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Free Kids Educational Activities

Updated on July 9, 2012

Fun ways to prevent summer learning loss!

Learning should be fun- it should also be free! There are plenty of activities that you and your child can do together to encourage learning just by using the world around you and making games of it all!

Summer learning loss is very common, but it is also fairly easily prevented by simply reminding your child through fun and practical demonstration what they learned during the school year. Summer is also a great chance to get your kid a little bit ahead to make the next school year more enjoyable. Fun educational games are a great way to compliment other educational activities like free printable worksheets, books and workbooks that you may already be doing with your child.

Below you will find some of the activities that I do with my son which (as I will explain below) can be modified slightly for younger or older kids! I hope that you and your child have lots of fun with these and that some of these give you an idea to create your own new fun and free educational activities!

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Age Appropriate, Fun Activities - It is easy to make different activities work for different ages!

If you are looking for an activity for a younger child, take a look at some of the ones which might have too much information for them to understand. Read it through and make certain it is physically SAFE for your child (that is really what matters most here) and try to think of a way to do the same activity with slightly less information.

Example:If you want to do an acid / base reaction with a 5 year old, you wouldn't expect them to understand the pH scale or what gasses are released during the reaction. You would expect them to enjoy making the bubbles and let them experiment with a few other foods like vinegar and salt, vinegar and sugar, water and baking soda, baking powder and vinegar, water and salt etc to see that the bubbles only happen with some things and not all of them- this activity would be to help them learn to have fun with science and allow them an opportunity to explore their curiosity.

Example #2:If you wanted to play soaking math (see details below) with an older kid then instead of asking them questions like "what comes after 5?" you would ask them (in random order) "What is 9x8?". Older children can enjoy getting soaked just as much as the little ones and this is a great way to make math more fun and memorable for them... it also may help a bit for kids who feel "cheated" by having to practice school work over summer break- this is a traditional summer fun activity that kids have loved since the invention of hoses with an educational twist!

There has to be a balance of fun and work in every age group. Since this article focuses on activities to keep their minds active on vacation, there should be a bit more fun than work... but work still must make the occasional appearance! If learning is always fun (without any hint of real work) the child may become frustrated and disappointed as they reach higher grade levels and get that reality check that learning is also a lot of work. There are a few ways to add "work' to the fun activities without spoiling the fun of vacation time!

For a young child (pre-writing) have them draw a little picture of the activity they did or about a story that you read together or even just a pictorial representation of the highest number they can count to. This is work for that age group, but it is not SO much work that they would be frustrated or missing out on the fun. For an older child, have them summarize or write a brief description of what they read, ask them to point out in their paragraph any instances of inference they came across. It doesn't have to take all day, I recommend having them do it right when they wake up- this way their friends are not even ready to play yet so it gets done before the fun begins without delaying them!

Please, never use reading, math or any other learning as a punishment! Punishing your child with a book will discourage your child from picking up a book for fun even as they get older. Reading should be a pleasurable experience for all ages!

It is easier for a person to become well educated when they are passionate about learning.

Fun & Free Reading Activities for Kids - Reading should be fun, not a chore!

Reading can be hard to make into a game. You do need a book which keeps your hands busy, but there are ways to make a game of it though, it is easier for the little kids to enjoy a reading game, but there are a few tricks for the older ones as well!

Before you start checking out the games, make certain that your child is reading the appropriate materials for their reading abilities- the books should be challenging but not so difficult that the child becomes frustrated. Do you remember the level that the school recommends for your child (many schools are doing this, but not all) if you can figure that out, you can look it up online and find the official site for that level reading system and check out their recommendations that correspond to the level.

Make sure to quiz them for comprehension of each book, chapter or passage!

Don't forget to have your child track what they have read! I do offer free printable bookmarks with reading logs- see the link below to get one.

Treasure Hunt - For Vocabulary Words

Quick Overview:

Can be done Indoors or OutdoorsRequires small pieces of paper or notecards and a markerTakes about 20-30 minutes to set upGreat for beginning readers or older kids expanding their vocabulary"Rewards" are a part of the game- not material itemsCan be played for 15 minutes or much much longer! It just depends upon how you set it up and how much your child enjoys it!

