Posts Tagged ‘ parent resources ’
It’s hard to believe Help Teaching has been providing teacher worksheets for tutors, homeschool parents, and teachers for over a decade. As we enter the new year, take some time to review some of our the top tips and resources we’ve shared over the past ten years. Who knows? Maybe you’ll find a new teaching strategy or a fun lesson idea.
No matter what subject you teach, chances are you’ll find something on our Top 100 Free Education Sites. Updated annually, this post features the top webistes for math, science, social studies, reading, writing, lesson planning, and more. Best of all, the resources are all free.
We’ve all had that one class that’s difficult to control. Sometimes it lasts an enitre year. Other times, it’s just for a season (full moon?). Thankfully there are ways to gain control of a difficult class so you can focus on teaching the material that needs to be taught.
In today’s increasingly digital world, sometimes it seems like kindness has disappeared. Kids are surrounded by politicans spouting insults, Internet trolls sharing negative opinions, and viral videos shaming everyday people. That’s why it’s increasingly important to take time to teach kids to be kind.
Over the past decade, STEM has become STEAM and has become a focus in the education community. The Ultimate Guide to Teaching Science shares videos, experiments, and lesson ideas designed to help improve the quality of instruction science teachers offer their students.
Pi Day is a great holiday, but it’s not the only math day to celebrate with your students. Find other fun math days such as the 100th day of school and palindrome days. And don’t forget – 2/22/22 will fall on a Tuesday, making it a great day to celebrate a math holiday in a couple years.
Throughout the course of their educational career, students learn a lot of things. Unfortunately, teachers can’t cover it all. Our list of 30 Things I Wish I Learned in High School gives parents and teachers ideas of key life skills to review with students before they graduate and head out into the “real world.”
Teacher compensation, or lack thereof, has been making headlines for over a decade. While strikes and union negotiations can help improve teacher pay, it still might not be enough. Thankfully, there are plenty of ways for teachers to make money on the side, whether it’s tutoring with an online company or running a MLM business from home.
The Internet offers a wealth of information and resources for students. The Ultimate Guide to Free Online Self-Learning for Kids and its companion, The Ultimate Guide to Free Online Self-Learning for Teens and Adults, encourage students to head online and learn something new. The resources on the list include online courses, videos, informational websites, and even some educational games.
Emojis aren’t just for text messages and social media posts. They can also be a great tool in the classroom. Teachers can use emojis to make math and reading content more engaging and to improve social and emotional learning skills.
Your teen can do basic algebra and geometry, but can they set up and manage a bank account? Write a stellar resume? These life skills will help teens ensure they have what it takes to experience success after graduation.
Did you know it’s possible to have fun and learn at the same time? While it’s great for kids to play with toys, their young minds are at the prime stage for taking in information and learning new skills. The solution? Toys that allow kids to learn while they play. This year when you shop for holiday and birthday gifts, opt for something with educational value.
Need help finding ideas? We’ve rounded up some of the top educational toys for kids of all ages.
Disclosure: HelpTeaching partnered with the companies of some our top picks to provide items for a giveaway, but all items were chosen for their quality educational value.
|Early Elementary||Upper Elementary|
Even though babies won’t remember whether you bought them a gift for Christmas or their birthday, sometimes you still want to get them something. Instead of adding another stuffed animal to their collection, try one of these options.
TOP PICK: 3 Ways to Play Walker – Ford F-150 – Never underestimate the power of observation. This walker allows babies to explore the world around them in three different ways, including a normal walker and push-behind mode. The steering wheel and authentic truck sounds and lights make the walker even more adorable.
Baby’s First Blocks: Nothing beats a classic shape sorting toy for babies and toddlers. Baby’s First Blocks from Fisher-Price features a handy tub to collect the shapes and a handle for carrying it. Babies and toddlers will learn to grab, manipulate, and match the shapes.
Skip Hop Activity Mirror: Mirrors are great toys for babies. They allow them to explore the world around them and also begin to recognize their own face. This mirror from Skip Hop is just one of many baby mirrors that can be attached to the seat of a car or the bar of a stroller for babies to enjoy.
Munchkin Mozart Magic Cube: Babies love music and this magic cube combines music with lessons in cause and effect and tempo to create a fun learning experience for babies. They can press different parts of the cube to add instruments to the orchestra and see lights flash with the tempo of the music.
Go Car: This car comes with a handle to make it easy for babies to hold on to it and control the way it moves. It also glides smoothly on different surfaces, helping babies begin to learn about the concept of movement.
What’s Inside Toy Box?: With the What’s Inside Toy Box, babies begin to learn that objects have names and also build motor skills as they reach in and pull out objects or put objects back in. Additionally, this toy can help teach object permanence.
All About Me Personalized Photo Book: Babies can learn the names and faces of loved ones, pets, and other special people or places in their lives with this photo book. Parents can insert photographs in protected compartments so babies can flip through and look at them.
TOP PICK: Froggy Feeding Fun – Little kids can boost their fine motor skills, learn their colors, and practice their counting skills with this fun frog feeding game. Simply roll the dice and feed the frogs the correct flies. Note that the fly pieces may present a choking hazard so kids should be supervised while playing.
Start Up Circuits: Toddlers who enjoy playing with switches will enjoy these toys that help them begin to understand how circuits work. Simply flip the switch to make each object work.
Wooden Building Blocks: Blocks are a favorite for toddlers because they help them build motor skills and begin to understand geometrical concepts. This set from Pidoko Kids features 50 colorful blocks in different shapes and comes with a container for carrying them all.
Personalized Name Puzzle: One of the first things a toddler learns how to spell is his/her name. Help develop that skill and help your toddler start learning how to complete puzzles with a personalized name puzzle.
Color Discovery Boxes: Color Discovery Boxes help toddlers learn their colors and begin to categorize objects. Each box contains multiple objects to represent the color. Mix the objects up and have toddlers sort them and put them back where they belong.
