, a volcano on the big island of Hawaii, is 32,696 feet (6.2 miles), some 3,661 feet taller than Everest. More than half of Mauna Kea’s height is below the surface of the Pacific Ocean, and 2.6 miles of the volcano is above sea level.
10) The Tallest Known Mountain: It’s Out of this World!
We couldn’t resist including this mountain fun fact even though it technically doesn’t qualify as Earth geography. The tallest mountain in the solar system is Olympus Mons on the planet Mars. This otherworldly peak is 13 miles high, making it two and a half times taller than Mount Everest. In fact, there are four other mountains on the Red Planet that surpass Everest. There is even a mountain on the planet Venus that is taller than Everest!
Add to our list of Mountain Facts for Geography Awareness Week
Do you have any fun mountain facts? If so, share them in the comments. For more fun geography facts, check out 10 Fun Facts for Geography Awareness Week and 10 More Fun Facts for Geography Awareness Week, and be sure to check back next year for even more facts!
On Wednesday, January 20, 2021, at noon, President-elect Joe Biden will be inaugurated as the next president of the United States. Learn all about Inauguration Days from the past here!
Biden will be sworn into office as the 46th commander-in-chief. Inauguration Day is typically a day of pomp and circumstance, carefully planned out to reflect tradition and the orderly transfer of power. (This year’s activities will be limited due to the COVID-19 pandemic — see below). However, through the years there have been some moments that stand out as atypical of the normal routine. Here are some interesting facts and history from Inauguration Days past.
A Change in Date
For well over a century, the new president was sworn in on March 4. This extended lame-duck session led to numerous problems for incoming presidents, so the date of inauguration was established as January 20 by the passage of the 20th amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
A Change in Location
The first president who took the oath of office in the nation’s current capital of Washington D.C. was Thomas Jefferson in 1801. Previously, George Washington took his first oath in New York. His second oath, along with John Adams’ one and only, were administered in Philadelphia.
The Oath of Office
There have been numerous occasions when the oath of office had to be re-administered. The most recent and infamous example was in 2009. On that day, the oath was incorrectly read by Chief Justice John Roberts and repeated by President Barack Obama. Because the oath was not read and repeated exactly as stated in the Constitution, Obama and Roberts had a do-over “out of an abundance of caution”. The oath has been repeated six other times in history due to a variety of issues. Four presidents – Rutherford Hayes, Woodrow Wilson, Dwight Eisenhower, and Ronald Reagan – restated their oaths publicly because Inauguration Day took place on a Sunday, meaning only private ceremonies were held. Chester Arthur and Calvin Coolidge both took the oath privately following the sudden death of the sitting president, as did Lyndon Johnson in 1963 after the assassination of John F. Kennedy. Lyndon Johnson’s swearing-in is the only time a president has taken the oath while flying in an airplane.
The Inaugural Speech
The first inaugural speech was also the shortest (just 135 words). The longest speech is surrounded in intrigue as many believe it led to a tragic event. William Henry Harrison’s almost two hour, 8,500-word speech took place on a cold, wet day. In 1841, President William Henry Harrison chose to forgo a coat and hat, and rode on horseback instead of in a covered carriage. Many have attributed Harrison’s death from pneumonia just thirty days later to these poor choices, but modern historians dispute this theory. They instead point to poor handling of sewage in the area around the White House water supply that would have had devastating effects on Harrison’s gastrointestinal system.
Tragic results of Inauguration Day
There is, however, one death that is properly attributed to poor Inauguration Day weather. That sad designation belongs to Abigail Fillmore, wife of President Millard Fillmore, who, in 1853, remained at her husband’s side throughout his successor’s (Franklin Pierce) inauguration despite brutal wintry conditions. She developed pneumonia and died shortly after.
Coverage of the Inauguration
In 1845, James Polk’s inaugural was the first covered by telegraph. The first inauguration to be photographed was in 1857 when James Buchanan took the oath. William McKinley was the first president to have his inauguration filmed by a motion picture camera, and Harry Truman was the first to be televised. Bill Clinton’s second inauguration was the first to be live-streamed on the Internet.