What to Do

For a vocabulary treasure hunt you can easily reward your child for reading their new vocabulary word (after they find it) without actually buying any prizes! Think of a dunk tank at a fair- it is a similar concept! Look through toys that you already have to see what you could use for a bit of fun between each word. For example, I hide my son's water gun as one of the prizes (pre filled for him) and if he reads the word and finds it, his prize is soaking Mommy, sometimes his prize is a choice of spraying one of us with the hose or getting sprayed himself! Anything that really gets your child excited is a great prize! If they love bowling, you could set up something for them to bowl over as one of the prizes.... whatever fun activity you can imagine! If you are doing the treasure hunt indoors try rewarding them with things like tickles, a coupon to play their favorite board game together when the hunt is done or control of the remote for the day, a phone to call Grandma...

Spend some time looking through a dictionary or thesaurus (for older kids) or check the age appropriate spelling/vocab lists for younger readers on the first site listed below. Find anything you might need to help with the rewards. Copy down 15- 30 words onto individual pieces of paper or notecards. On the back of each card give some type of hint about the location of a "prize". On more small pieces of paper write hints about the locations of the next word- stick these pieces of paper to the prizes so your child can move on tho the next word as soon as they have found their reward.

When they find the prize allow them to use it immediately if possible (like soaking you) BUT have them repeat the word they just found in a sentence while using the prize. At the end of the game if you are both in the mood to do some more, have your child try to use each word in a different sentence while playing with as many of the prizes simultaneously as possible- this can be great fun if your prizes were for example a horn to blow, a sit and spin and getting sprayed with water!

What Happened?

A fun way to work on reading comprehension!

Quick Overview:

Can be done Indoors or OutdoorsCan be done for whole books or chaptersRequires small pieces of paper or notecards and a penYou must have read the book as wellWill require either chalk or some type of board gameGreat for beginning readers to practice retelling or older kids working on inference etc"Rewards" can be stickers, tokens or printables given for each correct answer to be redeemed later.

What to Do

First you have to actually read the book or chapter that you are going to have your child read! See what you can get from it- look it up online if this is for a more advanced reader and this is not one of your stronger areas. Write questions on the front of some notecards and the answers on the back of the cards.

Examples of questions for a younger child would be:

What was the story about?Who was the main character?What did (character's name) do before (or after) (event in the story)?WHY did (character's name) do (whatever they did)?What do you think could happen next?"For an older child you might ask questions such as :Who was the main character? (for an easy one)Why did (character) do (whatever they did)?How could they have handled that better?What did (character) infer when they said (whatever they said)?What else could it mean when the writer says (whatever they said)?How does (character) feel when (event)?

GAME PLAY

Option #1:If you are playing outdoors you can create a life sized game board with chalk! Just about any layout will work- the objective is the same- your child will move either themselves or a playing piece (can be anything from a rock or bottle cap to a piece of candy or real game piece) ahead two spaces if they get the answer correct, and move one space back if they get it incorrect.

If your child misses a question, move on to the next question. When all of the other questions have been correctly answered either have them re-read a passage or read it aloud to them and re-ask the missed questions.

Option #2:If playing it like a board game isn't appealing, try gathering some tokens or free printable rewards and either sit together and give a reward for each correct answer OR

Option #3:Have your child simply run around and "FREEZE" for each question and give them the token or reward for each correct answer, then have them run some more! This is a fun way to burn off some energy!

Letter Grab - Find some letters and make some words!

Quick Overview:

Can be done Indoors or OutdoorsRequires small pieces of paper or notecards and a penWill require either chalk or a notebook or poster boardGreat for expanding vocabulary and improving phonetic reading skills"Rewards" can be stickers, tokens or printables given for each correct answer to be redeemed later.Requires a bowl, bag, bucket or boxWhat to DoWrite some letters on small pieces of paper- as many as you can stand to write! Put all of the letters into a bag or box and mix them up really well. Ask your child to make as many 3, 4, 5, or 6 letter words as they can in 5 minutes and have them close their eyes and grab a handful of letters (you can decide how many but I usually have him grab 10) . As soon as they have seen their letters start the timer!As they come up with words either have them shout the words out to you and you write them down or have them keep track of their words in a notebook or on poster board. Multiple children can compete for the most words or for the fastest time to reach 10 words.

Reading Race - Great activity for siblings or friends!

Quick Overview:

Outdoor ActivityBurns LOTS of energy!May be easier with two adultsCan be adjusted to either improve phonetic reading skills OR comprehension!Will require chalk, a book and some boxes"Rewards" can be stickers, tokens or printables given for each correct answer to be redeemed later.