Bunny Peek a Boo: This fun game helps toddlers learn about prepositions and object placement. They must look at the cards and try to create the scene with the bunny and various blocks. Parents are encouraged to give clues and talk about where the bunny is. For example, “The bunny is behind the box.”
Learn the Alphabet Dough Mats: You can print out and laminate your own dough mats or you can buy these handy mats which feature uppercase and lowercase letters. These help kids learn letters and build fine motor skills.
Size and Sequence Farm Puzzles: Size and Sequence Farm Puzzles have toddlers put the puzzle pieces in order by size. This set of puzzles helps them learn how to organize objects from smallest to largest.
Dress Up Career Set: Toddlers can learn a lot from dressing up, especially when they dress up to represent different careers. With this set, your toddler can pretend to be someone else nearly every day of the week.
Seek A Boo: Seek A Boo is a fun game designed to get toddlers and preschoolers moving and help them learn how to categorize objects. Basically, it works like a game of “I Spy” where kids must find a circle that meets a particular description. Adults and kids can take turns coming up with questions.
TOP PICK: Heads Talk Tails Walk – ThinkFun’s game of silly sounds and movement has kids try to match hidden head cards to the correct bodies. If the body parts don’t match, kids have to try and act out their crazy new animals.
Yeti Forgetti Memory Game – This hide and peek memory game gets kids in on the action. Cards direct kids to shuffle the igloos and try to find the locations of the different yetis in the game while watching out for the evil snow crab for a twist on a classic shell game.
Bear Counters: Bear Counters and counting cubes can be used by preschoolers in a variety of ways. Not only are they good for counting practice, but they can also be used for creating patterns and measuring.
Fun Express Happy Kids Hand Puppets: This adorable set of hand puppets features kids from different ethnic backgrounds. It’s great to include with a puppet theater and to use to act out social stories to help get preschoolers thinking about their actions and emotions.
Toss Across: If you’re looking for a fun game to get kids moving, try Toss Across, a game that helps kids practice their throwing skills and learn about patterns while playing a game of tic tac toe.
Periodic Table Blocks: Make block play a little more educational by having kids learn the elements of the periodic table at the same time. These square blocks are great for building and also feature the names, symbols, and atomic numbers of various elements.
Rainbow Mosaic Pattern Puzzle: Kids can build fine motor skills and create patterns when they play with the Rainbow Mosaic Pattern Puzzle, an activity that features connecting tiles that kids snap together to create a mosaic on the floor.
TOP PICK: Invasion of the Cow Snatchers – Kids can build their logic and problem-solving skills with this exciting STEM game from ThinkFun. While the game can be enjoyed by kids as young as 6, even older kids, teens, and adults will enjoy trying to solve some of the genius level challenges.
TOP PICK: Owlconic Telling Time Teaching Game – For teachers and homeschool parents looking for new ways to help kids learn to tell time, this telling time game is exactly what you need. It helps kids make connections between digital and analog time while also working on memory skills and fractions.
Teaching Talking Cash Register: This cash register is a favorite of kids because it offers many functions. Kids can play store or open a real store and the cash register will help them add up totals and calculate change. It also features a fun scanner.
Melissa and Doug Magnetic Human Body: Kids can learn the different parts of the human body by taking them on and off the wooden form. It’s a great, non-gory way for kids to begin to explore what makes up the body.
Magformers: Magformers feature fun tiles that connect to one another. Kids can use them to build unique structures.
Magnetic Science: Magnetic Science contains 38 pieces to help kids explore magnets and their various uses.
Precision School Balance: With a balance, kids can practice weighing items and comparing different weights. For example, is a carrot heavier than four quarters?
Dive into Shapes: Using a series of rods and balls, kids can build their understanding of geometry as they try to recreate the shapes on the cards.
Sum Swamp: Sum Swamp is a fun game that helps kids build their addition and subtraction skills.
Electric Plane Launcher: With the help of a grown-up, kids can put together the electric plane launcher, and then make a variety of paper planes and see how far they fly.
Beaker Creatures: Learning Resources has created a fun science toy where kids can conduct experiments to reveal hidden creatures. Kids simply pop a reactor pod into the chamber, complete the steps, and discover a surprise. They learn about the scientific method and following directions at the same time.
TOP PICK: Squishy Human Body – SmartLab Toys helps kids explore the body through this unique model. The body includes 21 vital organs, bones, and body parts, as well as a 24-page anatomy book and other resources to help kids explore the model.
TOP PICK: Snap Circuits Pro – With over 75 snap-together parts and 500 exciting projects to complete, kids can learn all about electronic circuits and the basics of electricity. This kit is great for building STEM, problem-solving, and logic skills.
Adopt an Animal: Start teaching your child about giving back and becoming more aware of the world by adopting an animal. The kit comes with a certificate and a stuffed animal.
Kiwi Crate offers maker kits for kids up to age 16. Try Doodle or Tinker Crate for ages 9-16 and Kiwi for ages 5-8. Sign up for a monthly subscription box. Each box comes with fun STEM and STEAM activities for kids.
Tin Can Robot: Take an ordinary tin can and turn it into something cool with the Tin Can Robot kit. Using this kit, kids can build their own robot.
Star Wars Death Star Electronic Lab: Star Wars fans will love the challenge of the Death star Electronic Lab which has them connect circuits to help bring the Death Star to life.
Super Slime Factory: Slime is all the rage these days and the Super Slime Factory gives kids the chance to make their own slime while learning a bit about the science that goes into the process.
Qwirkle: Qwirkle is a fun game with a dominoes-like feel. Kids must match the shapes and colors, but they also have to use a bit of strategy to win the game.
Keva Contraptions: With Keva, kids can learn about engineering and geometry. This set allows kids to build unique contraptions and also comes with two balls. Perhaps kids will use them to make an epic marble run.
Create a Maze: With the Create-a-Maze set, kids are tasked with re-creating the maze on a card and then trying to get a ball through the maze.
