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These 40 ideas from a teacher are exactly the (screen-free) things we need for our kids right now

Two kids playing together.
Two kids playing together.

As we all search for things our kids can do as we sit at home, allowing screen time is just something we’ll have to allow at some point, but one Virginia teacher made a great list of ideas that are totally screen-free, unique and fun.

Wade Whitehead, a fifth-grade teacher, recently shared his ideas as a way to have meaningful and mostly pixel-free at-home learning.

Click the link at the bottom of this article to download Whitehead’s list. And when you start making your way through this list, tell us about your experience in the comment section at the bottom of the article. We’d love to hear how it’s going!

Without further ado:

1. Interview a family member.

2. Measure the area and perimeter of each room in your home.

3. Graph the types of birds that frequent your yard or windows.

4. Be completely silent for 60 minutes, then write about the experience.

5. Write and mail a (real) letter to your teacher or principal or classroom penpal. Address the

envelope yourself. [Order stamps here]

6. Build a “fable fort” out of blankets and chairs. Camp in it all day while you create stories to

tell your family over dinner.

7. Learn morse code and use it to communicate with your siblings through walls and floors. [Here’s an extra tool to get yourself started]

8. Alphabetize the spices in your kitchen.

9. Stay up late and stargaze. [Click here to find the best times for stargazing in March]

10. Call a grandparent or older relative. Ask them to teach you the words to a song from their

childhood days.

11. Using household materials, build a working rain gauge, barometer and wind vane.

12. Determine and chart the times that different liquids require to turn solid in the freezer.

13. Design and build puppets that perform a show about multiplication.

14. Construct a family tree. [Here are some free printable charts to help you get started]

15. Learn 10 new big words. Write them in marker on your bathroom mirror.

16. Draw a map of your home.

17. Sit silently for 15 minutes while you write down every sound you hear. When you are done,

classify the sounds (high/low pitch, high/low volume, manmade v. naturally occurring, etc.).

18. Create a Venn Diagram that compares and contrasts two people in your family, your

neighborhood, or your church, mosque or temple.

19. Learn, practice and perform a magic trick.

20. Use household materials to make and play stringed, percussion, and wind instruments. (Hint, kitchenware is a great place to start).

21. Learn to shine a pair of shoes.

22. Collect leaves from 10 different (non-harmful) plants. Sort them by size, color and texture.

23. Put your favorite book, toy and keepsake on a small table. Draw or paint a full-color still life.

24. Find, pick and dissect a flower.

25. If you have stairs, walk up and count them. Walk down and count by twos. Walk up and

count by threes. Continue through 10s.

26. Determine the volumes of 10 containers, then display them in order on your porch.

27. Write a poem on your sidewalk using chalk.

28. Classify 20 everyday objects by shape, size, color, height, mass and material.

29. Measure the length of your bed using five different nonstandard units.

30. Call a person who speaks a language you do not. Ask them to teach you five common

words or phrases.

31. Create and use a secret code.

32. Using one type of paper (constant), build three different paper airplanes (independent

variable) and test to see how far they fly (dependent variable).

33. Set a clock three hours and seven minutes ahead. Whenever someone needs to know the

time, help them figure it out by subtracting.

34. Write down every adjective you say for one full day. (Remember, an adjective describes or modifies a noun.)

35. Learn three new jokes. Tell them to an aunt or uncle.

36. Design a map of every state or country ever visited by people in your family.

37. Write or tell a story titled, "What if humans had to leave the Earth and no one remembered

to turn off the last robot?"

38. Find 10 rocks smaller than a dime.

39. Using paper, tape and string, design, build and test a device that warns you when someone

opens the kitchen cabinet.

40. Imagine, create and fly a full size-flag that tells the world about you.

Download this list by clicking here.


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