What to Do

Set up the boxes about 30 feet from the starting point - they will act as small podiums. Put the books on top of the boxes open to the page you want the child to read.

Draw a starting/finish line with chalk and have the children stand at the line. When you say "go" they will run to the "podium" and read their page (aloud for younger kids- silently for older kids who will have to answer comprehension questions)- if you have only one adult then whichever child got there first reads first and they wait for the other child to read to run back to the line.

Repeat this process for as long as your child is enjoying it- if you live in an area that is really hot, make sure to have them take shade and water breaks every five minutes or so to prevent heat illnesses and dehydration and if they say they are too hot or they don't look well to you, stop the game immediately.

Fun & Free Writing Activities for Kids - Whether your child is learning letter formation or writing essays...

Writing is a vital skill which many children struggle to keep up with unnecessarily due to lack of practice. Whether your child is just beginning to hold a crayon or is learning how to write formal essays, daily writing practice is extremely important! Writing doesn't have to be boring, it certainly can get boring and tedious at times- I know, I make a living writing (which by the way, I despised as a child and practically refused to try until adulthood) but can also be very liberating!

Getting your child into the habit of writing or in some way documenting things regularly and even for pleasure will help ensure greater success as adults. Most jobs require some level of documentation skills, the greater those skills are developed early on the easier it will be for them. One great way to instill a habit of documenting occurrences is to have them keep a journal- even before they can write in it! If your toddler can make a scribble for a few minutes shortly before bed time each night, they will grow into a preschooler who can draw whatever they did in their journal, eventually adding labels to the drawing, then sentences, paragraphs then full pages!

Texture Writing - For Letter Formation and spelling

Quick Overview:

Indoor or Outdoor ActivityCan be very messyMay require shaving cream, whipped cream, sand, salt, flour...Also requires a pan or cookie sheetYou might want to bring a towelWhat to DoTexture writing is a fun way to practice letter formation! Choose a texture- to keep it interesting we use a different medium each time we do this activity. When choosing the medium, it should be easy to write in with one finger without filling itself in.Fill the pan or cookie sheet with whatever you chose to have your child write in. Set the cookie sheet somewhere that you don't mind getting messy- I do this one outside with my son whenever I can.Have your child write letters or words in it using their dominant hand's index finger. Check their work each time and they can erase what they wrote by wiping gently with their hand.

Summer Fun Journal

Not your Ordinary Journal!

Quick Overview:

Indoor or Outdoor ActivityGreat HabitRequires Composition book or spiral notebookMay require daily remindersWhat to DoKind of like a regular journal BUT in this one you have your child write something every day about what they thought was a fun learning activity AND how you can make it more fun next time! If they did not do any that day, see what fun ideas they can come up with! When your child is involved in the planning they can let you know better which activities are and are not going to interest them!

This journal should be about nothing but fun! If they write in some activities that are not educational, you can try to work them in as rewards for keeping up with the school work.

You would be surprised at some of the fun games they come up with and how incredibly helpful it can be for you to help them keep up when they give you more ideas. If your child is to young to write, have them draw pictures of things that are fun to do.

Silly Letters - For beginning letter formation (ages 3-5 depending upon experience)

Quick Overview:

Indoor or Outdoor ActivityCan be very messyRequires glue, paper, beans, peas, noodles, pebbles, glitter other small things******PLEASE NOTE THAT SMALL OBJECTS PRESENT A CHOKING HAZARD. ******Pebbles, beans, peas and beads and other small objects are not suitable for kids under 3.Please supervise kids 3 and older.What to DoHave your child write a large letter on a piece of paper. Have them immediately trace over the letter with glue. Now have your child pick up small things like beads, noodles or pebbles with a pincer grasp and gently arrange them on the glue. Have them continue this process until the entire letter is covered!

When the whole thing dries hang it up!

Fan Mail and Political Passions

Quick Overview:

Indoor or Outdoor ActivityFor older kidsMay require use of computer and printerWhat to DoOlder kids can be very opinionated! Use this to give them extra writing practice! If your child is a huge fan of someone, have him or her write a letter to them- they could mention what they like about this celebrity, ask questions and practice writing formal letters!Some kids are activists. See if they would be willing to write to one of your local politicians about a topic they are very passionate about . They can state the problems and even suggest possible solutions.