Klutz LEGO Chain Reactions Craft Kit: This book and LEGO set helps kids learn how to build simple machines and put them to use, introducing them to the laws of physics at the same time.
For preschoolers through upper elementary school students, you can also put together a craft kit, full of supplies, such as googly eyes, stickers, craft sticks, and glitter glue, to make a variety of crafts and to encourage kids to use their imaginations.
TOP PICK: Elenco Teach Tech Mech-5 Coding Robot – This STEM coding robot introduces kids and teens to the principles of mechanical engineering. They work with their robot to get it to perform tasks such as kicking, throwing, lifting, and even drawing.
TOP PICK: Science Academy Deluxe Squishy Ball Lab – Encourage kids and tweens to get their hands dirty and make their own squishy stress balls. The kit is great for boosting STEM skills and getting in some sensory fun.
Kano Computer: Pre-teens who enjoy coding and working with electronics, but are not quite ready to work on a full-fledged computer will appreciate Kano Computer, which allows them to build their own mini computer.
Perfume Maker: A lot of science goes into the creation of perfume. This set allows pre-teens to make their own scents while learning at the same time.
Spa Soaps Kit: Let pre-teens make their own spa soaps, and then use them to host a spa party for their friends. Better yet, they can package their soaps and give them as gifts to others.
Giant Inflatable Ball: Encourage pre-teens to get outside and be active by purchasing a giant inflatable ball. They can make up their own fun games to go with the ball too.
Boxed Book Sets : If you know a pre-teen loves to read or has a favorite series, consider purchasing a boxed set. The Giver trilogy by Lois Lowry is a great set to consider.
Eco-Friendly Bean Bag: Instead of a normal bean bag, opt for an eco-friendly bean bag. The gift will teach pre-teens about being more environmentally conscious.
Build Your Own Pinball: Kids and teens can learn about engineering by building their own pinball game with this fun set.
Displates: Give teens a unique gift that teaches them to value creativity and different art forms. Displates come in different styles and relate to interests such as popular movies and TV shows or musical instruments.
Ion: A Compound Building Game – Know a teen struggling with chemistry? Find some STEM fun and refresh that chem knowledge with a fun game that has kids and teens collect cards and build chemical compounds.
Quadcopter: What’s more fun than a drone? A drone with a camera. Teens can make their own videos and take pictures as they fly their drones.
Marvel Puzzle: Have a superhero fan? Give them a superhero puzzle so they can enjoy some of their favorite skills and they put their puzzle-solving skills to the test.
Codenames Disney: Codenames is a fun word association game. Purchase the Disney version or another themed-version and play it with your teen.
Die Cast Spirograph: Spirograph may seem like a kids’ toy, but this version of the classic drawing kit is super sleek. Teens may find creating their own spiral shapes relaxing.
Games: World of Puzzles: Purchase a subscription to a magazine such as Games: World of Puzzles. This fun magazine includes many different puzzles for teens and adults to solve.
Game of Phones: Teens are always on their phones. Get them to interact with one another with this fun game which has them use their phones to send messages and complete challenges.
My Cinema Lightbox: A lightbox is a fun way to get teens to write. They can come up with creative messages or even practice spelling vocabulary words.
In addition to the gifts listed above, consider purchasing apps and other digital gifts for teens or giving them a gift card to purchase music and apps for their phones or tablets.
Do you know of any must-have educational gifts for kids or teens? If so, we’d love to hear your ideas. Share them in the comments!
*This list may contain affiliate links and some companies provided products for review, but all views expressed are our own.
Parent-teacher conferences can make parents, students, and even veteran teachers feel like they are on pins and needles. As parents, we want our children to be successful and happy. We love to hear about their accomplishments and it can be challenging to accept feedback on areas needing improvement. Developing a strong partnership with your children’s teachers is essential to ensuring academic progress. Enter your next parent-teacher conference prepared, with an open mind, and ready to collaborate with these five tips.
Involve Your Child
While some teachers invite students to sit in on parent meetings and some schools have moved to student-led models, many still offer traditional parent-teacher only conferences. Yet, this doesn’t mean your child shouldn’t be part of the conversation. After all, the meeting is about her success! Chances are your child will have some apprehension and curiosity about what goes on during the meeting. Alleviate the stress by talking with her beforehand. Ask your child if there is anything she would like you to share with the teacher. Maybe there is something she has enjoyed about being in class that the teacher would appreciate hearing. Or, if there is a concern she isn’t comfortable voicing on her own, this is an opportunity to bring it up. This is also a good chance to look over student work together. After the conference, reassure your child that you and her teacher as working as a team to help her succeed. Emphasize the positives that came out of the meeting as well as share any strategies that will be implemented going forward.
Do Your Homework
Your child has been working away at school and doing her homework. The teacher has pulled together student work samples, gathered data, and discussed your child’s progress with other teachers and specialists involved in her education. Now, it is your time to prepare for parent-teacher conferences! Start by looking over some of your child’s work. Read a writing sample. Try a few of the math questions from the last test. Develop a solid sense of the work your child is doing.
Next, write a list of questions you want to ask during the conference. The teacher may answer many of your questions during the natural progression of the meeting, but having a checklist will help prevent you from wishing you had remembered to ask about something. Some questions to consider include:
- Is my child performing at grade level?
- Is my child making sufficient academic progress?
- Where does my child sit?
- How is my child’s individualized education plan (IEP) being followed?
- Do you have any concerns about my child’s social-emotional development?
- How much time should my child spend on homework?
- What can I do at home to better support my child’s learning?
- Does my child show strong interest in any topic or subject?
- Is there anything I should share with next year’s teacher?
Finally, jot down about what you would like to share about your child with her teacher. Perhaps your child is passionate about a particular sport or book series. Sharing this information may help the teacher better connect with the student. If there are changes in the home environment or medical concerns that may impact your child’s performance at school, let the teacher know. Include information from last year’s teacher on strategies that helped your child succeed in class.
