I’m a teacher’s assistant at a bilingual school and I work with kindergartners.
So, quarantine has caused schools to close and you’ve run out of ideas on how to entertain the kids without them losing their academic time.
No worries! I’m a teacher’s assistant at a bilingual school and I have some activity ideas that I’ve found online and that we have done through Zoom with some of my students. Don’t just hand them the iPad or set them in front of the TV, because they can have fun while learning too!
Six Educational Activity Ideas for Kindergartners
- Book Bingo
- Write a Letter to Someone
- Write Your Own Book
- Make Play Dough at Home
- Prepare a Meal
- Play or Pay With Money
All of these activities are customizable and you can choose to find some other ones on the internet or even create them on your own with pencils, crayons, markers, and paper. I work with kindergartners so my focus will be mainly on that grade but they can still be customized for your child’s grade level, as well. Some activities that we do are in Spanish but they can be done the same in English. It’s even better when you get the kids involved because they can add activities that they would prefer to do so it doesn’t feel like a chore.
This one is by far the easiest activity for a child, especially if they love to read. You can print this bingo sheet or you can create one with your child. In most cases, it goes much better when you allow your child to come up with different ways to read because they can look forward to doing that activity while reading.
It might even be more fun for them if they get to create the bingo charts and the objects they’re going to use to cover the space they’ve already completed. You can use buttons, beans, macaroni, stickers, and markers, just about anything that you have around the house. You can decide how they are able to fill spaces; for example, they can only complete one space a day until they fill the board or fill a line. They can receive a special prize of your choosing when they complete it maybe a special treat, meal, or activity.
Write a Letter to Someone
Writing a letter to someone who is far away is fun for kids because they don’t get to see this type of communication as much these days because of our modern-day technologies. They can write a letter to grandparents, cousins, friends, neighbors or even someone in the same house.
In my experience, it’s more fun for kids to send it to someone they can’t see because it opens up a new form of communication (even if it’s old for us). We use to write letters to other Kindergarten classrooms when we were still in school. It was so much to see the kids' faces light up when we got mail back.
Write Your Own Book
Keep those markers and crayons out, because I know kids love to create their own books. It gives them a chance to be imaginative and they can use whatever materials they’d like or have at hand. When we were in school we would constantly have the kids writing their own books and they loved being authors and getting a chance to read their stories to us.
The book can be about their daily activities, a trip to the farm, or anything as crazy as flying to the moon. There are many printable pages to make a book but I think kids find it more fun to create it themselves and have it stapled and “published” at the end.
5 Senses Scavenger Hunt
This activity is one that we have done on the program that we use at our school during the closures and we also shared what the kids found during a class zoom meeting. They were extremely excited to share the things that they found especially if they were edible. You can change the way they use their senses if you’d like. The kids can also decide if they want to draw what they found or take a picture of what they found to make it even more interactive.
Make Play Dough at Home
By far my most favorite science activity that we’ve ever done in the school is making play dough. The kids even got to take some of it home and they were so happy to be a part of the whole process. The one we made in the classroom is a no cook play dough but I like the cook play dough recipe much better. It’s much more sturdy and it lasts much longer. You can also find different recipes online for play dough and slime if you’d like. You can explain how combining the ingredients makes it into play dough or how adding too much or too little of one ingredient can mess the whole thing up. Plus cooking it makes it more science-like, right?
The things you will need are:
- 1 cup flour
- 1 cup water
- 2 tsp cream of tarter
- 1/3 cup salt
- 1 tbs vegetable oil
- Food coloring
Mix together all of the ingredients except the food coloring and cook on low to medium heat until it begins to thicken. Keep stirring until it sticks to the spoon which means it’s done and then you can let it cool preferably on wax paper or a plate. Once it’s cooled you can knead it, separate it, and add the food coloring of your choice. Easy!
Preparing a Meal
Meal prepping can be a great time for learning math because it’s easier to demonstrate fractions, addition, or subtraction when you have palpable objects. We use to use fake apples and pizzas to demonstrate fraction to the kids but you can use the real thing. While you’re making meals you can have your kids measure and count how much of everything that you need. Be aware that it might get a little messy but kids just love that part and they get a math lesson in.
Play or Pay With Money
Every year that we teach American currency in the school I find that they always forget the names and values of the coins. It’s understandable because three out of the four are the same color.
A fun way to remember the names and values would be to play store with your child. You can let them be the customer and give them real coins (or fake ones if you have them) to use. You can also have them simulate a job where they can perform a task like picking up toys for example, and they get paid a certain amount for it. If they accumulate enough coins they can “buy” a snack or prize of your choice.
Don't Give Up
I know it’s difficult to keep the kids motivated to learn when there are so many other distractions but learning and fun should go hand in hand. Most parents are having difficulties finding ways for their kids to keep up with what they need to learn but I hope some of my suggestions help. If you need any more help coming up with something please don’t hesitate to ask or if you have anything new that I can add to my list, I would love to hear about it.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
Cathy (author) from Virginia on May 18, 2020:
Great to hear that we use some of the same techniques in different parts of the world!
Liz Westwood from UK on May 18, 2020:
You make some great activity suggestions in this article. I recall using a lot of them at some time in the past when I worked in childcare.