Fun & Free Math Activities for Kids - From counting to 10 to algebra, there are ways to make math fun

Our kids need to be great at Math. Many struggle with math all year in school and just when they start to catch up, summer comes and they stop practicing. It is vital that kids do not forget what they learned in school this year as next year's math will build upon what they just learned.

If you are looking for some fun ways to keep your kid's brain awake over the summer or maybe get them ahead a bit for next year, there are many many activities that you can try.

Remember that math is all around us though, you don't necessarily need a formal activity for an opportunity to practice! Try having your child add up the cost of all of the items your family orders at a restaurant or counting how many items go on the belt at the checkout in the grocery store, have your child count change in your pocket or the number of monkeys in the exhibit at the zoo!

Soaking Math

Traditional Summer Fun + Memorable Math!

Quick Overview:

OUTDOOR ActivityYou and your child will get wet!Skills can be for any age group!Requires a hose, water balloons and/ or a super soaker!Non slip shoes are a good idea too!What to DoFirst of all, is your child ok with you soaking them? Some kids have a meltdown so this may not be the best game for them- although you could offer to let them soak you instead!Prepare you wet ammunition! Fill those balloons and water guns and get the hose ready!Do some fact practice! Ask your child to solve math problems such as 2+2 or 8x5 or 7-3... whatever their level is! If they answer correctly then you spray each other- see who can soak the other best! Keep throwing out questions. When they miss a problem have them sit down until they get it right!When we play this game we have a big problem... my son doesn't let it end! When we go back out later (after drying off and fixing our hair) I hear "Mom, 5 x 12!!!" and then my back gets soaked!

Candy Pizza

Great for a rainy day (or allergy day)

Quick Overview:

Indoor ActivityYummySkills can be for any age group!Reqiures competent adult to operate the oven and put the food in and out.Will require lots of candy, frosting and cookie dough and a pizza pan (or similar)What to DoStart off by preparing the cookie dough and preheating the oven. If you use a homemade dough or store bought that requires mixing then you have an extra opportunity to practice fractions, reading directions and counting but the refrigerated pre made dough works as well... Smoosh the dough down on the pizza pan as if it were pizza dough.Bake the dough according to it's directions BUT keep a close eye on it- the baking time may need to be adjusted +/- a few minutes.Mmmm, but don't eat it yet! Allow the giant cookie to cool then have your child frost it (as if it were the sauce). You can give them problems like "now spread 1/4 cup of frosting" or "put chocolate frosting on 1/4 and vanilla on 3/4".Once the frosting is done, the real math begins.FOR OLDER KIDS: Use the small candy to represent large numbers (but just have them estimate 1 tablespoon = 100for example.) Give your child a a sheet of paper and pencil and then a problem like "9x 56". If they tell you the correct answer, allow them to sprinkle their estimate of that number of candy all over the top like cheese. For numbers under 50 or so, have them actually use the exact amount! The point is that the reward is adding deliciousness to the pizza-FOR YOUNGER KIDS: The little kids use the candy as manipulatives- so no estimating! Have them either count the large pieces of candy or do simple problems that they can realistically count out without estimating such as 2+2 or 15-1.

Remember to get a picture of their masterpiece before you eat it!

Basket Ball Multiplication - Or really any sport your child loves!

Quick Overview:

Outdoor ActivityGood exercise- for you and your kidSkills can be changed for any age group (instead of multiplying, count or add)!Requires basketballRequires net or box to score points inWhat to DoAssign the ball a number of points per goal. See how many baskets you can score then have your child figure out how many points you have so if you assigned 5 points per goal and scored 7 goals they would need to figure out 5x7. Then, have your child score as many goals in a row as they can and YOU do the math!

Measuring the moisture - Practice measuring in ounces, inches liters and more!

Quick Overview:

Outdoor ActivityWETRequires LARGE spongeRequires 2 buckets- one filled to the top with waterRequires an adult with a watch or timerNon slip shoes may be helpfulWhat to DoFill on bucket to the top with water and set it in the grass or somewhere that it won't be too dangerous if your child slips. Set up the empty bucket about 20 feet away.Set a time OR (to prevent running) set a number of trips (something like 15) and have your child start at the full bucket and squeeze the sponge and soak up as much water as they can, they need to try to get the sponge all the way to the other bucket holding as much water as they can, then wring it out into the bucket.When the time runs out OR when they have completed the set number of trips, have your child measure how many ounces, milliliters, liters etc are in the bucket, or have them stick a ruler in to see how many inches or centimeters deep the water is!

