Other Essential Learning Activities (The ‘School in a Book’ Series)

Ideas for enjoyable, educational activities for kids aren’t hard to find. The trick is to remember them when the time comes. Here, I share a checklist of activities I plan to encourage each of my children to try at least once during their elementary school years. (I’ve hung it on our wall for easy access.) My goal is to expose our kids to a wide variety of games and activities in the hopes that several will become lifelong hobbies.

Essential Board Games and Puzzles

Scrabble
Chess
Checkers
Maj jong
Monopoly
Trivial Pursuit
Complex strategy board games like Dungeons and Dragons, Magic or Settlers of Cattan
Other educational board games
Card games
Crosswords
Sudoku
Logic grid puzzles
Mazes
Map/geography puzzles

Essential Quiet Indoor Activities

Listening to educational podcasts
Listening to audiobooks of classic literature and interesting nonfiction
Setting reading goals with associated rewards
Writing stories and poems
Journaling
Writing and self-publishing a book
Writing a blog
Creating a website
Learning computer programming
Creating a newsletter, newspaper or magazine
Doing educational coloring sheets (such as diagrams of body organs and systems, parts of the cell, maps and much more)
Memorizing important poems and passages
Scrapbooking
Listing life goals, dreams, and future plans/activities
Learning educational songs (especially with fact lists like the presidents, the major elements, etc.)
Writing longhand letters to friends

Optional Whole-Family Activities

Holding a family book club
Reading aloud together
Doing home improvement projects
Holding family presentation nights during which siblings do show-and-tell, hold demonstrations and teach mini classes to the rest of the family
Gardening and landscaping
Doing service work in the community
Job shadowing (visiting workplaces of people we know and learning about their jobs)
Wood working
Planning and throwing parties
Planning a family trip on a budget
Starting a small business
Holding a garage sale
Putting on a talent show
Making a bat house
Making a birdhouse
Making a bee home for honeybees
Creating a store for selling candy and other small items to family members
Planning and leading scavenger hunts
Building a town or dirt racetracks in the backyard
Build a go-kart
Building playground structures like teepees, volleyball poles and more in the backyard
Learning how to shoot a gun

Optional Classes and Clubs

Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, Cub Scouts or Eagle Scouts
Instrument lessons
Singing lessons with performance
Art lessons
Drama lessons with performance
Sports lessons

Optional Trips and Special Local Outings

Here, you can list the local attractions you’d like to visit and the longer trips you’d like to take.

Camping
Hikes
The aquarium
The zoo
The children’s science museum
Tide pool nature collecting
(More)

Optional Pretend Play Scenarios

Camping; Store; Restaurant; Post Office; Theater/Play/Music Play; Art Gallery; Grocery Store; Zoo; Toy Store; Gardening; Making Pizza or Muffins; Teddy bear/animal hunt; Car wash; Forts; Pet Hotel; Tea Party; Hospital; Cops and robbers; Superheroes; Star Wars; Vet Clinic; Lions and deer; Monster and townspeople; Alligators and swimmers; Fireman; Motorcycle, race car, truck drivers; Airplane Voyage; Submarine; Astronauts; Queen, king, servants, hosts and guests; Tea party host and guests; Library; Aliens; movie and TV show scenarios (like Star Wars), and much more.

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6 comments

      1. I have always liked Risk. I know it’s a war game, global domination played with dice, but it’s also a good lead to managing resources and figuring things out.
        And, personally, though it may not fit here, there are lots of video games for all ages and for all styles and likes.

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