All Kinds of Learning Activities

This is post #14 (the last one!) in the series “How to Be a Great Parent-Tutor.”

Do you wonder what kinds of creative learning activities you can do with your children? Here’s a list of all kinds of possibilities: general activities, math activities, reading activities and writing activities. Why not print them out, and keep them handy. Let your children help choose!

General activities: Brainstorm… mind map… drill… play games… debate… demonstrate… go on field trips… watch (or create) films/videos… listen to a guest speaker/expert… do worksheets/seatwork… discuss… ask each other questions and listen to each other’s answers, or find answers…. figure out new solutions to your problems… practice, practice, practice… role play… do special projects on topics you are interested in… compare and contrast… classify… compare the same topic in different subject areas… share personal experiences and knowledge… give directions… teach each other… collect data… reflect on your feelings… evaluate… share personal opinions… use computer-based activities… tape-record a presentation… use pictures and diagrams to show relationships between people/things… dramatise stories… listen to books-on-tape… list questions you’d like to research… quiz yourself… do research from magazines, books, reference books, internet, video, exploration, etc.… learn to take notes… make and use flash cards… use music and rhyme… think out loud… associate: link a series of ideas… make drawings to help remember ideas… create crafts… create a test… and take the test yourself, or test your family… keep a journal… do artwork… keep your eyes open to the world around you and ask yourself questions about it… interview… take part in community events, activities, and experiences… make a scrapbook… write down conversations or discussions you hear or take part in… observe people, things, events… do word-processing on a computer, or try using a typewriter if you have one… make checklists… list what you already know before starting to research a topic… keep a response log… work with other people: in pairs, in small groups, with older or younger people, with parents, with a teacher/tutor, with a mentor/expert… job-shadow someone… keep a learning log… make posters, bookmarks, mobiles, etc.… make outlines, webs, chains of events, scales, cycles…. compare coverage of an event by different sources: eye-witnesses, radio, TV, internet, written, etc.… attend the opening event of an art show or book reading, and meet the artist/writer… make a chart… play table games that test your knowledge of a subject… make up your own games… summarize… make a list of all the ways you use one subject in other subjects (eg. math in PE, writing, Science, etc.)… make up sentences or acronyms to remember a list… study with a buddy… take part in a debate… teach someone else something you have just learned… practice and give a speech…

Math activities: Use manipulatives… solve real-life math problems… find all the uses of math in a magazine… make a list of real-life uses of different kinds of math… learn to use an abacus… make your own dictionary of math words, with definitions, symbols, and examples… use pictures and symbols instead of numbers to solve math problems… learn to spell numbers… solve a math problem out loud by explaining it to someone instead of writing the solution… do math flashcards for two minutes every day, and graph how many you get right each time… make up your own math problems, write them down, and solve them… list math fact families… use counting blocks to explain a math problem to someone… play table games that use math… learn to use a simple calculator, then scientific calculators, and then graphing calculators… make up math games with coins, dominoes, cards, dice, and other objects… do real life math: shopping (compare prices), banking, building something, etc… use charts, tables or graphs to figure out math problems you come across in daily life… practice and memorise basic math facts with Mad Minutes, flash cards, computer games, Math-It, etc.… practice skip-counting backwards and forwards… teach math to someone else in your family… rewrite math problems in your own words before solving… ask an older sibling or adult (grandparent, friend, etc.) to help you with your math… play “grocery store” with food boxes and monopoly money… take part in a times-tables (or other math facts) bee…

Reading activities: Make vocabulary lists… use a dictionary….. highlight key points… list main points in order… create questions and answers about what you’ve read… write major points in your own words… use SQ3R: survey, question, read, recite, review… create your own study guide… retell the story… read extra books and articles on the topic… predict, read, verify… do reader’s theatre… use a wide variety of reading materials: advertisements… magazine articles… biographies… maps… brochures… narrative texts… directions… newspapers… directories… novels… editorials… periodicals… expository text… descriptive text… poetry… instructions… board games… short plays… stories… task cards… charts… graphs… computer games… stories on computer… internet material… listen to read-aloud… read-aloud to others… read-aloud onto a tape or video… echo-read… read in unison… take turns reading… read with a buddy, friend, grandparent, etc.… read different kinds of books on the same topic: fiction… primary source… picture book… secondary source… textbook… biography… non-fiction… historical fiction… etc.… list the elements of a story: setting, characters, problem, solution, ending discuss the pictures in a book… make up a new beginning, or ending, or middle to the story… predict the story before reading by telling the story in your own words, based on the pictures… make up a new story after reading the book, based on the pictures in the book… read publicly after practising, using your voice to make the story interesting… listen to a good storyteller… participate in story-telling activities… keep a reading record… work with someone to create an oral story together… read a story silently, then aloud… after reading a story, re-invent it by changing characters, setting, time, words, etc.… read the same story or article in 3 ways: literal (on the page), inferential (between the lines), for comprehension (in your head; thinking about it) compare the information you have read with your own knowledge and experience… form a book club with friends… ask questions, then look for answers as you read… read a play and act it out with your family and friends…

Writing activities: Play table games that use writing or spelling… edit and proofread… take dictation… copy good writing… create inventories… make your own book… create riddles… use photos, postcards, writing, etc to describe a personal experience in a scrapbook… imagine and write down an experience based on pictures, something you’ve read, etc.… create words from word families… graph your spelling scores… write about what you read… dictate stories and events… create a crossword of spelling words or subject words… use your spelling list to make up a crazy story… write instructions (how-to’s)… use good writing as a pattern to create your own writing… create a greeting card… choose a category and write as many words as you can think of… create a spelling game… choose a topic and write about it in a variety of ways: lists, prose, poetry, drama… write an advertisement. rewrite in your own words a story you have read… write answers you find to questions you’ve asked… write sentences with alliteration… write a story and illustrate it, or illustrate a story you have read… share your writing with a friend, and edit each other’s work… imitate the style of an author you admire.. write 3 pieces on one topic, using different genres, such as research report, short story, chart… write about all subject areas… practice spelling days, months, subject names, etc.… choose a word and write as many synonyms and antonyms as possible; use a thesaurus for more ideas… choose a word; using only the letters in the word, write as many other words as you can… practice spelling the 100 high-frequency words… find out the etymology of words, using a dictionary… write sentences using Alphabets cereal, magnetic letters, words/letters cut from magazines, etc… write on a chalkboard, whiteboard, or even use chalk to write on a sidewalk (get permission!)… make your own spelling book with interesting words, definitions, and a picture/symbol for each word… take part in a spelling bee… practice handwriting by copying from a sample of a script.

What other writing activities do you and your children enjoy doing? Please feel free to add them in the comments. Thank you.

Here are links to the other posts in this series:

  1. Why children need parent-tutors
  2. Important activities parent-tutors can do well
  3. Building a Good Parent-Tutor and Child Relationship
  4. Learning Styles, Intelligences, and Behaviours
  5. Developing Individualised Tutoring–Tips for Parents
  6. Monitoring Your Child’s Progress
  7. Some Basic Learning Goals
  8. Home Tutoring Resources
  9. Suggestions for a Tutoring Session at Home
  10. Specific Suggestions for Primary Grades
  11. Specific Considerations for Intermediate Grades
  12. When to Consider Hiring a Tutor
  13. Costs of Tutors and Alternatives
  14. All Kinds of Learning Activities
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