Fun & Free Science Activities for Kids - Everything is a science project waiting to happen

You can do a science project with just about anything! Everything has some property to it that you can learn about and observe. Teaching kids science is more about finding ways to help them enjoy the mystery (even during the most mundane topics) and the process of observing the universe around us. If you can keep a kid interested enough in science by showing them how each and every mundane detail affects them personally then they have a much better chance of being able to understand the principles and processes involved.

No, every experiment can not be wild and crazy fun, but every observation can be expanded upon enough to grab their attention. If you keep close tabs on science in the news then you can discuss with your child what the particular discovery might mean for them someday. Whether their interpretations of what the implications are for the future, the important thing is that they are trying to really think and analyze.

The ULTIMATE Green Project - My son created this one for school last year!

Quick Overview:

Indoor and Outdoor ActivityRequires an adult to cut plastic knivesRequires a container like those for a rotisserie chicken with clear, domed lidRequires dirtseeds, beans, peas, garlic cloves or any thing else you can plantplastic knives and markerWhat to DoThis is an easy and fun activity that is great for kids from about 5 years to 10 years depending upon the information you discuss with them throughout the project.My son was given an assignment at school to "find some type of packaging which you would normally discard and re-use it". My son, being an environmental crusader had a great idea!We had a BBQ with lots of guests using plastic knives, he collected lots of them and washed them off and stored them. The next day, we went shopping and being thoroughly exhausted from cleaning up from the BBQ, we decided to get one of those rotisserie chickens in the plastic container so that I would not have to cook.When we got home, my son dumped the chicken onto a plate, took the container and washed it really well. He then wandered outside and started filling the chicken container with dirt! He asked me what we could plant in it so I gave him some seeds which he happily planted in the container. I asked him if he was still planning to use the knives and he thought for a moment and decided that he could use them to mark which seeds were where. *** I cut and wrote on the plastic knives for him because cutting them made them really sharp.

He watered his garden and secured the clear plastic lid back on top and set his greenhouse in a sunny window... 4 days later, the seeds began to sprout!

Not only did he re use something, he actually reused 2 things! The way he reused them was also wonderful because he was growing plants!

We later transplanted the seedlings into the garden and he grew some more!

Then, as if that were not enough, for the poster he confiscated a box that a frozen pie had come in and some old torn up file folders which I was throwing away and he asked me to cut them into letters. Everything on the poster board was re-used as well!

Watch it!

Easy long term experiment

Quick Overview:

Outdoor ActivityCan last all summer if you keep up with it!Requires "pots" such as egg cartons or similarly sized packaging (jars, cans etc)Requires a handful of beansRequires a notebook and crayonsRequire patience!

What to Do

Plant some beans in a few pots- make sure to label them with "water" "1/2 water" "DRY" . Place all of the beans in the same area.

Have you child water all of the beans equally every day until they sprout to about 2 or 3 inches tall.

Once the beans have sprouted have your child water the beans according to their label every day and keep a picture journal of their progress over the course of the summer. Which ones did the best? Why did those do the best?

* If your child needs extra practice with letter formation or just getting into the habit of writing, have them label their pictures or write a sentence every day when they check on the beans!

Ice Cream Earth - Delicious, creamy, cold and educational!

Quick Overview:

Indoor ActivityDelicious!Requires Ice cream- vanilla AND chocolateRequires Food coloringRequires chopped nuts, chocolate chunks or crushed pretzelsRequires crushed oreosRequires about 6 hours + overnight freezing.Requires Peanut butter OR CaramelMay Require red jelly, jam or preservesWhat To DoPut some vanilla ice cream into a mixing bowl and stir in blue food coloring and Oreo crumbles or other very small crunchy bits until it becomes a deep ocean blue. Set the mixing bowl in the freezer while you work on the next part. Use about 1/3 of the amount of ice cream as you used for the ocean in a separate mixing bowl and mix in green until it is bold green like grass and add Oreo crumbles or other very small crunchy bits .Smoosh the green ice cream in patches around the inside of round bowl. Smoosh the blue ice cream in-between the "land". Put the round bowl in the freezer for about an hour. You have just made the Earth's Crust!When it is almost time to take it out of the freezer, start mixing in a mixing bowl- vanilla ice cream and either peanut butter or caramel- just about a table spoon of peanut butter or caramel.Remove the round bowl containing the earths crust from the freezer and carefully smooth the your peanut butter or caramel ice cream inside leaving a hollow sphere in the center. This is the mantle- the thickest layer of the Earth!Freeze the entire bowl for another hour- freezing between layers prevents the different ice creams from mixing with each other.

