There’s a good chance you and your students have been eagerly exploring the latest online tools throughout this remote learning transition. We here at Eco Reusable have certainly enjoyed discovering new resources—Seesaw, Google Arts, and Minecraft’s education features to name a mere few.
When it comes to young children, however, this excitement can quickly give way to fears of excessive screen time and a craving for more hands-on learning activities.
To help you make these educational aspirations a reality, here is a list of six gifts for children in primary school they can use for a variety of creative learning tasks. These gifts will take them away from their screens and help them develop new hobbies and skills!
Ah, the joy of a blank page and its infinite possibilities. Before you instruct your students to draw a flowchart, stop to consider the range of journaling possibilities you could choose from.
Whether this means answering a reflection question per day, drawing and labelling plants and animals, or creating comic strips, suggesting that your students dedicate a journal to one or two themes can encourage them to persevere in exploring that topic, eventually producing a cohesive project they can be proud of.
No matter how many tools the painting app on their device offers, nothing beats coming away with a sheet of paper they can stick to their fridge and enjoy for months to come.
Set down that bland pencil in favor of some color! This set comes with a few sheets to color in—ideal for an activity where you collect each student’s interpretation to show how many ways one can embellish the same design.
Once they’ve exhausted these presets, allowing your students to visually explore whatever material they’re studying (they could depict a historical figure, or a literary character) is a great way of reinforcing their understanding while getting their creativity flowing away from a screen.
When at home, do as the homebodies do: make a hearty meal. Cooking is a valuable life skill, and self-isolation is the perfect opportunity to encourage your students to cook with their parents. We’ve included several easy to follow yet delicious recipes in our blogs for children at home.
They may even put their parents to shame with an Italian Specialty: Caprese Salad.
For an academic twist, students could be tasked with reading a recipe in another language they’re studying. A little apron and chef hat not only helps them get in the chef mood but saves their parents hours of stain removal while doing the laundry the next day.
Gardening is another practical skill ripe for cultivation in our present circumstances. The set-up requires a bit of effort (procuring tools, plants and pots), but can be a fantastic experience for children and parents alike, as they will treasure their memories of the first plants or trees they grew together—and thank their school for the little push!
You don’t need to have a yard to garden, just a large pot on a terrace or even a windowsill. Nurturing plant babies can also become an academic activity if students are asked to observe growth stages or the difference between certain species. Parents who already have gardens desperately in need of weeding are sure to extend their support for this one. Moreover, a social media campaign encouraging students to get into gardening is bound to be a hit. Parents will see their children out in the garden, watering their plants rather than scrolling mindlessly on their phone, and breathe a sigh of relief: thanks, school!
A great back-up for engaging your class when focus begins to waver or homework assignments lose their (already limited) intrigue, solving puzzles can easily be made into a class-wide challenge: fastest solution, best explanation, coolest way of repurposing block puzzles like these ones into something else.
Introducing new puzzles to students is also a perfect way of inspiring them to create their own and share their inventions with their peers. In recent years, technology has been employed in incredible ways to foster critical thinking, but it’s important to remember that problem solving, pattern recognition and planning are skills that can and should be developed off-screen as well.
Now is the perfect time for old-school puzzles to make a comeback!
Children were used to running around the school yard a couple times a day, even more with PE. Most children are not getting that exercise when at home in front of the TV. PE teachers are doing their best to remedy this by getting their students moving, either by posting video workouts or creating challenges.
Whether yoga is on the agenda or not, having a mat at home is a great way to cushion kids as they jump, bump and stretch along to a healthy exercise program.
Building on our gardening theme, herbs are great starter plants for students who don’t know where to begin in the vast botanical world. These seed packs couldn’t be easier to use: just expand them to form a box, add water to the soil mixture and—voilà—you’ll have a little plant ready to tend.
Herbs are also the perfect bridge between gardening and cooking. Kids can use their home-grown seasonings to make the aforementioned caprese salad, pasta sauces, or perhaps one of their parents’ traditional family recipes. They’ll be proud to have contributed something to the kitchen.
We hope you’ve enjoyed this list of kid giveaways and school supplies you can use to revive hands-on learning during the coronavirus closures (or their extended summer holidays…). Parents are seeking as many ways as possible to get their children away from screens right now, and trying the activities listed above both achieves this and helps them learn valuable life skills. You never know—a short recipe challenge could be the secret ingredient to unlocking a kid’s lifelong love of cooking!
Separated as you may be from your students at the moment, you can still make a tangible difference in their education by surprising them with new gardening gloves, cooking equipment or art supplies.
Our products are customisable, so you can print or engrave your school logo for a bit of school spirit. When parents pick up these items, even years from now, they will remember everything you did to help their kids continue learning outside the classroom and away from their screens.
We’ve suggested ways to use these items (check out our other blogs for more inspiration) but the list of possible activities extends far beyond—you, as well as your students, have plenty of room to get creative! Individual projects are also the perfect thing to bring into school-wide social media challenges.
We hope you enjoy exploring, experimenting and sharing your creativity!