Episode 160

65 Fun Things to Do With Kids at Home

Recorded by | Run time: 19 min, 18 sec


Jill and Bron chat about Teach Starter’s amazing  resource, 65 Fun Things to Do With Kids at Home. Every activity is fun, with learning opportunities and experiences embedded. Send a copy home to your students’ families today!

Skip straight to the resource, 65 Fun Things to do with Kids at Home.

Full episode transcript and resource links below!

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65 Fun Activities to do with Kids at Home: Full Episode Transcript

Bron: Hello and welcome to this episode of The Buzz. I’m Bron and here I am with Jill. Hey Jill!

Jill: Hi Bron. How are you?

Bron: I am good. Can I tell you, it is so good to have a chat with you and to speak with your beautiful face. I am feeling so isolated here.

Jill: Bron. I think I’m going to tell everyone where you are.

Bron: Okay, go for it.

Jill: I’m looking at Bron because we are doing this remotely of course at the moment. So I’ve got, I’ve got Bron on my screen here and I can see she’s in her cupboard.

Bron: I have not been hiding in here all day. Contrary, I have my four kids all day and I’m also working at Teach Starter and I’m also producing podcasts. So it is a massive juggle at the moment. I can tell you I’m pulling some late nights. Can you see my bags under my eyes?

Jill: How much chocolate is in there?

Bron: All my, I need my coffee machine in here with me. When you are working double shifts, which is what I’m calling it ’cause I’m teaching all day and then I’m podcasting at night. I have my like fifth coffee for the day at 6:30

Jill: Oh gosh, when you’re loading up on coffee at six 30 do you know what I did the other day?

Bron: No, what’s that?

Jill: I, so I went ages ago and got the kids Easter eggs ’cause I was like, it’s, you know, if we’re going to be locked down I should have something, you know? I know five-year-old would think it’s the end of the world if he faced it. But he didn’t come and I had some. I couldn’t, I just couldn’t take one.

Bron: I actually dug into our stash too, I did the same thing. People are going so nuts over toilet paper it’s going to be the new toilet paper. And we will not be eating them and running out and having to go back and buy more or resort to block chocolate.

Jill: I know they taste better, don’t they?

Bron: But they’re more expensive.

No One is Judging You if You’re Eating all the Easter Eggs

Jill: What are we thinking? They’re about like five times the cost so we’re not being great. Let’s just say let’s just get by right now. You know what parents and teachers, you’ve got to do what you’ve got to do, no one is judging you.

Bron: Yeah, we’re getting through. We’re staying healthy, we’re staying mentally healthy and we’re just doing what we have to do to keep ourselves sane. We’re trying to, that’s right.

Public Service Announcement on Behalf of Teachers: We’re not Asking Parents to Become Pro Educators Overnight

Jill: Yeah. It’s a really important point I think that we want to make clear as teachers, is saying to parents, we are not asking you to teach units of work, right? Lesson plans, assess, you know, that is not part of your expertise. And you know, there’s this real thing starting to come out a lot of now homeschooling, homeschooling and it is, it’s learning from home. It’s remote learning. But you are not expected to become a teacher because, you know, we trained for four years to do this. It’d be like saying expecting you know, someone to become a nurse. So we without the training or you know, we worked for a long time to do this and there’s no expectation at all that you need to be doing all of these things. So I, I think that’s really important to get out there to parents is you’re doing an amazing job and if you are reading with your kids and you’re doing activities and you’re keeping them engaged, that is spot on.

Bron: Exactly. And from a teacher’s point of view, I don’t know if if you feel the same way Jill, but if I was a teacher in the classroom right now, my number one goal for my students when they do eventually return back to my classroom is that the emotional wellbeing is going okay. That they’re coping and mostly, yeah, they’re getting through with some strategies and learning to build resilience and flexibility in unknown times. You know, it’s, it’s amazing how many skills they’re learning through just the situation we’ve all been thrown into without thinking too much about it. So yeah, parents go easy on yourselves. Is this my goal to you know, you feel guilty if you don’t get through every single piece of work.  You guys, when your kids are looking for something to do and you can pop back to some, maybe some of the lessons that you didn’t get to or you know, like that’s my plan.

