Thursday, March 21, 2013

Fun Ways to Surprise Your Child and Make Homework FUN!!!

Is this YOUR kid???  

Are you like most parents where you pick up your child from school.. head home ... once arrived you start to plan or begin the dinner process.   Your kiddos are settling in, starting homework and beginning evening routine.  Does it feel like everyday is ground hog day up until Friday?

Well... let me tell ya.. it feels like that to your kid/kiddos too!   (check out the picture above)

 Don't get me wrong..

Routine is Wonderful for children however if your child is anything like mine... complacency stirs mischievous behavior.  (i.e.... unwanted attacks on baby brother/sister.. boredom.. more television watching).  Homework is important and so is any school related after school activity.  However, sometimes it's OK to break from the norm.  Homework doesn't have to be a chore ..incorporate it into the fun.

So... change things up a bit.

For example, incorporate "special nights"  (i.e.  Game Nights, Adventure Reading Nights,  etc.....) and reward them for working hard and sticking to the routine each week.  The kids will be eager to please and they have something that they can look forward to each week to break up the monotony.



I love the look on my oldest face the other day when we surprised him with a Treasure Hunt Map as soon as he got into the car.  My middle Preschool aged child helped all after noon preparing the Treasure Hunt and aided in creating the map to find the treasure.  He used colors, shapes and drew pictures on to the map.  When gathering "Pirate" Props I drew pictures of the items I needed and he went on a search to find these items in the toy room.   My middle boy couldn't wait to surprise his big brother with a treasure hunt.   He worked hard and loved the hunt!

Incorporating Homework for School Aged Children into the Hunt...

Make each discovery be a Homework Problem - In order to get to the treasure (The next clue) they must solve the problem on the homework sheet.  Now a days many parents have access to the school classroom website with information on homework, lessons etc...  You can prepare in advance.  If not, just take a quick glance at the homework sheet and make each problem a "CLUE".

In the end we had a fun sword fight to battle it out for the treasure chest located in the art room.  My kids were so exhausted and couldn't believe how much fun it was!

What you would need for a Fun Treasure Hunt

Grocery Paper Sack  (Treasure Map)
Gold Coins (Chocolate or Plastic)
Toys for Props 
(for example .. we had a rubber snake pit in the bath tub .. they had to get coins out without getting bit)
Treasure Chest (or a cardboard box)
Candy or Treats to put into the box

Dinosaur Excavation

Do you have a freshly plowed planting area?  Or even a small portable pool?  Fill with sand or dirt.  
Surprise your guy/girl with a Paleontologist Dinosaur Kit upon pick up from school.

What to put into the Dinosaur Box Kit

2" Paint Brush
Gardening Gloves
Q tips

Extras *** create a plaster mold of a small plastic dinosaur to show an excavated dinosaur found in the dirt box.

Extra Extras**** Make molds of what you find in the sand or dirt
Extra Extra Extras **** Cut Drawer Liner Rolls (The mesh kind) or Construction Paper and make Dinosaur Feet that can be placed on the ground to led them to the excavation plot.

I would add easter eggs to represent Dinosaur Eggs - With each Dinosaur Egg Found they must do one Problem on their homework sheet.  Inside hide treasure treats such as Hersey Kisses to reward them for each homework problem.

Fairy Tea Party

Hand your little fairy princess an invitation to a formal tea party as soon as she gets off the bus.  Be dressed and ready for a tea party as well.  Ask her politely to Please wear her prettiest fairy dress.  NO helping with this one!  Let her choose what she wants to wear.  Greet her with curtsy and pull her chair out for her to sit at the Fairy Tea Party table.  

What you will need for a Fairy Tea Party

Table Cloth
Tea Set (Plastic Cups will also do)
Cookies, Petit Fors, Shortbread or Any Cracker
Napkins (Paper or Cloth)
Fancy Hat

Create a Pretty Beaded Necklace or a Fun Fancy Flower Wand.  During this time Ask questions from the Homework sheet and create an atmosphere where it is fun to learn.  Take tea breaks and remember the goal is to make the homework fun no matter how long it takes. 


Get your Partner/Husband/Wife Involved by Incorporating them into the 'Bad Guy' Role.
Upon pick up or Bus drop off...

Hand your child some spy glasses, a mustache, a fun Black hat and walkie talkies.  Hand out the first clue (each card could have a different colored thumb print on it)


1.  Go Find the location where you put your shoes (hide the next clue in Daddy's Shoes)
(Ask them to bring back the clue to you.. and before they can hear the clue .. they must ANSWER ONE HOMEWORK PROBLEM)

2.  Go to the location where books are stored (Find Daddy's Favorite Book and place clue there)

So on and So On

3.  You could even have the clues be letters that they need to find to spell out Daddy's Name or Mommy's Name

The last clue should be a location where Daddy comes in from Work and they wait to have a Spy Battle

After school routine doesn't have to be mundane and boring!  Create a fun learning environment for your children and enjoy their joys of childhood make believe and play!

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