School is back in season, and, with COVID-19, this year is like none we’ve ever seen before. Everyone is doing their best to adjust to the new normal and develop best practices to keep ourselves and each other safe at work, at home and in our everyday lives. We’re all in this together, but we’re all doing it a little bit differently.
Teaching During COVID-19
All across the country, elementary schools have had to make difficult decisions regarding what getting back to school looks like this fall—and there has been a variety of approaches. Perhaps your school has reopened for in-person learning, and you’re focusing on following safety guidelines and getting the health protocols right.
Other schools have opted to expand distance learning, utilizing different digital platforms to provide technology-based instruction for students at home. Of course, there are the hybrid models too, in which classes may have been split into remote and in-person cohorts, or they’re alternating days or moving in phases toward reopening.
No matter the method, what remains the most important is that we are prioritizing our students’ health and safety while doing the best we can to create productive learning environments to cultivate their education. With the disruption of the traditional classroom, it’s more crucial than ever that we provide our students with a curriculum that can easily be adapted to remote learning, as well as the tools they need to work independently outside of school.
Toward that end, we’ve pulled together this list of elementary school projects ideas that can be done at home, many with limited supplies to keep your students engaged and learning.
Adaptable At-Home Project Ideas for Elementary Students
Regardless of the subject, the following projects can be completed at home to help your students integrate any lessons from class.
Don’t Get Bored! Create a Board Game
All students really need to make a board game is scissors, a die and a large piece of posterboard, poster, chart paper or even the side of a cardboard box, along with some pens. They can create markers for the board with the same material as the board, or use objects like rocks, buttons, or figurines they may already have in or are near their home.
If they want to include a pick-a-card element in their game, they can cut cards out of regular paper or use index cards. Have your students design a game related to what you’ve been studying and see what they come up with!
Flex Those Memory Muscles with a Memory Game
Memory games can prove very effective when helping your students learn specific material, and having the students put them together themselves will help them integrate the curriculum too. Have your students create memory games for all kinds of lessons: math, vocabulary, geography, history, science, social studies, literature and more.
Simple index cards or cards cut out from any kind of paper will suffice for a basic memory game—just put a question or puzzle on the front side and the answer on the back.
Explore the Wonderful World of Words with a Word Search
Making a word search is a project that can be done with any type of curriculum. Have your students select words related to whatever lesson you are learning and spell them out in a line, either horizontally, vertically or diagonally. Then, they can add other letters to fill out their word search and make the selected words more difficult to find. The only real trick is keeping the letters in straight lines and equidistant from each other.
Create Your Own Crossword Puzzle
Creating a crossword puzzle is similar to making a word search (in that it is an at-home project that focuses on vocabulary and can be related to whatever your class is learning about), but it will take more planning.
Have your students select words related to your current curriculum, then plan out how they can fit together in a crossword puzzle, in which different letters that the words share are used to connect the words going across or down. Once they’ve figured out how their words will fit together, have them draw out the crossword using blank squares of equal sizes in a line to represent each of the letters in their selected words.
Then, they’ll want to number the squares and write the clues for the crossword, with the hints numbered to correspond with the number of the square that will contain the first letter of each word, plus the direction that the word is spelled out (such as “1 across” and “4 down”). This is a creative puzzle that will have your students working on much more than word spelling!
No matter what you are teaching, having your students create a true-or-false quiz is an excellent way to reiterate the lessons they’ve learned during class time. You can give them guidelines about the kinds of questions they should be asking or just let them get creative and see them develop their own true-or-false questions.
Create a Classbook
Classbooks are always a great way to promote students working both independently and collaboratively. You can come up with a theme for your book as a class and then have students complete their individual pages at home. Once all of your students have completed their individual assignments, you can put them together and have a classbook published, creating a keepsake everyone will be proud of.
Science Projects for Elementary School Students to Do at Home
The following projects are ideal for reiterating some of the science lessons you’ll be imparting to your elementary school students this year.
T-Shirt Solar System
One fun way to help your students learn and remember how our solar system is set up is to have them recreate it on a shirt! All they’ll need is a plain white T-shirt and some fabric markers or paint. Have them practice drawing the sun and planets in order on regular paper first and then move on to recreating that model on the front of their T-shirt. They can add their favorite facts about the solar system by writing those on the back of the T-shirt.