Respect Time Limits
Whether your conference time is set for ten minutes or thirty minutes, be mindful of time limitations. Show up ten minutes before your allotted meeting time. Use that time to look over your prepared questions. Spend a few minutes admiring the student work displayed in the hallway. During the conference, the teacher will most likely have an agenda and keep the conversation moving forward. If a topic comes up that needs to be discussed in more detail, make a note, but allow the conversation to progress. While discussing your child’s academic progress is the purpose of having a parent-teacher conference, it should not be at the expense of another family’s conference time. When you reach the end of your time, leave things on a positive note and exit the room. Doing so allows the teacher to make her own notes about the conference, prepare for the next meeting, and keeps things running on schedule.
Have a Conversation
A parent-teacher conference should be a conversation rather than a confrontation. Both of you share a common goal, the academic success and well-being of your child. View the meeting as a collaborative session between teammates. Like any productive conversation, a good conference should involve both participants listening and speaking. The teacher will most likely lead the flow of the conversation. Listen actively to what the teacher says. Take notes that you can refer to later and record actions items that you need to follow through on after the conference ends. Ask questions and share information about your child where they naturally fit in the conversation. Towards the end of the conference, read through the notes you prepared ahead of time and bring up any items that were not mentioned. Don’t forgot to discuss anything your child asked you to share with her teacher!
Make a Plan
The final couple minutes of the conference should be spent developing an action plan for how you and the teacher will best support your child going forward. This may include scheduling a follow-up meeting to further discuss anything that came up during the conference which couldn’t be fully covered in the allotted time. Review the things that you and the teacher will do to support your child as well as any expectations that need to be communicated with your child. Make sure you know the best method of contacting the teacher and determine a timeframe for when you will next check-in on your child’s progress.
Family engagement is vital to student success. Your parent-teacher conference attendance shows your child that you care about them and what goes on at school, as well as opens a dialog with the teacher. Share your tips on how to have a successful conference in the comments.
During spring break, many families try to squeeze in a getaway. One way to have a fun family adventure is to incorporate education into your trips. There are so many places across America that offer a terrific spring or summer-like atmosphere, while opening your children’s eyes to the history of this country and other learning opportunities.
Numerous museums across the country offer overnight excursions inside of their buildings! What better way to become acquainted with different aspects of culture and history than to sleep next to exhibits and artifacts?
Three different Smithsonian affiliated museums in the Washington D.C. area offer sleepovers, with dates scheduled through the end of August. The American History Museum, Natural History Museum, and the Air and Space Museum’s Udvar-Hazy Center all offer overnight stays that includes tours, games, crafts, and more.
For families in the Northeast, head over to Pier 86 on the west side of Manhattan and spend the night on the Intrepid! The Intrepid Sea, Air, and Space Museum offers fun activities, including a ride in a flight simulator!
The Field Museum in Chicago hosts “Dozin’ with the Dinos”, a nighttime exploration with museum scientists that make the exhibits come alive!
Living History Museums
There may be no better way to understand what bygone eras were like than to actually experience them. These attractions bring history to life by showing what daily life and major events were like in a specific period.
One of the best known of these types of attractions is the world’s largest living history museum, Colonial Wiliamsburg. It features hundreds of reconstructed and historically furnished buildings, with costumed guides who tell stories of the people who lived there in the 1700s.
Columbia State Historical Park is a living gold rush era town. It contains “residents” in 1850s attire, and tons of exhibits, activities, and experiences you would find in a gold rush museum.
Connor Prairie Interactive History Park in Fishers, IN recreates life on a rural community in the 19th century. This attraction also offers a look at Native American life at this time. Kids will love the interactive nature of life on a prairie, as they can work like a farmhand, become a craftsman, or ride in a helium filled balloon high overhead.
We’ve seen them on television, we’ve always meant to go there, but many Americans have not seen some of our most famous landmarks. The stories and the history behind these places and modern marvels are well worth the trip.
The Gateway Arch in St. Louis, MO is a magnificent architectural creation that also serves as a monument to Thomas Jefferson’s plans for American expansion and the role of St. Louis as a gateway to the west.
Mount Rushmore in Keystone, SD offers so much more than the breathtaking mountain sculpture of four of America’s presidents. Vacationers can learn about the natural history of the surrounding area, as well as methods used to sculpt the chief executives. There is also ample information available on the Native American tribes who called this area home.
It’s never too late to enjoy the summertime, and it’s never too early to refocus on education and learning. Make a last ditch effort to get away and take advantage of all of the creative educational – and fun – opportunities our country has to offer.
If you’re a parent, you know there are very few times you have your kids’ undivided attention. However, when you’re traveling, you have a captive audience. Whether you’re going by plane, train, or automobile, family travel offers an amazing opportunity to connect with your kids and engage them in educational activities. The next time you head off to grandma’s house for Thanksgiving or fly to Florida for vacation, put away the smartphones and tablets for a bit, and try out some of these educational travel activities with your kids.
Toddler – Preschool
At this age, a key skill for toddlers and preschoolers is being able to take what they’re learning and connect it to the real world. While you travel, you can use the ever-changing landscape to help them make some of those connections. Play a simple game of “I Spy,” but don’t just look for colors. During the game, you can say “I spy…”
- a shape
- a number
- a letter
- a particular animal
Let your kids join in and pick things that they spy too. If they have trouble seeing out the window, then randomly place stickers around the car for them to spy as you drive. You can get reusable stickers if you’re worried about them sticking too much.
Another type of seek-and-find game is “Find 100.” In this game, you challenge kids to find 100 of something during the trip. This helps reinforce counting skills. For kids who are just learning to count, you can keep a tally for them or adjust the number to 5, 10, or 20. You can also add in an additional challenge by seeing who can find that number of objects first. Things kids can look for include:
- items of a certain color
- types of cars
You can extend the activity by having kids complete a 100 Chart, coloring in the numbers to find a mystery picture.
