As a child, the arrival of the weekend meant playing make-believe and romping around outside with the stipulation that you had to come in once it started getting dark. Things are a lot different now. Kids enjoy video games, YouTube videos, and watching movies, but that doesn’t leave a lot of room for exploration, knowledge expansion, and learning. Your child likely sees the weekend as a break from school, but what if you could make learning something new fun? Put away the worksheets and check out these weekend activities both children and adults will enjoy.
Start a Garden
Gardening is an activity that the whole family can get in on, and it is packed with many opportunities for learning; for example, kids can develop fine motor skills, explore scientific concepts, practice math, and learn the importance of patience and responsibility. However, resist the urge to take over and make the garden perfectly neat and spaced out. Instead, encourage your child to dig in the soil and take note of what they find, such as rocks, worms, and insects. Help them create labels to keep track of everything, and have them keep a journal to track growth and changes. Seeing the fruits (and veggies!) of their labor might be enough to convince them to give it a taste too. Plus, you can include them in the kitchen and use the produce to make healthy meals and snacks, such as rainbow pizza or veggie chips.
Explore Your Backyard
Your backyard might be filled with toys and the occasional snack wrapper, but it provides an awesome opportunity for learning. Children are quick to pick something up without a second thought to how dirty or unsanitary it could be, so maybe a little geological exploration could be fun? Teach your child how to become a rockhound and use household materials to learn about the minerals that make up backyard rocks, as well as their hardness and effervescence. Once you’ve explored the ground, look to the sky and do some bird watching. You could even tap into their creative side and help them build a birdfeeder, paint some positive messages on stones to leave in public places or keep them busy with a rock and mineral kit.
Do a Science Experiment
As a parent, just hearing the word science experiment makes you think of that time you tried to paper mache a volcano. Fortunately, science experiments don’t have to be super difficult. You can blow your child’s mind by helping them make ice cream in a bag or edible glass. If they have a tendency to feel anxious or overwhelmed, make a mind jar together. All you really have to do is a quick Internet search for fun and easy science experiments, and you’re sure to find something that piques their interest (and yours too).
Go on a Field Trip
Children love field trips, and who said they were for school only? Not only are they a fun outing, but they also help your child take what they learn in class a step further and can help foster lifelong learning. The best part is that the field trip opportunities are endless. You could tour your state capitol, visit a historical site, go on a nature tour, visit a farm, or see a play.
Play the Classics
Growing up, playing Monopoly was like a right of passage. We already remember the feeling when we owned an entire side of the board or ran out of money. Monopoly is a complex game, but Monopoly Junior provides the perfect mix of learning and play. You can teach your child about money management, build and challenge their literacy and comprehension skills, and practice sorting and grouping. There are plenty of educational board games out there to enjoy.
Good old fashioned coloring is another restful but highly beneficial activity your kids (and adults as well) will enjoy. Apart from being fun, it improves hand-eye coordination, helps to develop fine motor skills and builds concentration and focus.
It’s true that the weekends are a break from school, but it doesn't have to be a break from learning. There are fun, educational activities you and your child can do together, such as gardening, backyard exploring, science experiments, and games. The fun can start whenever you’re ready!
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AUTHOR: Kimberly Hayes - Public Health Alert
Kimberly works tirelessly to help others find health, happiness and wellness, particularly when battling addiction. As someone who suffered from an eating disorder, Kimberly knows what it’s like to feel lost and helpless in the face of adversity.