Solar System Mobile
Another fun and creative way to help your students learn about the solar system is to have them create a mobile representing the sun and planets. All they’ll need is a clothes hanger for the base, some string or yarn, some paper, a hole punch and markers.
Students can draw and color in the sun and all of the planets on paper and then cut those out, punching a hole in the top of each. Then, they can use yarn or string to tie them to the clothes hanger in the order that they should appear, creating their own models of the solar system.
At-Home Projects for Elementary School History, Literature and Social Studies
Keep your elementary school students engaged with their lessons from history, literature and social studies with these fun, at-home projects.
Create a Timeline
Using several pieces of paper taped together end-to-end, have your students create a timeline of historical events or the chronological order of events in a story that they have read. Once they’ve got important dates in place, they can use markers to highlight important figures and details and to decorate their timelines, which can then be presented to the class. This is an excellent project to compile into a classbook, as parents will love to see what each of the students in their child’s class are individually learning about.
Map of the United States
Drawing maps is a great way to get your students engaged with learning geography. One project they can do at home using either poster board or chart paper, plus some markersis drawing their own map of the United States.
They can begin by copying the general shape of the country and its states from whatever map they have been using to learn about the geography of the USA. Then, as a fun challenge, they can try to identify the states without looking, and write the state names in.
Finally, once they have the correct state names on each state shape, they can use markers to go over each of the names and color the states in. You can also have them add state capitals to their map.
States of the USA T-Shirt
Another way to encourage your students to learn about the United States is by having them create a T-shirt that represents a state. Have each of your students select a few states they’d like to learn about or assign them states as necessary. Then, have them read and gather facts about those states.
After that, have your students select their favorite of the states that they have learned about and begin creating a T-shirt for that state. On the front of the T-shirt, they can draw the shape of the state and use a star to show where the state capital is on their drawing.
On the back of the T-shirt, they can list their favorite facts about that state. Have your students wear their state T-shirts and present them to the class, including information about each state’s location and its capital city, as well as some fun facts on the back.
Create a Comic Strip or Graphic Novel
Have your students recreate or summarize lessons from history or literature by transforming them into a comic book or a comic strip format. Have them sketch out storyboard ideas with different panels that move the story along from beginning to end.
Then, when they’re confident in the layout, have them transfer those ideas to larger pieces of paper or into pieces of paper folded together to make a graphic novel. Be sure to encourage them to include lots of visual details. This project is perfect to publish into a classbook. Every student’s level of artistic ability is different, so this will afford a lot of variety to the book.
Character Day or Character Diary
Have your students select a character from history or literature who they would like to learn more about and represent. They can either dress up as that character and field questions from you and the class about who they are, or they can do their best to embody that figure during independent study time by creating a “diary” with several entries written from that character’s point of view. These diary entries can all be published into a single classbook compilation. It is fun to see which characters and historical figures made the cut. There are an endless amount of possibilities!
Interview Someone from Another Era
Have your students interview someone who lived during a historical period you are studying. Let them share this person’s insights with the class. This is yet another example of an excellent project that can be turned into a classbook that compiles all of the interviews that your students conducted. You could even have them draw a picture of the person they interviewed to add a little visual flair.
Current Events Comparison
To draw comparisons from literature to current events, have your students locate three to five current event articles that a character from a book might be interested in. Once they’ve found the articles, have them explain why the character they have selected would find them interesting, as well as how they relate to the story.
Learning how current events shape the time, place and people is crucial for helping students develop their own opinions about what they’ll read and experience in life.
Create a PSA (Public Service Announcement)
Discuss different issues from history, literature or current events that affect either people, animals or the environment Then, teach your students about public service announcements. Once they understand PSAs, have them select a cause or issue from their lessons that they care about and provide them with a storyboard template that they can use to make their own PSA. They can create a video recording of their PSA or simply present their PSA to the class. You can even encourage them to share their PSA with an organization that supports the cause.
Studentreasures provides FREE classbook publishing kits. Creating a classbook is not only a fun activity that teaches students about the writing process, but it can also help build their confidence as young writers. Visit our website to learn more about how the process works and see how easily your students can become published authors!