Art & craft projects are supposed to inspire creativity in children, but they don’t have to remain limited to only the traditional origami, collages, and coloring projects. You can introduce a number of off-beat projects to their curriculum that goes beyond the usual and teach them craftwork that is not only creative but quite useful as well.
5 Projects to Inspire Creativity in Children
Start incorporating more opportunities for children to be creative in your homeschool lesson plans. Here are five projects you can complete with little preparation and you mostly likely already have most of the materials on hand at home!
DIY Luminaries Craft
A simple battery-powered white tealight can easily be transformed into beautiful luminaries with the help of paper bags, colored tissue papers, clear tape, a sealant, Pergamenata paper and some optional stickers and paints. It takes a bit of precision and know-how, but kids can do it with a bit of guidance.
The very act of making cards for someone close to you is special, whether you are a child or not. However, the Adobe Spark card maker makes this process easy enough to be approached by even small children. This is similar to designing a white card but is much more economical, approachable, and it offers a lot more options than is ever possible with pen and paper. You don’t have to worry about buying new cards and materials every time and the children are free to experiment as much as they want. Once they are done with the work, simply print out the cards you need and save or discard the rest.
The LEGO Birdhouse
There is a whole range of useful things that people make out of LEGOs and that’s not really very surprising, given that they are building blocks after all. We have chosen the Lego birdhouse here because it’s relatively simple to make, easy to wash, and looks absolutely gorgeous amidst a flower garden in the yard, or even on your windowsill. Your children may need some help with this though, along with a lot of Lego blocks! Remember to make the house and the openings appropriately sized for the kind of birds you want to attract.
Make Wind Chimes
The wind chime is an ancient ornament which is amazing and simple at the same time. It is one of those rare percussion instruments that is constructed by man but played by nature. Find a stick or a branch that’s at least a foot long and then shave off any sharp or protruding parts first. Hang at least 6 – 8 (more if you want) colored metal pieces or useless keys from it with separate strings for each. Do color the metal pieces or keys in different shades to make it look beautiful. Hang the wind chime outside a door, window or in the garden.
Painted Paperweight Craft
As we begin to rely more and more on our digital formats, paper is losing its value, but it isn’t over for the paper industry yet, and that’s why you need some beautifully painted stones from your kids to keep the newspaper and the documents down at home. Find some smooth rocks and let them paint on it with acrylic colors. The imaginative mind of a child can make the paperweights look amazing.
Art doesn’t always have to be practical, so feel free to incorporate as many varieties of it into your children’s craft classes as you can. Different projects stimulate different sections of the brain as children learn and improve while working on those projects. Nevertheless, the five projects above should add an extra bit of usefulness and incentive to your kid’s art & craft project.
With summer coming to an end and school days in session for both homeschool and traditional school children, there’s a phrase that keeps echoing through my mind. “Spark good.” With so many pressures on our children during the year, it’s so important to keep kindness at the front of our minds.
In a world where online bullying, hate speech, and just plain lack of consideration are all too common, even a simple act of kindness like holding a door open, paying someone a compliment, or sending a thank you note can make a world of difference. Think of the friend that welcomed you when you moved into your neighborhood. Picture the positivity spread by the cashier at your local grocery store. Get inspired by the kindness of those around you to spark your own movement of compassion and understanding.
Kind acts and good deeds really spark a movement of kindness and benevolence. Start by downloading the summer sparks, 50 ways to create summer sparks, including such deeds as reading to a younger child, picking up trash in the community, and opening a free lemonade stand on a hot day. You can also track the good acts on the free downloadable tracker as well. It’s a good way for kids to hold themselves accountable and it’s fun to see the goodness add up. After a while, kindness will become a habit!
Summer sparks are one thing, but it’s important for our kids to know that goodness doesn’t stop when the heat dissipates and the pool days lessen. T.A. Barron also has a mission to fall into goodness into autumn months and beyond with his Spark Goodness campaign. Using the hashtag #sparkgoodness, you and your family can enter your own good deeds (either from the summer sparks handout or your own ideas). Entries should be submitted on T.A. Barron’s website with a winner and four runners up each month through October 2018. These winners, all who inspire goodness in the world, will be entered for the grand prize (and four runners up) in November 2018 determined by reader votes. Each month has a special prize, so check the website to see what you can win!
The contest has inspired my family and me to spread and “spark” goodness in the world. Share the ways you make a difference and keep the movement going. Think of the difference you’ll make by showing someone just a little bit of kindness.
It doesn’t matter if you are a new homeschooler or a veteran, choosing the right curriculum can be overwhelming. There are so many choices! What fits with your child’s learning style? Which one delivers more challenging content? Which one fits your philosophy of education? While the ultimate decision is up to you, a good place to start is to read reviews and ask around for some homeschool curriculum advice.
Homeschool Curriculum Advice from Cathy Duffy
Cathy Duffy is the know-all when it comes to homeschool curriculum. She has reviewed hundreds of homeschool resources to help home educators like me make an informed decision when shopping for homeschool curriculum. So as soon as I see a product has been approved by Cathy Duffy, I am more likely to trust it.
Here’s a handful of Cathy-approved educational picks available at Educents.com. I hope these double-recommended educational resources will relieve you from endless hours of shopping around for the best (and most cost-effective) homeschool curriculum.
Elementary Math & Science
If you haven’t heard of Life of Fred, you’re in for a real treat. Dr. Stanley F Schmitt is a math teacher who developed this story-based math learning series that has taken homeschooling by storm! Forget rote learning that doesn’t resonate; learners follow Fred and his pals through life and learn math concepts along the way. Kids sometimes don’t even know they’re learning math until they’re told!
Each book has a topic, like Apples, Butterflies, and Cats. I recommend supplementing math learning with science or social studies on the same topic!
