School’s Closed! Now What? 10 Creative Ideas that Promote Learning
Schools are closed and you are ready to rip your hair out.
Your routine is gone. Kids are jumping off the walls. And you are running around with a bottle of disinfectant and asking them to please find something to do.
That last part. The “something to do.” That’s the part I am here to help with.
I’ve been homeschooling for 12 years and finding something to do with the kids all day is what I do. In fact, you might say it is my job. (*wink)
Let me help with ideas that will give the kids something to do, make your days more fun and educational, and save your sanity.
This post contains affiliate links. Read my full disclosure.
Surviving a School Closing: Routine
The first thing you need to survive this time (other than the disinfectant) is a routine. It can be a simple one, but an established routine will help everyone settle into their time at home. Only you can create the right routine for your family, but I have a few ideas to get you started.
Let them sleep in a bit while you grab a few Zzzz’s or get something done in the morning. It’ll be a nice treat for everyone.
Then your daily routine could look something like this:
- Wake up/Free time
- Family Learning/Activities (ideas below)
- Independent Time (keep up with school assignments, read quietly, journal)
- Outside (if the weather holds)
- Lunch – we like to watch a show together
- Afternoon Activities (games, art projects, documentary)
- Screen time
Al routine helps the kids know what to expect and provides order to the day. This is especially helpful if you are trying to work from home for a few hours. Once you have a routine established, it’s time to add some fun!
10 Fun Ways to Keep Learning When School is Closed
For your sake.
For the kids’ sake.
For the babysitter’s sake.
Add some fun to your “stuck at home” days.
1. Art Projects
Our favorite art websites have tons of options that are perfect to fill the time while you are stuck at home.
We love the Seasonal Mixed Media Art Projects from Masterpiece Society. These projects are creative and fun for everyone. Even I have an art journal filled with projects!
Each course comes with video lessons for 20+ art projects that you can complete at home. The projects do require a few basic supplies such as acrylic paints, paintbrushes, Mod podge, and art journals or canvases. Everyone will have a great time making their final products and you’ll have a lovely stash of grandparent gifts for Christmas.
Be sure to check out all of the course options at Masterpiece Society because she has a set for the younger crew (K-2) as well!
Another favorite art website is YOU Are an Artist. You’ll find a wide variety of chalk pastel projects for all ages. We have been working through the Medieval History Pack, but you’ll also find topics such as Space Exploration or American Landmarks.
You are sure to find a topic that your kids love or are currently studying in school. Have fun with art and reinforce their learning!
All you need is a basic set of chalk pastels, construction or computer paper, and some wet paper towels to wipe your hands.
You can find options for great documentaries on Amazon and Netflix, but have you heard of Curiosity Stream?
For less than $2 a month, you will have access to over 1500 documentaries. Grab it this month and cancel when the kids return to school if you won’t use it anymore. We enjoyed watching Yellowstone, the Secret Lives of Big Cats, Sacred Spaces, and the Secret Lives of Dogs.
3. Geography Through Stories
Grab a story pack from Around the World Stories and take off on an adventure in Asia or Europe with your kids. Each story pack includes over 40 original stories that will entertain your crew while teaching them about different countries. And they won’t even know they are learning!
Wanna add more fun? Look no further than the suggested extension activities and videos you can enjoy after listening to the stories.
Recommended: K-5th (appropriate for all ages, but most engaging for elementary school)
4. Math Facts
Work on math facts daily by setting up a FREE account on Xtramath.
I know this one isn’t really as “fun”, but maybe a change of pace from regular school worksheets will be a nice alternative.
And after working through the systematic lessons on Xtramath for the day, continue to practice your skills with the free math games at Shepard Software online or your favorite math fact app.
5. Current Events
Did you know that CNN 10 is a short, 10-minute current events segment for students? There is a brand new segment on their YouTube channel, CNN 10, every day. It’s free, educational, and a perfect way to start the day.
NOTE: This broadcast is created for middle school students and above. If you a highly sensitive child, you should preview the content regardless of their age.
6. YouTube Channels
Since we are talking about a YouTube current events channel, this is a great time to mention that there are plenty of educational YouTube channels available for your kids to binge all day if necessary.
Some of our favorites include:
- Jonathan’s Blue World – marine biology up close
- Great Big Story – human interest stories around the world
- Operation Ouch – science: anatomy and health
- Smithsonian Channel – history
- Brave Wilderness – out in the wild
- Maddie Moate – science
Happy YouTube surfing!
7. Learning With Games
In the homeschool world, we fondly refer to this as gameschooling. And there is hardly a subject you can’t teach using a game. Find a game for almost any subject:
- Math and Logic Games
- Math Games for Teens and Tweens
- History and Geography Games
- Word Play and Language Arts Games
- Science Themed Games
It’s my personal opinion that even a “just for fun” game teaches plenty of skills. Check out some of my favorites and add one to your game closet while you’re stuck at home.
- Super Fun Card Games for the Whole Family
- Best Board Games You and Your Teens will Love
- Just For Fun Board Games
- Just for Fun Card Games
Our current family favorites are Otrio (pictured below) and Skipbo. We can’t get enough of these two games.
8. Audiobooks to the Rescue!
Audiobooks are a win-win for kids and their parents! Everyone can relax and listen or a parent can get something done while the kids enjoy a story.
Need some ideas for great audiobooks? I’ve got you covered with a list of family audiobook favorites. You can enjoy these titles together or let the kids listen with their headphones or an Amazon Dot.
If you don’t already have an Amazon Audible membership, then grab one and download a favorite title immediately. You can always cancel later!
Make a list of musicals that you want your kids to watch and use this time to start checking the list.
Last year my kids adored, “Singing in the Rain,” and it is only $1.99 to rent on Amazon. A few other family-friendly musicals to check out would include:
Start a good podcast with your kids and listen to a new episode every day. There are podcasts available for just about every topic under the sun. Do a little digging and find one that will engage parents and children alike!
This list from Fatherly has you covered with lots of great ideas!
Remember that everyone is going to feel a little out of sorts. The normal routine is gone and a new, temporary one must be established.
Be kind to yourself and to your kids.
Try to enjoy this time and make a few memories with them while finding time for yourself.
You got this!
- 22 Fantastic and Creative Ideas for Family Fun in April - March 6, 2023
- Over 100 Riveting Mystery Books for Middle School Kids - March 1, 2023
- 21 Creative Ways to Have Family Fun in March - February 26, 2023
Great list! Our family plays games a lot (my husband is a game designer), and the girls always have several art project going. For some reason though, I hadn’t thought of audiobooks for the girls! My husband and I listen to them all the time, but now I’m off to find some for them – thanks for the tip!
Hope you find some great titles!
Thank you! We are in Ohio and have 3 weeks of no school!
Stay healthy! <3
Great post, Mary! Thanks for being such a great encourager!