Kick up the education at home a notch with these fun educational games and crafts. Instead of getting out the dreaded flash cards, turn learning into fun.
Homophone relay – A homophone is two or more words that have the same pronunciation but different meanings, spelling, or origins like there, their, and they’re. Writing a homophone on the puzzle board and on the back of the matching puzzle piece, the kids have to match the homophones to complete the puzzle. If you have enough family or friends playing, divide into two teams, and the team that finishes their puzzle first, wins!
Hula-Hoop Find & Rhyme – Write words on the back of plastic or paper plates with a Sharpie. The game is a scavenger hunt of sorts. Start with four hoops and anchor words. Hide the other words and count to three. At three, your kids run around the yard searching for the other words and then have to return to the hoops and place them in the correct hoop. All of the words should rhyme in the end.
Sight Word Game, “I’m Thinking of a Word” – using a sheet of paper, write out a series of words. Each round, the parent gives a clue about one of the words. You continue to give clues until your child guesses and reads the word correctly.
Read & Find – Pull out the box of toys and write down each object on a sheet of paper. Your child has to read the words on the paper and find the corresponding object from the bin. You can offer them clues if they need help or aid them in sounding out words if they are still learning how to read.
Zap It! – Best played with multiple kids. Decorate an old can or bottle, write words on popsicle sticks, and place them in the “zap can.” Randomly pull out one at a time, and ask your kids to read the word and use it in a sentence. If they get it right, they keep the popsicle stick and the kid(s) with the most popsicle sticks at the end, win!
Most of the games require prep from the parent before they can be played.
Rock Candy – Watch sugar turn into crystallized rock candy!
Invisible Ink – Your kids can be spies and send secret messages back and forth once they discover how to make invisible ink with milk and lemon juice! Instead of heating up the message over the stove, try using a hair dryer.
Ice Cream – On a hot summer’s day, sometimes the best activity to do with your kids is make some homemade ice cream! Learn the history and talk about the science involved while going through the easy three-step process.
- There are more than 1,500 active volcanoes in the world.
- Three layers make up the Earth: the crust, mantle, and core.
- Lava is liquid rock (magma) that flows out of a volcano. It can range in temperature from 1,300 degrees Fahrenheit to over 2,000 degrees.
- The word volcano comes from “Vulcan,” a Roman mythological god of fire.
Make it Rain – If your kids have a fascination with weather, create your own rain and talk about the science behind the phenomenon. You only need a glass jar, plate, water, and ice cubes for this easy experiment!
Potato Battery – Did you know that you can turn on a light bulb with a potato? A potato battery introduces scientific concepts like chemical and electrical energy and how to transfer that energy. You can also try the experiment with a lemon or an orange.
Sudoku – Not only does Sudoku introduce numbers to young children, it also gets them thinking and is a great game for the mind! Instead of using colored Post-It notes, use numbers 1-4 or letters A-D.
Broken Hearts – A game of matching. Matching numbers and matching shapes.
Food Math – Addition, subtraction, multiplication—whatever your child is learning, practice with some food! Separate candy, fruit snacks, or nuts and make problems with them using a sheet of paper. For example, lay out three Skittles on the left, write in a math symbol (+, -, x) and lay out three more Skittles on the right, followed by an equal sign. Your kids have to write underneath the food how many they counted and then perform the mathematical equation.
Twister – Same game, new rules. Instead of colors, use Post-It notes and numbers for a unique version of the classic game.
Simon Says, Geometry Style – Number 13 on this list of 20 math games introduces basic geometry. Have the parent or eldest child be Simon and command that you illustrate angles and shapes using your body.
Press pause on the education, and play these games for pure entertainment.
- Laundry basket Skee Ball
- Make Catch Easy
- Outdoor Tic Tac Toe – Don’t have wood dowels? No problem, just use chalk to make the playing space.
- Gone Fishin’
- Ring Toss
- Glow in the Dark Bowling
- More Ideas
WORDS BY SARAH RICHARDS