Elem: Home Activities

Dear Elementary Families, 

This is a difficult time for many families. The most  important thing is to take care of yourself and your family, while not adding more stress as you support your children’s learning.  It is important that we feel safe, secure and connected to our loved ones before exploring different ways to learn at home. 

Ministry of Education’s Keep Learning Website: Suggestions for parents and caregivers to keep their children learning at home during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The following resources have been designed to target these areas:

  • literacy (reading, writing, speaking and listening)
  • numeracy (math thinking and  logic)
  • keeping physically active and healthy

These suggested activities are designed to use things you are likely to find around your home and build on how you already support learning. During this time we need to support our children to talk, read, think and move every day. Research shows us that children and youth  learn best through play-based experiences. 

As you help your children with these activities please help them to make real connections to their world and what they have already learned at school. Choose reading that helps your child engage with things that interest them, writing that helps them express their own ideas and feelings, and math that helps them explore and explain the world around them.

As you explore these activities, have fun, be curious, be creative and talk about what your child is thinking. Encourage siblings to learn together. This is a great opportunity for older kids to lead learning with younger children. If things get a bit  frustrating, it’s ok to move on. Take a deep breath, keep your sense of humour and celebrate all successes often…no matter how small!

Supporting Physical Health & Social-Emotional Learning

  • Musical Drawing:  Choose any type of music that your family listens to and encourage your child to draw or paint based on what they hear in the music and how it makes them feel
  • Try sharing different ways of being calm with your child.  Take deep breaths together, blow a cotton ball across a table, hug a stuffie and enjoy quiet time.  Talk about what being calm feels like and looks like.
  • I am Thankful: before your child goes to sleep talk about someone or something that you love, or something wonderful that happened during the day.  Ask your child to tell you what they are thankful/grateful for. 
  • Walking on the Wild Side:  Explore outside in the yard and create different obstacles out of things you come cross.  Jump, hop, run, balance, roll, and move like different animals.  
  • Explore gardening with your child.  Try planting some seeds and watch them sprout.
  • Freeze Dance: Dance or move to the music and freeze when the music stops.  Try different kinds of music and music from other cultures.
  • Try to have at least an hour each day of active time – go for a walk, ride bikes, have a dance party, stretch or do yoga together, throw a frisbee, use skipping ropes, play catch – whatever you can do to move!

Free Online Resources to support Physical Health and Social-Emotional Learning

Supporting Literacy

Talking/Listening

  • Play with your child and, as you play, chat about what your child is doing. For example “Tell me what you are doing.” “What does your teddy bear want for lunch today?” “What is your strategy for this game?”
  • Play with language together – sing songs you know, create new songs/raps, make up words that rhyme with your child’s name, objects you find around your house, or nonsense words. 
  • Build a Castle/Fort: collect a variety of objects from around the house or from outside and build a castle or fort  with your child. Talk about who lives in the castle/fort, where it is located. Enjoy making up stories that connect to the structure you are building.  
  • Let’s go Camping:  Create a fun pretend camping experience with your child inside or out in the backyard.  Build the tent and make fun camping props from household items. Draw fish and make a fishing pole.  Have a snack in the tent, read a book, or draw a picture.
  • Play Restaurant: introduce the idea of a pretend restaurant. Design a menu, set the table, prepare the food, design costumes for the cook and the waiter, serve the food and enjoy!

Reading/Writing

  • Read with your child and/or listen to your child read every day if you can.  Re-read favourite books. Talk about what you read together. For example: “What do you think will happen next?” “How do you think the character is feeling?” “What was your favourite part?” “What did you learn from reading this?” (See below for access to digital books if needed).
  • Encourage your child to write a card or an email to a friend or family member that they haven’t seen for awhile and send it to them.
  • Picture Book Scavenger Hunt:  Choose a book and identify things in the book that they can find in the house or outside.  (dog, table, car, tree)
  • Story Stones: Using a collection of small stones, paint or draw simple images that represent your child’s interests on the rocks.  Place them in a small pouch/holder. Use the stones to help your child create stories. 
  • Family Tree:  place images/drawings of family members on a larger piece of paper and create a family tree with your child in the center.  Make your family tree look like a real tree by using real leaves or cut-out leaves, string, small sticks and drawings.  
  • Keep a daily journal. It can be focused on your child’s feelings, activities, gratitude, or anything else your child is interested in writing about.

Free Online Resources to Support Literacy

  • Will’s Jams – Sing along to fun songs with videos in English & French
  • Early Learning Resources – Download music, a family cookbook, calendar & other resources for little ones
  • Scholastic Education – Explore a wide variety of books, videos, and resources for families (all grade levels)
  • Audible – Listen to books read aloud in English or French
  • French Read Aloud – Listen and follow along to stories read in French

Supporting Numeracy

  • Play games together (including board games, dice games,  card games, and computer games)
  • Play with materials that encourage creating and constructing (blocks, Lego, empty boxes)
  • Reuse, Recycle, and Create: Gather a variety of recyclable items and build something fun.  A great way to plan, construct, create and problem solve. 
  • Ask questions that encourage your child to explain their thinking. For example, “How do you know?” “How did you figure that out?” “How could you make your structure sturdier?”
  • Have fun together while doing math-related activities such as measuring ingredients for cooking, counting out dishes, sorting laundry, and building projects.
  • Triangles, Square & Circles: Help your child to draw and cut different shapes from various types of paper.  Build, create, and design using the shapes. Count sides, corners and look for number patterns. Learn the names of the shapes. Go outside or look out the window for a ‘shape scavenger hunt.’
  • Collect objects – count them, sort them, pick them up two at a time, three at a time…. 
  • How many jumping jacks can you do in a minute? How many times can you jump rope or bounce a ball without missing? Count and see.

Free Online Resources for Numeracy

  • Math Stories – Read short books in English or French to explore math concepts (includes support information about the math learning for parents)
  • Math for Families – Activities to explore early math concepts (K-2). Also available in Chinese and Punjabi
  • Math Before Bed – Pictures with questions to help kids think and talk about the math they see
  • Educating Now – Information for parents supporting math at home

How to Talk, Play and Learn Mathematically with Your Child

Indigenous Education Resources

These resources have been developed by the First Nations Educational Steering Committee (FNESC)

Support Families: Suggestions for Learning at Home

Continuous Learning Resources K-3

Continuous Learning Resources 4-7