I’m, I’ve said to my kids, we’re doing two hours a day of learning and that includes subjects and that includes device time and brain breaks. Little bits and pieces to get them moving. And then the rest of the day is like my daughter just learnt how to unload the dishwasher and my little boy pressed the coffee machine button. Like things are just happening and the skills really important life skills that they haven’t learned yet.

The Value of Incidental Learning Experiences in the Home

Jill: Yeah, no, I agree. And I think there’s just so much incidental learning to be done around the house. It’s just taking those opportunities and maybe even pointing out things that you’re doing as well while you’re doing them that come along. So, you know, the other day it’s so exciting. I got my kids to help when I took the washing out of the washing machine. Okay. It was my thought.

He was counting things as he pulled them out. And then we went outside with the washing and hung out for quite a while, but so then he was putting it in piles of mine, daddy’s, Lucas’s and his, and then who had the most washing. And I’m thinking, well, I’m going to go with this because you’re doing counting, you’re doing a bit of sorting and then you’re actually working out who had the most I don’t know if they got a little, a little bit of a damp smell to them at the end, but it’s fine that we’re not going anywhere anyway. What does it matter?

Bron: Of course, no, but you know, there’s so much learning that can be done around the house too. That just happens naturally.

Teacher Tip: Effective Modelling (It Means Talking to Yourself!)

Jill: But it’s then I suppose verbalising things that you’re doing while you’re doing them. So if you’re doing cooking with your kids, you might be saying, okay, well we need a half a cup of milk, so let’s tip it in. Where do I have to do it for half a cup instead of, you know, normally you might’ve just gone ahead and done it. You might have to just be verbalising what you’re doing a bit more. Oh, if I was going to do it full cup, where would I put it to? Oh, up to there. Well maybe we don’t have, so where is that now? And that kind of thing. You know, we’re following the recipe. It says I have to next step. Okay, where’s the next step in the recipe? And it’s maybe a bit more talking.

Bron: Yes. Yeah, exactly. And like that’s what we do at work as teachers when we’re modelling, let’s say if we’re teaching three digit addition or something like that, we self talk through the process, a skill that teachers have but it doesn’t come naturally. It’s a weird thing to do it you sound like you’re talking to yourself, but you’re actually in your internal dialogue so that the understanding is common to everybody in the room.

And it’s one thing to do, but it does take a little bit of practice to get into that. But yeah, like cooking is such a rich experience because like you said, it involves measurement, which is your maths. It’s a procedural text. You can look at it from a literacy perspective. You have to like you have to process. It’s, it’s a sensory activity for little kids to put little hands in there. I know. Make sure you wash.

Yeah, I like it. Things like that. If you think about every single activity that you doing, we’ll have multiple curriculum connections that you’re not even thinking about too much. But as long as you self read and making it explicit, what you’re actually doing, what, what’s going through your mind, it’s going to help them build those processes and skills themselves.

How the Teach Starter Teachers Came up With 65 Fun Activities to do With Kids at Home

Jill: Yeah, that’s right. And I think to help parents as well to know some of these activities.

We got together as a team on our messaging channel cause we’re not together, but we got together and we did a brainstorm just to come up with some things that you can do around the house with learning in them that they’re fun as well. And we came up with 65 amongst us, which was really cool. And what I’m going to do is I’m going to print it out since it’s two pages, so I’m printing it out and I’m going to stick it on the wall and we’re just gonna pick one and cross it off because I, myself, I’m working from home as well and I’m tired.

So sometimes I just can’t think of anything to do and I think I should, I should be able to. This is what I do for a job. I come up with ideas and I’m tired. I just, I was standing there looking at them like, and they’re going to me, “What do I do? What can I do?” And I’m thinking in my head, I have no idea cause they little kids like their attention spans are quite short. So you might’ve planned a lesson that’s going to go or a lesson or an activity that’s going to go on for 20 minutes or half an hour and then I lose the first five minutes and you think, okay, there were have to change things up. And again, that’s a skill that teachers are used to doing, but it’s not something that parents are particularly yet.

Spread 65 Fun Activities Around Like Confetti – It’s FREE

Bron: And I just wanted to say with this list of 65 activities, how cool would it be for teachers to send this home to their parents as an email, as the PDF and you know, they’re more than welcome to do that, aren’t they?