Virtual Hide and Seek
Toddlers and preschoolers love to play hide and seek, but the game is kind of hard to play in the car. You can, however, play a virtual game of hide and seek where they pretend to hide somewhere in another location and you try to guess where they are. For example, if they pretend to hide somewhere at home, you could say, “I’m looking in the bathtub. Is that where you’re hiding?” If guessing proves impossible, have them give you clues to figure it out.
Kids need to move around, but that’s pretty hard if they’re strapped into a car seat or stuck on an airplane. However, their arms and legs are usually free to wave and kick, so you can take some of their favorite movement songs and adapt them to fit in the car. Some songs that make great car motion games include:
- The Wheels on the Bus
- The Itsy Bitsy Spider
- If You’re Happy and You Know It (change “Stomp Your Feet” to something else)
- Alice the Camel
If you’re traveling for the holidays, you can also look for holiday-themed songs and finger plays that include motions. For example, Five Little Turkeys or Way Up High in the Apple Tree for Thanksgiving and Up on the Housetop or a modified We Wish You a Merry Christmas for Christmas. When you stop for a rest stop, kids can stretch their bodies with a fun movement story.
The Alphabet Game
There are many different versions of the alphabet game. To play you can start off with a phrase, such as:
- I’m going to the store and I need to buy…
- I’m going on a trip and I need to pack…
- I’m going on a trip and I will visit…
- I’m hungry and I’m going to eat…
Take turns adding to the list, letter by letter, repeating all the previous items as you go. At the end, see who can recite the entire list without making a mistake.
License Plate Meanings
License plates are often random combinations of letters and numbers. Pick a random license plate while driving and make up a meaning for the letters and words on the license plate. For example, JCAI26 could be “Just Cruisin’ Along Interstate 26”. You can make the descriptions completely random or try to base them off the type of car or people you see in the car. For more fun, make up a story about the people in the car. What are their names? Where are they going?
Use the trip as an opportunity to brush up on basic math facts. For younger children, start by stringing addition problems. For example, “What’s 2+2? What’s 4+4? What’s 8+8?” For older children, call out basic multiplication or division problems. If you have multiple children in the car, pull out a stopwatch and see how many problems they can solve in a minute. Use our Worksheet Generator to print out some basic math worksheets before you go.
Twenty questions is one of those classic games that kids have been playing for ages. Simply think of a person, place, or thing. Then the other people in the car can ask up to 20 yes/no questions to figure out what it is. You may be surprised how easy it is to figure something out by asking simple questions.
Family Spelling Bee
Who is the best speller in the family? A family trip is the perfect opportunity to find out. Hold a family spelling bee, taking turns spelling words to see who can spell the most words correctly. You can use random words or pick words related to a particular holiday or location. For even more fun, bring along a dictionary and let your children randomly pick out words to see if they can stump you.
Listen to a Story
A car or plane trip is a great time to enjoy a good book. If you’re riding in the car, download a novel that the whole family can enjoy and listen to it on your trip. If you can’t find a book to download, bring along a few books to read and take turns reading aloud to the rest of the family. Not only will you get to enjoy a good book, you’ll help your children learn the importance of reading. If you don’t want to read an entire novel, check out funny storytellers, such as Bill Harley or the Story Pirates podcast.
Tell a Story
Instead of listening to a book or story, you can always make up your own. You can start by making up your own version of a popular fairy tale or embellish a story from your childhood. To get your children involved, tell a story where every person tells one sentence of the story and the others add on to it. If you’re worried you won’t know what to tell a story about, take a look at our writing prompts for some inspiration. You can print out a few to take along on your trip.
Would You Rather?
Would you rather have leaves for hair or mushrooms growing out of your ears? These kinds of silly questions are great for kids of all ages. They teach kids to think creatively and learn how to back up their opinions. If you’re not sure you can come up with questions on the fly, let your kids do the work or just look up a few before you go. Sites with great Would You Rather questions for kids include:
Listen to Educational Songs
Turn on some music the whole family can enjoy and learn from at the same time. If you have satellite radio, you can listen to a station like Kids Place Live which is full of fun indie music for kids and call-in radio shows for kids, much of which is educational. You can also purchase fun kids’ CDs or download albums full of educational songs. Some good ones that parents will enjoy too include:
- Snacktime! by Barenaked Ladies
- Here Come the ABCs and Here Comes Science by They Might Giants
- A Family Album by The Verve Pipe
- The Best of Schoolhouse Rock or Schoolhouse Rock Rocks
Road Trip Bingo
Print out or create your own version of Road Trip Bingo to play. As you travel, kids can look for the items on their bingo boards and cross them off as they see them. The first one to get five in a row wins the game. To play the game multiple times, put the bingo boards in plastic sheet protectors and bring along dry erase markers for kids to use to mark each item off. Then you can wipe the board clean in between each game.
How Far Away Is it?
To help make the time go faster, have kids guess how far away different places, landmarks, or rest stops are. For example, if you see a tunnel in the distance say, “How far away is it?” Then watch the odometer to see whose guess was the closest. You can also give kids a map or let them look at the map on a smartphone or tablet to help them figure out exactly how far away a particular landmark is.
These are just a few ways to engage kids in learning activities as you travel during the holidays and year-round. Of course, you can also print out some of your favorite Help Teaching worksheets and put them in a binder for kids to work on during the drive.
Do you have educational activities you enjoy with your kids while traveling? If so, we’d love to hear them. Share them in the comments below.
Twenty years ago, schools had fire drills and tornado drills. Today, they’ve added drills for handling bomb threats and active shooters. In addition to these types of tragedies, students also have to deal with suicides, overdoses, car accidents, and other tragic events that take the lives of their peers. As parents and educators, we have a responsibility to help students work through these tragedies and provide them with the support and resources they need.
