Finding academic activities that kids are obsessed with is hard… Some would even say it’s a feat close to landing on the moon or climbing Mount Everest.
While I wouldn’t go that far, I would say that kids have a sixth sense… They know if there’s any hidden agenda in an activity a parent presents to them. The best analogy I can think of is when you sneak a vegetable into a kid’s dinner, and they love it… Until they find out, it’s made from a hidden veggie buried deep in that delicious creamy soup, and now they won’t touch it with a ten-foot pole.
So, how can you, as a parent, find activities that your kids will love and learn in the process?
Luckily for you, Prenda has been doing this for a long time. And our team of teachers, educators, higher education professionals, and curriculum experts know that in each child, there’s a desire to learn and have fun. That’s right… Both. At the same time.
The tricky part is finding the activities that unlock this and work to switch the child’s mindset from thinking of the activity as a chore, and instead something they choose to do and are excited about. So while in this article, we will talk through a few of our favorite activities, it’s important to note that the key to unlocking a child’s love of learning is finding out their passions and feeding that with educational and fun resources and activities.
Help them pursue their passions!
In Prenda’s curriculum, we have countless activities across all core subjects so students can explore what they are interested in: history, math, science, language, the arts, music, and more! You can find out more about our learning experience by clicking here.
Just so it’s clear, I didn’t come up with these activities. These are real activities taken from our curriculum, and our students participate in these fun and engaging activities on a daily. Ok.. fine. I’ll stop blabbering. Let’s talk through these activities. (these are in order of my favorites)
Okay, so in this activity, your child is a geologist, and they have been studying Mount Everest for 25 years! They recently discovered Mount Everest is taller than when they first started studying it. They’ve found it is about 4 inches taller! Your child needs to find out why this is so and educate you, a fellow scientist, on your findings. Prompt: Can your child create a model demonstrating why Mount Everest and mountains all over the world change as they age?
Here are some videos to help them get started with their research in understanding how mountains form.
Have them keep researching until they know how mountains are formed. Make sure they look over these keywords. If they can describe these words, they’ll know their research is on the right track.
Ask your child the following questions to make sure they are a smart and responsible researcher.
If needed, have them take some additional time to research.
What materials would best make an interactive model of tectonic plates? (Think play-doh, clay, paper, paint, or even food!) Your child should create a diagram to help plan what they’ll need and how they’ll use their interactive model to teach you about mountains. Make sure they include labels, pictures, descriptions, and anything they need to help plan the details of their model.
It’s time for them to build their model. Think about what makes it stable and allows it to move and interact! Have them think about how they will teach you using their model.
For many years, courageous explorers left the comforts of their homes and set off on adventures to discover new places! These were called expeditions.
In many ways, past expeditions were like a game -- they required planning, strategy, risk, and reward! Can your child pick an expedition from the past and use it to design their own game?
Your child should spend a day or more researching. Make sure they are thinking of which one interests them and would make a fun board game:
Have your child spend some days learning more about the expedition they chose. This may mean reading about it online, watching videos, and picking up books from the library. They need to know their expedition well to turn it into a game.
Next, have them start designing their game and have them make sure their game has a few things:
Your child should take a few days to design their game. Have them take their time, get into it, have fun, and do their best work! They should plan out what materials they will use.
Your child encounters math on a daily. When they want to know how much longer it will take to get to their friend's house - they figure that out using math. Want to know whether they have enough money to buy the two snacks they have their eye on in the grocery store? Use math. Cutting up a birthday cake, so there are enough pieces for everyone? That's math too. It's EVERYWHERE!!!!
One area of normal life that takes math knowledge- BAKING. In this activity, your child discovers they own a bakery. Woah. Congrats. Your child is pretty impressive.
They need to find a recipe for chocolate chip cookies. The issue is they need to make 1.5 times more servings than the recipe calls for. Every recipe item must be multiplied and measured to 1.5 times the original. If they can’t do this, their customers won’t have enough cookies!!!
Can you use math skills to create a 1.5x batch of delicious cookies?
Has your child ever traveled outside your state? Outside your country? Outside your continent? Maybe they have a specific place they have always wanted to see. Is there someplace they talk about often?
Have your child choose a place anywhere in the world and have them learn all about it. What do people like to see there? Where do they stay? Where do they eat? Prompt: Can they lead a “guided tour” of that place?
Your child should research their place by reading articles online. Have them search for attractions, restaurants, museums, events, and hotels.
Your child should list ten sights you think people should visit and write down why they are important. These could be places of historical interest, famous buildings, places where famous people lived or worked, or anything else they’d like to share about on their guided tour!
They should find ten spots on Google Maps and use street view to see what it looks like to be there. Determine where their tour will start and the best route to see all their planned sights.
In front of you; they should give their full tour! Make sure they have something interesting to say about each spot, and treat it like an actual guided tour!
I’m sure your child has met someone exciting and wished they could learn more about them.
The best way to get to know someone is to ask them questions and listen to their answers. For this project, can your child choose someone they think is inspiring and interview them?
First, your child should choose the person they’d like to interview. They might want to interview a family member with incredible stories, someone with a career you're interested in, someone who plays a sport or has a hobby you like too, and on and on.
Have them find the contact information (phone number or email) of the person they’ve chosen to interview. Have them reach out and ask them if they're available and set up a time to talk. In-person interviews are best, but they can do a video call with someone who lives far away!. If they say no, go back to step one and try again!
Next, your child should write their interview questions and have at least twenty questions. Your child should ensure that they can't be answered with yes or no but need a more specific answer. Their last question should be asking their interviewee if they have anything else they want to share with them that hasn't been brought up. They can use this paper for question ideas.
Your child should do the interview! Have them write down the answers your interviewee gives as they ask questions, or record the interview so they can go back and copy down the answers later.
I hope these activities were helpful. Let me know which ones you tried and liked by emailing me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I’d love to hear from you.
And remember, all these activities are just a sneak peek into the curriculum Prenda offers for our students. Our learning experience is built to empower students to pursue their interests and hobbies and find their love of learning again.
Find out more at prenda.com.