Every four years, much is made of the parties and inaugural balls. Fashion experts critique the outfits, gossip columnists cover the attendees, and pundits analyze the cost. The first inaugural ball celebrated the beginning of James Madison’s presidency in 1809. Tickets were just $4. In the 21st century, admission for two to the inaugural balls can cost upwards of $10,000!
The 2021 Inauguration’s Special Circumstances
Inauguration Day has a long list of traditional and customary practices that presidents and their staffs have followed for years. But nothing about the 2020 campaign and election season has been traditional. The COVID-19 pandemic will affect how this inauguration will be handled. Although a public ceremony is scheduled for January 20 at the U.S. Capitol, festivities will be limited to prevent the spread of the virus. The live audience will be limited to members of Congress. Public health measures such as mandatory face coverings, testing, temperature checks, and social distancing will be used for the ceremony.
Inaugural organizers are inviting communities around the United States to light buildings and ring church bells at 5:30 p.m. ET on the eve of the inauguration in a moment of “unity and remembrance” for those lost to the pandemic. A lighting ceremony at the Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool will be held simultaneously. Most traditional inaugural festivities will be conducted virtually. The parade, should it take place, will be historically limited, and other functions such as inaugural balls may not be held. The Biden Inaugural Committee has urged people not to physically gather in Washington for ceremonies.
You can sign up to receive details of the inauguration from the official Presidential Inauguration Committee 2021 website.
Resources for Teaching about Presidential Inaugurations
Free education resources
- The White House Historical Association offers free educational resources about inaugurations
- The National Education Association has some excellent activities for students of all ages
- The Anti-Defamation League offers 7 Ideas for Teaching about the Presidential Inauguration to middle and high school students
- The National Children’s Book and Literacy Alliance’s website “Our White House” has a free Presidential Inauguration Celebration Kit for Kids and many other educational resources for all ages
- A free lesson plan on inaugurations is available from the National Endowment for the Humanities
- The Library of Congress has lessons for the occasion
- C-SPAN has assembled free video-based inauguration materials for social studies teachers
C-SPAN has also compiled videos of inaugural speeches. Here are some of the more notable ones:
- Franklin Roosevelt’s first address, 1933 (“…the only thing we have to fear is fear itself…”)
- John F. Kennedy, 1961 (“Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country.”)
- Ronald Reagan’s first address, 1981 (“Government is not the solution to our problem, government is the problem.”)
- Bill Clinton’s first inaugural ceremony, 1993 (which includes footage of Maya Angelou’s poem “On The Pulse Of Morning” written specifically for the occasion)
- Barack Obama’s first address, 2009 (“The nation cannot prosper long when it favors only the prosperous.”)
Activities and worksheets
- Help Teaching has created worksheets about the administrations of recent presidents
- KidsKonnect has a variety of worksheets related to the Presidents and their inauguration including a packet about the 20th Amendment which set the January 20th date for presidential inaugurations
Image source: Luke Michael on Unsplash
Geography Awareness Week, also known as GeoWeek, is celebrated every year during the third week of November. The goal of the week is to get people excited about geography and help them learn more about the world around them. Every year, we present fun facts to help you get excited about Geography Awareness Week. This year our subject is very dry subject- deserts.
Imagine a desert. What do you see?
Most people probably envision a hot and barren landscape. Perhaps it is covered by flowing sand dunes. Covering over a quarter of the world’s land surface, deserts come in many shapes and sizes. Here are ten fun facts designed to clear up some misconceptions about these dry landscapes and highlight some of the world’s more extraordinary deserts.
1.) Not All Deserts are Hot
Not all deserts are hot, but they are all dry. An area’s status as a desert is determined not by its temperature, but by the amount of precipitation it receives. A desert is an area that receives on average less then 250 mm (10 in) of precipitation per year. Because precipitation, not temperature, determines if an area is a desert, they can be found all across the globe from the equator to the poles and everywhere in between.