Next you must make the outer core. The outer core is hot molten rock. For this layer you can either stir red jelly/jam or preserves into some vanilla ice cream (about 1/2 jelly, 1/2 ice cream) OR you can use vanilla ice cream with red food coloring. Repeat the same process as before and smooth it in leaving a small hollow sphere for the inner core.

Finally, the inner core! For the inner core, you take a small amount of chocolate ice cream and smoosh it together with your large crunchy foods (pretzel bits, peanuts walnuts etc) It should be mostly the hard bits with just a little ice cream "glueing it" together. Roll it into a tight ball and gently smoosh it into the center of your ice cream Earth!

Freeze for a few hours this time- 6 or more is best. You will want it all to be good and solid when you go to take it out later!

To get the Ice Cream Earth out of the bowl, gently rub the outside of the bowl with a damp, warm cloth. Invert the bowl and continue to gently rub the bowl with your hands or the cloth until it falls out.

Acid Base KABOOM!

Quick Overview:

Out door Activity (Indoors if you don't mind cleaning it up)Pretty darn Safe although be careful not to get the ingredients in your eyesFun!!!Requires plastic bottle- 20 oz or soRequires baking sodaRequires vinegarRequires Paper Bag or BalloonRequires Rubber band or tape

What To Do

Fill the balloon or paper bag with baking soda. Fill the bottle with vinegar. Very carefully, hold the bag or balloon with the opening at the top and keep the baking soda at the bottom- be super careful as you affix the opening of the bag or balloon to the open top of the bottle. Be sure to completely secure the bag or balloon with tape or rubber bands.

Carefully and quickly stand the bag or balloon straight up allowing all of the baking soda to fall into the vinegar. Stand back as the reaction happens!

If you use a balloon it will blow it up part way- it may or may not pop. If you use a small paper bag it will inflate and usually pop! The more baking soda and vinegar you use, the bigger it will blow up the balloon or bag.

Fun & Free Social Studies Activities for Kids

Papier Mache Eagle - A great American Symbol

Quick Overview:

Indoor ActivityRequires FlourRequires Mixing bowlRequires News Paper torn into 1 inch thick stripsRequires saltRequires 3 water balloons, 1 large balloonRequires paper bowlRequires cardboard tubeRequires 2 sticks or dowelsRequires paint- gray, white, brown, yellowRequires 2 black beansRequires tape

What to Do

It really is pretty easy to make a papier mache eagle. My son was able to do a really cute one at 7 years old. It may be a bit tricky for the very young kids.

For the body I blew up two water balloons and papier mache'd them. To use the mache, mix together equal parts of flour and water plus about a table spoon of salt for each cup of water. For this project I used 1 cup of each every time I mache'd the eagle.

Once it is well mixed without lumps, dip a strip of newspaper into the mixture and gently squeeze the excess off. Lay the strip across the balloon. Repeat this process with each strip crossing over the others but be careful not to make it very thick- you should mache one layer, let it dry, then do another etc.

Once both water balloons are mache'd for the body, blow up the third water balloon about 1/2 way. This will be his head. Mache that as well!

Next comes the base- this is the tricky part. Flip the paper bowl upside down and carefully the adult should make two holes about 1 1/2 to 2 inches apart- Mr. Birdie's legs will go through here. Carefully stick the two sticks or dowels through the holes. Next, the adult should poke some holes all the way through both sides of the cardboard tube- it can be paper towel or toilet paper- I used the cardboard from a roll of tin foil. Carefully slide the legs through the holes until the tube is resting sideways on top of the upside down bowl with both sticks pointing straight up.

Carefully papier mache the entire base.

Next is the large balloon. This will eventually be cut out to make two wings. Blow it up nice and big then mache it!

Once you have about 3 layers of papier mache on everything, hold one of the small balloons up to the front of the sicks with the fatter side at the bottom- wrap tape around the body and sticks. Attach the other water balloon the same way on the back but with the fatter part at the top. Papier mache the whole body making sure to join the legs to the body.

