Many teachers are big believers in project-based learning, in which kids learn as they complete a project or task, and service learning, in which they volunteer to help others. Try one of these examples for real-world fun while learning in a relaxed, natural way.

Project-Based Learning:

Kids Meal Night

Children usually eat what they have a hand in cooking. Kids meal night means the children are responsible for planning and cooking the meal, while parents can be responsible for clean-up. Kids can make the grocery list and shop. The shopping may also involve some budgeting, which is a terrific applied-math lesson. Measuring may be involved with the cooking, requiring another applied-math lesson.

Fun Box

Keep a fun box for younger kids, and fill it with new markers, glitter-glue, old magazine pictures, scissors and card stock, then let the kids loose to create a work of art. Encourage children to tell stories about their art or present it to the rest of the family.

‘Redecorate’ with Posters

A homemade poster for their room can highlight a child’s hobbies and interests. All it takes is a trip to the store for poster board, markers, paints and more. You may encourage them to cut out pictures of their favorite topic from old magazines and newspapers to make a themed collage.

Organize Photos

For older kids, organize old family photos into albums or start a scrapbook of a family vacation. Talking about the memories can help kids re-live the experience and draw you closer. Telling stories can also help children with higher order thinking skills by re-telling the vacation story from beginning, to middle and end.

Service Learning:

Here are some of our favorite ways to volunteer as a family in Atlanta. 

Buy School Supplies

Organize a neighborhood garage sale to buy extra school supplies for children who cannot afford them. Have kids organize their own garage sale items and make the posters and flyers to advertise the garage sale.

Help Homeless Pets

Volunteer to bathe or walk dogs at the local humane society shelter or dog rescue group or to socialize cats. Most require kids to take an orientation or train before handling animals and some have age restrictions. Research the opportunities with your kids, then visit the shelter.

Thank Soldiers

Older children can write letters thanking soldiers for their service. Local chapters of groups such as the American Legion or Veterans of Foreign Wars may know of service personnel with a local connection. For an idea of what to write, visit organizations such as Operation Gratitude, which collects letters for people in the military and distributes them along with care packages.

– Laura Lyles Reagan 

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