2.) Not All Deserts are Sandy
The classic image of desert has rolling sand dunes. Most deserts, however, do not actually have much sand. It has been estimated that only about twenty percent of the world’s deserts are sandy. Lacking much rain, wind is the primary driver in shaping a desert’s landscape. In the majority of deserts, wind blows small particles, like sand, away leaving a landscape of large rocks or hard-packed soil.
3.) Largest Desert
With an area of 5,400,000 square miles, the world’s largest desert is the continent of Antarctica. It might not seem like it, because it is covered with snow and ice, but Antarctica is actually one of the driest places on Earth. Not even on the coasts, its wettest areas, does Antarctica receive more than 200 mm of precipitation per year.
4.) Largest Non-polar Desert
Though smaller than the Antarctic and Arctic Deserts, the Sahara is still an immense desert. Covering over 3,500,000 square miles, the Sahara stretches across North Africa from the Red Sea to the Atlantic Ocean. Parts of ten countries (Algeria, Chad, Egypt, Libya, Mali, Mauritania, Morocco, Niger, Sudan, Tunisia) make up the Sahara Desert.
5.) Driest and Highest Altitude Desert
The Atacama Desert, located along Chile’s Pacific coast, does double duty as the driest and highest altitude non-polar desert. With an average of less than 15 mm of precipitation, the Atacama Desert is, with the exception of parts of Antarctica, the driest place on Earth. The Atacama also stretches into the Andes Mountains. Mountains as high as 20,000 feet in the Atacama Desert do not have snowcaps.
6.) Largest Contiguous Sand Desert
Most of the world’s deserts are not sandy, but if there is a desert that most closely resembles the stereotypical image of a desert, it would be the Rub’ al Khali. A part of the Arabian Desert, the Rub al’ Khali has an area of 250,000 square miles and is covered by red sand dunes that can reach over 800 feet tall. Rub al’ Khali, meaning the Empty Quarter in Arabic, earned its name because its harsh landscape has kept it largely uninhabited.
7.) Smallest Desert
Located in the Canadian Yukon territory, the Carcross Desert is often labeled as the world’s smallest desert. Covering only a single square mile, Carcross is definitely small. The problem with Carcross, however, is that it is not actually a desert. No one would call Carcross, with an annual average of 20 in of rain, a wet place, but it does receive too much precipitation to be a real desert.
8.) Most Extreme Temperatures
From blazing hot to dangerously cold, deserts can be any temperature. The records for the highest and lowest temperatures were both set in deserts.
The world’s hottest recorded temperature, 134 °F, was set in the United States’ Mojave Desert’s Death Valley. The record for the coldest temperature, −128.6 °F, was set at Vostok Station in Antarctica.
9.) Not All of the Continents Contain Their Own Desert
Every continent, except for one, contains at least one desert within its borders. Unlike the other continents, Europe does not have its own desert. Europe does have dry and sometimes sandy areas, but none that receive less then 250 mm of precipitation. The Arctic Desert does include parts of Europe’s more northern countries, such as Sweden, Norway, and Finland, but it also includes parts of Asia and North America.
10.) Deserts Change Over Time
The Atacama Desert may have been dry since the Triassic Period 200 million years ago, but most deserts change over time. Now located in the American Great Plains, the Sandhills in Nebraska was once part of a desert that disappeared around 800 years ago. The Sahara Desert, on the other hand, used to be a wet and fertile place five thousand years ago. Ancient rock art found in the Sahara depicts a range of animals, such as giraffes and hippopotamuses, that you would not find in the current desert. The Sahara is also still growing. In part due to a warming climate, the Sahara desert has increased in size by around 10 percent in the past hundred years.
Bonus Fact: Deserts are not Just Found on Earth
The planet Mars has a large sandy desert. Because of its red dunes and sandstone cliffs, the valley of Wadi Rum in the Arabian Desert is frequently used as a stand-in for Mars in many films. Wadi Rum has also been the location of fictional deserts such as the moon of Jedha in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.