Allow the body to dry for a bit, when it is dry enough to stick tape to, attach the head with tape then mache over it to attach it. Create a beak using dry twisted pieces of newspaper taped on to the head.

While the head is drying, twist some newspaper into 1 inch long ropes and set them on the base like talons at the bottom of the sticks. Mache over them as well.

When the whole thing is super dry, pop the largest balloon and cut the papier mache lengthwise into two long wings about 4 inches (or more) wide. Affix the wings to the body with tape and apply a bit more papier mache to help support the wings when they are dry. You may need to prop the wings up on a glass or other object until the final mache dries.

Once everything is dry, paint it to look like an Eagle! When the paint has dried thoroughly, pop all remaining balloons with a very fine needle right through the papier mache.

Make sure to explain why Eagles are so special in the United States!!!

Treasure Map Reading - Don't let traditional maps be forgotten!

Nowadays many people in the U.S. use GPS to get around. Lots of people do not actually understand how to use a real map. I was frightened when I met a teenage girl who actually said she had NEVER SEEN ONE.

Map reading is an essential skill- sure, your GPS can get you where you need to be, but what if something happens to it? It needn't be anything as global as the satellites sending the info failing- what if your GPS just happens to be defective or fail to work when you are somewhere unfamiliar with no other GPS in the vicinity?

Please, don't allow map reading to become yet another "archaic skill" people needed long ago. Kids need to know what a map is!

Quick Overview:

Indoor or outdoor ActivityPaperMarkersPrizesLandmarks

What To Do

Ideally everyone should know how to use a compass as well, but this activity focuses solely on using a map for general guidance.

Draw a map of your home, neighborhood or yard. Create a key to teach your child how to identify landmarks and terrain on the map. Make sure to draw trees, buildings fences etc and draw dirt where there is dirt, grass where there is grass, but use symbols to demonstrate these things as opposed to coloring them in. Hide some treasures in certain places and write down the route and clues for yourself.

Tell your child some basic directions which they need to use the map for- have them plot their course by hearing clues. Once they have plotted the course, have them use their map to actually go find the hidden item! Repeat the process using different hiding spots for the prizes.

Afterwards, have your child create a map of their own with a key!

Please note that many fun summer activities may involve getting wet or running, use your own judgement to decide whether these activities are appropriate for your child as slipping is a possibility. If you or your child suffer from any serious medical conditions please consult a physician prior to rigorous activity.

All images on this page are my own work unless otherwise noted.

Copyright Sidther 2012

Do you have any ideas for free, fun educational activities for children? - You do not need to join to comment!

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    • Lareene profile image

      Lareene 5 years ago from Atlanta, GA

      Lots of good ideas thanks.

    • solutions4u profile image

      solutions4u 5 years ago

      Excellent lens. There are so many ideas here for keeping the kids entertained (and expanding their minds at the same time).

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      GilliansCloud 5 years ago

      My goodness what a collection of activities! I used to always do summer learning activities with my kids when they were little. (They're all adults now.) It sure was fun. There was a library near by our house that had a science and reading center that we would borrow books from and boxes of activities and equipment. It was a wonderful learning experience. They still remember science facts today because of the activities we did then. It was wonderful. Thank you for a spectacular lens.

    • Enigmaa8 profile image

      Enigmaa8 5 years ago

      Brilliant lens have bookmarked it for future reference. Best way for my toddler to learn things is in a song keeps her entertained, happy and learning at the same time.

    • KateHonebrink profile image

      KateHonebrink 5 years ago

      Your article is so informative that I want to do all the activities you've outlined! As a kid, I loved to read and would visit the bookmobile and load up with a dozen volumes when it came nearby every other week. Congratulations on such an expert lens!! Kudos!

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      anonymous 5 years ago

      Sidther, what a great lens. It is such a terrific resource for parents. All of the activities look like a lot of fun. Getting the kids involved in educational activities like the ones you have here is such a better use of their summer vacation than letting the entire summer watching television and playing video games. Thanks for sharing this lens with us!

    • Heidi Vincent profile image

      Heidi Vincent 5 years ago from GRENADA

      Excellent lens! These are really good educational and fun children games.

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      anonymous 5 years ago

      Lots of fun stuff here for the kids to do, and adults too. :)