Internet has changed the reality of how we live, work and play. How did we ever raise our kids without the internet? Internet providers in my area have many good sites that can guide you to fun and educational projects for your whole family! I like to categorize and vary our projects, allowing family members to pick from my selected project category for that day:
Math and Science
Kidspot - Learning is fun when you choose science experiments for your kids on this dynamic Aussie website. The potato Shoot experiment isn’t as explosive as it sounds:
Your kids will put a potato that is has tiny white shoots coming out of it in a shoebox with potting soil. Put “obstacles” in the box (rocks, for example).
Place the lid on the shoebox and set it where there is lots of light. After 4 weeks, take off the lid. The plant’s shoots will have twisted and grown their way throughout the box, seeking light because plants have special cells that are sensitive to light and “tell” the plant which way to grow.
There are many tips on Kidspot that improve your child’s math skills, too, and they are age-specific. For example, when you read to your child before bed, turn to the front of the book and discuss the number of pages in the book or chapter. Later, discuss how many pages remain to be read. A fun game is Coins in My Pockets. “I have 4 coins in my pocket. They total sixty-five cents. You can earn them by guessing what they are!”
A Book In Time has over 700 coloring pages for parents and educators, including ethnic/world history pictures. Go to Learning Reviews to narrow your search for social studies projects. For example, I selected the U.S. Geography listing and was led to a fun game for learning about our states and their capitals. It told me to click on the state whose capital was Concord. I did, and it flashed red and a voice said, “Oops!”
Arts & Crafts
About.Com Family Crafts - Spring is in the air! Your preschoolers and toddlers will delight in making cereal tree bracelets. As the weather warms, they can watch to see how many birds will be attracted to this treat. A rainy-day project could be block prints using apple pieces and paint.
Guidelines for making bottlecap magnets and sock bean-bag bears will delight children ages 6-11.
Tweens are a difficult age (on several levels), but creating beaded bracelets is cool for boys and girls. For the boys, use a hemp-like twine.
Teens 14+ can learn how to customize their jeans (and make a statement, of course) using bleach. There’s also a project for making bowls out of old CDs and DVDs.
Spoonful has several recipes for your young chef. The easy-to-follow instructions for freehand lollipops are a good example of a kitchen project for kids of all levels. All you need are:
Dark chocolate chips
One creative kid
The pride of achievement is a valuable experience for your children. Use home projects to that advantage and the rewards will be with them forever.