We all know the benefits of hands-on learning in a child’s education—the ability to engage all learning styles, increase retention, allow for real-life application, and improve critical thinking skills. All excellent reasons to stuff your homeschool day full of hands-on activities for learning.
But sometimes, it can be overwhelming feeling like you need to incorporate x number of hands-on activities. Or you start to develop mom guilt over skipping the hands-on activities in a lesson because you don’t want to deal with the messy aftermath.
Perhaps, like me, hands-on activities and crafts don’t fall in your creative wheelhouse.
If you are homeschooling multiple kids, you may be feeling even more pressure and stress to find the time to incorporate hands-on learning elements into your homeschool day.
Like most kids, my children love hands-on activities. Not wanting my kids to miss out on hands-on learning, I knew I needed to come up with a system that would allow me to easily add hands-on activities to our homeschool day.
I needed something that would require little thought or prep on my end and bonus points if I could find a way to contain the chaos and mess.
After brainstorming and some trial and error I discovered this simple homeschool hack.
Simple Hack for Adding Hands-On Activities for Learning to Your Day
A Hands-on Activities Station
Using different-sized plastic storage containers with lids, I organized different materials my children could use to add a hands-on element to their learning. We’ve designated an area for them to be, which helps contain the mess. I mean, it’s still messy, but it’s a more organized mess, so it makes me feel better.
Ideas to Include in Hands-On Activity Station
In addition to our regular arts and crafts supplies, I keep some materials that are more subject specific.
Here are some ideas of what you can include:
- Math dice—We have several 10 and 12-sided dice, regular dice, and a few with math symbols like addition, subtraction, etc.
- Math manipulatives—You can buy manipulatives, or you can repurpose what you have around the house (beans, beads, play food pizza, etc.)
- Measuring cups and spoons—I recommend looking at your local thrift store or dollar store
- Money—I keep $1 in different coin amounts and play dollars, but you could do all toy money
- Measuring tape
- LEGOs or building blocks
- Different sized glass beakers
- Plastic tubing
- Litmus paper
- Different sized plastic bottles—water bottles, milk jugs, 2-liter, etc.
- Safety goggles
- Shaving cream
- Baking soda
- Batteries, including a 9-volt battery
- Copper wires
- Dress-up clothes—we have generic clothes made from bedsheets and pillowcases as opposed to specific outfits (like princess or firefighter). I find this allows for more creativity and options for what they might be used for.
- Hand puppets—We made ours using felt, but you can also buy them.
- Modeling clay
- Jump rope
- Glue dots
- Rubber bands
- Fabric scraps and felt
- Sewing needles and embroidery floss
Personalize Your Hands-On Activity Station for Your Homeschool
Depending on the age and ability of your children, you can adjust it to their needs. If you are super-on-top-of-it, you can even swap materials out depending on what you may be learning about.
What I love about this, is it takes the pressure off me to create hands-on learning experiences.
I realized I didn’t need to come up with specific hands-on activities for my kids. They are creative and when allowed will happily tap into their creative core. What I did need to do was provide my children with all the supplies and grant them permission to use them to unleash their imagination.
They are free to add as much hands-on learning elements to their school day as they like.
The best part about this simple homeschool hack, is it is easily do-able. It takes the pressure off of you and gives autonomy to your children. Adding hands-on learning activities to your homeschool day will never be easier.