Give Them Hope
We live in a world that is full of evil, but not everyone who lives in the world is evil. In fact, there’s a lot of good going on every day. Talk about some of the positive things students are doing in the classroom and in the community. Look at resources such as the Good News Network which highlight the positive things that are going on in the world. Draw their attention to the Random Acts of Kindness movement and talk about how they can spread kindness and do good work in their community every day.
Give Them Safety
When tragedy strikes, many kids and teens worry that it could happen to them. Take some time to reassure kids that despite the attention these events get in the news, they are rare and not likely to happen where you live. Explain some of the procedures you have in place to protect students should something bad happen and, if they are not convinced, encourage them to come up with some ideas of their own. Let them know that while you cannot promise bad things will never happen, you will do all that you can to ensure that students are safe and taken care of.
Give Them Relief
Often, kids and teens don’t know how to express negative emotions in a healthy way or are afraid to let them out. Instead, they bottle them up inside. Even if kids and teens are able to share how they’re feeling, the weight of those feelings can weigh them down. Recognize that when tragedy strikes, some students may need help shedding some of the heaviness they feel. During these times, extend a bit of grace to students. Give them an extra day to complete homework or even offer a homework pass. Overlook minor outbursts. Provide plenty of opportunities and activities, such as coloring pages, silly games, meditation activities, and brain breaks, where students can decompress and unwind.
Give Them Attention
“I try to talk, but no one listens to me!” Many kids and teens have uttered this phrase. Make it your goal to ensure students never say this about you. When tragedies strike, make yourself available. Be willing to listen without judgement and answer any questions they may have. If you don’t have the answers, offer to help them find the answers or direct them to someone who can help. If students do not want to talk, that’s okay too, but regularly check in with them and let them know your door is always open. If you work in a school, set up a safe space where students can go to talk or collect their thoughts during the day and let them go without judgement. Will some students take advantage of the opportunity? Yes. However, the benefits to those who need it will far outweigh the few who take advantage of the situation.
Give Them Support
As students talk and share their feelings, let them know that you are there for them and that you always have their best interest in mind. If students express needs or desires, take them seriously and try to offer whatever support you can. Don’t be afraid to ask students, “What do you need from me?” They may not have an answer right away and you can encourage them to share those needs with you when they arise. If a student says, “I just need you to lay off my case for a few days,” then respect that. If a student says, “I need you to be very positive,” then be that that person. If a student says, “I need you to understand that this a big deal,” then let them know that you recognize the magnitude of what they’re facing. Avoid phrases such as “get over it,” “move on,” or “let’s try not to think about it right now.” Those phrases downplay what kids and teens are feeling and can come off as very insensitive.
Give Them Love
Adults show love to students in different ways. Parents might want to give their kids extra hugs, tell them that they’re proud of them, and say “I love you” every day. Teachers may want to smile at students, write positive notes to give to them (or send home to parents), and incorporate their interests in class. There are many different ways to show kids you care about them.
Give Them Purpose
Tragedies often leave kids and teens feeling hopeless. Finding ways for them to help after the tragedy can help relieve some of that hopelessness. Students may write letters of encouragement and support to families who have lost loved ones. They may collect bottled water and toiletries to send to people affected by a hurricane. They may collect money to send to an organization that is providing aid. Organizations such as the American Red Cross often create lists of items that they need. News organizations and people on social media are full of ways people can help too. Before donating money or supplies, do a little research to make sure the request is legitimate. If it is, give students a chance to help. Doing so may help them work through some of the negative emotions they’re dealing with.
Do you have any advice for parents and teachers who are helping kids work through difficult situations? If so, please share it in the comments.
“But aren’t you concerned about socialization?” If you’re a homeschool parent, chances are you’ve heard this question or some version of it more than once. When parents choose to homeschool their children versus sending them to traditional school, they often have to give up the built-in peer support network. But that doesn’t mean children won’t get any social interaction. To have a successful homeschool experience, community is extremely important. If you struggle with building community or are looking to expand your community, we have some ways to help.
1. Join a Co-op
A co-op is a group of homeschooling families who meet together on a regular basis. Some homeschool co-ops meet every day of the week. Some meet once a week. Some only meet up for field trips and special activities. The size and age-ranges of co-ops also vary. In some co-ops, parents take on some of the teaching duties, presenting courses to small groups of students. The courses students take are typically enrichment-oriented. For example, students may take a course on Shakespeare’s England or Model Rocket Building, offering unique ways to get in some of the science, history, and English lessons.
Finding a co-op can be difficult for some homeschoolers. Many co-ops have monthly or annual fees to help cover the cost of the space they meet in and the materials needed for the courses. It’s also important for parents in a homeschool co-op to get along and share similar educational goals and values. For example, a parent who believes in a classical Christian education may not mesh well with those in a co-op that focuses on unschooling. To find a co-op or other support group near you, check out the Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA) or The Home School Mom’s Local Support resources.
2. Visit Local Attractions
Sometimes just getting out of the house and visiting local attractions can be a great way to build a community as a homeschool parent. You may encounter other home school families at the zoo, the local art museum, or the science center. If you’re visiting these places and see a mom (or dad) with children who look like they are school age, consider striking up a conversation to see if their children are homeschooled. Perhaps you’ll find a new friend in the process. In addition to randomly approaching strangers, you can check out the events page for your local library and other local attractions. Many libraries and museums offer special homeschool programs on a weekly or monthly basis. Even some amusement parks offer discount admission for homeschoolers at the beginning or end of the season.
3. Go to School
While you may not want your children to attend public school full-time, many school districts offer part-time options where homeschooled students can attend for part of the school day or take special classes, such as physical education, band, or art at the school. If your area public school does not offer this benefit, you can often find the same benefit at a local private school. If you’re struggling to find homeschool groups that cater to your child’s age group, sending your child to school for an hour or two a day can be a way to build those peer connections while still maintaining control over your child’s education. In addition to taking classes at the public school, many school states have laws that allow homeschool students to participate in athletic programs at public schools.
