- Foreign Language Friends - Let her learn/practice Spanish!
- BrainPop - Also available in Spanish. This is an incredible site with lots of education-based activities and videos.
- PBSKids - I know this doesn't need any introduction.
- Activity Village - They have loads of printable games and much, much more!
- FunSchool - A really creative site
- FunBrain - I like math arcade, but most of the games on here a good.
- Starfall - Love this site's reading games! Really strengthens my daughter's reading abilities.
- National Geographic Kids - To boost your child's science skills.
- Nasa Kids' Club - Love it!
- Cool Math for Kids - Yes! Actually, I just discovered this site, but I'm already excited about it!
- Crayola - They have tons of art activities to keep kids busy.
• Let them scrap! Pick up an inexpensive scrapbook and some decorative papers, then give your child some photographs (or better yet, buy her a camera and let her take her own) and let her go!
• Make it newsworthy. Give your child a couple sheets of blank newsprint and have him design the Family Newspaper. Let him interview relatives and snap some photos. Be sure to provide a sample newspaper or two so that he can study the layout and design his own.
• Send them on a treasure hunt. Put a list together of household items and send them on a scavenger hunt. If they can find everything without asking me once for help, they get a special prize (stay up an extra 15 minutes, their favorite dish for dinner, a new book from the bookstore...)
• Get them on the case. My kids are crazy for anything having to do with detective work or spying. Allow them to put together their own spy/detective kit and then print up some related activities. Secret code breaking will keep my daughter entertained for hours! You can find some great code puzzles here.
Other fun, time-consuming activities that I use are:
• LEGOs - Sometimes I give them an assignment to help keep them focused. I usually try to keep this pretty broad. For example, I might say, "Make me something from Ancient Egypt/Toy Story/Star Wars/the universe/an animal/your favorite storybook character/etc." And sometimes this is all they need to get them started and their imagination takes over afterwards.
• Play dough - I am forever in debt to whoever created the first batch of play dough. With enough dough, and a few tools (or even a LOT of tools!) my kids will while away the afternoon.
• Puzzles - The trick is to buy ones that are just hard enough to be challenging and they must be active and pleasing to the eye. Most of mine tell a story (an escape at the zoo, a car race gone haywire, a busy city, the museum exhibits come to life, etc.)
• Magazines - Give your child some (pre-approved!) magazines, a pair of scissors, glue, and some posterboard and you have a winner. I sometimes ask them to create a collage of their favorite things, things that are red/purple/etc., mammals... Or I may ask them to create a habitat and include some animals found there.
And remember, you can never, NEVER have too many markers, crayons, colored pencils, paper, construction paper, poster boards, erasers, glue, and kid's scissors.
What about you? Do you have some fabulous ideas to share with Melanie? Leave a comment below!
Con mucho cariño...