Need help adding hands-on learning to your homeschool routine? Today we’re sharing our favorite ways to make it happen. And best of all, they’re all easy and require little to no preparation from you!
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I’ve shared before that I’m not the fun homeschool mom and how I don’t naturally gravitate toward hands-on ideas that require extra planning, extra supplies, or extra anything from me. Can you relate?
3 Easy Ways to Add Hands-on Learning to Your Homeschool
Despite my personal aversion to all the extras that come with hands-on learning, I know my kids — even with their vastly different learning styles — both benefit from those experiences.
Because of that, I’ve had to put in the work and learn how to make hands-on learning a regular part of our homeschool, but in a way that works for me and serves them well. Here’s how we strike that balance.
It can be tough to trust approaches that don’t echo our own educational experiences. Games can fall into that hard-to-trust category much of the time, but hear me out.
Kids naturally learn through play, so why would we not work that into our homeschool plans as much as possible? Why would we assume they can’t be learning unless it’s through traditional measures like textbooks and worksheets? Crazy, right.
Those traditional methods can work well enough, but they aren’t the only way to learn. That’s where getting hands-on with gameschooling comes into the picture. Gameschooling can add variety to *any* homeschool and promote critical thinking and tactile learning in the process.
Also, you can incorporate gameschooling for hands-on learning as often as you wish because there are games that cover every subject on your homeschool plans.
Hands-on Learning with Gameschooling
Want to get started with gameschooling, but don’t know where to start? Here are the ones that regularly show up in our rotation and some that are on our wishlist:
- Math – Prime Climb, Shut the Box, Balance Beans, and Math Dice.
- Language Arts – Story Cubes, Bananagrams, and Appletters.
- Science – Ecosystem, Cytosis, Subatomic and other fun games from Genius Games.
- Critical Thinking and Logic – Spot It, Cat Crimes, Gravity Maze, Clue, and Blokus.
- History and Geography – Scrambled States of America and Ticket to Ride with its many expansions.
Need more ideas? Cait from My Little Poppies is the go-to gameschooling guru. If you need gameschool inspiration, she’ll take care of you!
2. Field Trips
Granted, all field trips aren’t created equal, but many of them provide lots of opportunities for hands-on learning. Whether visiting a museum, family-friendly exhibits, or themed attractions, a field trip gives kids a chance to engage in active learning, build upon previously learned ideas, and spark new interests.
Think field trips have to be a big ordeal? Think again. Even a local outings can go a long way in adding some variety to your learning plans. The options will vary from area to area, but it looks like this for us:
- Nature study – parks, gardens, and beaches.
- Book-related fun – library visits and programs.
- Ocean life – local aquarium and beaches.
- The arts – neighborhood art museum, local galleries, and festivals.
- Local history and natural history – regional museums and historical sites.
Again, these exact options aren’t available everywhere, but we’ve enjoyed access to similar local spots regardless of where we lived at the time.
All this to say, field trips provide valuable hands-on learning time whether they involve lots of planning or not. The key is to embrace them and use them as a tool in your homeschool.
3. Subscription Kits
Let me admit openly that there was a time that I thought subscription kits were a huge waste of money and were completely unnecessary. I thought I could easily come up with similar ideas and gather needed supplies to execute them.
Here’s the thing, I can come up with great ideas pretty easily, but gathering supplies and actually going through with those ideas is where there’s an issue. That’s why subscription kits are so helpful to us. They take away most or all of the guesswork, planning, and shopping. That all goes a long way to ensure hands-on learning is happening.
What’s more, since subscriptions generally come once a month, that means they make hands-on learning approachable and not overwhelming. That’s the sweet spot for those of us who want to incorporate these opportunities, but know that once a day or even once a week isn’t feasible.
That said, there’s a significant selection of hands-on learning subscription services. Here are a few of the ones we’ve personally used and recommend.
- KiwiCo – They have crates for all ages, but the Tinker and Doodle Crates have been hands-on hits in our home. In fact, that photo of the Light Up Planetarium earlier in this post was a Tinker Crate project.
- Raddish Kids – This cooking-themed subscription is a new addition to our homeschool, but it’s been a wonderful way to to incorporate nutrition and life skills into our plans. Between the cross-curricular tie-ins with each box and the additional lesson plans, these kits are so much more than kid-friendly recipes!
- THiNK OUTSiDE – You can read our review to learn more, but in a nutshell, these nature-themed kits provide the perfect inspiration to get outside and learn with your kids.
Regardless of which one(s) you have your eyes on, just know that they really can be a huge help in adding hands on learning to your homeschool routine. Something about getting that box in the mail each month makes all the difference!
In closing, whether you operate on a solid routine or take a relaxed approach to homeschooling, remember that hands-on learning can indeed have a spot at your homeschool table. The key is having the right resources in place to make it happen.