Although the weekends should be fun for the whole family, there is no harm in taking a few extra steps to make it educational, too. These activities will first and foremost be fun for your kids, with the added benefit of them being educational without them really noticing!
Children are generally very inquisitive, so helping to answer their questions and get them involved in different tasks will keep them engaged and interested, whilst also helping with their cognitive development. So, here are a few great weekend activities that will be educational for all the family!
List of Activities For Your Children
1. Visit The Aquarium
The great thing about visiting an aquarium is that it is educational for children of any age, from babies right up to teenagers. For babies, an aquarium offers fantastic visual stimulation that can help to develop their cognitive abilities. The bright blue lights, multi-coloured animals and constant movement will all be fantastic for your little one.
For children who are slightly older, say around the ages of 3-6, being able to associate words they already know with things they can physically see will be great for their development. For example, they may have only ever seen photos of a jellyfish, sting ray or penguin before, so not only will it be exciting for them to see the real thing, but also greatly educational. After the trip, buy a book or educational game all about marine life to encourage an ongoing interest!
Visiting the aquarium will also be beneficial for older children, from around 7-11. Learning about the different environments that these creatures live in will give children an understanding of marine life and how they help the planet.
Seeing the beautiful creatures that live in our seas may give your child an appreciation of how special the oceans are and how important it is to protect them. Your fun trip to the aquarium can double up as an important lesson in being as eco-friendly as possible. Reinforce this at home by minimising the amount of plastic you have in the house!
Also Read: Fun Activities for Toddlers
Not only is baking fun for your little ones, but it can also be extremely educational. But, this won’t be the cleanest educational activity, so get the coverall bibs out to save you a lot of time later on! Firstly, following a recipe will help them to gain an understanding of sequencing and processing. Rather than weighing out the ingredients yourself, actively involve the kids and help them to see how numbers are used in daily activities, rather than just being something they use in the classroom.
Aim to make something that requires some form of kneading, rolling or shaping, for example sugar cookies, as the movements required will help to build up the strength in their hands and fingers, as well as their coordination skills.
After you’ve finished rolling and cutting your cookies, ask your child if there is any way they think they could prevent the spare dough from being wasted. If they’re stuck, suggest they could bring all the spare dough together, roll it out and make a few extra cookies. Or, it could be frozen for another day. You could then suggest that you go to neighbours or a local food bank to donate a few of the cookies. This will teach them to minimise waste and also to be considerate of others.
Make homemade icing bags using freezer bags and cut a tiny hole in one corner. The squeezing motion is another thing that will help to make them stronger. The first thing your child will think about when it comes to baking is it being fun, so they will be learning so much without even realising!
3. Do a Science Experiment
There are so many fun science experiments out there that will excite the kids whilst also teaching them some valuable lessons. One great idea that is suitable for kids of all ages is to make your own paper.
For a couple of weeks, collect up pieces of scrap paper, receipts you don’t need and any other used paper and store it safely. When it comes to the weekend, explain to your children that you don’t want to throw away the paper that has been used, as it isn’t good for the environment. Tell them that if you can find other ways to use it then you can help to protect the wildlife in the rainforests, as less trees will need to be cut down.
Not only will your child be able to explore different textures and understand processes of change by making their own paper, but they will also begin to understand the importance of minimising waste. So, ask your children to rip up the pieces of paper as small as they can, place them into a large plastic tub and cover them in water. Leave it to soak for a few hours or overnight if possible. The paper doesn’t have to be all white; adding some colour in will help to remove a grey tinge, so try greens, blues or pinks.
Using an old blender, add some of your soaked paper and cover it with water. Blend on a low speed to start with before speeding it up to get a smooth pulp. The longer you blend it, the smoother it will be, making it easier for the kids to draw on it later. Once it is blended to your desired consistency, squeeze the water out of your pulp.
Take two spare tiles or heavy baking sheets and cover one with a towel. Spread your pulp mixture thinly and evenly over the towel, cover the top with another towel and finally sandwich the paper in with the other tile or baking sheet (or anything flat and heavy!). Leave the paper to dry for 2-3 days, before removing and cutting into pieces. You will have a few different bits of paper for your kids to draw on and be very proud of!
4. Help Them Plan a Day Out
Kids always have plenty of ideas when it comes to what they want to do over the weekend, so give them the freedom to plan the entire day themselves. This is probably more appropriate for children over the age of 7, but that doesn’t mean that younger children can’t get involved and chip in some ideas!
Give your child a budget for the whole day, including one meal out and enough for a couple of activities. They can then research different things that they’d like to do, look at the prices, and come up with a plan. This will give them a solid understanding of the value of money, as well as giving them key skills in organization and planning, which are essential skills in any job. They will feel a sense of pride and also responsibility when you go out for the day.
5. Go For a Walk and Take Photos of Wildlife
Going for a long walk over the weekend will not only get your kids some fresh air, but will also help them to burn off some energy! To make it educational, ask them to take photos of five different things they found interesting in the park, with a focus on wildlife and plants.
When you get home, you can print off the photos for them and ask them to stick them onto a big piece of paper. Then, encourage them to write a few things by each picture, for example how they would describe the animal or plant, which colours they see and what they found most interesting. You could also help them with some research to find out exactly what they have taken a picture of and to write a couple of fun facts about it.
They can learn about their local environment whilst also focusing on multiple tasks throughout the day. After all that work, they will definitely sleep well!
So, there you have it! 5 different weekend fun and educational activities for all the family. Your children will be at their happiest when they are engaged and having fun, so set aside sometime each weekend for one of these ideas where the kids have your full attention. There is nothing better than seeing your child interested and learning new things, so you’re going to enjoy it, too!