Fun Activities For Kids At Home

Here are some creative and fun learning activities links from my blog for your children to enjoy at home as we move into unprecedented changes in our lives with self-isolation and lockdowns due to the global covid-19 outbreak.

May I offer a few practical suggestions with these at-home activities?

  • Look for items that your children would enjoy.
  • Plan for 1 activity per day.
  • Keep things informal.  Don’t try to do school at home!
  • Take your time.
  • Don’t rush through a list.
  • If something sparks joy and delight — stay there and look for other similar activities rather than moving on to the next thing on your list.
  • Repeat.  Especially young children love to repeat an enjoyable activity.  Don’t be afraid to print things out and do it again if your child loved it.
  • Photograph and video them doing their activities.
  • Display their finished work each week on a door or shelf “gallery”.
  • Share their activities with grandparents and social groups to stay connected.

So here we go ~

  1. Paper dolls and paper men from different historical eras to colour in and cut out.  Use these as puppets for narrations.
  2. Narrations are the child “telling back” what he heard in a read-aloud. Narrations are the cornerstone of a Charlotte Mason education.  Children must pay close attention while they listen to the story so that they can make it their own and express what they remember and understood as they narrate.   I have collected over 100 narration ideas for every learning style.  In this Ebook, you will find lists of suggested activities for audio, visual, kinesthetic and creative learners along with templates and printouts.  You can see examples of the templates and ideas in the original post.
  3. Letterboxing – a great “treasure hunting” geography game to practice in your house and garden. Letterboxing is an intriguing mix of treasure hunting, art, navigation, and exploring skills.
  4. Current Affairs is the study of social, political and important happenings in the world at the present time.  Use this Current Affairs download with calendar pages, maps, flags and symbols to chart the events around the world during the coronavirus crisis.
  5. Nature Study and enjoy the great outdoors with fun nature activities in three Smash Nature Journals.  Go to my  Packages page to order your Smash books.  If you order all 3 you get the third book free!
  6. 3D models such as the Little House in the Woods.
  7. Art appreciation activities of famous artworks and famous artists~
  8. Creative projects ~
  9. Bible activities ~
  10. Sight Words are frequently used words that your child should easily recognize in his reading.  In my Sight Words Ebook, you will have all the word lists, words in sentences, games and activity templates.spelling-templates-ideas.png (390×401)
  11. Handwriting practice with laminated charts and games. I have created a 20-page E-book is packed with practical tips and it includes helpful activities and fun pre-writing games to build up your child’s gross motor strength, develop fine motor control and develop their spatial awareness, correct posture and pencil grip for maximum control and minimum stress while learning to write.   Handwriting Tips Booklet $5.00 / ZAR5.00
  12. Hands-on activities ~ Here is a list of some of the many hands-on activities and posts on my blog ~

I hope that these posts and links and downloads inspire you in your homeschooling!

Wishing you all health, happiness and precious family times.

Blessings, Nadene

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Phenology Wheel

Updated! Using a Phenology Wheel for nature journaling is a wonderful visual way to record nature and seasons!  A phenology wheel is basically a visual, artistic summary of an entire year on a circular chart. Each month, sketch and paint something significant experienced in nature  on the wheel.

Here is my phenology wheel as part of my perpetual nature journal. open here at January Week 2.  The center circle of the wheel is for a spiritual symbol or something personal.

I first saw a beautiful phenology wheel in progress by Lynn of Raising Little Shoots  who creates the most wonderful phenology wheels and encourages her children to capture their nature ‘moment’ for each month on theirs .  She sells a starting guide eBook.

Because I live in the Southern Hemisphere here in South Africa, I changed the corresponding months and seasons on the downloaded wheels. Here is an updated Southern Hemisphere phenology wheel templates (one with months & seasons and 2nd blank template) for seasons and lunar cycles ~ Southern Hemisphere Seasons & Lunar Phenology WheelSeasons & lunar wheel

As the moon phases are blank circles, use the lunar cycle information from Time & Date.com to colour in your moon cycles in the little lunar circles.

Here is my Southern Hemisphere 2018 Phenology wheel with the moon cycle or without, download by clicking the image below ~ Visit Partners in Place to download their wheels of Time and Place and view their gallery of  phenology wheel examples.  

Seasonal Rounds reproduced from p. 19 of All Around the Year (1994) by Jack Santino.

Sign up for access to The Lily & Thistle Resource Library for a blank phenology circle template and add your own seasons, months, or topics.

Sign up to download the free Weather Tracker and Lunar Cycle circle templates at Outdoor Explorer Nature Journal Nitty Gritty Scienceweather tracker month circle

Colour-in the circles to illustrate monthly lunar cycles templates found at Paper Wool Yarn.

Here is another beautiful example of a phenology wheel used as a perpetual day-month-season-calendar display ~

Here’s some more inspiration on Pinterest circular calendar examples

Blessings, Nadene

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Nature Journal ~ Cape Weaver’s Nest

Cape Weaver Birds

Image by tim ellis via Flickr

Hundreds of Cape Weavers have made nests in several of our trees on our farm.

They only come for their spring breeding season. The males flitter and fight over branches and frantically build their exquisite nests. They hang upside down from their nests fluttering their wings and singing to attract the females.  With so many birds in our trees, it is a very noisy, busy time!

When the little dull greyish-beige females are satisfied with the nest, they mate and she lays a little blue egg.  Within a few weeks the baby hatches and both parents fly to and fro to feed the hungry baby.

And then, after several noisy months, the weavers leave.  Only a few stragglers and newbies stay, building nests and singing for attention.