4. Play a Sport
Even if you choose not to participate in the athletic programs available through your local school district, sports can be a great way to build community as a homeschooler. Check out your town’s recreation department or local YMCA for different athletic opportunities. Chances are you’ll find sports programs to cover every season. For example, your child may play soccer in the fall, basketball in the winter, baseball/softball in the spring, and swim in the summer. Look beyond the popular sports too. For example, your local bowling alley may
5. Celebrate Homeschool Spirit Week
During the last full week of September, many families celebrate International Homeschool Spirit Week. Just like Spirit Week at more traditional school, this week gives homeschool families a chance to participate in themed days, such as Crazy Hair Day and Superhero Day. Families can participate as a co-op or individually. Photos can also be uploaded to social media channels using a special hashtag. As you look through photos from other homeschool families, you will feel a sense of community and you may also find some kindred spirits in the process.
If you live in a community that doesn’t have a strong homeschool presence or you find it difficult to make it out of the house to attend a co-op, you can also find community online. Search Facebook for homeschooling groups or conduct an internet search for “online homeschooling groups” to find a wealth of possibilities. Just like with an in-person co-op, look for groups that share your core values and educational goals. For example, you might search for “Christian homeschooling groups” or “unschooling groups.” Whatever group you find, make sure that you feel supported in your homeschooling journey and leave any negative groups immediately.
6. Connect Online
offer a youth bowling league or, if you live in a town with an ice rink, you may be able to sign your child up for ice skating lessons or a curling club. Dance and gymnastic teams and classes can also be a good way to find a community to connect with.
The community you build does not have to be one full of other homeschoolers. You may find that community through a local non-profit organizaation or another volunteer opportunity. Check out your local animal shelter to see if they offer volunteer opportunities for homeschool families. Contact a local nursing home to see if you can bake cookies and visit with residents once a week. Serve meals at a local homeless shelter or help at a local food pantry. Many of these organizations have loads of people ready to volunteer on the weekends, but during the week they can often really use the help.
8. Get Involved in Your Community
Beyond volunteer opportunities, just get out and get to know people in your community. Visit the local library and the post office. Spend time playing at the local park. Talk to the workers at your local grocery store or hardware store. Attend community fairs and festivals. If you’re religious, get involved in a local church. The more you get out of the house and experience your community, the less likely you are to feel isolated as a homeschooler.
How do you build community as a homeschooling family? Share your tips in the comments!
Teaching kids about money goes beyond giving kids an allowance or having them fill a piggy bank with spare change. It involves creating budgets, setting savings goals, comparing prices, and even coming up with ways to earn more money. That may sound like a lot of work, but thankfully you don’t have to do it on your own. We’ve chosen a few of the top tools that you can start using today to ensure your kids develop the healthy money habits they need to become financially stable adults. Remember: it’s never too early to start teaching kids about money.
Financial Peace Jr.
What: book, chart, activities
Age Range: preschool – elementary
When people want to get out of debt, one of the first people they often turn to is Dave Ramsey. However, Dave Ramsey does more than help people get out of debt. He also offers resources to help parents teach kids about money. One of those resources is Financial Peace Jr. and the Junior’s Adventure story series. In the Financial Peace Jr. kit, kids receive giving, saving, and spending envelopes, a fun chore chart, and a book full of activities to complete. In addition, parents get access to video lessons and a digital copy of the book Smart Money, Smart Kids to help them learn more about the importance of teaching kids healthy money habits.
Sesame Street Finance for Kids
What: videos, worksheets
Age Range: preschool – early elementary
Sesame Street is a favorite of toddlers and preschoolers around the globe, so it makes sense that it would also be a good platform for a lesson about healthy money habits. Finance for Kids features a short video where Elmo tries to earn money, discovers the difference between needs and wants, and sets earnings goals. Parents can download a guide with activities and questions to use along with the video. The site also features coloring pages and other worksheets that can be downloaded and printed out. For more help, parents can check out the Elmo’s Adventures in Spending, Saving, and Sharing podcast.
Current Debit Card
What: debit card with virtual wallets and parental controls
Age Range: upper elementary – college
With Current, parents can teach kids and teens about responsible spending with an actual debit card and an online platform that helps kids learn more about money. Kids are given three wallets: spending, savings, and giving. Kids earn money through chores and/or a general allowance, both of which can be set up in the app, and can also have money transferred into their accounts by their parents and others. The money can then be moved between the different wallets. Current gives kids freedom to spend their money, but also provides parents with tools and opportunities to see how kids are spending their money and talk to them about responsible spending habits. All transactions are itemized and parents have the ability to control what kids are allowed to spend their money on.
What: chores and allowance management
Age Range: upper elementary – high school
BusyKid helps simplify the process of monitoring chores and giving kids an allowance by combining them into an online platform. With this program, parents can set up chores and see suggested rates for common chores. They can also approve payments for those chores. Kids can then use the money they earn to purchase gift cards, contribute to popular charities (such as Big Brothers Big Sisters, Make-a-Wish Foundation, and Autism Speaks), and even purchase stocks. The idea is to teach kids how to save, share, and invest their money responsibly.
What: videos, games, activities
Age Range: middle school – high school
When kids visit Biz Kids, they can learn all about healthy money habits through engaging videos, fun games, and other activities. Through BizKids, kids and teens can learn about a lot more than just spending, saving and giving. They can also learn about concepts such as starting a business and how to spot common advertising tactics and scams. These lessons come largely through the video clips from the BizKids show. The website also features lesson plans for teachers and a blog that highlights kids who are doing awesome things with their money.
Whatever tools you use to teach your kids about money, remember to practice what you preach. Take time to show your kids your household budget, tell them about some of your savings goals, and regularly talk to them about any spending or giving choices you make. The more kids see you making smart money choices, the more likely they are to make those same choices themselves.
April is Autism Awareness Month, a time dedicated to raising awareness about autism within the community. As autism rates have risen over the years, so has awareness. However, as parents of children with autism know, a lot of myths and misunderstandings still exist. Whether you’re a teacher, a principal, or someone who works in another capacity in the schools, it’s important that you avoid the myths and develop an accurate understanding of what autism is and what it looks like to work with kids with autism.