Jill: They can.

Bron: They can definitely, without breaching any copyright or anything like that. Teach Starter is offering this for free. So it’s far and wide as you can.

Jill: That’s right. I mean if the circumstances you know, no one saw these circumstances coming. So if you and your parents need resources, go for it.

Bron: Yeah. Thank you too. Thank you so much because that means that is so generous on, on behalf of you and Scott, our cofounders, of Teach Starter to say, you know, you can just, you can put it, can they put it on there? One Note, can they put it up on their Seesaw?

Jill: Yes, definitely. I mean that’s where a lot of, we’re getting a lot of inquiries from teachers saying, I just, I want to use this program. How can I do it? And it’s, you know, if that’s the way it has to get to the kids.

So that’s why we really happy for that to go out there. But yeah, that’s a great idea to send it out to parents as well, to be like, “Hey, and here’s some ideas to have some fun with your kids too. That’s still got learning in it.” But yes, some of them I’m definitely going to be doing them with my boys because I need, I need to as well sometimes for myself, you know, I’m so stressed out trying to work and they’re there and they’re going where I think we just have to do something fun because this isn’t working what we’re doing now, so let’s do something fun.

Play Active Learning Games Like Charades

Bron: And you know, there’s all sorts of things like, you know, one of them I am saying is a play a game of Charades with your son.

Jill: Yeah, I’ve done that with my five-year-old. Oh my goodness.

Bron: We’re gonna have some very strange things to be guessing. That’d be a long game of Charades.

Jill: They might be a little bit off, that’s right. No, I bet. And with my five year old, you can’t get it right first go. Oh, and if you know, you’ve got to chuck out a few pretty random things before you go, hang on, it’s a dog, isn’t it?

And he goes, “No, just pretend.”

(Jill and Bron Always End up Mentioning Bluey)

Bron: Have you seen the… I know you’re a fan of Bluey and I am too. And I’m on a lot of my three year old. Have you seen the episode where they go to the grandma’s house and play?

Jill: Yes. I mean, hasn’t grandma done well for herself? Have you seen her beach view?

Bron: Oh, I know, I know this beautiful like mid century modern kind of beautiful Mooloolaba apartment and right on the beach grandma, you know, you’re smashing it. You know, she’s got two sets of grandchildren with her and she’s just got it going on that grandma.

Jill: Yeah, no, I have seen that one in it. That would be fun to do with the kids too. And I know that my kids would really love doing that. But there’s so many different things that just have activities with it. You know, I want to play a game of I Spy in itself is just describing things. Yeah. Yeah.

Get Kids to Write a Letter to Someone They’re Missing

Bron: Write a letter to family or friends who you haven’t seen in a while and if you’ve got kids with grandparents, like my kids, grandpa, grandparents, interstate yeah, yeah, exactly. And then even if they close by, a lot of them are social listening or isolating if they’re elderly. So how beautiful would that be on both ends of that to be able to communicate in that way and also to brighten up someone’s special’s day by getting in the letter box.

Jill: Yeah. Well, but I even, it could be something you could, they could do with their classmates where they might say, I want to write a letter to my friend and you can write a, just a little letter to them saying what they’re doing or, you know, things that they might like to do when they can be back together again.

Right. Or write to their teacher. I think that could be really fun to do when their classmates, Oh, thank you for everything you’re doing.

Bron: Yes. Really important. Teachers would love that. The teachers are doing such an amazing job and I just think, yes, that’s a great idea. Another way is the gratitude journal, and our content team manager Heath was telling me that he was getting his kids to do a gratitude journal.. And I thought, Oh my gosh, that’s such a great idea. I’m stealing it. And we’ve got a gratitude resource on the website and it’s part of the mindfulness pack that we talked about on The Buzz last week. And I’ve set up each of my four kids with a mindfulness journal, which is just a scrapbook. And in the first, if there’s a cover page you can download, but then there’s also a little poem about mindfulness and why we practise gratitude. And then there’s also a little prompts like that we talked about last week as well. And I’ve just snipped those into little strips. And for my little two who are six and three, they’re just painting or drawing or using different creative mediums to paint. The boys are eight and 10 and they’re doing actual writing pieces to respond to that. And it’s so nice because there is so much to be grateful for in this situation. You know, even just things like exploring new parks, that was what they, they both wrote today.