Now, and then nests and egg shells fall.  We’ve even seen little babies on the ground after stormy winds.

All these details make for an excellent nature study.

This week, a particularly lovely nest fell and we could sit and sketch it.

My little 8-year-old painted her sketch:

I took my time and sketched a really detailed nest.

We are enjoying our December school break and I have found that the girls have not taken part in the Sketch Tuesday assignments.  I am glad that we have still enjoyed our time outdoors doing nature study.

Blessings,

Nature Journal ~ baby Robins in a nest

It is spring/ summer here in the Cape.

Cape Weavers noisily build nests and raise their chicks in almost every tree in our garden.

Swallows, Wagtails, Sunbirds and Sparrows feed often at our feeder or fly about in the garden.

Charlotte Mason said,

“As soon as he is able to keep it himself, a nature diary is a source of delight to a child.

Every day’s walk gives him something to enter.”

This week we came across a tiny nest in one of our hay bales in the open shed.  The bale was low enough for my youngest to easily peer into.

Two tiny eggs were in the small nest.

We were thrilled when a day later, the chicks hatched.

With excited shrieks, the girls ran to tell me.

I grabbed my camera and our new nature study bags.

Quietly we approached.

Keeping our distance we peeped at the fluffy, fragile little birds.

Miss. K whispered a few little whistle calls and both heads popped up with beaks open wide.

I took some photos and we withdrew to see if the mother bird would come feed her babies, but she flitted about in a nearby tree, but wouldn’t come while we were still there.

So, we moved even further away and opened our nature journals and described what we saw.

My 8-year-old drew the picture of the chick and painted her sketch.  She and I both studied the photo on the camera to see some details.  (Oh the joys of a digital camera!  It is so good to zoom in on a photo!)

My 11-year-old sketched her nest and chicks in pencil and then wrote some really detailed observations.  She related her experiences with a moving conclusion, “I love those birds!”

What a wonderful time outdoors in summer.  God’s creation is truly marvellous!

(Oh, since then, the birds are bigger and have more feathers.  We will visit with our nature journals each week and keep notes.  It will make a really excellent study.)

What wonderful nature study moments did you all have this summer?

Blessings,

Make Unusual but Simple Books

These are my favourite books to make in a jiffy and they look so unique!

The stick and elastic book:

4 pages + cover + stick + elastic

stick & elastic book assembled

  1. Assemble, fold or cut the pages to size you need.
  2. Punch in the middle of the folded side.
  3. Insert elastic from back of the book. (Make sure the elastic is as long as the space between the 2 holes you punched.)
  4. Push stick/ twig through loop in the front.
  5. Insert the other side of the elastic at the back of the other hole.
  6. Press stick/ twig through 2nd loop.  (Double loop the elastic if it is slightly too loose.)
  7. Viola! An instant fastened book!

You can use any kind of stiff  stick ~

  • a kebab stick (cut off the sharp end!)
  • a porcupine quill
  • a cute straw
  • a pencil (not to use, but for the journalism theme)
  • a strong quill feather with a shaft that is long enough not to bend where the elastic hooks over
  • a crochet hook (for a crochet pattern?)
  • a branch from a tree (as in my example for our nature walk)

The Step Book:

4 pages folded in steps + punched

4 pages + stick + elastic

8 page step book assembled

  1. Use 3 pages to create a 6-step book, or 4 pages to make an 8-step book (and more pages if you wish)
  2. Fold the middle page first so that the fold forms the first step above the bottom of that page. (see above @ step 4+5)
  3. Fold the remaining pages over this middle page so that all the steps seem equal.
  4. When the pages make equal steps, crease firmly.
  5. Hold all the pages in place with  paper clips, and open the top folds.
  6. Punch a hole at each side over the fold line.
  7. Assemble with string/ ribbon/ raffia bows on each side or
  8. Use stick and elastic to secure as above, or
  9. Simply staple all the pages together at the top.
  10. There! Your step book is ready to use!

These and other excellent ideas are found at Susan Kapuscinski Gaylord’s site Makingbooks.com.

We use these books for lapbook, for spontaneous journals, for nature walks, for games and for gifts.

How could you use them?

Nature Journals

A nature study page

A nature study page

Charlotte Mason advocates weekly nature walks and nature journals.  Our recent weeks have been more enjoyable than the past years’ attempts.  I think our previous efforts were stressful due to the skills some children felt they lacked in art, and others didn’t enjoy the science emphasis.

We started this spring with a more casual approach and drew the jasmine that had just begun to blossom.  I sneaked in a field guide and we casually identified the plant type. I read aloud some chapters from A Pocketful of Pinecones by Karen Andreola.  It is an inspirational book!  We enjoyed a picnic in the garden and the morning was really lovely.  I asked each child to write what they sensed God was telling them in nature and everyone wrote precious revelations.

This week was really cold and windy, so collected fern samples to draw inside.  the details they noticed and drew were excellent.  My 9-year-old discovered the effects of rubbings and the art fun took off from there.  At the end of the drawing session we placed the leaves in-between newspaper and placed it under heavy books to press for a few weeks.

I find that it is easier if we work on a page clipped to a clipboard and not in the nature journal.  This way,  flops are discarded and those who are more enthusiastic, can do several pages which we file or paste into the nature journals.  I ask everyone to start with a  “frame and name” and this breaks up the pure white page and presents the opportunity to decide if they will draw with their page in portrait or landscape.

We all love the relaxed atmosphere of a nature walk day.  It revives our spirits, inspires reflection and appreciation of the world around us, and we all are grateful for the beauty of God’s creation and His presence.