1. Autism is a Spectrum
Perhaps one of the most challenging aspects of autism is that kids with autism are on a spectrum. There’s a world of difference between kids with high-functioning autism versus low-functioning autism. Before assuming anything about a child with autism, learn where they are on the spectrum and what particular aspects of autism they demonstrate the most.
- Are they socially awkward?
- Do they have trouble understanding non-literal language?
- Do they lack basic communication skills?
- Do they have tics?
- Is it difficult for them to make eye contact?
- Do they express emotions inappropriately?
Not all children with autism will express all of these traits and some will express all of them and more.
2. Autism does not Signal a Lack of Intelligence
Many parents have sat through IEP (Individualized Education Plan) meetings where they listened to professionals discuss their child’s lack of intelligence. For example, in a recent initial IEP meeting for a newly-diagnosed child with autism, the Child Study Team leader said, “We’ll give him a series of tests to see where he is, but I’m sure he’ll be low,” simply because the child had been diagnosed with autism. Imagine how surprised she was to learn that not only did he not score low, but he was working above grade-level in multiple subject areas. Kids with autism may struggle academically, but often their struggles do not signal a lack of intelligence. Rather, they signal their struggle to adapt to the educational system. In many cases, kids with autism solve problems and communicate differently than what is expected. Sometimes teachers and other educational professionals think they got the answer wrong, when really they just thought about it differently.
3. Autism Often Confuses Other Kids
Recently Sesame Street introduced its first autistic character, Julia. While Julia represents a character that many children with autism can relate to, she also serves as a tool to help teach other kids how to interact with kids who have autism. Kids don’t always know how to act around kids who are different or who don’t do what’s expected. Teachers can use models like Julia and other activities to help kids understand what autism is and how to interact with their peers who have autism. After all, everyone has differences. Some of those differences are just more noticeable than others.
4. Autism is Unpredictable
One thing about working with kids with autism is that you are never quite sure how they will react. Sometimes, you’ll expect them to react negatively to a loud concert and they’ll be fine. Other times, you will think a certain activity will be easy for them and it will become a major challenge. When you work with kids with autism, you must be flexible. You must also learn to recognize their cues so you can adjust a situation to avoid making it a bigger problem.
5. Autism Requires Predictability
Imagine living every day without knowing what’s going to happen. For kids with autism, that’s often a reality. They are not always in control of their emotions and navigating life can be confusing. Surprises lurk around almost every corner. However, the adults in their lives can help limit those surprises by developing routines for them to follow. For some kids, just knowing the general schedule of the school day will help. For others, parents and teachers will need to develop a thorough schedule that includes the smallest of events, such as brushing their teeth and going to the bathroom. If the schedule is going to change for any reason, adults should also try to take time to warn the child about the change in advance. For example, a child expecting to do math at 10:15 may be upset by the fact that he gets to out for early recess instead. Even though recess is fun, the disruption to his routine could outweigh that fun.
6. Autism Requires Parents and Educators to Work as a Team
Educators have a lot of students to focus on, but when working with a child with autism, it is essential that they take the time to develop a relationship with the child’s parents and work as a team to ensure they are working in that child’s best interests. Educators should respect a parent’s position as an expert on the child, while parents should respect an educator’s professional expertise and observations in the classroom. Educators must also be careful not to criticize parents of autistic children for making decisions related to their child. They must also take into consideration the child’s autism when making observations about the child’s appearance or behavior. For example, a note home saying “Please ensure your child wears socks each day” may seem innocent, but it may not take into consideration the fact that the parent is encouraging the child to become more independent in dressing himself and letting him go to school without socks when he forgets is part of that process.
7. Working with Kids with Autism is not as Difficult as it Seems
Some of the information above may overwhelm educators. “I have 25 students in my class. How can I spend this much time on the needs of one?” At the end of the day, it’s not that hard. Just as you get to know your other students, get to know your students who have autism. Learn their quirks. Get to know their personality. Focus on their diagnosis, but at the same time don’t focus on their diagnosis. Just treat them as human beings.
There are lots of resources available to help educators work with children with autism. One of them is the School Community Tool Kit from Autism Speaks. It contains a wealth of resources, information sheets, worksheets, and activities to help the many different people in a school community understand autism.
For educators looking for help with behavior modification, check out Insights to Behavior, a free resource full of activities to help educators create behavior plans for students, as well as find activities to help with some of the social and emotional challenges kids with autism face.
You can find additional books, videos, toys, and information sheets in the Autism Speaks Resource Library. If you’re looking for more educational resources, you may appreciate Help Teaching’s Life Skills or Study Skills worksheets or use Help Teaching’s Test Maker platform to develop test, quizzes, and worksheets that can meet the needs of your autistic students.
Are you a parent of a child with autism? Is there anything else you want educators to know? If so, please share it with us in the comments.
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 experiment in the kitchen.
EdibleCraftsOnline.com 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.
National Geographic features a selection of crafts designed for kids in elementary and middle school. Many of the crafts are designed to go along with National Geographic articles or programming.
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.
The Art Curator for Kids offers 13 Ways to Integrate Art & Math, a list of 13 different art projects connected with math. Ideas include tessellations and color wheel clocks. The site also includes a list of books that combine math and art.
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.
Time Traveller Kids is a British site that offers a wealth of free project ideas from different periods in history, including Ancient Rome, Japan, and Tudor Britain.
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.
Babadoodle features free coloring pages for kids and adults. Colorings pages are organized by category and include many mandala coloring pages.
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.
The Kidz Page has a large selection of printable and online coloring pages organized by category and holiday. They include many early elementary pages.
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
- Be patient and flexible
- Prepare for the worst
- Have fun
The kids will be ready to get started right away, so you want to make sure you have everything ready to go.
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?
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.
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.