Go for a Nature Walk and Explore

Bron: Being able to, not playgrounds (we’re not allowed on any playgrounds), but just, you know, a little journey and around us. So they’re really enjoying just getting out and finding things, noticing things that they haven’t noticed in a long time. And gratitude. That’s my favourite number on the 65 I would say.

Jill: Yeah. Well, I mean there’s so many on there. I’m really looking forward to putting them and you can kind of put them on top of each other. So it’s like one long page and I’m going to put them up in our kitchen area where we’ve got a wall where we stick all the amazing artwork that we’re getting and say then I’m going to go through and we can just tick them off.

And my eldest son’s only five, so he can’t read them yet, but we can read them together and pick something. So even that in itself is me reading aloud to him.

Bron: Yeah, yeah, definitely learning everywhere. Exactly. And how fun to go through all those colourful little squares and it’s kind of like a calendar and I love your idea of crossing them off as you complete them because, yeah, and you can start all over again when you’ve done them all.

Jill: Yeah, no, I think it’s going to be really fun. I’m going to do it and I’m going to, I’ll send through some pictures as well to the page of us having to go with some of them. I’m like, you know, maybe on the sensory, the ones where it goes, it’s going well. You know, if your kids are just not in the mood yet, that’s okay.

Teacher Tip: If The Learning isn’t Happening, Move on to Something Else

Bron: Stop it. Go and do something else. Go if they’re not feeling it when we’re not in the mood to, yeah. But yeah, I think it’s really good to share those realistic pictures also, because I found myself sharing a lot of pictures of my kids being cutesy and getting along and doing their activities. I feel like a picture of the cold cup of tea for the third time in a row that I didn’t get to drink today or the mess. Oh gosh, no. That Easter straw, you know that you know that craft stuff?

Jill: Yep.

Bron: Oh my goodness. Somebody opened that today and then snipped it into tiny little pieces all over my floor and I was like, “What?!!”

Jill: They did some fine motor skills. There we go there… for learning.

Bron: Yeah, that’s exactly right. Then was learning there and then we learned a lesson about tidying up when we sang a tidy up song, make sure it all went away.

Jill: Lovely.

Bron: Yeah, definitely. Yeah. Download that. It’s a free download. You grab it. If you’re a parent, please feel free to take it for yourself to share it with your friends who are also, well, I wouldn’t, I’m not going to say homeschool. I heard somebody saying crisis schooling and I think that’s really accurate.

The Distinction Between Learning from Home and Home Schooling is Important

Bron: Yeah, like we’re in crises at home or I know?

I’m thinking like, because you know it was a homeschooling mum actually who wrote this amazing blog I’ll have to share with you, but she said homeschool parents have years to adjust to this. They make a consciousness. I know what they’re about to get into. Research curriculum documents. They read syllabus, they do everything. This is not what we’ve had. We have had people just get told, right, your educating your kids at home and yes, how much support they’re getting from their amazing teachers. It still is challenging.

Jill: That’s right. Yeah. And I mean a homeschooling parents as well. From what I understand from working with some homeschooling parents, I have amazing connections as well where they work together and talk through things and whereas we sort of are finding some parents are feeling really alone in this because they’re trying to juggle work and I’m home as well so they’re feeling like I sometimes just don’t have time to call someone to say what are you doing with this or so yeah, it’s, it’s an interesting thing and I think we just have to go easy on ourselves.

Go Easy on Yourself!

Bron: Absolutely. Yes. Be kind to yourself. You’re doing your best and that’s all we can really. So I thank you so much, parents, you are all doing an amazing job. Just keep going.

Jill: Yes, that’s right. And you know, just get some, don’t buy too many Easter eggs cause I would like to have some left need to go and I do have to replace the other ones. But that’s, I’ve got the chocolate there. I’m good to go.

Bron:Yeah. If you need a few extra little chocolate treats here and there, there’s no judgment from us ’cause we’re doing the same thing.

Jill: That’s exactly right. Well have a great day teachers and parents and thanks for joining us.


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