Math Lessons for a Living Education is based on the premise that “content, story, and the ability to show math in real life” is what makes a great math curriculum! In everyday life, there aren’t barriers between “subjects.” For example, when cooking or baking, we use the skills of reading, logical thinking, and measuring. This “living” math series is committed to teaching math in the same organic way!
This homeschooling favorite series constitutes a full elementary mathematics curriculum for grades 1-7! Homeschool parents love Math Mammoth because kids can learn on their own with the comprehensive student books, it focuses on conceptual learning, it is visually engaging, and chapters are organized by topics and themes.
But don’t just take our word for it! Here’s what one very happy homeschool parent had to say: “We have tried three different math curriculum programs but this one seems the best for the teacher and student.”
Make your homeschool math journey EASY! This interactive math curriculum does it all for you–teaching, grading, and tracking! A+ allows you to personalize the lesson plans to target exactly what your student needs. And you have the option to choose whichever format works the best for you: online, on CD, or eBooks.
Do your kids dread math lessons and drill sheets? This fun and colorful book engages kids with easy-to-follow explanations, examples, and charts. Your kindergartner will learn foundational concepts through these delightful lessons.
This visually rich curriculum centers on a topic at a time, allowing your child to master a concept before moving on to the next. Build a strong math foundation using fun worksheets and activities!
Each enVision Math Homeschool Bundle includes a Student Edition Worktext and a Teacher Edition CD-ROM.
Elementary Reading & Writing
I can’t say enough about story-based learning. It’s one of the oldest ways we’ve learned from each other – starting with fables that teach us to be good to one another.
Grammaropolis is a great tool for K-3rd grade learners on their quest for perfect English grammar, which isn’t always straight forward! This set comes with animated shorts, music videos, books, and quizzes, so you’ve got a lot of learning styles covered.
A Reason For Handwriting provides your students with a truly meaningful way to develop their handwriting! Lessons are each built upon a Bible verse which is chosen for encouragement as well as letter combinations.
It’s been proven that when kids enjoy a subject, they retain more and learn more effectively. A Reason for Handwriting brings enjoyment to the task of learning to write well.
Want to build your child’s foundation in spelling? Spelling Workout will help create a solid building block of phonics principles. But don’t worry, these lessons are not dull! There are puzzles, riddles, and activities that will keep your student’s interest.
Each bundle includes a Teacher Edition, Student Edition, and Parent Guide.
Middle School Math
I really can’t say enough about the Life of Fred series! Kids learning algebra and beyond will enjoy the stories and learn the concepts through holistic learning. If your learner is new to Fred but at a more advanced level, it has been recommended that they start from the beginning. That said, re-learning a few known concepts in the Life of Fred framework will help them get up to speed with story and succeed with the series.
As your kiddos get older you may also want to instill strong financial decision-making. The Life of Fred Financial Choices book is a great intro. And if we’re being honest, there’s never a bad time for parents to brush up on this!
Middle School Social Studies
Comprehensive comprehension–this world history and social studies packet is an excellent kick-off to middle school studies. Created for 6th graders, this set lays the groundwork for students to become active citizens by learning about US history and politics, and encourages learners to understand real ways they can participate and why it matters.
The package also includes a teacher’s guide for every chapter, lesson plans, audio podcasts on each subject, and editable tests with answer keys. It really sets everyone up for success!
With this unique resource, students will learn the first 8 amendments to the Constitution (Bill of Rights) and then act as the Supreme Court to make decisions based on those amendments.
Science for the Family
Summer is a great time to get the whole family involved with experiments to foster learning and family bonding!
This set comes with four science kits and covers topics like:
- Weather – learn about rainbows, tornadoes, the greenhouse effect, and more.
- Going Green – learn about recycling, compost, and making new paper out of old!
- Solar Energy – watch solar energy inflate balloons and spin a top.
- Wonders of Nature – build an ant hill, dissolve an egg shell, do an animal tracks exercise.
“A Reason For Science® is designed to teach basic Life, Earth, and Physical Science concepts through fun, hands-on activities. Its focus is to make learning both fun and meaningful.”
This interactive science series can involve the entire family as students and parents engage in group discussions and problem-solving. Students can talk through higher-level cognitive questions with this inquiry-based series that gets both minds and hands involved!
Help your kids be science detectives while engaging them in mind-building exercises! Science Detective will prepare your students for more advanced science courses and give them opportunities to stretch their reading comprehension and reasoning skills.
You’ve likely seen ads on television or passed by Kumon centers in your daily travels. Have you every wondered, exactly, what Kumon is? Read on to learn if it’s right for your family.
What to Teach When Homeschooling Seventh Grade: Seventh grade builds on knowledge and skills gained in sixth grade while exposing children to increasingly more complex topics. Here’s a simple guide for what to cover and develop in seventh grade.
Homeschooling your child comes with its own set of challenges. When you add in being a single parent, things can be a bit more complex. However, complex doesn’t mean impossible! There are definitely ways to make it work.
We’ve shared a lot of science experiments, here at Modern Homeschool Family, and today, we have another fun STEM lesson plan on exploring sound.
This lesson plan includes 4 science experiments for learning about sound. This lesson plan can be used with one child or a group and is appropriate for an all-ages introduction to the concepts of sound.
In this article, we’ll share tips to liven up your curriculum this school year. Put these ideas into practice and the kids will be more engaged with their lesson plans. (Many of these ideas will leave you feeling more refreshed, too!)
This movie is based on the real-life story of how Charles Dickens was inspired to create the characters and pen the classic, “A Christmas Carol.” I couldn’t help but think of what an awesome unit study this would make!
Whether you need to bring snacks for a crowd or just want something to go along with your butterfly theme unit, these DIY Butterfly Snack Bags are easy and fun to make!