Childhood often seems like a series of one moment after another filled with exploration and learning. Young kids can discover new things every day, such as how to pour their own cereal, how to tie their shoes, and how to sound out the alphabet. Older kids can learn the skills needed to teach themselves practically anything. You never have to stop learning. I’ve found many ways to make learning fun for my kids during summer break, weekends and ordinary school days.
Our family is about to start another year of homeschooling. Throughout the 2019-2020 school year, our kids will be in preschool, kindergarten and 2nd grade. We start our school days with reading, writing and math, which are essential core topics to give kids a strong academic foundation. We explore science and art in the afternoons by doing easy experiments and crafty activities.
My kids love learning by doing the exercises found in workbooks. Our 7-year-old especially enjoys these TinkerActive Science and Math workbooks which combine educational principles with engaging projects.
TinkerActive workbooks are filled with interactive exercises that cover the essential math, science and problem-solving skills. Kids can apply what they’ve learned with creative hands-on activities that use common household materials. TinkerActive workbooks offer plenty of practice with at least 8 dynamic pages on each key concept. Kids are inspired to learn through play as they interact with curriculum-based exercises designed for all learning styles including visual, auditory and kinesthetic.
We received the TinkerActive Kindergarten and 2nd Grade workbooks covering science and math concepts. Workbook exercises are intermixed with related tinkering and engineering activities. The charming and clever citizens of TinkerTown, the MotMots, humorously guide kids through each new concept.
Build 3D Marshmallow Shapes
My kids enjoyed experimenting with this creative project straight out of a TinkerActive workbook. We used wooden sticks and marshmallows to make 3 dimensional shapes. This lesson in geometry is a physical way to test the strength of different shapes. Some of the 3D shapes we made were stronger than others. Shorter sticks created stronger 3D shapes than longer sticks. My kids also had to use balance and symmetry to effectively design strong marshmallow shapes.
You can make 2D or 3D shapes by following the TinkerActive 2nd Grade Math workbook instructions. Design these shapes using small wooden sticks and marshmallows. You can take the project a step further and apply engineering concepts to discover which shapes are the strongest and why.
Mix Up Homemade Neon Play Dough
Making homemade play dough is another of our family’s favorite school-inspired creative activities. Play dough is timeless — even adults enjoy playing with it! One of the benefits of making your own play dough is that you can mix up any color, add fragrances or even sprinkle on glitter. We used gel food coloring to turn our best homemade play dough recipe into neon colors! You can make play dough using ingredients you already have on hand: water, salt, cream of tarter and flour.
Once your homemade play dough is mixed, kids can use it to sculpt all kinds of imaginative creations. I like to encourage my kids to keep their play dough colors separate so they don’t mix the vibrant colors into dingy brown. We do sometimes use play dough for intentional color mixing. Kids can combine play dough colors to make new colors and learn about the color wheel. Different amounts of the primary colors red, blue and yellow mixed together will create different hues of secondary colors green, purple and orange. You can easily turn play dough into a hands-on tactile art lesson!
Dye Eggs with DIY Natural Food Coloring
A final way to make learning fun for kids using science and math is by dying eggs with natural food coloring. This project combines art, concepts of time, color and chemistry! To make DIY natural food coloring, first we identified some natural food dyes such as beets, turmeric, blueberries and spinach. We boiled, blended or crushed these naturally vibrant foods and added some vinegar to make our homemade egg dye. You can find our instructions about how to dye eggs with natural food coloring here and see the colorful results.
Every Day is a Learning Opportunity
Whether your kids are in school or you teach them at home, every day is an opportunity to teach them something new. It’s been helpful for our family to replace some of our screen time with simple creative activities. Our little kids can practice motor skills as they trace lines, color and play with play dough. My 7-year-old loves designing paper crafts, drawing and using simple chemistry to bake cookies.
TinkerActive workbooks are a great way to reinforce science and math concepts, especially for kids who learn by doing. I love that kids can do a few work pages and then further explore a topic with a hands-on tinkering activity or engineering project. These workbooks provide ideas for exercises and experiments that we can effortlessly integrate into our school routine to make learning extra fun!
Katie is a writer and influencer based in beautiful Coeur d’Alane, Idaho. She enjoys DIY projects, photography, decorating and going on family adventures. She feels blessed to be a wife, a stay-at-home mom to three kids and a Pacific Northwest lifestyle blogger.