5 Hands-On Activities to Help Parents Teaching at Home

Mar 20, 2020 12:00:00 AM


It is crazy to think that this Monday, for the first time in my career, my school is closed for a virus. For any health issue, for that matter. But this tragic event happens to fall at a time of human history where social media has given us the ability to connect with our students at home. It also gives us a chance to share out ways to help other teachers and parents fill long days closed up inside.

[pullquote]Over the coming weeks, I believe we will see teachers stepping up to the plate and delivering help to parents at home.[/pullquote] I know many teachers are taping themselves reading books so they can continue their circle time activities. Others are making packets to send home. Everyone is looking for ways to fill up who knows how many days of, basically, those dreaded words every teacher hates: indoor recess.

Today, I am sharing with you links to five FREE downloadable activity packs to help you through these very interesting times. These are hands-on activities that will occupy busy little fingers as well as overactive imaginations. You may decide to go back to medieval times or rocket into the future, but I hope they keep our young friends busy for many March afternoons!

Most of these activities require a printer but, I invite you to think out of the box. Tape a piece of paper on your computer screen, grab a sharpie, and trace one of my worksheets or fun pages just like you would do on a light table! I created an entire year’s worth of weekly art projects that required no more than a printer/template, colors, paper, scissors, tape or glue. When you think you have nothing, get out the glue and google eyes. There’s always something to do!

  • You would think space would be the safest place on (or close to earth) but didn’t they just get a delivery from Space X? I hope they didn’t take any unknown passengers! This kit is usually an item I sell on TeachersPayTeachers but due to the recent health scare, I’ve made it a free item. All you need is a printer, adhesive and scissors to make a paper space station. Make sure you print out six arms for each student! The kit also includes a space log writing prompt. In 100 years, maybe a great-grandchild will read a space log from the time of COVID-19 quarantine.
  • Dressing up like the regal Henry the VIII has never been cheaper or easier. This activity kit is hand-drawn Tudor splendor and includes copies of Henry the VIII’s necklaces, royal orb, crowns for kings, queens and princesses of all types! Activities include picture frames to color and cut out, bookmarks and more!
  • Earth Day is just around the corner! This activity kit includes some really fun butterfly and environmental coloring sheets, writing prompts and a poem template. I would absolutely love to see any work your students create as they celebrate the Earth!  (printer, colors, pencil)
  • If you need a cheap and easy game to play, I drew my own version of the Go Fish card game for a student who really loved Halloween and named it Go Bats! Instead of asking for sixes, jacks or queens, you ask for mummies, vampires and spiders. Print two sets to make a matching game, print four sets for Go Bats!  These will work best printed on card stock or glued to a second sheet of paper so you can’t read through the backs. (printer, scissors, colors if you want them)
  • What kid doesn’t enjoy drawing a castle? This activity kit has two word searches and a drawing prompt to create a dream castle. It is a simple activity kit, but just as some of our ancestors in medieval times hunkered down in castles to survive plague, we may find ourselves also hiding behind our own locked front doors for a bit longer. 


Brett Bigham

Brett Bigham is the 2014 Oregon State Teacher of the Year and a member of the National Network of State Teachers of the Year. He is the only Oregon special education teacher to be named Teacher of the Year and to win the NEA National Award for Teaching Excellence. He is the creator of Ability Guidebooks, a series of support books for people with autism that give step-by-step directions how to visit cultural landmarks and social events. The books are currently available in 10 countries and four languages. He is president of ORSTOY, the Oregon chapter of the National Network of State Teachers of the Year and serves on the boards of Oregon Safe Schools and Clubfunder.Org.

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